Christ sent me not to Baptize
1 Cor. 1: 13-17
We continue with our topic last week about division, but this time, we will focus about baptism. I
would rather teach baptism in our Sunday School where anyone can ask question but since our text
mentions baptism several times, I have to include this in our preaching today.
The way I see it the believers in Corinth seems to be proud of the person who baptized them. They
seem to look down on others who were not baptized by the popular or their favourite leader who
baptized them. Paul was telling them that baptism is not a popularity matter, and compared to the
preaching of the gospel, baptism is a lower priority to him. Paul is glad he has not made baptizing a
priority, and thus that he has baptized very few of the Corinthians.
I. Baptism is Important
A. Paul and all the Apostles practiced it.
B. It is the believer ‘s public identification with Jesus Christ.
C. It is the outward manifestation of salvation.
D. Paul rejects the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. Baptism cannot save so the
teachings of the groups like the Church of Christ, Mormons, etc., are wrong and
E. People are saved by believing the gospel, and it was Paul ‘s priority to preach it.
F. Baptism took second place to preaching in Paul ‘s life and ministry
G. We also see that baptism is not the gospel and is not therefore a part of one’s
salvation (1 Cor. 1:17). Here Paul contrasts the gospel with baptism, it is obvious that
baptism does not save and does not help save.
H. Scriptural baptism is immersion in water as a testimony to the death, burial, and
resurrection of Jesus Christ and as a picture of how that the believer has positionally
died with Christ, has been buried, and has risen to new life in Christ.
I. According to John 4:2, Jesus did not baptize, but left it to His disciples. This was
usually Paul’s practice too. Not that baptism is pointless. It was commanded by
Christ (Matt. 28:19) and practiced by the early church (Acts 2:41).
J. It is wrong to identify any man’s name with your baptism other than the name of
Illustration 1: Presbyterian and Baptist Modes
A Presbyterian and a Baptist minister were discussing baptism. After a beautiful dissertation on the
subject by the Baptist minister, the Presbyterian minister asked if the Baptist considered a person
baptized if he was immersed in water up to his chin. “No,” said the Baptist.
“Is he considered baptized if he is immersed up to his nose?” asked the Presbyterian.
Again, the Baptist’s answer was “No.”
“Well, if you immerse him up to his eyebrows do you consider him baptized?” queried the
“You don’t seem to understand,” said the Baptist. “He must be immersed completely in water—until
his head is covered.”
“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you all along,” said the Presbyterian, “it’s only a little water on
the top of the head that counts.” Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.
II. Some Issues about Baptism
A. How about infant Baptism?
1. There is not a hint of support here for infant baptism, though this is one of the
passages that has been offered as a defence for this practice. Though Paul
baptized “the household of Stephanas” (1 Cor. 1:16), there is no mention of
infants. In fact, in 1 Cor. 16:15 we are told that this household addicted
themselves to the ministry. This could not be said of infants.
2. The term “the household” does not mean the same as “the family,” but those
dwelling in the house, and often, they are the servants only.
B. How about Mk. 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that
believeth not shall be damned”
1. Many attempts to use this passage to prove baptismal regeneration or the
necessity of baptism for salvation, but it proves no such thing. By comparing
Scripture with Scripture, we know that it is faith that saves, and baptism is the
symbol and evidence of one’s faith. A careful reading of Mr. 16:16 confirms this.
It does not say that those who are not baptized shall be damned; it says those
who do not believe will be damned.
a. When the Philippian jailer asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Paul
did not reply that he needed to believe and be baptized. He replied, “Believe
on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts
16:30-31). After the jailer believed on Christ, he was baptized that same
night, but it was only the product of his salvation.
b. Cornelius and his household received the Holy Spirit before they were
baptized (Acts 10:43-48), and the Holy Spirit is the mark and seal of sonship
and salvation (Gal. 4:6; Eph. 1:11-12).
c. Baptism is not part of the Gospel that Paul preached. (1 Cor. 15:1-4). In this
passage Paul declared the Gospel “in a nutshell,” and there is no mention of
d. Paul’s Gospel message was also summarized in Acts 20:21–” repentance
toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Again, there is no word
about baptism. Baptism is important, but it follows salvation and is not a
part of the Gospel. It is a first step of obedience after salvation.
C. Does Acts 2:38 teaches that baptism removes sin?
1. First of all, we must understand that “baptism for the remission of sins” can
mean one of two things: it can mean baptism “in order for” sins to be remitted,
or it can mean baptism “because of” sins already remitted (Lk. 5:13-14).
2. In other words, Acts 2:38 could mean that baptism takes away sin or it could just
as easily mean that baptism merely follows the forgiveness of sins. How we
know that it is the latter?
a. We know Peter was saying baptism follows the remissions of sins because
the rest of the book of Acts shows baptism following faith and forgiveness
(Acts 8:35-38; 10:43-44,47; 16:30-33).
b. We know this because Peter himself said baptism is not salvation but is a
figure of salvation (1 Pet. 3:20-21).
c. We know this because Paul said baptism is not the gospel (1 Cor. 1:17;
15:1-4). It is the gospel that is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16).
d. We know this because Mr 16:16 says that God’s judgment comes because
of unbelief rather than because of lack of baptism
D. Does 1 Cor. 15:29 teaches us that we can be baptized on behalf of our dead loved
ones so that they will be saved also?
1. The answer is no. The Bible is very clear that this life on earth is the only time we
have to choose either for or against Christ. Once we die, all opportunities end.
Heb. 9:27 tells us “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the
E. Why did Paul say he did not know if he baptized others (1 Cor. 1:16)?
1. It might be that he could not remember whether he baptized others at Corinth
or not. He might be testifying to a normal human affliction, which is imperfect
memory. If so, this would not argue against the divine inspiration of the epistle.
The Spirit of God used ordinary men to pen the Scriptures, and they had the
frailties common to humanity. Divine inspiration guaranteed that what they
penned was infallibly true, not that they were themselves supernatural. (D.
2. It might be that he did not know whether he might have baptized others in
other places who had relocated and were currently members of the church at
Corinth, or something along this line of thought. “The meaning of Paul may
simply be, ‘I know not who of the original members of the church at Corinth may
have removed, or who may have died; I know not who may have removed to
Corinth from other places where I have preached and baptized, and
consequently I cannot know whether I may not have baptized some others of
your present number’” (Barnes).
3. Crispus had been the ruler of the synagogue in Corinth (Acts 18:8); and Gaius
was probably the man Paul lived with when he wrote Romans (Rom 16:23). “The
household of Stephanas” (1 Cor 1:16) is probably described in part in 1 Cor
16:15-18. Apparently, Paul did not carry with him a record of the names of all
the people he baptized. It was sufficient that they were written in God’s book.
Illustration 2: Not a Dying Thief but a Living Thief
A minister was talking to a man who professed conversion. “Have you united with a church?” he
asked him. “No, the dying thief never united with a church and he went to heaven,” was the answer.
“Have you ever sat at the Lord’s table?” “No, the dying thief never did and he was accepted.” “Have
you been baptized?” “No, the dying thief was never baptized and he went to heaven.” “Have you
given to missions?” “No, the dying thief did not, and he was not judged for it.” “Well, my friend, the
difference between you two seems to be that he was a dying thief and you are a living thief.”
Illustrations of Bible Truths.
One of the main reasons for division in Corinth is pride. They are proud of the popular
leader who baptized them. Paul tells them salvation is by believing the gospel and not through
baptism. Baptism is important but it is just a second priority to the ministry of Paul.
Salvation is through faith alone in Christ alone. Will you repent from your sins now and
receive Christ as your personal saviour?