Scriptures: Matt 28:18-20, Mark 16:16, Acts 10:44-48, 1 Cor 12:13,
Col 2:11-12, 1 Cor 10:14-22, Col 2:15
Scripture available at glenavonchurch.googlepages.com/library
On Sunday, Pastor Lorne said he felt compelled to talk about what constitutes the sacraments in our church constitution. The sacraments are baptism and communion.
Pastor Lorne started by explaining that baptism is an integral part of the church. He referred us to the Great Commission in Matt 28:18 where Jesus told His disciples to go out into all the nations of the world, ‘..baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...’
So then some questions are: Who can be baptized? and Do I need to be baptized to be sure of salvation?
Pastor Lorne told us to look up Mark 16:16 which says, ‘whoever believes and is baptized will be saved...’ So, he said, first you must believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and you must have a personal relationship with Him. According to Acts 10:44-48, baptism follows the believing: ‘...“Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.’
Pastor Lorne said to notice in the above scripture, that there was no waiting period between the time they accepted Christ and were filled with the Holy Spirit and the time they were baptized with water.
1 Cor 12:13 says ‘For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body...’ regardless of our race, skin colour, financial account, etc.
So, back to the question – Do you need to be baptized? Pastor Lorne said it’s part of a Believer’s responsibility and testimony to receive water baptism. He referred us to Col 2:12. The Israelites believed that circumcision was a sign that the individual stood in a covenant relationship with God. Put in this light, it would seem that water baptism is also a sign of a covenant relationship with God. By confessing our faith and asking forgiveness for our sins, we become clean. We die to our sins. When we are baptized, we burst from the water a new person, our bodies have been purified – as if we’d drowned and been raised from the dead.
Receiving water baptism is a public testimony that we’ve accepted Christ and will follow Him. It’s a commitment to the Lord that He is our God and we will follow only Him. You’re more apt to walk with the Lord if you’ve taken that final public step and surrendered to Him in this way. Baptism seems to give you an extra boost of strength to live in God’s light. And you identify more with Christ who died on the cross and then rose again. But along with all those reasons, is that wanting to be baptized is being obedient to Christ because in His Great Commission mentioned earlier (Matt 28:18), Christ commanded his disciples to go out and baptize.
So, baptism isn’t a requirement to have a personal relationship with Christ. But, you’ll experience a richer life with more of God’s blessings if you do.
Pastor Lorne then spoke on the other sacrament of our faith – communion. He referred us to Matt 26:26 which records the 1st communion: ‘While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body”.’ This is also referred to as the Lord’s Supper. It’s the partaking of the bread and cup as symbols of the broken body and shed blood of our Lord. By taking communion, we identify with His sacrifice for us and we acknowledge our relationship with each other in God’s family.
In 1 Cor 10:14-22, Paul is speaking about communion. He says that you can’t be part of the world and the Lord. You can’t partake in communion and then go out into the world and party. You can’t accept Christ as your Lord and Savior by taking communion and then go out and serve worldly idols. You just can’t have it both ways!
Pastor Lorne said to look at yourself. Look in your own heart. If you find something there that you know God wouldn’t like, it doesn’t mean you need to be saved and get baptized again. No, it just means you have to make yourself right with God first then you can take communion. How do you do that? By having a personal conversation with Him! Ask Him to search your heart and if it’s not right, ask for His forgiveness. He will always forgive you. Then you can take the sacrament with a clean heart.
Years ago I attended a large church in another province. I remember one particular Sunday when the minister said before we could take communion, we had to search our heart and if there was anything that needed taking care of, to do it. He gave us some examples of not being right with the Lord but the one that stuck in my mind was when he said that if we had bad feelings about another member of the congregation, he expected us to get up and make it right and then he waited. I still remember the half dozen people who got up to walk across the room and shake hands with someone else. That was a powerful lesson for me.
Back to yesterday’s message, Pastor Lorne said that when Jesus died on the cross, He made an open show that He defeated Satan and his power over darkness. (Col 2:15)
Baptism is a commitment to Christ. It’s a public announcement that you’re turning away from Satan and his world.
Taking communion shows that you’ve accepted Christ as your Saviour and your spirit is right with Him.
If you would like to speak to Pastor Lorne about this or any matter, his contact info is at the bottom of the right column.
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