#8†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Series: Public Worship
††††††††† Title:†††††††††† Three Gospel Ordinances
††††††††† Text:†††††††††† Acts 2:41-47
††††††††† Subject:†††† Baptism, Church Membership, and the Lordís Supper
††††††††† Date:††††††††† Tuesday Evening - January 10, 1989
††††††††† Tape #††††††
The title of my message tonight is Three Gospel Ordinances. The subject may seem familiar to you; and
it should. I preached a message to you, very similar to the message I am going
to preach tonight, three years ago.
In Acts 2, Peter preached the gospel to a great multitude on
the day of Pentecost. He simply told them the wondrous story of redemption and
grace by Christ, and proclaimed the glorious exaltation of Christ as Lord and
King of the universe. Peter preached with the power of God the Holy Spirit upon
him. And three thousand people were converted by the grace of God, baptized,
and united with the church in one day! In our text we read of three things that
characterized this early church, three things which were tokens of Godís
blessings upon his people at Jerusalem: Baptism, Church Membership, and the
Read and explain: Acts 2:41-47.
I want to preach to you about these three very practical
things: Baptism, Church Membership, and the Lordís Supper. I trust that God the
Holy Spirit will make this message a source of profitable instruction and
edification to you. We are going to examine what the Word of God has to say
about our responsibilities as believers to the ordinances of the gospel. These
are things which should be of great interest and concern to every believer.
They are matters about which every local church needs to be informed and well
We recognize the fact that the church of God is made up of
all true believers in every age. Godís elect are his church. Some are in
heaven, and some are on the earth. But we are all one body in Christ (Matt.
16:18; Eph. 1:22-23; 3:15-16; 5:25-27; Heb. 12:22-24).
We also recognize that the New Testament places great
emphasis upon the importance of the local church (Matt. 18:20; 28:18-20; 1 Tim.
commission was given to and is carried out by local churches.
support, maintain, and send out pastors, missionaries, and evangelists to
preach the gospel.
administer the ordinances of Christ.
church is a family, a brotherhood, a body of believers, united together in
Christ (1 Cor. 12:25-27).
local church should be a miniature of the church universal (Eph. 2:20-22;
††††††††† Our relationship to the church of Christ is a matter of
obedience to Christ himself.
It is a great
privilege and blessing to be a part of a true gospel church.
great privilege, we assume a great responsibility.
relationship with the church of Christ, in great measure, reveals our
relationship to Christ.
††††††††† Obviously, I cannot begin to explain
all that the Bible teaches about Baptism, Church Membership, and the Lordís
Supper in a single hour. But that is not my intention. I want to simply give
you a brief definition of these three things and encourage you to honor our
Lord by faithful obedience to him in these three areas. In the next few weeks,
I will deal with each subject more fully.
I. First, I want to show you that BAPTISM IS THE BELIEVERíS CONFESSION OF FAITH IN CHRIST(Rom.
Let me give you a basic principle of biblical interpretation. If you want
to know what the Bible teaches about a specific doctrine, go to that place in
the Bible where that doctrine is taught and explained. Romans 6 explains the
meaning of believerís baptism.
A. †What is
Baptism is the
believerís public confession of faith in Christ. Baptism is a symbolic picture
of the gospel (Acts 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).
Baptism is a
public identification with Christ and his people.
Illustration: Jews and Pagans.
Baptism is a
publicly avowed commitment to the glory of Christ.
B. Who should be
(Acts 2:38-41; 8:37).
C. How is baptism
to be performed?
††††††††† Immersion only! Actually, immersion is not a mode of
baptism. Immersion is baptism. Without immersion, there is no baptism (Matt.
3:13-17; Acts 8:38; Col. 2:12).
D. Why should all
true believers be baptized?
1. Our Lord commanded it (Mark 16:15-16).
2. It is the answer of a good conscience to God (1 Pet. 3:21).
E. †Can a person
be saved without baptism?
1. All of Godís people are saved without baptism.
2. But anyone who refuses to be baptized is not saved. Godís
people do not rebel against Godís commands.
believers ever be rebaptized?
††††††††† No! If I have been baptized since I believed the gospel,
there is no reason for me to ever be baptized again. However, if I was immersed
before I believed the gospel, in some profession of false religion, then I need
to be baptized and confess Christ.
††††††††† Baptism in the New Testament is the
believerís public confession of faith in and allegiance to the Lord Jesus
II. Secondly, I want you to see that CHURCH MEMBERSHIP IS THE BELIEVERíS FELLOWSHIP AND COMMUNION WITH
CHRIST IN HIS BODY.
††††††††† Many think little of church membership. Many who profess to
be believers are not identified with or committed to any local church. Whatever
their reason is, they are wrong. In the New Testament, men and women who
followed Christ, by one means or another, applied for and obtained membership
in local churches. They publicly identified themselves with and committed
themselves to the church of God.
membership is for believerís only. A local church is a body of believerís,
voluntarily united together in the name of Christ for the glory of Christ, the
furtherance of the gospel, the salvation of Godís elect, and mutual
many ways church membership is similar to baptism. Though I was baptized
before I moved to Danville, when I joined Grace Baptist Church, I publicly
identified myself with this congregation and its doctrine. I publicly committed
myself to this church. I said, ďThy people shall be my people and thy God shall
be my God.Ē
the fellowship of believers in a local church is vital to their spiritual
welfare. Your spiritual growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus
Christ is in many ways dependent upon your relationship to and fellowship with
the body of Christ. Believers need the fellowship of other believers. We need
the encouragement of our brethren. We need the strength of our brethren. We
need one another. The first signs of apostasy are usually seen in the neglect
of the assembly of Godís saints (Heb. 10:24-29).
Illustration: The isolated piece of coal.
††††††††† Church membership basically involves
these three things:
membership is an avowed commitment to the body of Christ (Phil. 2:1-4).
Illustration: The marriage ceremony.
††††††††† The church of Christ is my family. And
I am committed to my family. I prefer my family to myself. I seek the welfare
of my family above my own welfare. I seek the happiness of my family above my
own happiness. I seek the comfort of my family above my own comfort.
††††††††† Godís people are a family. And the
members of Godís family are committed to one another. But I see very little
commitment in most men and women who profess to be believers. Commitment is
dependability, faithfulness, and loyalty. It always requires a measure of
self-denial and self-sacrifice. It always requires some effort. But most people
know very little about commitment.
I pray for my
I support my
I serve my
I speak well
of my family.
I promote my
I enjoy the
company of my family.
††††††††† Church membership involves commitment
to the family of God.
B. And church
membership gives me the privilege of communion and fellowship with the body of
††††††††† ďBehold, how
good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unityĒ (Psa. 133:1).
††††††††† I love the fellowship of Godís people,
because in the fellowship of Godís people I find fellowship with Christ (Matt.
18:20). My Savior still walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks and
makes himself known in his churches.
††††††††† The Lord has greatly blessed this
church with a blessed, sweet unity and fellowship in the gospel. I pray that he
will ever cause us to zealously guard and promote that unity of the Spirit and
bond of peace which he has given us in this place (Eph. 4:1-7).
††††††††† What is this unity of the Spirit?
It is a unity
It is an
agreement of heart.
It is a
dedication to the pursuit of one thing - The glory of Christ.
It is a
willing submission to one another for Christís sake (Eph. 5:18-25).
It is a
fellowship of real, sincere love (Eph. 4:32-5:1).
membership is more than having your name on the same church register. It is
commitment to the body of Christ and communion with Christ in his body. And it
is care for the body of Christ (1
††††††††† The people of God care for and take
care of one another.
Illustration: Our Mexican Brethren.
III. Thirdly, let me remind you of the fact that THE LORDíS SUPPER IS THE BELIEVERíS BLESSED
REMEMBRANCE OF CHRIST.
††††††††† One of the most blessed privileges we have in this world is
the privilege of coming together at the Lordís Table to celebrate our
redemption by eating the bread and drinking the wine.
††††††††† What is the meaning and significance
of this ordinance? It is not shrouded in mystery. It is a very simple, but very
precious, picture of our redemption by Christ. I want you all to understand
what the Lordís Supper is, so that you may receive it, enjoy it, and profit by
it to the fullest possible degree (1 Cor. 11:23-30).
A. †Why was the
Lordís Supper given?
It is a
symbolic remembrance of Christ and what he has done for us.
Illustration: The picture of Shelby.
It is a vivid,
pictorial proclamation of the gospel.
B. What are the
elements to be used in the Lordís Supper?
††††††††† I know that this is a matter of great controversy with some.
But it should not be controversial at all, if you know the meaning of the
Lordís Supper. The Lordís Supper can be observed only by eating unleavened
bread and drinking wine. Why? I will give you three reasons:
Melchizedek, who was a type of Christ, met Abraham, he brought forth bread and
wine as the symbols of Godís blessing through a sacrifice (Gen. 14:18-20).
original institution and in all the New Testament churches, the Lordís Supper
was observed by the use of unleavened bread and wine.
elements, unleavened bread and wine, can properly portray our Savior and his
work of redemption.
bread represents the spotless, sinless, holy body of our Lord Jesus Christ. The
breaking of the bread represents the crushing of our Saviorís body in death to
accomplish our redemption.
represents the pure, holy, sinless blood of Immanuel, by which our sins were
washed away and the covenant of grace was ratified.
The two, bread
and wine, body and blood, separated implies the certain death of our Redeemer.
C. Who should
observe the Lordís Supper?
††††††††† It is the Lordís Table. And the Lordís Table is open to all
the Lordís children (Acts 20:1-7). Not only is the Lordís Table open to all his
children, but all his children are commanded by him to receive it. This is not
an optional thing!
D. When should
the Lordís Table be observed?
††††††††† The Scriptures lay down no fixed time. Therefore, we must
not insist upon any. But three things are obvious:
In the New
Testament it was observed on the Lordís Day.
Because it is
called the Lordís Supper, and because it was originally so, I think it should
be observed in the evening.
It is to be
observed often. Throughout the Book of Acts it was observed every week.
E. †What makes us
worthy to observe this holy ordinance?
††††††††† The same thing that makes us worthy of baptism and church
membership makes us worthy to receive the Lordís Supper. And that is faith in
Christ! Christ is our worthiness. Those who are united to Christ are worthy to
receive the bread and wine, for they discern the Lordís body. They know their
need of a Substitute and understand how that Christ accomplished redemption by
the sacrifice of himself. Those who do not believe are not worthy, they do not
discern the Lordís body.
They do not
discern the need of the incarnation.
They do not
discern the righteousness established by Christís obedience.
And they do
not discern the satisfaction of justice by the sacrifice of Christís body upon
the cursed tree.
The basis of
our faith is the Word of God alone. We must add nothing to it and take nothing
We must obey
every precept of the Word.
We must follow
every precedent of the Word.
reverence every ordinance of Christ given in the Word.
is our responsibility to obey Christ and keep his ordinances, exactly as he
gave them. We need never fear doing what our Lord commands us to do.
I hope this
message will help you to understand, obey, and rejoice in these Three Gospel Ordinances.
Baptism is the
believerís confession of faith in Christ.
membership is fellowship and communion with Christ in his body.
Supper is the believerís blessed remembrance of Christ.