Baptism of Adults

Congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ:

It is always a joy for the church to receive new believers into its fellowship. At our last session meeting N(s)________ declared their (his/her) faith in Christ and expressed their (his/her) desire to receive the sacrament of baptism. Today we are happy that they (he/she) will confess their (his/her) faith before us all and receive the sacrament.

The Vows

N(s)________, will you stand now, and in the presence of God and his people respond to the following questions.

Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God sent to redeem the world, do you love and trust him as the one who saves you from your sin, and do you with repentance and joy embrace him as Lord of your life?

I do.

Do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God revealing Christ and his redemption, and that the confessions of this church faithfully reflect this revelation?

I do.

Do you promise to do all you can, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to strengthen your love and commitment to Christ by sharing faithfully in the life of the church, honouring and submitting to its authority; and do you join with the people of God in doing the work of the Lord everywhere?

I do.

The Institution

Congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Let us hear our Lord's command concerning the sacrament of holy baptism. After he had risen victorious from the grave, Jesus said to his disciples:

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew28:18-20).

In obedience to this command the church baptises believers and their children.

The Promises

Let us hear the promises of God which are confirmed in baptism.

The Lord made this great promise to Abraham: I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you (Genesis 17:7).

In later years, though Israel was unfaithful, God renewed his promise through the prophet: This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people…. For I will forgive their wickedness and I will remember their sins no more (Jeremiah31:33, 34).

In the fullness of time God came in Jesus Christ to give pardon and peace through the blood of the cross, the blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:28).

After Jesus had risen from the dead, the apostles proclaimed: Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call (Acts 2:38, 39).

Anticipating the fulfilment of God's promises, Paul assures us, If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him (2 Timothy 2:11, 12).

These are the unfailing promises of our Lord to those who are baptised.

The Instruction

Let us also recall the teaching of Scripture concerning the sacrament of baptism.

The water of baptism signifies the washing away of our sin by the blood of Christ and the renewal of our lives by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). It also signifies that we are buried with Christ (Romans 6:4). From this we learn that our sin has been condemned by God, that we are to hate it and consider ourselves as having died to it. Moreover, the water of baptism signifies that we are raised with Christ (Colossians 2:12). From this we learn that we are to walk with Christ in newness of life. All this tells us that God has adopted us as his children, and if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).

Thus in baptism God seals the promises he gave when he made his covenant with us, calling us and our children to put our trust for life and death in Christ our Saviour, deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him in obedience and love.

God graciously includes our children in his covenant, and all his promises are for them as well as us (Genesis 17:7; Acts 2:39). Jesus himself embraced little children, and blessed them (Mark 10:16); and the apostle Paul said that children of believers are holy (1Corinthians7:14). So, just as the children of the old covenant received the sign of circumcision, our children are given the sign of baptism. We are therefore always to teach our little ones that they have been set apart by baptism as God's own children.

The Prayer of Preparation

Father in heaven, we pray that you will never destroy us in our sin as with the flood, but save us as you saved believing Noah and his family, and spare us as you spared the Israelites who walked safely through the Sea.

May Christ, who went down into the Jordan and came up to receive the Spirit, who sank deep into death and was raised up Lord of life, always keep us and our little ones in the grip of his hand.

Holy Father, may your Spirit separate us from sin and openly mark us with a faith that can stand the light of day and endure the dark of night.

Prepare us now, O Lord, to respond with glad hope to your promises so that we, and all entrusted to our care, may drink deeply from the well of living water. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Sacrament

The minister addresses the confessors (standing):

Do you now wish to be baptised in the name of the triune God, and will you receive your baptism as a sign and seal that God accepts you in Christ, forgives all your sins and incorporates you into his church?

Each confessor responds:

I do, with all my heart.

The minister addresses the congregation:

Do you, the people of the Lord, promise to receive N(s)________ into your fellowship as members (a member) of the body of Christ, and do you promise to encourage them (him/her) in the Christian faith and help them (him/her) in doing the work of the Lord?

Congregation:

We do, God helping us.

In administering the sacrament to each the minister shall say:

N________, I baptise you into the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Minister: In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I now welcome you to all the privileges of full communion. I welcome you to full participation in the life of the church. I welcome you to its responsibilities, its privileges, its sufferings and its joys.

A Triumphant Hymn

The Baptismal Prayer

Our Father in heaven, we thank you for Jesus Christ, for the new life given in him, and for the one faith, one hope and one baptism which your people have shared through the ages. We rejoice that N(s)________ are (is) now one with your church and that we may receive them (him/her) as members (a member) of this congregation. Guide them (him/her) in the Christian way and sustain us all in the fellowship and service of our Lord. Amen

Form of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand