Baptism is the start of a person’s journey as a follower of Jesus. Baptisms roots are drawn from the Jewish tradition of Mikvah. In the Jewish religion in which those who believed in the Jewish faith would immerse themselves completely in water in specifically designed baths in their homes in order to become ‘clean.’ Today when visiting modern day Israel, you can find Mikvah baths in ruins as well as modern day homes of the more conservative Jews.
Baptism appears in what we as Christians still practice in the gospel of Matthew. In Matthew 5 it mentions that Jesus went to visit John the Baptist, in order to be baptized. John the baptist is even recorded in the gospel as saying, “I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3:11, NLT).” Jesus was baptized at the start of His ministry and then at the end of his ministry he left his followers with the command that still stands today,”Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:19, NLT).”
Why Get Baptized?
First, baptism is a commitment. You can look at baptism as a contract between you and Jesus. It is a contract showing that you believe…
Jesus lived, died, and rose again in order to save us all from the brokenness that is sin.
Jesus is alive and coming back in order to end sin once and for all.
You believe that God is love (1 John 4:8, NLT).
You are giving up your old way of life and accepting Jesus as the center of your life and are going to live how he lived.
You want to join a community of believers and commit to gathering together to worship (Hebrews 10:25, NLT).
What Happens at Baptism?
When you choose to get baptized, you will be baptized by a pastor, church elder, or if there is not a church leader available, you will be baptized by another Christian. The pastor will either hold the baptism outside or inside. You will be fully immersed under the water and helped back up again. This symbolizes completely committing and dying to your old way of life and coming into your new life, being born again as a follower (disciple) of Jesus.
Why Seventh-day Adventist?
This is a great question, since there are many denominations and non-denominational churches in our communities. As Seventh-day Adventist we share many common beliefs with other protestant faiths. Below are some examples of areas of biblical beliefs that we share:
We believe Jesus was fully God and fully man.
We believe that you cannot work your way into heaven, no matter what. You are saved through believing (faith) in who Jesus is, what he did, and what he is doing.
We believe in gathering together to worship weekly.
We believe in celebrating the Lord’s Supper.
We believe in Grace.
We believe that Scripture is the ultimate authority in our lives and what we say, do, and believe.
There are many other beliefs that we share with our protestant brothers and sisters. However, there are a few beliefs that we hold as important to our Christian walk and that a few, but not many protestant faiths may believe.
We believe that Saturday is the day that God asks us to gather and worship together and set aside to spend with him, family, friends, and to rest. There are other protestant denominations that hold to this belief such as Seventh-day Baptist.
We believe that God wants us to be healthy. So we choose to eat differently. Not that what we eat affects our salvation, but that God calls us to be healthy. “You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial (1 Corinthians 10:23).” If you visit many Seventh-day Adventist churches you will notice that many members are vegetarians or vegans. Still others that eat meat, choose not to eat pig products, most seafood, smoke, drink alcohol, and other food and drinks.
We believe that God has given us all free will, people can choose to be saved or choose to not be saved. Jesus died for all our sins, but it is up to each individual to accept what Jesus did. God’s grace is offered to anyone who wants to accept it.
We believe that there is not an eternal hell that torments those who did not accept Jesus or choose to follow him in their hearts. We do believe that when Jesus returns with those that have followed and believed in him that all those who did not accept Jesus and have Jesus in their hearts will be burned up once and for all and never exist again. This is the theological belief known as Annihilationism.
We believe that people do not have immortal souls. We believe that when a person dies, they decompose and remain in the ground. When Jesus returns like he says he is, all those who died will be brought back to life.
We believe that God is returning again and that he has called everyone of his followers (disciples) to spread the gospels. God spoke about his return in the Bible through signs that we can know and clearly see (Bible prophecy).
If you have difficulty understanding or seeing why we as Seventh-day Adventist Christians hold the above views, I would challenge you to open up a Bible and search out the beliefs mentioned above. Contact the pastor, or come and visit with us and we will help you in your search for Truth.