Although Jesus never asked his disciples to remember his birth, he did instruct them to remember his death and resurrection. He gave the church two visible symbols (ordinances) as reminders of his death: baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
What is baptism?
Baptism is a one-time outward profession of the inward reality of faith. It symbolizes our public identification with Jesus Christ. It does not make you a believer. Rather, it shows that you already believe. It does not ‘save you’ or ‘clean’ you from sin. Only Jesus can do that. So we must turn to him in complete trust.
Who should be baptized?
Every person who has heard the Gospel and believed in Christ.
Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
Acts 2:41 (also see Acts 8:12-13)
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
When should a person be baptized?
A Christian should be baptized after they hear the Gospel and believe in Christ.
Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. 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?’ And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.
Acts 8:35-38 (also see Acts 2:41 above)
How should a person be baptized?
By immersion (going under the water). Because Jesus was baptized that way and baptisms in the Bible were done by immersion.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. Matthew 3:16
Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water…Acts 8:38-39
Because the Greek word for “baptize” means to “plunge or dip”.
Why should a person be baptized?
To obey Christ’s command and follow his example.
Matthew 28:19, Mark 1:9
To symbolize the burial and resurrection of Christ in our life.
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. Romans 6:3-5
What about children?
At Calvary, we wait until they are old enough to believe for themselves and understand the meaning of salvation and baptism before they are baptized. We know that some churches practice infant baptism- a custom that began about 300 years after the Bible was complete- which is intended as a covenant between the parents and God on behalf of the child. In infant baptism, the parents promise to raise their child in the Christian faith until the child is old enough to make his/her own personal confession of Christ. However, we believe this is different from the baptism talked about in the Bible, which was only for those old enough to believe. If you were baptized as an infant and now profess faith in Christ, we believe that you should be baptized (or re-baptized) as an expression of your personal faith, even though you may have been confirmed as a child.
Communion — The Lord’s Supper
What is the Lord’s Supper?
The Lord’s Supper is a practice Jesus himself initiated at his last supper with his disciples before his crucifixion (see Mark 14:22-25). It is based in the annual Passover celebration that Israel remembered. But now with the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Passover Lamb who was killed for his people, we remember and celebrate the exodus from slavery that Jesus our Deliverer brings. The Lord’s Supper is a regular time of remembering the death of Jesus by taking a piece of bread, which symbolizes his broken body, and a small cup of grape juice, which symbolizes his blood, and remembering in faith that Jesus died in the place of us condemned sinners, so that we can be forgiven and declared righteous. The Lord’s Supper is a visual and experiential retelling of the gospel.
Who should take the Lord’s Supper?
In the first generation of Christians, the famous missionary and Apostle Paul also taught about the Lord’s Supper in his letter to the Corinthians (see 1 Corinthians 11:23-34). He warns Christians to “examine themselves” so that they don’t profane the body and blood of Christ when we take the Lord’s Supper. That doesn’t mean we take the Lord’s Supper as perfect people, but as people whose hearts are softened to the incredible spiritual truths that the bread and grape juice represent. It means our hearts are filled with authentic faith that treasures the truths of Christ Jesus and the Gospel more than the taste of sin.
When and where do we take the Lord’s Supper?
At Calvary, we usually take it once a month, at the end of the service on the first Sunday of the month. We take it together as a congregation in the sanctuary.