Today being the 5th Sunday of the quarter, our church family will observe the ordinances of the Lord’s Supper and Baptism. Literally, an ordinance is a “decree” or a “command.” Jesus commanded the observance of the Lord’s Supper when he said, “…do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19b). He also instructed the church to observe the act of baptism through his “Great Commission,” which says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28:19).
Baptism pictures the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. It provides a living, up-to-date example of our salvation accomplished through the cross and empty tomb, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). Baptism pictures the believer’s death to sin. It depicts the complete surrender and transformation of life. Baptism is a living testimony of what happens when the believer turns away from self and is made alive in Christ.
Adoniram Judson, Baptists first international missionary from the United Stated pictured baptism in the following poem:
“We sink beneath the water’s face,
And thank You for Your saving grace;
We die to sin and seek a grave
With you, beneath the yielding wave.
And as we rise with You to live,
O let the Holy Spirit give
The sealing unction from above,
The joy of life,
The fire of love.”
The Lord’s Supper takes us back to the cross. It is a living demonstration of His atoning death. Bread and grape juice do not become the body and blood of Jesus. These elements represent what Jesus did for us through the giving of His body and the shedding of His blood at Calvary.
Receiving the bread demonstrates what Jesus did as our Suffering Servant, “All we like sheep have gone astray. Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). We deserved death because of our sin, but Jesus became sin for us so that we may live through Him, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Eating the bread in the Lord’s Supper reminds us of what Jesus did for us, but it also bears witness to others of what He did for them. It proclaims Christ as redeemer and savior..
The cup is filled with grape juice and represents the blood of Jesus. It is a symbol of forgiveness and cleansing, “…how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14). Every time I receive the cup when taking the Lord’s Supper, I hear the old hymn tune in my mind, “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” Jesus said, “This cup is the new covenant established by my blood” (Luke 22:20).
Baptism and The Lord’s Supper will lead us in worship today. Let the presence of Jesus flood your heart as you watch and as you participate. Jesus has done what no other can do. He died, He was buried, He rose from the dead so you and I can be forgiven and live forever through Him.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!