All Things New
As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and he was now returning. Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah. The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.”Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him. The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter And as a lamb is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. He was humiliated and received no justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.”
The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?” So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus. As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?” He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. ACTS 8:26-39 NLT
Baptism declares my new identity
One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy. LUKE 3:21-22 NLT
If we believe in Jesus, what is his by nature is ours by grace.
For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. COLOSSIANS 2:12-15 NLT
Baptism reveals my new family
As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, and they want to speak to you.” Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!” MATTHEW 12:46-50 NLT
So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. EPHESIANS 2:19 NLT *
The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. *1 CORINTHIANS 12:12-13 NLT
Baptism expresses my new mission
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, 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 28:18-20 NLT
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. GALATIANS 2:20 ESV
“Why can’t I be baptized?”
- Do you believe that Jesus is fully God and fully man and that he died to forgive your sins?
- Do you believe that Jesus rose from the dead to give you a new and eternal life with God?
- Do you commit to turning away from sin and living a life of obedience to Jesus?
Community Group Discussion Questions
- If a friend asked you what baptism was, how would you describe it to them?
- If you’ve been baptized, what did that experience mean to you? How would you encourage someone who is thinking of being baptized?
- How did the way you think about yourself change when you had your encounter with Jesus?
- Read Ephesians 2:19. What does it mean to you to be adopted into God’s family?
- In what ways has God used his “family” to fill in the gaps of your biological family?
- Read Matthew 28:18-20. What would it look like for you to uniquely fulfill the mission Jesus gave us? What practical steps can you take to start doing this every day?
- What is currently holding you back from pursuing this mission and what can we do to help you?
Personal Reflection Guide
The Christian faith is unique because it deals directly with our identity and purpose. When we begin a relationship with God we are given a new way to understand ourselves, we are invited into a new community – the church, and we are given a new direction with our lives. The reality is, sometimes the things that God promises to us as his children take time to sink in to our hearts. In many ways, the path to understanding and believing these amazing things is by reflecting on them. Take time now to think deeply about these truths: Because Jesus paid for my sins, I am no longer defined by my failures or successes. I belong to God, I am known by God, and I am valued by God. Because Jesus paid for my sins, I don’t have to walk life alone. I am part of God’s family – the church. Because Jesus paid for my sins, I don’t have to live life uncertain without direction. I get to be part of God’s work in saving people all over the world. Have you considered these things? Do you struggle believing them? Take time to write out or share with someone what holds you back from receiving these truths. If you believe these things, take time to express your gratitude to God and thank him for how these promises have changed you.