TEXT: 1 Corinthians 11:2
SUBJ: Baptism and the Lord's Supper
INTRODUCTION: We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost with the authority of the local church to show forth, in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life; that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a church relation and to the Lord's Supper in which the members of the church, by the sacred use of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ, preceded always by solemn self-examination. The word "ordinance" itself refers to a special kind of law. The Bible usage of the term nearly always refers to some kind of ceremony such as the Passover observance (Exodus 12:14). However, all the Old Testament ordinances were abolished when the thing that they represented was fulfilled (Ephesians 2:15). Now, there are only two ordinances for the church to observe. They are Baptism and The Lord's Supper. No doubt this is what Paul was referring to when he exhorted the church at Corinth to "keep the ordinances" that he had delivered to them. NOTE: The one that he discusses with them in 1 Corinthians 11:2, is The Lord's Supper which he mentions in verse 23 that he had delivered unto them. Every Bible Doctrine has either been misinterpreted or deliberately perverted or denied in some way or another. Therefore, it is necessary to be reminded what the Scriptures declare concerning these important subjects. If we are exhorted to "earnestly contend for the faith," then we must not shun to declare "all the counsel of God." There are many religious groups that do not believe that baptism is a present-day Doctrine, teaching that it was only transitional in character.
I. BAPTISM - Acts 2:41.
A. The Scriptural candidate for Baptism - Acts 18:8. The Scriptures plainly teach that a person must personally believe in Christ before he is baptized.
1. An infant is not a believer and therefore should not be baptized.
2. If an unbeliever goes through the form of baptism before salvation occurs, no matter what the reason, then if he later has genuine experience of salvation as a real believer, he should then be baptized.
3. No one can be baptized vicariously for another. NOTE: Because of the misinterpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:29, there is a religious denomination that allows a member of the family to be baptized for someone who is already dead.
4. Only a genuine believer is to be baptized - Acts 8:35-38; Matthew 3:8.
B. The Scriptural method for Baptism.
1. Immersion in water.
a. Immersion requires much water - John 3:23. NOTE: Sprinkling or pouring does not require much water.
b. Immersion requires going down into the water and coming up out of the water - Matthew 3:16; Acts 8:38.
c. Sprinkling or pouring does not require going down into the water nor a coming up out of the water.
d. Immersion pictures' Christ's death, burial, and resurrection - Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12.
e. Sprinkling or pouring does not symbolize Christ's death, burial, or resurrection.
2. Immersion only once. This is all that is necessary to symbolize Christ's death, burial, and resurrection.
3. Immersion in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost -Matthew 28:19.
C. The Scriptural purpose for Baptism.
1. Baptism symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of our Savior in Whom we trusted for salvation - 1 Peter 3:21. NOTE: Baptism does not save nor help to save a soul. A man is not saved during baptism not after baptism, but before baptism. It is merely figurative of what Christ did to make salvation possible for us.
a. The thief on the cross went to Paradise with Jesus after his death without being baptized - Luke 23:43.
b. Cornelius and others received the Holy Ghost before baptism - Acts 10:47.
c. The order is similar to the cleansing of the leper and the ceremony that followed - Mark 1:40-44.
2. Baptism is an act of obedience - Acts 10:48. A saved person should obey the Lord in this matter.
3. Baptism is a means of identification - Colossians 2:12. In this act, we become publicly identified with Christ.
4. Baptism is a requirement for church membership - Acts 2:41.
D. The Scriptural authority to administer Baptism - Acts 19:1-5.
1. No matter what else we might learn from this event, we can conclude that immersion in water is not the only thing that we have to consider when we are discussing what is valid baptism. Evidently, these disciples that were baptized according to verse 5 had already been immersed according to verse 3.
2. The matter of authority has to be considered. The question is "Can someone just decide that they want to baptize another under any circumstance and that baptism be valid?"
3. If authority meant nothing, then why would Jesus journey from Galilee to Bethabara (approximately 60 miles) to have John the Baptist baptize Him? There was plenty of water in Galilee. Why didn't He just have someone there baptize Him? The answer is obvious. John had received a Divine commission to administer baptism.
4. Later, when Jesus was getting ready to go back to Heaven and His work was to continue through the church that He had instituted, He gave the commission to administer baptism to the church. If that commission was only to those disciples that He was speaking to then, that commission would have expired when the disciples died. Therefore, the man that administers baptism receives that authority through the church. Then, if the man who actually does the baptizing is not the person he should be, it does not invalidate the baptism (Matthew 28:19, 20). You will notice that these Scriptures connect the authority to baptize with the doctrinal position of the church.
II. THE LORD'S SUPPER - 1 Corinthians 11:17-34.
A. The nature of The Lord's Supper.
1. Like baptism, The Lord's Supper is also symbolic in nature - Matthew 26:26-28. There is no way that this ceremony can save anyone, nor was it ever designed to. When He made this statement, He was still in His body and had not shed His blood. We must conclude that He simply meant that the bread represented His body and the fruit of the vine represented His blood.
2. The Lord's Supper is a church ordinance - 1 Corinthians 11:18, 22, 33. Here, The Lord's Supper service is under discussion and these verses show that it is not for individual observance. It is to be observed when they come together as a church.
3. The Lord's Supper is commemorative in nature - 1 Corinthians 11:24-26. It is designed to perpetuate the memory of our Savior's sacrificial death in a very special way throughout the church age.
B. The participants in The Lord's Supper - 1 Corinthians 11:27-29.
1. Only saved people should participate in The Lord's Supper. Unsaved people would not appreciate its significance.
2. Only saved people who have been baptized should take The Lord's Supper - Matthew 28:19, 20; John 13:21-31. Notice the Divine order. It is after they are properly baptized that they are to "observe all things" that Christ commanded them.
3. Only members of the same church should observe The Lord's Supper together. The Lord's Supper is distinctly a local church ordinance. Only those in the church should observe it in unity together. In the original Lord's Supper, Jesus gathered the apostles together and dismissed Judas. Then Jesus with the other eleven observed the first Lord's Supper service. These apostles formed the first church - 1 Corinthians 12:28. Jesus did not invite everyone in Jerusalem to come, but just those that were in the church. This is the "only" pattern to follow!
CONCLUSION: Baptism and The Lord's Supper are extremely important and should be guarded against error. To change the Scriptural pattern breeds' confusion.