How Was The Early Church Baptized Study Notes
Rev Gary L Evensen
@2005 NJUPC INC
This bible study addresses questions concerning how the early apostolic church baptized.
We will find as we study the scriptures and history itself, that the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ and the early apostolic church as recorded in the book of Acts, baptized new believers in the only name under heaven given by which we must be saved, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
If baptism is essential to salvation then the name of Jesus Christ is part of that salvation.
SETTING: In Luke 24 the resurrected Christ presented himself to the disciples.
The scriptures declare:
45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
Luke 24:45-47 (NJKV)
SCRIPTURAL FACT: Christ opened there comprehension to the word of God, told them that repentance and remission of sins would be preached in his name at Jerusalem and sent them to Jerusalem to await the promise of the father.
Jesus then left the preaching of the gospel in the hands of his apostles and ascended into heaven. Just prior to his ascension he told the people gathered there in Acts chapter 1
8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
NOTE: He didn’t tell them to go forth and preach the gospel at this time but rather to wait in Jerusalem for what history tells us what the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
It would be after the Holy Spirit endued them with power that they would go forth to be witnesses for him and preach the word with power and anointing.
We find that in the 2nd chapter of the book of Acts the power of God descended in such a way that it began to draw the surrounding crowds attention and that they were acting so strange the people surrounding the 120 disciples began to say they were drunken. And it was while the 120 in the upper room were in this apparently drunken state that the Apostle Peter began first to preach the gospel.
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
Acts 2:14-16 (NKJV)
Peter told those gathered that this was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.
He then preached to them about there rejection of the Christ, how he was exalted, and how God made him both Lord and Christ!
They came under what is called conviction, conviction is when guilt for your sins begins to take a hold of you and asked Peter and the rest of the Apostles “what shall we do?
To this Peter responded in Acts 2:38
38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:38 (NKJV)
POINT OF INTEREST: The first words Peter spoke concerning reconciliation of Man to God concerned water baptism
Some question the authority of Peter to make such a bold statement, but if we remember the words of Christ in Matthew 16 we find that Peter had every right to proclaim water baptism as he did
16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Matthew 16:16-19 (NKJV)
NOTE: Jesus Christ gave Peter such authority that what he said on the day of Pentecost was bound in heaven.
It was under this authority from Christ that Peter proclaimed water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.
We also find that John the Baptist the forerunner of Jesus Christ preached baptism for the remission of sins
John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
Mark 1:4 (NKJV)
JOHN PREACHED: The baptism of repentance for the remission of sins
PETER PREACHED: The baptism of repentance for the remission of sins in Jesus Name
The only difference between the baptism of John and the Baptism of Peter and the rest of the Apostles was the name of Jesus Christ.
Why? Because it was that name which became the saving name of God through his crucifixion on the cross of Calvary when he became the final lamb of sacrifice as he died for the sins of mankind.
When the name of Jesus Christ is called over a believer who has repented, the blood of Christ is applied through the waters of baptism at the invoking of the saving name of Jesus Christ and those sins are remitted.
The scripture tells us in Hebrew 10:26
For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
Hebrews 10:26 (NKJV)
The sacrifice was made once on Calvary and applied once in the name of Jesus Christ through the waters of baptism
Should you sin again after being baptized there in no need to be baptized over and over, but rather we can then avail ourselves of the mercies of God once again through repentance and confession.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9 (NKJV)
The name of Jesus and the application of his blood is so powerful, that merely confessing our sins to the Lord allows forgiveness to flow into our life because the saving name of Jesus Christ has already been applied through the waters on baptism.
NOTE: In every instance after the declaration made in Acts 2:38, believers were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.