Baptize - to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge(of vessels sunk). To cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash to make clean with water, to wash one's self, bathe.
The process of being baptized differs in many churches; however, the meaning should be the same universally! Unfortunately, that is not the case. Some churches baptize people and babies before they even know who Christ is and some churches baptize believers after they have confessed the Lord Jesus Christ. Other churches just sprinkle with water. We know that John the Baptist was the forerunner to Christ and that he baptized people as a symbol of their repentance. This is shown in Matthew 3:5-6 "Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him. and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins." This was in preparation to the coming of Christ.
We also know the being baptized is an outward expression of your inner most faith. It is supposed to symbolize the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. I personally believe that there are two parts to being baptized. The first part is done by your church, pastor, or another believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that this is done by being dipped in water after you have believed in your heart and confessed with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ. Secondly, I believe that you have to be baptized by the Lord Jesus Christ and receive the Holy Ghost. I will show you what I mean:
Let us look at a scene from the Acts 8:27-39 between Philip and the Eunuch: "Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him."
Notice how Philip baptized the Eunuch after he believed and confessed the Lord Jesus Christ. Now lets look at how the Lord Jesus Christ baptizes us with the Holy Ghost and with fire. Matthew 3:11 says, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." Now we know that this baptism by the Lord Jesus Christ can happen after you have been baptized with water or it can happen before.
The example when it happened before was on the day of Pentecost. Observe: "While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" And he commanded them to be baptized(with water) in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days. (Acts 10:44-48)
Now for an example when it happened after we can look at Acts 8:12-17, "But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit."
See how that the people had been baptized by water but had not received the Holy Spirit. Now that we have looked at two examples, of the order of receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit or being baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire, we can look a little deeper into this phenomenon. So far we have seen that there is a difference between being baptized by your church or pastor and receiving the Holy Ghost. We have seen that it can come before or after you have been baptized in water. However, I believe that it can come at the same time. Remember, when the Lord Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist? Observe: "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him." (Matthew 3:16) Amen.
Now that we have seen how you can receive the gift of the Holy Spirit before, after, and during baptism; we can now look at what happens when you are baptized. The example that I would like to use is from the Blue Letter Bible. It actually is explained in the process of turning a cucumber into a pickle! I know you may be saying what does a pickle have to do with baptism? Well, I will show you in hopes that you will get this truth into your spirit and never forget the message.
This word should not be confused with baptô (911). The clearest example that shows the meaning of baptizo is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words. Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be 'dipped' (baptô) into boiling water and then 'baptised' (baptizô) in the vinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptizing the vegetable, produces a permanent change.
Did you see how in the recipe of making a pickle; the cucumber is dipped in boiling water but it is still considered a cucumber? But when it is baptized in the vinegar; it is changed forever. The same with baptism; when we are baptized by our pastor that is only an outward profession, but when we are baptized by the Lord Jesus Christ with the Holy Ghost. we are changed forever into a child of God! We are Born Again! We are Born of God! One last note. in order to receive such a precious gift as the Holy Spirit; you have to be purified by faith, and washed clean with the word of God. Which baptism have you received? I pray that you receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and Power!