Water baptism is good; baptism by the Holy Spirit is essential
John the Baptist called people to repent and be baptized. Jesus, who was without sin, did not need to repent but nevertheless He did ask John to baptize Him. John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?" …Jesus answered and said to him, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed Him." MATTHEW 3:14-15 NKJV
Here Jesus asks John, to baptize Him not because He needed to affirm His repentance, but because it was "to fulfill all righteousness". Jesus was saying that baptism is a confirmation of righteousness and that, in the case of sinners, it represents evidence of their cleansing, their repentance. It also represents a confirmation of the righteousness that comes after repentance.
There are three primary reasons to be baptized. One is that it is evidence of our repentance. Second, it is a public proclamation of our faith in Jesus and finally, it is to do as Jesus did, to follow His example. Then the pursuit of righteousness becomes our life's goal.
Listen to a clear lesson about the baptism of the Holy Spirit: "If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him." JOHN 14:23 KJV When we proclaim our love for Jesus and "keep His words" (obey), then the Father and Son will come to live with us.
Listen to what Jesus taught us: "The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you… when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth."
JOHN 14:26 NKJV
Jesus said to his disciples, "you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." ACTS 1:8NKJV Notice that you shall be witnesses, after the Holy Spirit comes upon you.
Can a person still have the gift of the Holy Spirit if they were never baptized by immersion? (See the story of the thief on cross LUKE 29:43, et. al.). Discuss other possibilities. Do you feel that the Holy Spirit in you is your Comforter, Counselor and Teacher? Is the Holy Spirit a gift or can you earn it? What is the evidence that you have received the Holy Spirit? GALATIANS 5:22-23 NKJV. What do you think Jesus meant when He told Nicodemus that you must be born again? JOHN 3:7 NKJV. Experience God's forgiveness, mercy and love and then be baptized.
Core Christian Value: Baptism by immersion is both a symbol of our new birth and a public confirmation of our faith. Baptism by the Holy Spirit is a gift of God to all believers.