And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. – Acts. 22:16
Water Baptism – A Foundational Stone
Christian believers who truly confess Jesus as Lord, requires a foundation in their life to come under the Lordship of Christ. Jesus clearly teaches us about building a spiritual house, and the consequences of having a foundation or not.
Jesus said in Luke 6: 46 But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? 47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded (well built) on the rock. 49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell (collapsed). And the ruin of that house was great. New King James
Jesus teaches us that the foundation determines whether a spiritual house stands or falls in adversity. Two men both heard the teachings of Christ, one was a hearer and a doer; the other was only a hearer. In Hebrews 6, every Christian believer is to lay the foundation of the doctrine (principles or teaching) of Christ. And if this foundation is not laid, God will not permit us to go on to perfection (spiritual maturity):
1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles (doctrine or teaching) of Christ, let us go on to perfection (maturity), not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits. New King James
Permission granted by a ‘permit’ is required to continue building a physical structure in the natural; and only IF the permit issued for the foundation will support the structure in adverse weather conditions, etc.
The ROCK upon which Christian believers lay the foundation to ‘go on to maturity’ is Jesus Christ:
1 Peter 2: 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame. New King James
Jesus Christ is the chief corner stone. The foundation stones which are laid on the ROCK Christ Jesus are unmistakably identified in Hebrews 6:1-3. The foundation stones are:
“…let us go on to perfection (maturity), not laying again the foundation of”
Repentance from dead works
Faith toward God
The doctrine of baptisms (in Water and in the Holy Spirit)
Laying on of hands
Resurrection of the dead
“And this we will do IF God permits”
Is the doctrine (teaching) of Christ concerning water baptism just an ‘outward symbol of an inward work’ and therefore, optional? The important significance of water baptism as a scriptural command in the New Testament usually occurred ‘when they believed’ (Acts 8:12 NKJ), ‘the same hour and immediately’ (Acts 16:29-33 NKJ) or ‘that same day’ (Acts 2:41 NKJ).
The priority of the commission or authority Jesus gave to His disciples, concerning the Great Commission in the Gospels; commands water baptism as necessary and foundational to be a ‘hearer and a doer’ of the teaching of Christ:
Matthew 28: 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. New King James
Mark 16: 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. New King James
Jesus said in Luke 24: 47 … that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. New King James
In Acts, on the Day of Pentecost beginning in Jerusalem, water baptism was undeniably necessary, and a commandment along with laying a foundation of repentance and remission of sins for believers:
Acts 2: 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized (a command, not optional) in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. New King James
Philip a young deacon and evangelist from Jerusalem, traveled down to Samaria to preach the gospel of the Kingdom, and water baptism was a foundational commitment (not optional) in preaching the Kingdom of God:
But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. (Acts 8:12 New King James)
Clearly water baptism was part of preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and one of the foundational stone experiences concerning the Kingdom of God. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:5 New King James)
Philip left Samaria (Acts 8 New King James): 26 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. 27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 The place in the Scripture which he read was this: (Isaiah 53) 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” 37 Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” 38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, AND HE (Philip) BAPTISED HIM. The preaching of Jesus included WATER BAPTISM as a foundational mandate.
Saul’s persecution of Christians ended when he became blind for three days. After his miraculous restoration of sight, he was converted to Christianity. (Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-19):
17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized. NKJ
Saul, who became the Apostle Paul, was baptized without delay. Paul later recounted his testimony (Acts 22:3-21), including the urgency of water baptism:
16 And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’ New King James
The Apostle Peter was led by the Holy Spirit to leave Joppa and travel to Caesarea to the house of Cornelius, a devout man who was a Roman centurion. (Acts 10:1-47) Cornelius gathered his relatives and friends to hear Peter preach about Jesus; and during the message Peter was astonished that these Gentiles were baptized in the Holy Spirit speaking with other tongues (languages) and magnifying God. Then Peter addressing the Jews traveling with him said:
47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. New King James
It’s obvious that Ananias with Saul in Damascus, and Peter at the house of Cornelius, believed water baptism is a foundational truth of utmost importance to be a ‘hearer and a doer’ of the teaching of Christ.
In the early years of the church when the Apostle Paul came into Europe to the City of Philippi, and he preached the gospel foundational principle of water baptism to:
14 … a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. 15 And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us. (Acts 16 New King James)
Acts 16:31 is a scripture that is greatly quoted, but usually not within the overall context: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
In the city of Thyatira (Acts 16:16-34), Paul and Silas were beaten with rods and imprisoned because a woman was delivered from the spirit of divination. At midnight, God sent an earthquake shaking the prison foundations, and immediately all doors were opened, and everyone’s chains loosened. The jailer, thinking his prisoners had escaped, was ready to commit suicide:
28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” 29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them THE SAME HOUR OF THE NIGHT and washed their stripes. And IMMEDIATELY HE AND ALL HIS FAMILY WERE BAPTIZED. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household. (New King James)
The scriptural pattern in the New Testament was to: Repent, Believe, Be Baptized in Water, and Receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit. A believer ‘Lays A Christian Foundation’ by being a ‘Hearer and A Doer’ of the teaching (doctrine) of Christ.
CIRCUMCISION CORRESPONDS TO WATER BAPTISM
(Galatians 3:26-27,29 NIV) 26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ [put on Christ’s New Nature]. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise [the New Covenant Blessing].
Under the Old Covenant (Testament), Abraham and his seed had the ‘Old Covenant Sign’ of Outward Circumcision performed in the physical flesh of the foreskin upon all male children at eight days old.
Under the New Covenant, the children (seed) of Abraham which are the children of faith, receive the ‘New Covenant Sign’ of Inward Circumcision in Water Baptism performed upon their hearts by the Lord Jesus Christ who is the minister of the circumcision as they are buried and raised with Christ through faith in the operation of God:
(Colossians 2:11-12 NKJ) 11 In Him (Christ) you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands (set apart by spiritual circumcision), by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh (destroying the power of a sinful carnal nature), by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working (of the operation) of God, who raised Him from the dead.
In Water Baptism we receive the New Covenant sign or seal of the inward circumcision of heart – a putting on of Christ, baptized INTO CHRIST – set apart unto God by a spiritual circumcision of the heart.