Summary: This is a sermon that explains the two ordinances that Jesus left for the church to observe. Communion and baptism. This message was preached during the morning service right before a baptismal service. It also counters some myths about baptism.
This afternoon we are going to be having a baptismal service for those that recently have been saved and others who were saved but want to be Scripturally baptized. Praise the Lord for those that want to follow the Lord in baptism. So this morning I want to talk about a couple of things that I believe the Lord has left for us to observe. I will spend most of my time on baptism though because I think some things need to be explained concerning this subject so that no one is confused or misled about this topic.
The Two Ordinances
I believe that there are two ordinances that Jesus left for His church to follow. First off we need to define ordinance. An ordinance, according to dictionary dot com is an authoritative rule or law. It could also be a decree or command. It also says that it is something believed to have been ordained (intended, designed), as by a deity. Therefore I believe that there are two decrees that Jesus gave as an example for us to follow. And they are communion and baptism.
There is a denomination that will say there are three ordinances that were left for us to follow. Some (not all) of this denomination (which I will not mention) believe that not only are communion and baptism ordinances that God left for us, but He also left the ordinance of foot washing. I am not going to condemn them for believing this way. We can’t lose our salvation on whether we wash each other’s feet or not. But I do not think that it is an ordinance though. Let’s look at John 13:1-17. Here, I believe the example that Jesus had given them was the example of humility. We need to understand the custom of that day. (talk about no paved roads back then and everyone wore sandals). Jesus was teaching them a lesson about being a servant. Jesus taught many times in the Gospels Matthew 23:11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
Remember when the disciples at one time were arguing which one was going to be the greatest in heaven? Jesus had to remind them that if you are going to be the greatest, then you have to be a servant. We have to humble ourselves and serve others.
But if you think about it as you read the epistles to the churches, Baptism is mentioned and so is communion. But no where do I find foot washing.
Now concerning this thing about foot washing. No one in here, unless I can help it, will wash, let alone see my feet. I can wash my own thank you.
Now back to the two ordinances. The first that I want to mention is the ordinance of communion or what we call the Lords supper or the Last supper. We can look in the Gospels when Jesus was in the upper room the night He was betrayed with His disciples and how He broke bread and gave His disciples drink. Mark 14:22-26. Now turn to 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. Scripture does not record how often we are to participate in communion. Churches set up their own periodicity. But the point trying to be made is not how often you do it, but how you do it and the reason behind doing it.
Communion is a serious time of worship that we should follow. Communion should never be taken lightly, it should never be taken without due consideration. Communion is a very important part of a Christians life. How serious is communion? Lets look at some more of the verses 27-30 in chapter 11.
Yes when we take communion we need to examine ourselves and see if there is unconfessed sin in our hearts and then we need to get them right and claim 1 John 1:9 before we take communion unworthily. Which is taking it without due regard to the authority of Jesus Christ.
Look at the first part of verse 28. It says to let a man examine himself. When we are partaking of communion, are you examining yourself to see if you are qualified to take communion? What qualifies us to take communion? What are we to examine within ourselves?
Barnes Commentary says it like this;
“Let him search and see if he have the proper qualifications--if he has knowledge to discern the Lord's body, if he has true repentance for his sins, true faith in the Lord Jesus, and a sincere desire to live the life of a Christian, and to be like the Son of God, and be saved by the merits of his blood. Let him examine himself, and see whether he have the right feelings of a communicant, and can approach the table in a proper manner.”