"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19).
How the Apostles Obeyed the Command
"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38).
"And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord" (Acts 10:48). "And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus" (RV).
"For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 8:16).
"When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 19:5).
Why Should We Follow the Apostles?
Jesus told His apostles, "For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you" (Matthew 10:20). So the above words of Peter and Paul are the words of the Holy Ghost Himself.
"See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern" (Hebrews 8:5). We find the early church pattern in the Book of Acts.
Jesus told Peter, "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 16:19). Peter first used these keys in Acts 2:38. They were the right keys, for the door opened and three thousand entered the kingdom.
"Ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). The apostles delivered this faith, or doctrine, unto the saints.
"Ye . . . are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone" (Ephesians 2:19-20).
Speaking of the apostles, Jesus said, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word" (John 17:20). Therefore, Jesus wants us to believe on Him through the words of the apostles.
Paul said, "Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:8). He could say this because he did not receive the revelation of the gospel from humans, but from the Lord (Galatians 1:11-12).
Scriptural Proof That the Apostles Obeyed Jesus' Command in Matthew 28:19
Many people repeat the command given in Matthew 28:19 to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. But to repeat a command and to obey a command are two different things! To obey this command we must find out what the name of the Father is, what the name of the Son is, and what the name of the Holy Ghost is; we must then baptize in that name.
The apostles knew that Jesus is that name:
1. Jesus is the name of the Father. Jesus said, "I am come in my Father's name" (John
5:43). In prophesying the birth of Jesus, Isaiah said, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is
given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful,
Counseller, the mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6).
2. Jesus is the name of the Son. "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his
name JESUS" (Matthew 1:21).
3. Jesus is the name of the Holy Ghost. Jesus said, "I will not leave you comfortless: I will
come to you" (John 14:18). The Comforter is the Holy Ghost (John 14:26). The Holy Ghost in
us is none other than the Spirit of Jesus. Paul said "Know ye not . . . that Jesus Christ is in you?"
(II Corinthians 13:5).
The Scriptures teach that there is only one Spirit (Ephesians 4:4), and "the Lord is that Spirit" (II Corinthians 3:17). Colossians 1:27 calls the Holy Ghost "Christ in you." In John 14:23, Jesus said that He and the Father would come in. Ephesians 4:6 calls this Spirit both God and Father. When we receive the Holy Ghost, we receive Jesus in Spirit form.
Since Jesus is the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, we can see that when we baptize by invoking the name of Jesus, we are directly obeying Jesus' command in Matthew 28:19—as did the apostles.
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (II Timothy 3:16). Therefore, we cannot ignore the verses of Scripture on baptism in Jesus' name, or we deny that God inspired all the Scripture. Nor can we ignore Matthew 28:19. But when we correctly understand the subject, we will see that all the scriptural passages harmonize, and we need not omit any of them.
Can sprinkling rightly be termed water baptism? The Scriptures show that it cannot. The word baptize comes from the Greek word baptizo, which means "to bury, to plunge, or to immerse." Romans 6:4 and Colossians 2:12 command us to be buried with Jesus in baptism. Some declare that John sprinkled because there was a scarcity of water in the wilderness. That idea, however, is erroneous, for "there was much water there" (John 3:23).