The Ordinances of Baptism & the Lord's Supper


I. The Ordinance of water baptism.

A. The Picture Of Water Baptism

    Water Baptism is based upon a "spiritual" baptism discussed in Romans Chapter 6:1-11. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized unto Jesus Christ were baptized unto his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been grafted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:1-11) (a literal translation).

    In water baptism, we are to consider ourselves grafted together with Jesus, both in his death and burial and also his resurrection. We are to consider the old man dead with Christ on the cross, but the new man alive with him.

1. Baptism is a picture of what happened to Jesus.
a. He lived here on the earth.
b. He was killed and was buried.
c. He arose from the grave.
2. Baptism pictures what happens to the individual as he is joined unto Jesus by faith.
a. He once lived for himself, but by faith is joined unto Jesus.
b. He dies with Jesus on the cross and was buried.
c. He, as a Believer, now has a new resurrected life with Jesus as his Lord.
3. Baptism is also a picture of what happens to the physical body.
a. We now live here on earth.
b. We will die (unless we are raptured) and will be physically buried.
c. We will be resurrected and stand before God.
B. It is a sign of the New Covenant.
    Baptism is also a "sign" of the New Covenant as circumcision was a sign of the Old Covenant. "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it" (Colossians 2:10-15). Again, BAPTISM is a sign or "picture" of what is to have already occurred inwardly.
C. Who should be Baptized?
1. Only true Believers (old enough to make a faith commitment) were immersed.
"And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him" (Acts 8:36-38).
2. Baptism is based upon repentance toward God and faith toward Jesus.
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38).

"Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21).

3. Baptism demonstrates that your sins have been washed away.
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38). The Greek word translated "for" may be understood as "because" your sins have been remitted. One may get a ticket "for" speeding ... because he has broken the speed limit and not in order to break the speed limit.
D. Why be baptized?
    We should understand that baptism is not a sacrament, but an ordinance although some churches have adopted it as a sacrament. A sacrament is defined as a visible sign instituted by Christ to confer a special grace or divine life on those worth to receive it. In other words, a sacrament would be something that a Believer would do in order to get special favors with God. In contrast, an ordinance is something that is ordered by authority. Baptism is something that Jesus commanded us to do.

1. Jesus commanded all Believers to be immersed.

"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). Note: First they were to teach then to baptize.
2. Peter, the apostle, taught that one should be baptized.
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38).
3. Paul, the apostle, practiced it.
"Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 19:4-5).
4. All true Believers (those who had made a commitment to Jesus as Lord) submitted themselves to be baptized.
"Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:41).
5. Baptism is the means of a union unto to the local body of Believers.
"Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:41).
6. Baptism, as an act of obedience, may be one requirement to received the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
Look at Acts 2:28 "be baptized" in the light of "And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him" (Acts 5:32).
7. Jesus, our example, was baptized.
"And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 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: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:15-17).
8. Baptism, is a public witness to others of the work of Jesus in the life of the Believer.
When others observe someone being baptized, it is a public witness to them that they also need to be saved and follow in water baptism .
9. Baptism helps in the saving of the soul of the Believer (helps establish in the mind will, and emotions of the Believer the truth of what has already occurred in the spirit-man). NOTE: Water baptism in no way saves the spirit of the individual or gives eternal life.
"The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:" (I Peter 3:21). (Note: answer of a good conscience).
10. Water baptism is a part of the initiation and commissioning of the Believer into ministry. When Jesus, our example, was baptized, the Holy Spirit came upon him, and he was led the Spirit to be tempted. Then immediately he was ushered into ministry.
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:18-19).
E. What is the appropriate mode for Baptism?
    The English word "Baptism" is not a direct translation from Scripture. Early church leaders took the Greek letters from a Greek word "baptisma" and took the English equivalent (baptisma) to those letters and came up with the word baptism. The Church at the time the English translation could not legitimately use the proper translation because the Church was not practicing immersion. The practice of sprinkling or pouring was the common practice in that day. Why? The Church had come to believe two false doctrines: (1) that water baptism was essential for the salvation of man and (2) that infants needed to be baptized in order to be saved. It would be difficult to immerse an infant or someone on their death bed. It was easier to sprinkle water or pour water on the individual. However, in contrast to their practice, the Greek word "baptisma" literally meant to immerse, duck under, or to dip in to cover. Therefore, the church leaders created a new English word, "baptism", and explained that it meant to sprinkle or pour. These false doctrines came into the institutional church when the Church was married to the world. However, throughout church history there have always remained those who have chosen "immersion" as the proper method of baptism. Furthermore "immersion" of Believers was the common practice in the New Testament:

1. John used the Jordan River (not a bowl of water).

"And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins" (Matthew 3:6).
2. After Jesus was immersed:
"And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him" (Mark 1:10).
3. When the eunuch was immersed:
"And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him" (Acts 8:38).
4. Immersion is a picture of the individual's burial with Jesus.
"Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?" (Romans 6:3). Pouring or sprinkling does not give a picture of a grave or someone buried.

"Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead" (Colossians 2:12).

5. The basic meaning behind the word is "to immerse", "dip", or "plunge under."  The term "baptisma" was commonly used in the dyeing of garments. Whatever part of the garment was immersed in a dye came out forever changed.
II. Ordinance of the Lord's Supper or Communion
A. Terms.
1. The Lord's Supper
"When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper"  (I Corinthians 11:20).
2. Communion
"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?"  (I Corinthians 10:16).

"That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ"  (I John 1:3).

B. Origin.
The first covenant is found in Genesis when God killed a lamb, shedding the blood, to make garments to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve.  "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them"  (Genesis 3:21).

"And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission"  (Hebrews 9:22).

C. Passover.    Exodus 12:1-15
"Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:  And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.  And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.  And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it"  (Exodus 12:5-8).
D. Traditional.
"Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD. Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning"  (Exodus 23:17-18).
1. Unleavened Bread, Passover, First Fruits
"Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover"  (Luke 22:1).
2. Pentecost

3. Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles

E. Jesus observed.
"Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished"  (Luke 18:31).

"And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins"  (Matthew 26:26-28).

F. Jesus is our passover.
"The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world"  (John 1:29).
"But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot"  (I Peter 1:19).

"Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us"  (I Corinthians 5:7).

G. Elements.
1. The Bread
The bread is unleavened bread as used in the passover.  It was cooked on a hot grill.  It was striped and pierced. It REPRESENTS the broken body of Christ.

"I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world"  (John 6:51).

"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh"  (Hebrews 10:19-20).

2. The Fruit of the Vine.
The grape juice REPRESENTS the blood of Jesus which was shed for the remission of sins.

"Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape."  (Deuteronomy 32:14).

"Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I am the LORD your God"  (Deuteronomy 29:6).  (During the observance of Passover for forty years in the wilderness).

"It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak"  (Romans 14:21).

3. Note: The Greek word that is often translated "wine" does, itself not distinguish between grape juice and fermented wine. The context or adjectives connected to the word often give a distinction.  "Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved"  (Matthew 9:17).  The word "new" is added to distinguish grape juice from fermented wine.
H. Paul's Instructions.
"For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:  And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.  For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.  Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep"  (I Corinthians 11:23-30).
I. Benefits for Observing.
1. It reminds us of the significance of the death of the Lord.

2. It calls us to self examination.

"Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth"  (I Corinthians 5:7-8).
3. It calls us into the bond of fellowship with Jesus and with other Believers.

4. It reminds us of the promise of Christ's return.

5. It may open the door to receive healing, health, and strength.

Sacrament or Ordinance
The word “sacrament” comes from the Latin sacramentum, which in the classical period of the language was used in two chief senses: (1) as a legal term to denote the sum of money deposited by two parties to a suit which was forfeited by the loser and appropriated to sacred uses; (2) as a military term to designate the oath of obedience taken by newly enlisted soldiers. It is generally  understood as something you do in order to receive a grace of God. This does not fit the Lord's Supper.  Grace is not earned!

An "ordinance" is a rule established by an authority.  An ordinance may be a law or statute of sovereign power. In this sense it is often used in the Scriptures.  The term "ordinance" better fits both water baptism and the Lord's supper.  We are commanded to observe both ordinances.

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