BAPTISM & THE LORD'S SUPPER
Infant Baptism - for children of believing parents.
Adult baptism - for adults who join but have not previously been baptized in a Christian church. An adult who is baptized is also called upon to make a public profession of his or her faith in Christ.
Baptism reminds us and assures us that Christ's one sacrifice on the cross is for you personally. In this way: Christ instituted this outward washing and with it gave the promise that, as surely as water washes away the dirt from the body, so certainly his blood and his Spirit wash away my soul's impurity, in other words, all my sins. (1 Acts 2:38; Matt. 3:11; Rom. 6:3-10; 1 Pet. 3:21)
To be washed with Christ's blood and Spirit means that God, by grace, has forgiven my sins because of Christ's blood poured out for me in his sacrifice on the cross. To be washed with Christ's Spirit means that the Holy Spirit has renewed me and set me apart to be a member of Christ so that more and more I become dead to sin and increasingly live a holy and blameless life. (1 Zech. 13:1; Eph. 1:7-8; Heb. 12:24; 1 Pet. 1:2; Rev. 1:5; 2 Ezek. 36:25-27; John 3:5-8; Rom. 6:4; 1 Cor. 6:11; Col. 2:11-12)
Christ promises us that we are washed with his blood and Spirit as surely as we are washed with the water of baptism. In the institution of baptism where he says: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” This promise is repeated when Scripture calls baptism the washing of rebirth and the washing away of sins. (Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:16; Tit. 3:5; Acts 22:16)
Does this outward washing with water itself wash away sins? No, only Jesus Christ's blood and the Holy Spirit cleanse us from all sins. (Matt. 3:11; 1 Pet. 3:21; 1 John 1:7)
The Holy Spirit calls baptism the washing of rebirth and the washing away of sins. God has good reason for these words. He wants to teach us that the blood and Spirit of Christ wash away our sins just as water washes away dirt from our bodies. But more important, he wants to assure us, by this divine pledge and sign, that the washing away of our sins spiritually is as real as physical washing with water. (1 Cor. 6:11; Rev. 1:5; 7:14; Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:27)
Infants as well as adults are in God's covenant and are his people. Infants and adults are promised the forgiveness of sin through Christ's blood and the Holy Spirit who produces faith. Therefore, by baptism, the mark of the covenant, infants should be received into the Christian church and should be distinguished from the children of unbelievers. This was done in the Old Testament by circumcision, which was replaced in the New Testament by baptism. (Gen. 17:7; Matt. 19:14; Isa. 44:1-3; Acts 2:38-39; 16:31; Acts 10:47; 1 Cor. 7:14; Gen. 17:9-14; Col. 2:11-13)
The Lord's Supper
Believers in Christ who have professed their faith are welcome to receive the nourishment and refreshment of the bread and cup of the Lord “as sure signs” in remembrance of Christ’s body and blood poured out for us in his once-for-all sacrifice on the cross.
The Lord's Supper may also be referred to as "Eucharist" or "Communion".
We Celebrate Communion On...
- First Sunday of Lent
- Maundy Thursday
- 1st Sunday in August
- World Communion Sunday (1st Sunday in October)
- 1st Sunday in Advent
The Lord's Supper...
Reminds us and assures us that we share in Christ's one sacrifice on the cross and in all his gifts. Christ has commanded me and all believers to eat this broken bread and to drink this cup. With this command he gave this promise:
First, as we see the bread of the Lord broken and the cup given, so surely his body was offered and broken and his blood poured out on the cross.
Second, as we receive from the hand of the one who serves, and taste with my mouth the bread and cup of the Lord, given me as sure signs of Christ's body and blood, so surely he nourishes and refreshes my soul for eternal life with his crucified body and poured-out blood. (Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-25)
To eat the crucified body of Christ and to drink his poured-out blood means to accept with a believing heart the entire suffering and death of Christ and by believing to receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Through the Holy Spirit, who lives both in Christ and in us, we are united more and more to Christ's blessed body. And so, although he is in heaven and we are on earth, we are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone. And we forever live on and are governed by one Spirit, as members of our body are by one soul. (John 6:35, 40, 50-54; John 6:55-56; 1 Cor. 12:13; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Cor. 11:26; Col. 3:1; 1 Cor. 6:15-17; Eph. 5:29-30; 1 John 4:13; John 6:56-58; 15:1-6; Eph. 4:15-16; 1 John 3:24)
Who are to come to the Lord's Table? Those who are displeased with themselves because of their sins, but who nevertheless trust that their sins are pardoned and that their continuing weakness is covered by the suffering and death of Christ, and who also desire more and more to strengthen their faith and to lead a better life. (1 Cor. 10:19-22; 11:26-32)