“Well that was an interesting study this morning,” I told Felicity as we left the church and headed to Burger King.
“Yes it was,” she agreed.
“I guess I really never noticed what he said about Charity,” I remarked.
“What’s the topic supposed to be tonight?” Steve asked.
“Not sure,” Felicity answered. “Brother Holmes is speaking tonight, though.”
“Were we going to stay here for the evening service?” Susanna asked.
I looked at Felicity. “Mother and I decided to stay for all of the services,” I answered.
“Yippee!” the children chorused * * * *
“Good evening, Amos,” Pastor Mast greeted us that evening. “Good to have you back.”
“Thank you,” I replied.
The evening service passed as the morning one. After the sixth song, Pastor Mast announced, “And again, thank you for coming tonight. This evening Brother Jesse Holmes will be speaking.”
“Thank you, Pastor,” Brother Holmes began as he stepped up to the pulpit, “and good evening. Tonight my topic is titled, ‘A Mood and a Mode’. Take your Bibles and turn to Matthew 28:19-20. Matthew 28, verses 19 and 20:
‘Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.’
“Tonight we’re going to look at the mood and the mode of baptism. And by the way, I want to thank Brother Miller for the message this morning; it fits very well with tonight.
“The mood of baptism. Baptism is defined in Scripture as a public witness of our faith in Christ. Mark 16:16 says: ‘He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.’
“Baptism follows salvation. We must be saved to be baptized. We just read Mark 16:16; perhaps some would think baptism saves you. Here we see that that’s not true. ‘He that believeth not shall be damned’, not, ‘is not baptized’.
“So the mood of baptism involves salvation as well as a realization that this is a public witness to my faith in Christ.
“And it’s not something to be taken lightly,” Brother Holmes went on. “This is a serious matter; not that we cannot be happy at our baptism, but it isn’t something we should have an attitude of ‘If I have to’, either. We should want to do it, and shouldn’t make someone do it.
“That also means we shouldn’t pressure someone into getting baptized. The candidate needs to be willing to be baptized, should have a desire to be baptized, and should understand what it’s all about. This would also imply that the parents cannot baptize their children as infants. Acts 8:37, Philip says, ‘If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.’ The Ethiopian had asked if there’s anything hindering him from being baptized. Philip told him there wasn’t if he was saved. The Ethiopian said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God’ and was baptized. Your newer versions don’t have that verse by the way.”
Brother Holmes looked under the shelf. “Is there any water here?” he asked. “Oh here it is, sorry.”
“Now,” he continued, putting the water back in its place, “let’s look at the mode of baptism. How many of you here have been baptized?”
Most hands went up.
“How many of you were immersed or believe in immersion?”
Almost all of the hands went up
“How many of you were poured or sprinkled?”
A couple of hands went up, including ours.
“And how many of you believe in these methods or aren’t sure what you believe?”
A couple of hands went up.
“And how many of you do not understand the question?”
No hands went up.
“Okay,” Brother Holmes resumed, “the mode of baptism, according to Baptists of all ages, is immersion. Is that what the Bible says, then?
“Look at Matthew 3:16-17,” Brother Holmes stated. “Matthew 3:16-17.”
“And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” Brother Holmes read. “Here we see how John baptized, and we see that Jesus was baptized by immersion. ‘up out of the water’; that should be easy for anyone to see. Now, we know that John’s baptism was of God, so if God ordained immersion, and since Jesus was immersed, could it be that the mode of baptism is immersion?
“Well, let’s take a look at Acts chapter 8, verses 26-40. Acts 8:26-40. Here we have the story of the Ethiopian eunuch, which I already alluded to. Philip found the eunuch and talked to him and explained the Gospel to him, and along the way, they came across some water. Starting in verse 36, the Bible says, ‘And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.’
“So Philip baptized by immersion, look at that!” Brother Holmes stated. “‘Yeah but you see,’ you say, ‘the Philippian jailor, he was poured.’ Not true! Not true, not true, not true! He took Paul and Silas, washed their stripes, and then was baptized. They were out of the jail by that time; Acts 16:32 says that Paul and Silas spoke to all of the jailor’s house. Nice try, though!”
Brother Holmes cleared his throat. “Romans 6:3-4,” he stated, turning several pages in his Bible. “‘Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.’ Did you notice that phrase ‘buried with him by baptism’? The only, repeat, only way we could be buried by baptism is to be totally immersed in the water. Colossians 2:12 also says that we are buried with him in baptism. Nowhere in Scripture is water baptism referred to as a symbol of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as Mennonites and Amish and others teach.
“Also consider,” Brother Holmes added, “that the Greek word where we get our word baptism means ‘to immerse in a fluid’. Not that the Greek is needed, but that is where the word baptism comes from nevertheless.
“So in conclusion,” Brother Holmes stated, “we see that the mood of baptism is salvation in Christ, and the mode of baptism is immersion. Let’s pray.”