Derek Prince - Baptism Is Your Death Sentence
I used to be a teacher of African students years ago, training them to be teachers. And basically I told them this. People remember thirty percent of what they hear sixty percent of what they hear and see and ninety percent of what they hear, see and do. So, don’t leave your pupils just sitting at a desk listening to something. Get them involved in doing something, which indicates they’ve understood the lesson. And God follows the same principle. So, He doesn’t just teach us in theory, He lets us see things and He lets us enact things. Water baptism is an enactment, a fresh enactment, every time it takes place of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And in the early church you could not get into the church unless you went through that enactment of the faith that you professed.
See, it wasn’t enough just to say: I believe. They had to act out their belief. Now, once you’ve been buried and raised again, your life does not belong to you. If you want to go on living your own life, you should not be baptized because baptism is your death sentence. And then it’s your resurrection. But when you’re resurrected, your life does not belong to you. See? It’s a commitment to discipleship.
In Matthew 28, at the end of the chapter, Jesus told His disciples what they were to do in proclaiming His Gospel. Matthew 28:19–20: Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you. And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. So He said go and make disciples of all nations. He never told us to make church members, did you notice that? Do you know the biggest problem in the church today? Is church members who are not disciples. Because they misrepresent the truth that we’re trying to proclaim. If you’re not willing to be a disciple, you have no right to be baptized.
Baptism is a commitment to discipleship. They didn’t spend a lot of time teaching them before they were baptized but once they made the commitment then they taught them. See, that makes sense. Why waste time teaching uncommitted people? Let them prove their commitment and then begin to teach them what they need to know. See, I’ve been through this in a mission in East Africa. They spent weeks teaching the candidates for baptism but in actual fact, at the end of that what they often did was baptize pagans. They got the head knowledge, they never had the heart experience. They never made a real commitment to Jesus. I was led to analyze this and I’ll show it to you in a little while. But let’s just consider now the requirements for Christian baptism.