Hear now the teaching of our Lord in Scripture concerning Baptism:
Matthew 28:18-20 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Baptism is a sacrament ordained by our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a sign and seal of the inclusion of the person who is baptized in the covenant of grace. Baptism with water teaches that we and our children are conceived and born in sin. It signifies our dying to sin and our rising to newness of life by virtue of our union with Christ in His death and resurrection. It also signifies and seals to us cleansing from sin by the blood and Spirit of Christ. Since these gifts of salvation are the gracious provision of the triune God, who is pleased to claim us as His very own, we are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Baptized persons are called upon to assume the obligations of the covenant; Baptism summons us to renounce sin and the world, and to walk humbly with our God in devotion to His commandments.
Challenge to the Congregation 對會眾的挑戰
為了預備見證這莊嚴的施行洗禮，每一位已經接受洗禮的信徒要思想自己的洗禮，這是智慧和合宜的，並且為冒犯了他們聖約的神所犯的罪而悔改，為激勵他們的信心，使得他們所受的洗禮產生和增進正確的果效。西敏斯特大要理問答，第167問，驅使我們思想我們的責任，增進我們自己所受的洗禮的果效。當問到：「如何可以使我們的洗禮更加有效呢？」這個問題的答案就是： In preparing to be witness of this solemn administration of the sacrament of baptism it is altogether wise and proper for baptized believers to reflect on their own Baptism, to repent of their sins against their covenant God, to stir up their faith, and so to improve and make right use of their Baptism. The Westminster Larger Catechism Q. 167 leads us to consider our duty in improving our own Baptism when it asks, “How is our Baptism to be improved by us?” The answer to this query is provided as follows:
增進我們洗禮的果效，是一個最被忽略的責任。這個責任要求我們一生都要實行，特別是在受試探的時候。以及在我們參與其他人接受洗禮的時候，我們要以嚴肅的和感恩的態度來思想洗禮的本質，思想基督設立洗禮的目的，思想洗禮所代表的權益和福祉，以及思想我們接受洗禮時所立下的誓言；我們要謙卑地認識我們被罪的玷污，認識我們沒有達到，並且悖逆了洗禮的恩典以及我們的承諾；我們要在赦罪的保證下成長，以及在此聖禮中所應許給我們的其他恩典中成長；我們要從基督的死和復活得著力量，因為我們是受洗歸入基督的；我們要治死罪，並且在恩典中復活；我們要努力地靠著信心生活，在聖潔和義中與人交通，如同那些為基督捨棄自己的名的人，並且在弟兄相愛中行事為人，因為我們都是受洗成為同一個身體的。 The needful but much neglected duty of improving our Baptism, is to be performed by us all our life long, especially in the time of temptation, and when we are present at the administration of it to others, by serious and thankful consideration of the nature of it, and of the ends for which Christ instituted it, the privileges and benefits conferred and sealed thereby, and our solemn vow made therein; by being humbled for our sinful defilement, our falling short of, and walking contrary to, the grace of the Baptism and our engagements; by growing up to assurance of pardon of sin, and of all other blessings sealed to us in that Sacrament; by drawing strength from the death and resurrection of Christ, into whom we are baptized, for the mortifying of sin, and quickening of grace; and by endeavoring to live by faith, to have our conversation in holiness and righteousness, as those that have therein given up their names to Christ; and to walk in brotherly love, as being baptized by the same Spirit into one body.
Queries for the Baptismal Candidate 受洗禮者的問答
我們已經聽到這些教導，知道我們有責任要增進我們所受的洗禮的果效， 現在讓我邀請___________到前面來，起誓成為聖約的成員，並且領受聖潔的洗禮禮儀。 Having heard this word of instruction, and concerning the solemn obligation to improve our Baptism, let me now request that __________ come forward to take the vows of covenant membership and to receive the sacrament of Holy Baptism.
1-你相信舊約和新約聖經是神的話，是生活和信心唯一無誤的準則嗎？ 1. Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, the only infallible rule for faith and life?
2-你是否相信這位獨一永活的真神——父、子、聖靈，如同聖經中所啟示的？ 2. Do you believe in the one living and true God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as revealed in the Scriptures?
3-你是否悔改；承認你的罪咎，承認你是抵擋上帝的無助的罪人？承認耶穌基督、神的兒子，是你的主和救主？並願意奉獻自己、服事祂？你是否承諾會努力離棄所有的罪，並使你的生活符合祂的教導？ 3. Do you repent of your sin; confess your guilt and helplessness as a sinner against God; profess Jesus Christ, Son of God, as your Savior and Lord; and dedicate yourself to His service? Do you promise that you will endeavor to forsake all sin, and to conform your life to His teaching and example?
4-你是否承諾要在主裏順服這個教會的教導和治理？也就是本著聖經，大致上已經被記錄在《北美改革宗長老會憲章》的內容裡。你是否確認你有責任要與教會其他人同工，並承諾要彼此支持、互相鼓勵來服事主？萬一你在生活或教義上有必須受糾正的地方，你是否承諾會尊重教會的權柄和勸戒？ 4. Do you promise to submit in the Lord to the teaching and government of this church as being based upon the Scriptures and described in substance in the Constitution of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America? Do you recognize your responsibility to work with others in the church and do you promise to support and encourage them in their service to the Lord? In case you should need correction in doctrine or life, do you promise to respect the authority and discipline of the church?
5-為了使你在基督徒生活中長進，你是否承諾會殷勤地閱讀聖經，私下會努力禱告、守主日、有規律地參加主日聚會、領聖餐，並為主的事工奉獻，正如祂要使你興旺一樣？ 5. To the end that you may grow in the Christian life, do you promise that you will diligently read the Bible, engage in private prayer, keep the Lord’s Day, regularly attend the worship services, observe the appointed sacraments, and give to the Lord’s work as He shall prosper you?
6-你是否定意要在生活的一切關係中，先求神的國和神的義，忠心地履行你作為耶穌基督真正僕人的全部責任，並且使他人歸向祂？ 6. Do you purpose to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness in all the relationships of life, faithfully to perform your whole duty as a true servant of Jesus Christ, and seek to win others to Him?
7-你是否願意謙卑地倚靠神的恩典，在神面前作這個信仰告白和決定？ 7. Do you make this profession of faith and purpose in the presence of God, in humble reliance upon His grace？
這樣，我們就要施行這項神所頒布的聖潔的命令，這是為了神的榮耀，為了我們的安慰，並且也為了教導教會。現在讓我們呼求祂的聖名： That we therefore may administer this holy ordinance of God to His glory, to our comfort, and to the edification of the church, let us call upon His holy name:
Almighty, eternal God, You who have according to your severe judgment punished the unbelieving and unrepentant world with the flood, and have according to your great mercy saved and protected believing Noah and his family; You have drowned the obstinate Pharaoh and all his host in the Red Sea and led Your people through the midst of the sea upon dry ground—by which baptism was signified—we plead that You would be pleased in Your infinite mercy, graciously to look upon this brother (sister) and incorporate him (her) by Your Holy Spirit into Your Son Jesus Christ, that he (she) may be buried with Him through baptism into death and be raised with Him in the newness of life; that he (she), daily following Him, may joyfully bear his (her) cross, cleaving unto Him in true faith, firm hope, and ardent love; that he (she) believing comforted in You, may leave this life, which is nothing but constant death, and at the last day may appear without terror before the judgment seat of Christ Your Son, through Him, our Lord Jesus Christ, who with You and the Holy Spirit, one only God, lives and reigns forever. We now set apart this water from a common to a Sacramental use, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the King and Head of the church. Amen.
接著，牧師就可以施行洗禮，呼叫受洗禮者的名字説： The pastor shall then baptize the person, calling his/her name and saying:
我按照父、子、聖靈，獨一的神的名使你_____________領受洗禮，阿門！ I baptize you ________ in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, one God, blessed forever, Amen.
Prayer of Thanksgiving and Blessing 感謝和祝福的禱告 全能的神、憐憫的父，我們感謝讚美你，藉著你愛子耶穌基督的寶血，你赦免了我們的罪，並藉著你的聖靈，接納我們成為你獨生子裡的成員，成為你的後裔兒女，並用聖潔的洗禮作為此事的印記。我們求你，藉著基督，你的愛子，永遠地靠著你的聖靈，統管我們的弟兄（姐妹），引導他過一個基督的和敬虔的生活，並且在主耶穌基督裡成長茁壯，使他能宣告你天父的良善和憐憫。這些你都已經展現給他和我們每一個人了。求你使他在我們唯一的導師，君王，大祭司耶穌基督裡面過義的生活；並且勇敢地與罪爭戰，勝過罪和魔鬼，和其整個的轄制，直到他永遠地讚美你、頌揚你，你的兒子耶穌基督，和聖靈，唯一的真神。阿門！ Almighty God an merciful Father, we thank and praise You that you have forgiven our sins through the blood of Your beloved Son Jesus Christ, and received us through Your Holy Spirit as members of Your only begotten Son, and so adopted us to be Your children, and sealed and confirmed the same unto us by holy baptism. We plead with you that through Him, Your beloved Son, you will always govern our brother (sister) by Your Holy Spirit and the he (she) may lead a Christian and godly life, and grow and increase in the Lord Jesus Christ, in order that he (she) may acknowledge Your fatherly goodness and mercy, which You have shown to him (her) and to us all, and live in all righteousness under our only Teacher, King, and High Priest, Jesus Christ; and manfully fight against and overcome sin, the devil, and his whole dominion, to the end that he (she) may eternally praise and magnify You, and Your Son Jesus Christ, together with the Holy Spirit, the only true God. Amen.