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Hebrews 13:3

Our Ordinances

The two ordinances that we observe are Holy Communion and Water Baptism

 

The Assemblies of God and Grace Family Church observe two church ordinances.  They are Holy Communion and Water Baptism.  Both communion and water baptism are practices that Jesus Christ Himself taught to His disciples.

Let's take a look at Holy Communion first.  Water Baptism is discussed below.  Before we say anything else, let us go to the Word of God, specifically the verses in Matthew, Mark and Luke that refer to the Lord's Supper.

Holy Communion

Matthew 26:17-30 (New International Version)

The Lord's Supper
17 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?" 
18 He replied, "Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, 'The Teacher says: My appointed time is near.  I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.' "  19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. 

20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve.  21 And while they were eating, he said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me." 

22 They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, "Surely not I, Lord?" 

23 Jesus replied, "The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him.  But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man!  It would be better for him if he had not been born." 

25 Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, "Surely not I, Rabbi?" 
Jesus answered, "Yes, it is you."[a] 

26 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." 

27 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you.  28 This is my blood of the[b] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  29 I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom." 

30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Mark 14:12-26 (New International Version)

The Lord's Supper
12 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus' disciples asked him, "Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?" 
13 So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14 Say to the owner of the house he enters, 'The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' 15 He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there." 

16 The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. 

17 When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. 18 While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me." 

19 They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, "Surely not I?" 

20 "It is one of the Twelve," he replied, "one who dips bread into the bowl with me. 21 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born." 

22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take it; this is my body." 

23 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. 

24 "This is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many," he said to them. 25 "I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God." 

26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

 

Luke 22:7-23 (New International Version)

The Last Supper
7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover." 
9 "Where do you want us to prepare for it?" they asked. 

10 He replied, "As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you.  Follow him to the house that he enters, 11 and say to the owner of the house, 'The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?'  12 He will show you a large upper room, all furnished.  Make preparations there." 

13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them.  So they prepared the Passover. 

14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.  15 And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.  16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God." 

17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you.  18 For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." 

19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." 

20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.  21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table.  22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him."  23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

Now let's take a look at what Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthian church.

1 Corinthians 11:23-33 (New International Version)

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."  25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."  26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.  28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.  29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.  30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.  31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment.  32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world. 

33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other.

Communion is usually observed monthly in each of the churches of the Assemblies of God.  This observance of the Lord's Supper is open to all who have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior.  It does not matter whether you are a member of our church or not.  The invitation to observe the Lord's Supper is extended to both church members and visitors.  If you would like to attend a Sunday worship service where Communion is served, Grace Family Church observes the Lord's Supper on the first Sunday of every month.

Holy Communion is a solemn time of remembrance.  We remember Christ's death on the cross and what He accomplished through His amazing love for us.  People who choose to partake in communion are given bread to symbolize His broken body and grape juice as a symbol of the blood that He shed for us.  Communion is also a time each month that many Christians recognize a recommitment and dedication to Jesus.


This video is the Communion Service segment of our July 3, 2011 Worship Service

 

Water Baptism

Water Baptism is another symbolic act that Jesus Christ commanded of all new believers.  There was virtually no such thing in the early church as an un-baptized believer.  Water Baptism is intended to follow after salvation, which is the moment that the believer truly accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and His atoning sacrifice for our sins on a Roman cross.

All who were converted to Christianity in the Book of Acts were immediately baptized.  See Acts 8:12, Acts 8:38, Acts 9:18, Acts 10:47-48, Acts 16:15, Acts 16:33 and Acts 19:5.

baptism-marc.JPG (28446 bytes)In the Assemblies of God, believers are baptized by immersing them in water.  This practice of Water Baptism is a public testimony to the world symbolizing the death of the believer's sinful nature and the new birth in Jesus Christ.  It is a very important event in the life of the believer, confirming the amazing and transforming power of Jesus Christ.

Let's quickly examine five basic truths of water baptism.

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Water baptism is vital because Jesus commanded it.

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Water baptism signifies burial and a new life.

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Water baptism publicly declares our allegiance to Christ.

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Water baptism indicates the seriousness of our commitment.  It is the visible sign that seals the spiritual commitment.

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Water baptism is an act of obedience to our Savior and Lord.

Let's take a look at some scripture at this point.

Matthew 28:16-20 is known as the Great Commission.  It is important to take note that Jesus spoke these words after He was crucified, resurrected and had appeared to hundreds of people.

Matthew 28:19-20 (New International Version)
19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Mark 16:16 (New International Version)
16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Romans 6:4 (New International Version)
4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.


You might ask a question here.  Was Jesus ever baptized?  Yes He was.  Let's look at the Book of Mark.

Mark 1:1-12 (New International Version)

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

1 The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.[a] 
2 It is written in Isaiah the prophet: 
"I will send my messenger ahead of you, 
who will prepare your way"[b]— 
3 "a voice of one calling in the desert, 
'Prepare the way for the Lord, 
make straight paths for him.' "[c]  4 And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him.  Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.  6 John wore clothing made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.  7 And this was his message: "After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.  8 I baptize you with[d] water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

The Baptism and Temptation of Jesus 
9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.  11 And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." 
12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, 13and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

Now let's briefly look at the Book of Matthew concerning the baptism of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 3:13-17 (New International Version)

The Baptism of Jesus
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.  14 But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" 
15 Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented. 

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water.  At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.  17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

Notice that Jesus said to John the Baptist, "...it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness."  Even though John knew who He was, John consented.  Water Baptism is proper to do for all Christians and we who claim to follow Him, follow Him through baptism in water.

Another question one might ask is what is the difference between baptism with sprinkling water or pouring water and bodily immersion in water?

The Greek root word of the word baptism is Baptizo, which literally means to dip, immerge or submerge.  In the many references in the Bible to water baptism, none of them refer to a sprinkling or pouring of water.  Let's quickly examine a few of these references in the Bible.  Biblical questions can best be answered properly through examination of the Word itself and by keeping it in context.

First let's establish that water must be used for baptism.

Acts 10:47-48 (New International Version)

Then Peter said, 47 "Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water?  They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have."  48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.  Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

Water must be used.  For someone to request baptism in another liquid, or something else, like flower petals, makes no sense and is not consistent with the Word of God.  Next, let's establish that a lot of water is necessary.  A mere sprinkling of water does not require the use of much water.

John 3:23 (New International Version)
23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized.

A body of water must be traveled to or moved towards.  Water that is sprinkled must be brought to the person being baptized.  Take notice below in Acts 8:38 that "Philip and the eunuch went down into the water."  Water that is sprinkled or poured is clearly not referenced here.  Also note in Acts 8:39, that after baptism, they "came up out of the water".  Also note back in Mark 1:10 it says in part, "As Jesus was coming up out of the water..."

Acts 8:36-39 (New International Version)

36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water.  Why shouldn't I be baptized?"[a] 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.  39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.

Water Baptism as mentioned above is an act that is symbolic of the death and burial of the believer's sinful nature and the raising to new life.  This burial cannot be properly signified through a sprinkling of water.  The rising up from the water is symbolic of new life, a rising from the tomb if you will.  The old self is symbolically buried in a watery grave and coming up from out of the water is a symbol of new life.  This necessary symbolism isn't possible with sprinkling.

Colossians 2:12 (New International Version)
12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

Even going a bit further, let's look once again at Romans 6:4

Romans 6:4 (New International Version)
4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Thank you for taking the time today to learn more about our two church ordinances, Holy Communion and Water Baptism.

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