Baptism, after salvation, by immersion is a requirement of membership at First Naples. Baptism is an opportunity for you to go public about your faith in Jesus and let those in and outside of our church know that you are a follower of Christ. Baptism itself is a step of obedience whereby you publicly profess your faith in Jesus and testify to how He has changed you.
If a potential member has previously been baptized after salvation, by full immersion, within a like minded church, that individual may pursue membership through statement of faith (see Membership Application).
First and foremost, believers are baptized because Jesus was baptized and He asked us to follow His example. The Scripture says,”When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too” – Luke 3:21. If Jesus, the Son of God, found baptism to be vital, how much more should we?
The word “baptism” literally means to be immersed. Therefore, when Jesus was baptized, he was totally put under the surface of the water from head to toe. The Bible teaches that believers are to do the same.
Baptism is only required once. However, it must have occurred by immersion, following your personal decision to receive Christ as your Lord and Savior. “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about 3,000 were added to their number that day” (Acts 2:41). This verse teaches that you must accept the message of Jesus Christ first and then be baptized. Baptism does not make one a Christian, only faith in Christ can do that. Therefore, only believers should be baptized. Sometimes people are baptized without a basic understanding of this truth. Others are baptized as a result of their parents’ choice and not their own, while some are baptized thinking that this act will produce salvation or that the baptism water will wash away a person’s sin. In instances like these, one should consider being baptized again with full knowledge of what the Bible teaches.
Baptism by immersion (believer’s baptism) has many functions other than simply pure obedience to Christ:
1. Baptism it is a public identification with Christ and His mission. We are baptized just as Christ was, declaring our intentions to follow Him. “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven” – Matthew 10:32-33.
2. Baptism is a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. As one is lowered into the water, it is a picture of Jesus being placed in the tomb. Then, just as Jesus was resurrected from the dead, you are raised from the water, symbolizing the new life you have found in Christ. “We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the father, we too may have a new life” – Romans 6:4.
3. Baptism is an outward expression of an inward change. This results from calling on the name of Christ for salvation. “If we have been united with Him like this in His death. we will certainly also be united with Him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin” – Romans 6:5-6.