YOU are enjoying your first love with your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, with The Father, and The Holy Spirit. You read the Bible daily, you pray (talk) to God constantly, and you attend church regularly to fellowship with other Bible believing Christians- the body of Christ. Now, the next thing to do will be to follow God’s command by observing “The Ordinances of the Church”. There are two of them; they are
The Lord’s Supper and baptism. Let’s first define an ordinance: An ordinance is an outward and visible symbolic rite commanded in the Bible to be practiced by the church which sets forth a central truth of the Christian faith. It is a memorial or reminder of some precious historical event of great significance.
A. The Lord’s Supper. It can also be referred to as: The Eucharist (Greek word for the “giving of thanks”). Taken from 1 Corinthians 11:24. Holy Communion –this name derives from 1 Corinthians 10:16, “the communion of the blood of Christ.” The Scriptures describe the Lord’s Supper in: Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:17-20, and 1 Corinthians 11:23-34.
The purpose of the Lord’s Supper involves a threefold look. We are to look backward. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death” (1 Corinthians 11:26). We are to look inward. “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup” (1 Corinthians 11:28). We are to look forward. “Till He come” (1 Corinthians 11:26). The Lord’s Supper is therefore historical, personal, and prophetical. It speaks of the cross, the conscience, and the crown.
Who are the partakers of the Lord’s Supper? What group is invited to this table? The Lord’s Supper is only for believers, but it includes all believers whether they happened to be members of a given local church or not.
What are the prerequisites of the Lord’s Supper? The individuals who are forbidden to partake are the unsaved, and the unclean (backslidden Christian). John the apostle (who attended the first Lord’s Supper) has given sound advice to aid both kinds of individuals here. To the unsaved, he offers John 3:16, and to the unclean, he extends 1 John 1:9.
What are the penalties of taken the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner? “For he who eats”
and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep” (1 Corinthians 11:29, 30). This judgment may be manifested in a twofold manner: through physical sickness (11:30) and through physical death.
How often should the Lord’s Supper be observed? Most churches observed this ordinance once a month.
B. Baptism. The word in its origin means to dip, immerse, submerge or overwhelm. The theological meaning of the word baptism is “identification.” To be identified with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.
The Lord’s command: “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). The water baptism of a new convert is therefore not a personal choice, but a divine command.
Examples of baptism in the Bible:
The baptism of our Lord Jesus. 1) He was baptised with water by John (Matthew 3:15)
2) With the Holy Spirit by the Father (Matthew 3:16)
The water baptism of new converts in the book of Acts.
– At Pentecost. Here 3,000 were baptized by Peter and the apostles (Acts 2:41).
– At Samaria. Here many were baptized by Philip the evangelist (Acts 8:12).
– At Gaza. Here the Ethiopian eunuch was baptized by Philip (Acts 8:38).
– At Damascus. Here Paul is baptized by Ananias (Acts 9:18).
– At Caesarea. Here Peter baptized Cornelius and his friends (Acts 11:48).
– At Philippi. Here Paul baptized Lydia and the Philippian jailor (Acts 16:15, 33).
– At Corinth. Here Paul baptized Crispus, Gaius, Stephanas, and others
(Acts 18:8; 1 Corinthians 1:14, 16).
– At Ephesus. Here Paul baptized some followers of John the Baptist (Acts 19:3-5).
The scriptural view on baptism: It is not necessary for salvation, but rather a command that needs to be followed after salvation. All believers need to be baptized.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, I long to be an obedient servant to You, even when there seems to be no short-term rewards. I want to live in Christ and take my delight in the Spirit, not in the world.
Heavenly Father, grant me the understanding that leads to eternal life. In Jesus name I pray.