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We are pleased to present the sermons of Dr. James Merritt, one of America’s great expository preachers. For more than 40 years, Dr. Merritt has preached God’s Word through the local church he pastors, as well as through Touching Lives weekly television broadcasts. 

Dr. Merritt’s messages are available here via digital download, along with outlines, note pages, PowerPoint slides and other resources, for a modest cost.

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Fire and Water

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Scriptures: Acts 10:44-48, 2:41, 8:12, 18:8, Mark 1:4, John 3:22-23, Romans 6:3-4 Colossians 2:12, Matthew 28:19


Throughout the book of Acts, as we read about the early church and those who were coming to Christ, we often see them participate in the act of baptism. This act is sometimes misunderstood--given too much importance or too little. By examining Scripture and numerous New Testament examples we can understand what it means to follow Jesus' example and be baptized. Through baptism we are showing the world our own symbolic death, burial and resurrection into a new creation in Christ Jesus.


In this message, Dr. James Merritt explains the importance, the symbolism and the command of biblical baptism. This sermon is written from a Southern Baptist perspective and Pastor Merritt's teaching centers on baptism by immersion, following a believer's confession of faith and surrender to Christ as Lord. Key questions about baptism are answered: Who should be baptized? How should people be baptized? Why is baptism not necessary for salvation?


"Baptism is meant to be a stepping stone to walking deeper with God, not a stumbling block from going higher with God. In fact, baptism properly understood is not something you have to do, but something you get to do and something you should want to do. No book in the Bible talks more about baptism than the Book of Acts and that ought to clue us in on just how important is baptism. Baptism is not just important because a Baptist, or a Catholic or a Lutheran thinks it is, but because the Bible says it is. The Bible talks about baptism no less than 74 times. Whatever else you believe about baptism, understand baptism was not a Baptist idea, a Methodist idea, a Presbyterian idea, Episcopalian idea or Catholic idea. It is a Bible idea." --Dr. Merritt


Keywords: mission, church, Holy Spirit, ignite, fire, witness, boldness, Acts, Luke, baptism, immersion, symbolism, confession, public, command, Jesus, Cornelius, Peter, baptizo, soak, immerse, repentance, John the Baptist, water, picture, faith


(Pastors: Please note this sermon speaks specifically to why infants should not be baptized, why baptism is symbolic and not necessary for salvation, and why baptism by immersion is a prominent symbol of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. If your church holds to differing beliefs on baptism you may not find this message appropriate to your pulpit.)


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