After the Christmas time sermon series, I’m getting back to the Faith Foundations sermon series. This is the sermon for Sunday January 10th 2010.
Faith Foundations part 9
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
There are two ordinances that Jesus Christ established for the church. They are: Water Baptism, and Communion or the Lord’s Supper.
In fact, when Jesus established these two ordinances, it wasn’t suggestions too do, but it was commands that His followers should follow. Let’s look at these two commands.
Matthew 28:19 ESV – Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Now let’s look at the revelation that Paul received concerning the Last Supper.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 TNIV – 23For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
The point these passages are making is that baptism and the Lord’s supper should not be optional in the church, they are things that we should be actively doing.
Now before we go further into the sermon let me make this one statement: I do not believe in either baptismal regeneration or that we receive God’s grace for salvation through the taking of the elements of communion. Scripture is clear how we are saved.
Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV – 8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
While we are not saved by performing these two ordinances; nonetheless Christians will be obedient to their master by being baptized and partaking of the elements of the Lord’s Supper.
Let’s begin looking into these two ordinances:
The Ordinance of Baptism.
Let’s look at three things concerning Baptism:
- First of all baptism is a personal step of obedience. If someone is truly a disciple of Jesus Christ, if in fact they have surrendered control of their life to Him, then the natural thing which should follow is obedience. In the Great Commission, after commanding His disciples to baptize He directs them to teach the new disciples to observe or obey all that He has commanded. Baptism is the first step of obedience in a lifelong journey with Jesus Christ. Now here at Faith United Church we believe in Believer’s Baptism, only believers or followers of Christ may be truly baptized. I do not believe in infant baptism; in fact it cannot be found in one single Scripture passage. Now should there be a waiting period for the person to be baptized after they have repented and put their faith in Christ? Biblically – No. They should be baptized as quick as possible. How about an age limit. Well, if you are old enough to know that Jesus died for your sins, and you have turned from your sin and turned to Him and trust in His Sacrifice for your sin on the cross, and that He was raised from the dead for your justification – then you are old enough to be baptized.
- Baptism is a public statement of faith, that is, baptism is a public way of giving testimony to the fact that God has gloriously saved us.
- Finally, baptism is a perfect symbol of death, burial and resurrection. It symbolizes our death to our self, our burial or immersion in Christ, and our resurrection to walk in a new way of life. That’s one of the reasons that baptism by immersion makes so much sense, it symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord.
Romans 6:3-4 ESV – 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Now what is the proper method of Baptism? Some immerse totally, some sprinkle.
I’m not too dogmatic on this, though my personal preference is total immersion because that is what the Greek word for Baptize means, “to be completely immersed and covered with water.”
So to the best of our ability here at Faith United Church we will baptize by total immersion.
So that’s what Baptism is: it is a personal step of obedience, a public statement of faith, and a perfect symbol of death, burial and resurrection.
Now let’s look at the Lord’s supper.
The Ordinance of the Lord’s Supper.
In many churches and denominations the Lord’s Supper has either too much emphasis or not enough emphasis.
What do I mean by too much emphasis? Well, they believe that God’s Grace is administered through the bread and wine, because the elements literally become the body and blood of the Lord. So in order to get more grace, or even keep your salvation, you need to participate.
Some Churches and denominations don’t emphasize it enough. They might only do it a couple of times of during the year: Christmas and Easter and even then it is just some boring ritual and not really significant.
My view is that is that it is important. Not because the host become the body and blood of the Lord; but that the host brings to our remembrance the Lord’s Sacrifice, and His presence is here when we partake in the Lord’s Supper.
We do it the first of each month, and we should recognize this as a Holy Moment between our Savior and us that we remember what He has done for us.
Let’s look again at 1 Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 ESV – 23For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
By reading our Lord’s word we are told of at least three things the Lord’s Supper memorializes or calls to our remembrance:
- First the bread is symbolic of the broken body of our Lord. Like the Passover lamb, Jesus, the Lamb of God, laid down His life as a sacrifice for sin. His body was broken, His hands and His feet, His side and His brow were pierced for us. Each time we take the bread in the Lord’s Supper we are reminded of the theological truth of His substitutionary atonement – Jesus gave His life for us. He laid His life down on the cross to pay the price for our sins. He died in our place. His body was broken so our broken souls could be healed.
Isaiah 53:5 ESV – But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV – For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
- Secondly, the cup is symbolic of the blood of the covenant. In Exodus 24, Moses ratified the covenant God made with Israel, by taking the blood of the sacrifice and sprinkled half of it on the altar and the other half he sprinkled on the people. It was with the blood of the sacrifice that the covenant was ratified or sealed between God and His people. But when Jesus died, He fulfilled the law and instituted a New Covenant, or New Testament, one which was ratified or established on the strength of His shed blood.
Exodus 24:8 ESV – And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
Hebrews 10:4 ESV – It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Hebrews 10:8-10 ESV – 8When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Five things these two ordinances should cause us to do.
- Baptism calls us to Rejoice – The ordinance of Baptism calls us to rejoice in the fact that God has saved us through Jesus Christ.
- The Lord’s Supper calls us to Remembrance – To remember what it is Jesus did for us and why it was necessary for Him to die for us.
1 Peter 1:18-19 ESV – 18knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
- The Lord’s Supper calls us to Repentance – When we take the cup and bread and we remember all that Jesus has done for us and allow His Spirit to show us the things in our life which are inconsistent with our profession, we should repent. That is, we should stop doing what is displeasing to God and begin to do what is pleasing in His sight.
1 Corinthians 11:27-32 ESV – 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 3132But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.
- · The Lord’s Supper calls us to Reconcile – We should be reconciled one with another and if we have something against another, we need to make it right.
Matthew 5:23-24 ESV – 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
- The Lord’s Supper calls us to recommitment – After reflecting on the authenticity of our walk with God, and after remembering what it is Jesus has done for us, remembering whose we are and who we are in Jesus, and after having the opportunity to repent of our sins and reconcile with one another, each time we take the cup and eat of the bread we are called to recommit ourselves once again to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and to allow His Spirit to have absolute, unreserved control of our lives.
If you are here this morning, and as a believer you have never followed the Lord in Baptism, I strongly encourage you to get with me this morning, so we can do it soon.
I also hope that you have a new appreciation concerning the Lord’s supper and the importance of partaking of it.