The Ordinances (Baptism and Communion) as Worship

Text: Various
Speaker: Jim Newheiser
Outline: PDF
Date: December 28, 2014

An ordinance is an outward ritual prescribed by Christ which is a visible sign of an inward spiritual reality.  Given that we are forbidden from making unauthorized visible representations of God, it is remarkable that He has given us two visible tangible signs.  The two ordinances revealed in Scripture are baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

The ordinances given by Christ to the church have been the subject of great controversy throughout church history.  During the reformation there was more debate over the meaning of communion than there was over justification.

Some call them “sacraments”.  Why do we prefer the term “ordinances”?  Some say there are seven rather than two ordinances/sacraments.  There have been debates over who should receive the ordinances.  Should babies be baptized?  Why do some baptize babies, but then withhold communion from children until they profess faith.  Some believe that during communion the bread and the wine become the actual body and blood of Jesus.

There have been controversies over what the ordinances mean.  Are the ordinances merely something we do?  Or is God also doing something?  If so, what is He doing?  Some believe that saving grace is actually conveyed through the ordinances.

I will seek to address each of these questions (and more) from God’s Word so that we can worship Him in Spirit and in truth as we participate in the ordinances Jesus has given to His church.


Posted on December 28th, 2014 | Permalink