Have you ever been watching a baptism and asked yourself in the midst of all the sharing and dunking and cheering, “Why all the fuss?” You’re not alone. Like many facets of Christianity, baptism has its share of mystery. But mystery need not yield to confusion. Below we explain why baptism is important and what Apex believes it represents.
Why? | Covenant
Baptism symbolizes faith in and fellowship with God through Jesus Christ. Much like a wedding ring, baptism is a representation of an exchange of covenant vows. But it isn’t the rings that make the marriage; it is the couple’s faithfulness to one another before God. Just as a ring is a symbol of a marriage covenant, so is baptism a symbol of God’s covenant to save us.
Who? | Obedient Disciples
"Disciple" is the bible’s name for someone who has faith in Jesus as Savior and follows Him as Lord. While Jesus isn’t here physically on earth to follow, we obey his teachings found in the bible (Ephesians 2:20, 2 Peter 1:16-19). Near the end of His ministry on earth, Jesus gives a distinct command to His disciples “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt 28:19-20).
What? | The Gospel
Baptism actually isn’t primarily about us. It’s about Jesus: his life, death and resurrection. Fully God and fully man, Jesus Christ is the promised savior of the world. The gospel — or good news — is that Jesus is the “yes” to every promise God has made (2 Corinthians 1:2). In Christ, sin and death are nailed to the cross and buried in the grave. In Christ, we are raised with him by faith and given new life. By entrusting ourselves to the faithful work of Christ, we are freed from sin and death in order to gain eternal life with God in His Kingdom. This gospel story of salvation is told throughout the whole bible (Luke 24:27, 1 Peter 1:10-12). While baptism is an awesome, emotional experience, if you have not trusted Jesus for forgiveness of sins and new life with God, then being baptized will just be you getting dunked in water and nothing more.
Where? | The Church
We live in a time when the individual is everything. Being a disciple of Jesus, while personal, is not a private matter (Ephesians 2:14-22, 1 Peter 2:9-10). As you begin to read through the bible, especially the New Testament, you will come across nearly 50 “one another” commandments. Jesus famously said, “Love one another as I have loved you and the world will know you are my disciples” (John 13:34). To be faithful to Jesus is to be faithful to his community — the church. That’s why baptisms at Apex take place in front of the Church to announce publicly that you belong to Jesus — whether in front of 5 or 5,000.
Many of us have hurt and baggage from past church experiences. Jesus loves the church, problems and all, just like a faithful husband loves his bride (Ephesians 5:25). We aren’t disciples because we are already put together nice and neat. As Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous but sinners” (Mark 2:17).
Generations of Jesus’ disciples have been faithful to this command. Baptism isn’t necessary for salvation, but without the faithfulness of previous generations, this gospel of salvation wouldn’t have reached us today. As a new disciple, baptism is one of your first steps in carrying this mission forward.
How? | Immersion
When God saves us, He misses nothing. We are completely saved upon faith in Jesus, because Jesus accomplished everything. Total immersion in water makes the symbol of baptism equally comprehensive. It signifies that the disciple is completely united to Jesus. When the whole body is submerged in water, it illustrates the disciple’s death and burial with Jesus. Better yet, emerging from the water illustrates that the disciple has been raised with Jesus to new life (Romans 6:1-11). This is why Apex goes into party mode whenever someone rises up, soaking wet, out of the baptismal. Baptism is a celebration of a disciple’s faith in Christ!
What now? | Next Steps
Perhaps you’ve read this and realized that before you are baptized, you need to become a disciple of Jesus. We pray you will investigate Jesus and talk with someone who follows Him. For adults, a great place to start this conversation is in the Foundations class. For kids, we encourage you to participate in the many offerings of our Family Ministry.
If you are a disciple who has already obeyed the Lord in baptism, we pray that you will encourage others to do the same.
Finally, if you are a disciple of Jesus, but have yet to be baptized, we pray you will apply what you’ve read here by beginning the process. Please email us below and we will be in touch soon about next steps.
Celebrate Baptism | Details
Here at Apex we love baptism and want to help you celebrate whether it's in a gathering or through your house church family. We believe in the importance of baptism so much we have set aside specific weekends through the year where we celebrate together as a body. *Apex Xenia sets its own dates.
Baptism Interest Form
If you are interested in participating in Baptism, please fill out the form below.
We do not want to hold you back in your obedience to being baptized, so we always encourage you to explore baptism in your house church. If you choose to celebrate baptism on your own, we would love for you to capture the moment on video or with pictures and email us your video or photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.