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Unity through observing the Ordinances

Ways of Worship  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Observing the Ordinances is worship in the highest form

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The family of Faith observes the ordinances of Baptism and Communion out of obedience (;

Explanation: the term ordinance is defined as a decree, something that is to be done at the command of the one who ordained it or stated it. A closely related term is sacrament, a term used for Christian rites such as baptism or communion. Protestant Christianity maintains there are only 2 ordinances that Jesus ordained that His church should follow. The RCC maintains there are 7 sacraments, and that the acts themselves impart supernatural grace to the participants. Protestant Christianity is of the belief that we observe the Ordinances because Jesus commands it, but that the sacraments are symbolic and do not convey grace to the participants.
Argument: Our faith and practice is based on the Authority of Scripture. We desire to fulfill its requirements, but we dare not go beyond them to create ritual or beliefs or structures that God never intended for us to have.
The clarity of NT teaching is that faith in the finished work of Christ, and trust in Him alone is what regenerates and redeems lost sinners, not baptism or communion. Without a personal surrender to the Lordship of Christ, the church will just have wet sinners munching on little crackers and drinking juice.
Application: Develop a biblical understanding of the Ordinances, but as a first priority ensure you have a biblical understanding of Salvation.

Observing the Ordinances can positively impact our corporate worship

BAPTISM: The entrance ordinance of the Christian faith

Explanation: Upon trusting Christ as LORD and Saviour, the first public act of obedience for a new believer is Baptism. The act of Baptism is an outward expression of an inward change. It is symbolic and does not impart grace (Baptism does not save!)
Argument: The mode of immersion is the one that best portrays the symbolism of one who has died to an old way of life, and is raised to walk in newness of life (). While the process of salvation is ongoing (we are being saved from the power of sin), it has a definite origin. Just as a baby is only physically born one time, a person is only spiritually saved one time. (cf. ). Similarly, baptism is to be a one time event.
Only the baptism that follows spiritual rebirth is legitimate. If done prior to a genuine saving encounter with a holy God, a confused sinner just got wet.
Application: First, the personal application - make sure you have surrendered to Christ as Lord through faith in His finished work. Don’t equate baptism with salvation.
Second, if you have been regenerated and have not been baptized you need to be obedient in this area.
From a worship point of view, consider your own thoughts regarding our baptism rate on a yearly basis. Are you content being part of a church that only has a few baptisms (or no baptisms). Do you even think on this issue? If baptisms are an indicator of salvation (and they are), we should understand and be broken by little or no growth in this area.

Communion: The continuing celebration of our Faith

Explanation: Unlike Baptism, a one-time event, Communion is an ordinance that we observe time and time again to celebrate the vibrancy and expectancy of our faith. The act is referred to by several terms: communion, the Lord’s Supper, The Eucharist, or simply the Table. Whatever the term, the act of partaking Communion in corporate worship is to be a highpoint of unity and a time to reflect and rejoice!
READ . In this passage Paul tells the church to observe that which the LORD Jesus had instituted before He went to the Cross. In the synoptic Gospels Jesus is celebrating the Passover Meal with His disciples. In the midst of that meal, Jesus begins a new Christian rite of celebration that His people would follow thereafter. Just as the Passover looked back to reflect on the deliverance God made in the Exodus Event, the Lord’s Supper is for us to look back and reflect on the great Deliverance from sin that Jesus secured for His followers.
These observances are not just for somber reflection. Both Passover and the Lord’s Supper are times of joy & celebration. It is not just looking back, but living in freedom now, and with anticipation, looking for His blessed Return.

Observing the Ordinances brings us together in Worship

Explanation: A vital aspect of the ordinances is their power to bring us together & bind us as the family of faith. Baptism is the event that assimilates us into the fellowship. Through baptism one becomes a recognized member of the family. Communion is the event that unifies us as family members.
Argument: We celebrate and observe these ordinances together, as equal members of the same tribe. Think about what commonality brings us together at this time and in this place. What does a lawyer have in common with an upholsterer? What does a nurse have in common with a garbage collector? Why should a white median adult spend time with a black teenager? The only common bond is Jesus. And nowhere is this unity presented with more clarity than at the Table of the LORD.
Application: Are you at peace with your brother or sister in Christ? Is there division within the body that you bear responsibility for?
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