GraceLife Church of Pineville

Grace alone. Faith alone. Christ alone.

Explaining Baptism to Children

Table of Contents

From Child Dedications to Baptism

Child dedications1Several were held before the original delivery of this sermon. You can watch them in the recording of our full service here. are celebrations of life and of parents’ decision on the direction of their children’s spiritual direction and a commitment to their homes’ spiritual direction. Child dedications are in keeping with biblical instruction of how we should direct our homes.

What exactly does the Bible have to say about teaching your children? In this sermon, which is a continuation of our subseries on baptisms, I aim to give you deeper insight into one of the major passages about instructing our children. Specifically, we’ll talk about how we should discuss baptism with the very young.

Deuteronomy 6 says this:

Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. … You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. (vv. 1–2, 7)

What’s interesting is where this passage is situated within the biblical text. First it is situated in the Shema,2After the first word שְׁמַע, shéma’, “hear.” which is widely regarded as the very heart of Jewish confession and faith: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:4–5). 

Secondly, this instruction is nestled next to what Jesus referred to as the greatest commandment—to love God with all our beings, with everything we have (v. 5). The next greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself, and there’s a sense in which this second greatest commandment is here in the text too—through this opportunity, this command, to exercise love for others within our own households. That love should be directed toward our spouses and our children, and any other relatives living with us. 

You just can’t escape the familial flavor of Deuteronomy 6. Verse 10 goes on to say, “Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build.” When worked out successfully, there is clearly an ancestral heritage of faith.3This is not to say that our faith can be literally passed down; personal faith in Jesus is always the basis for a person’s salvation. But a legacy of faith, the tenets of the faith, can, are, and should be shared from one generation to the next.

But that’s a different sermon.

We’re still in our series on baptisms, and the connection between this passage, child dedications, and baptisms is this: Both as parents and as a community of faith, we set our children on the path toward knowing God, and the wise do this before the child is even aware that such spiritual choices exist. (At some child dedications, it’s quite evident that it’s not the child’s choice at all!)

Both as parents and as a community of faith, we set our children on the path toward knowing God, and the wise do this before the child is even aware that such spiritual choices exist.

At GraceLife, where I serve as pastor, we stop short of baptizing little ones because we believe it is a choice reserved for the individual to express his or her own faith within the community. It’s a vital step in spiritual growth to be able to declare, as we do in baptism, “I identify with Christ and I identify with the body of Christ at large, and I identify with you, this local body of Christ.” We believe baptism is an act of obedience commanded to believers.

During a child dedication, we pray the child will soon trust in Jesus for eternal life. And we pray the child will choose not only to trust Him to save them in the next life, but also to save them in this life; that trust is marked by a life of obedient discipleship. Step one in that discipleship is baptism. 

This prompts two questions:

  • When should children make that decision? (When should children be baptized?)
  • How should I talk to my child about baptism?

It’s fitting that I am preaching this sermon on Mother’s Day and child dedication Sunday, as it’s a convergence of themes to discuss how we talk about baptism to children. And this discussion is a good follow-up to the previous sermons as well.

In a sense we’re moving from the academic to the elementary, but as we’ve seen in our larger study on the elementary principles of the oracles of God,4Baptisms is principle #3 in this larger study, which also includes: repentance from dead works (principle #1), faith toward God (#2), laying on of hands (#4), resurrection from the dead (#5), and eternal judgment (#6). these foundations are dug deep.

Relevance for the Entire Family of Faith

Before you think, “I don’t have children, so this isn’t relevant,” or, “I’ve already explained this to my children,” or, “My children have already been baptized,” I urge you not to “check out.” We are all called to serve one another, to be examples to one another of faith. You are called to serve the body of Christ and its potential members who exist among us.

If your attitude toward children is “that’s someone else’s area,” please shift your thinking. That is a discipleship mindset that is lacking.

I’m not asking you to make a beeline for the children’s wing and teach a class. I am asking you to check your heart posture toward who we are communally. Consider what it means to be part of the body of Christ—universally and locally. If you’re not actively serving in children’s ministry (by being in the classroom or volunteering in some other capacity), please do commit to actively praying for the children in the body of Christ—especially those in your local congregation. Pray for them and pray for their parents and families.

Thinking about how to discuss a topic with a child is also an exercise in honing theological skills. Distilling theological concepts into that which is digestible for the child is a way to measure and improve your own understanding.

Distilling theological concepts into that which is digestible for the child is a way to measure and improve your own understanding.

If you take the process so far as to actually engage a child in conversation, you will grow a spiritual skillset. In fact, you’ll help establish a general people skill because you’ll have the opportunity to get better at patient listening and interacting with (sometimes very) unpredictable dialogue. (That’s why the show Kids Say the Darndest Things was so popular for so long—kids are unpredictable.)

I’ll admit from the start, I have an unfair advantage as a pastor. Kids come to me specifically to discuss baptism. The setup may be easier for me, but everyone should know how to discuss baptism with kids—not just a pastor. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. It will help you in any involvement you have in children’s ministry, such as volunteering for Vacation Bible School (VBS) or Sunday school.
  2. If you have a child—now or in the future—he or she will likely witness a baptism at some point and be curious about it; they may ask to be baptized.
  3. We should all be living such a life that whether we’re parents or grandparents or mentors (e.g., spiritual parents/grandparents), we will at some point be talking with someone about baptism.

Although there are good reasons for everyone to hear/read a sermon on explaining baptism to kids, please don’t take this training and go find random children and take up the topic of baptism with them (that would be creepy). However, do be prepared to discuss baptism with people (of any age) that you may encounter. This is part of that readiness to give an account of the hope that we have in Christ that Peter calls on all believers to have (1 Peter 3:15).

Warm-Up Questions

To begin dialoguing with a child about baptism, start with their interests and some simple warm-up questions.

1. What Do You Want to Talk About?

Being a pastor, I will sometimes say, “Hey, I hear you want to talk to me about baptism.” But the topic of conversation isn’t always obvious. By asking a child, “What do you want to talk about?” you give them a chance to realize this isn’t just a lecture from an adult; it’s a talk about things they’re interested in. If I know they play a certain sport, I might lead off by asking how their season is going; or if I know they’re into drama or art, I’ll ask about that. This helps me gauge where and how the conversation might go.

The child’s personality is somewhat revealed in this moment. Sometimes I discover that the discussion is more about the parent’s concern than the child’s desire—and the child isn’t ready to be baptized. Or the parent, wisely, just isn’t sure if the child is ready (or simply isn’t sure what to say next) and brings the child to the pastor. All of these scenarios are fine.

If the child is a talker, you’ll know from the start why they’re there; but if the child is bashful, you’ll need to assure them this is not a quiz—it’s not a test to make someone uncomfortable. It’s okay to give the child a hint or to say that you know why they’re there. The goal isn’t to trick the child. You’ll usually get at least a nod.

If the child is so bashful that he or she gives no answers, don’t force it. If the child is not ready to express anything about baptism in conversation, then it’s probably also the case that they’re not yet ready for a public confession of faith. Children vary widely in personalities, education, and maturation. Listen to the child and assess where they are, while remembering that coming to faith is not formulaic. If it’s not quite time for baptism, that is okay.

Listen to the child and assess where they are, while remembering that coming to faith is not formulaic.

2. What Do You Know About Baptism?

Sometimes we adults worry that we don’t know enough about baptism to talk to a child about it. But if you start with the child and what he or she knows, it’s easier. Again, these conversations are not formulaic, but if you listen to the child, they’ll tell you what to talk about.

My discussions with children on baptism don’t proceed like this sermon series; I don’t start with a lesson on John the Baptist, explain how his water baptism was a forerunner to the water baptism of Jesus, which is a greater form but still lesser than the Spirit baptism which was to come later and in some combination with water baptism (and furthermore how there’s also this thing about the Holy Spirit calling on people and speaking in tongues and laying on of hands). I don’t even explain baptism this way to adults!5Except, of course, during the course of this sermon series to my original and online listeners!

If a child says he or she doesn’t know anything about baptism, that’s still OK. Now that prompts the question, why are we talking if you don’t know anything about baptism? But don’t waste the opportunity for teaching, and don’t mistake a child’s reasonable immaturity in conversation with ignorance about the topic. Instead, give the child the opportunity to fix their minds on the object, and ask them some leading questions (like the next one).

Don’t mistake a child’s reasonable immaturity in conversation with ignorance about the topic.

3. Have You Seen a Baptism?

Most children who have been in church settings will have witnessed a baptism. And although it’s not a demanded principle, I do recommend letting a child witness someone else’s baptism before being baptized themselves.

In discussing baptism, embrace the oddity. A lot of things we do in church are just strange. Hey, you believe in Jesus? That’s great; let me hold you under this water now! That is strange when you really think about it, and children pick up on this strangeness.

In discussing baptism, embrace the oddity. A lot of things we do in church are just strange.

When they ask, take the chance to explain the elements of baptism and why we engage in the practice.

Ask the child about symbols. “Do you know what baptism symbolizes?” You can reference my sermon “The Simple and Serious Symbols of Baptism” (from Easter Sunday), when I specifically discussed this with our children in front of our congregation). The water symbolizes the cleansing of (deliverance from) sin; the submersion under that water represents our death in Christ; and our reemergence up out of the water symbolizes our resurrection with Jesus—we’re raised to new life in Him (we don’t stay under the water). 

Sometimes I’ll ask a child to tell me, “What would happen if you didn’t come up from the water? What if you stayed down there?” They always answer the same way: “You would die!” That is an opportunity to talk to them about what that symbolizes.

Generally speaking, kids need some warm-up to think abstractly, so you might need to help them start thinking about symbols.

Kids need some warm-up to think abstractly, so you might need to help them start thinking about symbols.

Here’s an example of a child I talked to recently. I knew this child was engaged in athletics, and the child happened to be wearing a piece of clothing with an athletic symbol on it while we were chatting. The symbol was a cat (a puma to be exact). I asked them what they thought that cat symbolizes and why they think the manufacturer put that cat on the clothing. The puma can move fast, just like the athlete wants to move—hence the company’s selection of that symbol. You can make other connections to symbols for the child to help get him or her thinking in this mode before shifting to a discussion of baptism and its symbols.

All three of these questions I just suggested are warm-up to the most important topic of discussion.

The Most Important Question: What Do You Know About Jesus?

By this point in the conversation, it’s quite likely that Jesus and His identity have already come up, at least to some extent. After all, it’s hard to talk about baptism and how it symbolizes death and resurrection without ever mentioning Jesus. But remember this isn’t formulaic! Release yourself from that pressure that this has to follow some formula. And please release the child from that pressure.  

Usually, in talking with a child about Jesus, he or she will connect Jesus with the cross. But they might talk about other good things. They might know Jesus is the Son of God, or that He performed miracles. They may know He is kind and good.

At this stage, please don’t rush the conversation in an attempt to get to the full picture of the gospel. You do want to get there, but it’s important to let the child express who he or she knows Jesus to be.

At this stage, please don’t rush the conversation in an attempt to get to the full picture of the gospel.

Some adult believers are uncomfortable talking about Jesus; what a gift it is to give a child the opportunity to express what they know about Christ! Encourage that; take your time.

Some will have the idea that Jesus died for them personally. This is the point of the conversation in which sin might be talked about. Tie it back in with the symbols—including the concept of cleansing from sin. 

When it comes to Jesus, this is where you begin to assess their understanding of the gospel.

A Child’s Understanding of the Gospel

Children and the gospel is a separate sermon. But here you must know that it would be a mistake to lead a child toward baptism who doesn’t understand the good news of Jesus as it applies to him or her.

That being said, it’s not always easy to tell what exactly a child understands. As a pastor, I lean heavily on what the parents tell me about what the conversations are like at home. Sometimes children are different at home than in public, and I’ll have a conversation about that with the parents.

It would be a mistake to lead a child toward baptism who doesn’t understand the good news of Jesus as it applies to him or her. … [But] it’s not always easy to tell what exactly a child understands.

What or how much should a child understand of the gospel before considering being baptized? Does the person need to understand baptism? Do they need to know the gospel? (When evaluating, how do we even measure such a thing?!)

Both are good things—an understanding of what baptism is and an understanding of the gospel. If you discover that understanding in either or both of these things is inadequate, praise God for the opportunity to be their teacher in that moment, to plant the seed.

How to Know a Child Is Ready for Baptism

How old does a child need to be to understand the gospel? How old does a child need to be to get baptized? Once again, there’s no formula—no set answer. 

If we were of a different persuasion (i.e., Roman Catholic), this would be an easy answer. The Catholic Catechism states, “The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth” (1250). I’ve already preached on the difference between infant and believer’s baptism (paedobaptism and credobaptism, respectively); you can listen to that sermon here. Remember, Catholics generally believe salvation is obtained through the church or the sacraments (including baptism). Thus, their acceptance of infant baptism as soon as possible in a person’s life makes sense within their system.

We also baptize as soon as possible—in a different sense: as soon as possible after the person has expressed individual faith in Jesus Christ.

How old can that be? (Is there a minimum age?) I can’t give you an exact answer to that question because it’s more about understanding and eagerness than it is age. There are a few times when I’ve had to say, I’m sorry, this child just isn’t ready for baptism. Those are hard meetings. But it’s a gift to the child, because we want them to grow up in confidence; we don’t want the child to later doubt what happened.

It’s more about understanding and eagerness than it is age.

The good news is you don’t have to make this call alone. That’s what ministers are for—to help you walk through such things and draw on our experience in these areas.

Criteria to Assess Readiness

Here are some clear criteria for determining that a child is ready to be baptized:

  • The child expresses a desire to be baptized.
  • The child has witnessed others being baptized.
  • The child can express what the gospel of Jesus is and what baptism means, and that is coupled with a repeatedly expressed desire to be baptized.

What do I mean by that third point? A child may express the gospel of Jesus in a simple way—for example, “Jesus offers me the gift of heaven when I die, and I want that.” It’s possible that this expression means a child has believed in Jesus for eternal life. It would be good to follow this with some conversation about who Jesus is, His death, and His resurrection. But if a child has a concept of death and heaven, and maybe even of an alternative to heaven, it’s possible the child understands enough to be baptized.

My kids were six and seven years old when they were baptized. That’s getting toward the lower boundary of age. Much younger than that and it’s harder for a child to express the significance of what they are doing, although I have known five-year-olds who were baptized and did seem to understand God. A little more scrutiny might be necessary at those lower ages.

I had the advantage of living with my kids, which made it easier to evaluate their readiness. For example, they would bring it up even when there had not been a baptism at the church recently. I would let them know that was a really good desire.

Sometimes you can stop right where you are to discuss baptism when a child brings it up. Other times, you may want to save the conversation for another time. (If you’re standing in the grocery store line, it might not be the best time to get into the topic of baptism—unless you want to use it as an evangelistic opportunity for the whole store!)

Will the Child Remember?

A major concern about baptizing young children is that they won’t remember their baptism or why they made the decision. There are things you can do to help alleviate this concern.

First, celebrate the day; make it a big celebration in a way that is unique to your family. You can invite extended family to attend—but be warned: they might say dumb things (and you might say dumb things in response).6For example, a relative might say something like, “I’m so glad you became a Christian today” or “I’m so glad you were saved today,” to which you’ll likely feel the need to respond, “Actually, my child already became a Christian—he was just professing his faith today.” These kinds of comments can lead to big theological discussions or arguments, and you want to be careful about those overshadowing the main event.

Second, you can use tangible reminders. For example:

  • Print out a photo of your child being baptized and put it up somewhere in your house where he or she will see it often.7A photo or other reminder also becomes a prompt for siblings—this was the case for us, as our younger son often saw the photo of our older son being baptized and wondered, “How can I enter into that too?”
  • Buy a devotional for your child (or a special notebook).8My grandmother gave me a devotional when I was baptized. I don’t know if the content of it is any good, but the handwritten note to me in the front is priceless.
  • Buy your child a Bible and write a special note in the front of it.
  • Give a candle, which you could light every year on the child’s baptism anniversary day, while saying a prayer that reminds your child that baptism is a public witness, and we’re to be shining lights in the world.
  • Give some other gift or memento that the child can keep as a reminder of this important day.

It’s helpful to take a verbal snapshot of the moment. Say something like, “This is a day we will never forget.” When I discuss baptism with children, I tell them how I remember when I told my pastor that I believed in Jesus for eternal life and wanted to be baptized. It’s a day I’ll never forget, I explain, and this is a moment you’re not going to forget. This is a good opportunity to get down at the child’s level, look him in the eye, and say, “You and I are both going to remember this moment forever.” Somehow, the words combined with the eye contact help the child remember the moment forever.

I also encourage children, after having trusted in the Lord, to tell others about the decision they’ve made. At the same time, you will need to warn the child that not everyone will understand their decision; their peers will not necessarily want to talk about such things. But it’s a good exercise (and obedient to Jesus’s commands).

I remember being a chaperone on a field trip one day in which another child was carpooling us, and one of our children went right into evangelism mode. “Do you know Jesus, and have you been baptized?” he asked him. It was a great good, though I have no idea of the background of that other child. When your child initiates this kind of discussion, it’s an opportunity as a parent to enter into that eagerness that we should all have about evangelism—and a reminder that the experience of evangelism is not always positive in terms of reception of the message (though it’s positive in that it’s a good thing nevertheless).

I remember the evangelist, under whose preaching I trusted in Christ, encouraging us to tell others of our decision. So, little first-grade Michael went and told his first-grade friend of his decision. My friend just wanted to play trucks. And that’s fine, but I remember the moment. Statistically, probably most efforts in evangelism are met with about the same level of concern (“Hey man, I just want to play trucks!”). It’s good training in life and the gospel.

Mistakes People Make

Let’s go over some mistakes you can make in training children generally, and particularly in the area of explaining baptism.

Mistake #1: Forcing a Decision

The goal of any discussion with a child about baptism is to aid in understanding, not force a decision. Don’t treat the conversation like a crusade where we’re tallying commitment cards. Have a discussion; plant seeds; don’t leave opportunities on the table. But don’t be so focused on a result that you want that you fail to discern what is actually happening in that moment.  

Mistake #2: Overcorrecting When You Discover They Have Incomplete Understanding

If a child expresses something seemingly incorrect—most commonly, about needing to be a good person—resist the temptation to overcorrect. Be careful, too, about how you discount comments, that you don’t cause more harm than good.  

The issue of being a “good” person is a delicate matter; it’s important that the child knows that being a good person isn’t necessary for salvation—that being good doesn’t save us (because no one, except Jesus, is capable of being good enough). But don’t come down too heavy. If you do, you may unintentionally make it sound like good works are bad things! You don’t want to imply that.

If everything is about what baptism isn’t or about what the gospel isn’t, you convey a message that “This isn’t that big of a deal.”

As an example, in the course of conversation, you might ask the child, “What do you think it takes to get to heaven?” If they answer, “You have to be kind,” instead of snapping straight to the correct answer, respond with another question (questions are your friends in these dialogues!), like, “All the time?” You can then ask if they are kind all the time. Usually, a child will concede that he is not kind all the time. To that, be relatable (“Yeah, I’m not kind all of the time either”) and then use it as an opportunity to teach: “The good news—that’s what the gospel is—is that we don’t have to do the right things all the time because Jesus did the right things every single time and knew that you couldn’t. And the good news of Jesus is that He takes all those moments that you couldn’t, and he takes them onto Himself and that’s why He died on the cross—so you don’t have to worry about those moments that you’re not kind. All you have to do is trust Him for the life He wants to give you, and He will give it to you.”

This is just one example of the type of gentle correction that can be helpful for turning the moment into an opportunity to preach the gospel.

Tangible examples help children too (just as tangible gifts as reminders). You can be prepared to offer the child an actual gift (make it a good one if you do—otherwise, they’ll associate a bad gift with eternal life!). Talk about how you’re giving the gift to them—but not because they’re good; it’s a gift that is free to them, but that you paid for. In the same way, God offers us eternal life at no cost to us, though He paid for it dearly in the life of His Son.

Guiding and Gently Correcting with Scripture

To clarify mistaken understandings that the child may have—about Jesus or baptism—introduce him or her to the Bible. (Hint: If the child can’t take in some Bible verses and understand the gospel, it’s probably not time for baptism.)

Here are three good “landmarks” to land on when explaining the gospel and baptism to children:

  • 1 Corinthians 15: This passage is full of the gospel message. I ask the child first to highlight verses 3–4—“… that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” Once they highlight that, I have them back up and highlight “gospel” in verse 1 and “you are saved” in verse 2. These verses tie in the importance of the Scriptures, the content of the gospel, and the concept of salvation.
  • John 3:16: This well-known verse spells out the offer of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we reach the word “perish,” it’s good to stop and ask the child, “What does perish mean?” Most of us memorize this version of the text, but it really just means “die.” Then you can emphasize again the core of the gospel—how Jesus died for us.
  • Ephesians 2:8–9: These verses give clarification of the concepts of belief and grace. Note that you may have to explain what boasting or bragging is (at the end of verse 9).
Talking about Eternal Security

In addition to the above three passages, I often talk with a child who is desiring baptism about eternal security so that I can gauge how much they’ve understood. I don’t use the term “eternal security,” since it’s a little heavy. Usually, the question goes something like this: “You’ve said you believe in Jesus, and you’re going to get baptized and tell everybody else that you believe in Jesus and that that you want to follow Him. What happens if you go home and sin? Are you still going to go to heaven?” They may shake their head or say “no” and get scared. This is an opportunity to say, “Hey, more good news! How long does eternal life last?” (You might even find a whiteboard and start drawing a line and tell the child, “Tell me to stop when I reach eternity.” You might have a little fun and even write on your wall, reinforcing that eternity lasts forever (it’s ever-lasting).

If you know the child’s parents and you can safely say this, you might then explain, “When you mess up at home, your mom and dad are still your mom and dad. In a similar way, when we mess up, God says we’re still His child.”

Mistake #3: Making It About You and Not Them

This mistake applies to all of life. Parents, let this be their moment, not yours. Too much parenting is done to impress (impress others about your parenting, that is): I need my child to behave so that others will think I’m a good parents. We have to stop that kind of thinking. You want your child(ren) to behave for their own well-being—not because of how their behavior reflects on you as the parent.

The same is true with the baptism discussion: I’ve got to have my child say all the right things in front of the pastor. Stop that! It’s about the child. Let the child have the space within the church context to give some wrong answers. We all want that kind of grace, after all.

Let the child have the space within the church context to give some wrong answers.

Let the child ramble. Let him talk about silly things. It’s a discussion with a child, after all. Let her talk about the things she enjoys first—we’ll get back to the gospel, the topic at hand.

Mistake #4: Not Accounting for the Influence of Others in the Room

While it’s best that someone else is in the room or nearby when talking to a child (I certainly follow this practice), it’s also sometimes helpful if the child has the sense that it’s just you and them. This makes it a conversation between you and them as an individual.

Some parents just can’t be quiet, and they stand nearby in the hall instead. Siblings, too, can be a problem—having them (or too many of them) in the room can be an issue as they’ll all be at different points of spiritual maturity in addition to there being age gaps. A more bashful, younger sibling may have a similar understanding of the gospel as an older child, but the presence of a sibling may cloud an ability to see that.

You have to wisely gauge who should be in the room and who shouldn’t be.

Lingering Questions

You might have some final, lingering questions about baptism and children, maybe even about your own baptism. You might be wondering, “I was baptized as an infant—should I be rebaptized? My answer is “yes,” but I’ll follow up more on that in the next sermon.

Another hang-up about baptism is “What if I was baptized but didn’t understand it at the time?” Great question. I get this a lot. Hopefully, some of this sermon will help ensure you do not struggle in this way later. I say that because I want peace of mind for you—not because the struggle is anything to be embarrassed about. If you know that you got baptized for insincere reasons, only you can know that, and yes, being baptized again is a good thing if that is the case.

I see a lot of rebaptisms in which a big deal is made about not understanding as a child. I think sometimes that can cause more harm than good. I don’t feel like that’s my testimony to give, so as I baptize it’s not something I emphasize. The whole point is our confession of Jesus—declaring Him as our Savior—and a commitment to follow Him, to grow in Him, moving forward. Not completely understanding baptism when you were baptized isn’t necessarily a reason to get rebaptized. It just depends on the intention in the moment. (For example, you may have listened to/read this sermon series and have a greater understanding of baptism now than you did before. But that doesn’t mean you should get rebaptized. With children, I say, “Listen, one day when you’re a little older, you’re going to understand this even better. You might even think, ‘Wow, I didn’t even realize what this was all about then.’” Good, you’re growing in faith! Just because you didn’t understand everything about baptism in the moment doesn’t mean you should be rebaptized—we all grow in our understanding!   

Not completely understanding baptism when you were baptized isn’t necessarily a reason to get rebaptized.

Thirdly, you may wonder, “What if I’m a more sincere Christian now than I was when I was baptized?” To that, I say, Good; that’s as it should be! The whole picture of the New Testament is about growing in salvation. It’s part of the process of following Him.


I encourage you to prayerfully consider the following five applications to this sermon:

  1. Volunteer for children’s ministry and/or related programs (such as Vacation Bible School), at GraceLife or your own church.
  2. Learn to explain baptism in such a way that children can understand (doing so will help adults to whom you are ministering—and you—too!).
  3. Pray for our children, especially the young people in your life and in the body of your church (whether it’s GraceLife or another).
  4. Volunteer for baptism ministry (helping to set up the baptismal pool, take it down, wash towels, etc.), either at GraceLife or at your own church.
  5. Get baptized, if you haven’t been!9Many churches, GraceLife included, require baptism for membership.