Christ prescribed two ordinances that confirm faith in Him: 1) water baptism, preceded by a confession of faith in Christ and repentance, represents the believers’ initial union with Christ by depicting death to sin, burial by immersion in water, and rising to a Spirit-controlled life; and 2) Lord’s Supper, a memorial to Christ’s atoning death. Believers commemorate Christ’s death by eating the bread of communion and drinking from its cup, symbols of His broken body and shed blood, thus demonstrating fellowship with our Savior until He returns. It is accompanied by washing of feet. We observe this Supper annually in the season it was instituted and are charitable toward those who observe it at other times.
The work of God’s people is to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33). The preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is what we as spirit led Christians are to do. Before His final ascension to heaven Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matt. 28:19-20). To do the work of God we must be part of the family of God and have His Holy Spirit in us (Rom.8:6-9, 14-17).
Water baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the two ordinances of faith Christians observe together as one body living in God’s spirit.
Water Baptism: Jesus gave us His example concerning baptism in Matthew 3:13-17. He was baptized by his cousin John the Baptist as an example for us. Vs.16 states “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water”. He was fully immersed in the Jordan River. The Greek word for “baptism” is “baptizo” meaning to “immerse or put into”. All Biblical examples of baptism are of full immersion into the water. Sprinkling and pouring water onto a person was never practiced. Some other New Testament examples of water baptism can be found in Acts 8:5-16, and vs 37-38 where Philip and the Eunuch both went down into the water. Acts 10:46-48 Peter baptized Cornelius the Centurion. On the very first New Covenant Pentecost Peter said, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:28). Baptism depicts our death to sin, burial by immersion in water, and rising to a Spirit-led life in Christ. For more information on Water Baptism see CSCOG7 Staff Christian Baptism.
Lord’s Supper: Also called the New Testament “Passover” by many Christians. This annual memorial consists of three parts, washing of feet, breaking and eating of unleavened bread and drinking of wine. On the very last night of His human life Jesus desired to eat the Passover with His disciples (Luke 22:13-16). This last Passover service with Jesus is found in each gospel account. The washing of feet (John 13:12-16) is where Jesus specifically says to follow His example and do this. The breaking and eating of unleavened bread (Matt. 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19). The drinking of wine (Matt. 26:27-29; Mark 14:23-25; Luke 22:17-18).
As the Passover is an annual observance the keeping of the New Testament Passover and the symbols of washing of feet, breaking of unleavened bread and drinking of wine are annual in observance (Luke 22:19 indicates annual observance). Jesus tells us the Lord’s Supper was done as an example for us to follow (John 13:12-17). The apostles and early church continued this practice (I Cor. 11:17-34). On the same night of the Passover Jesus said, “You are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14). To be His friend we must do what He commanded us to do and follow His example of keeping the Lord’s Supper. At the end of the Passover service that very night Jesus said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” John 13:34-35).
Christian Ordinances, Water Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. These are how we show our faith in God and we follow His command to “Love one another” as symbolized by Jesus on His last night of human life.