We Believe: In The Practices of the Church
This is a preview of a sermon in the “We Believe: Back to Basics” series. To watch the recording of the sermons in this sermon series, visit our website.
“I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.”
—1 Corinthians 10:15-17 (NIV)
“We believe that the Christian baptism is the immersion in the water of a believer, into the
name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost; to show forth in a solemn and beautiful
emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried and risen Saviour, with its effect, in our death
to sin and resurrection to a new life; that it is a 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.” — Article XIV. Of Baptism & The Lord's Supper New Hampshire Confession of Faith 1833 (NHCF), 1833
“… We believe that the first day of the week is the Lord's Day or Christian Sabbath, and it is
to be kept sacred for religious purposes.” — Article XV. Of The Christian Sabbath NHCF, 1833
Nowhere are the divisions within the church more sharp than in teachings about Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
Baptists, in fact, are named after their peculiar (for the time) method of Baptizing only professing believers.
Other Christian traditions / denominations baptize infants.
Even within Baptists there are disagreements about whether those infant baptized as infants should be required to be re-baptized as believing adults. (FBCM does not require this, some other Baptist churches do).
One friend I met during seminary was with me in my class about the church during the time of the Protestant Reformation. It was a time of a lot of change in the church. Many different denominations began during that era. Arguments on what happened during Baptism and at the Lord's table were very common. After reading several hundred pages on the conflict, she observed The Lord's Supper at the church she attended.
"I took the bread and cup and just thought about how many disagreements there are about what we were even doing." she told me.
While those arguments were common then, they remain today. Recently, confusion only increased with the Covid-19 pandemic and some deciding to practice communion privately in their homes, rather than gathered as a church.
With so many arguments, there are some movements of Jesus followers who decided to give up on these practices all together (some Quakers and the Salvation Army).
How do we understand Baptism, the Lord's Supper, and Worship on the Lord's day? Do they really matter? And if they do how do they matter?
Join us this Sunday as we explore how Baptism and the Lord's Supper are intimately connected with being the body of Christ, the church.
And learn how we can honor other believers as we cherish the gifts Christ has given us in these sacraments / ordinances.
Questions for Reflection:
What has your experience been with Baptism and the Lord's Supper?
Sunday is no longer a widely culturally recognized day of Worship. What does it mean to set aside a day for the Lord in an age which never stops?
How has God met us through these practices of the church (Baptism and the Lord's Supper)? What do they tell us about God's character and actions?