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Baptism at FBC of Roselawn...

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Baptism at FBC of Roselawn...

“Do this in remembrance of Me” (). The ordinances are the dramatic presentations of the Gospel. They are the moving pictures that represent the spiritual realities of the Gospel, written and directed by Jesus Himself.


Those who are being baptized need to have explained to them some basics of what the ordinances teach us:
The bread and cup, in the Lord’s Supper, portray Christ’s body and blood broken and poured out for the remission of our sins, a visual reminder of Christ’s Cross-work on our behalf ().
In the same way, Baptism portrays our spiritual death to sin, our symbolic burial with Christ, and our resurrection with Him to new life ().
In the same way, Baptism portrays our spiritual death to sin, our symbolic burial with Christ, and our resurrection with Him to new life ().
The ordinances, then, are where we...
See the Gospel enacted, and our participation in the gospel is dramatized in those ordinances.
They are where the word of God’s promise is spoken to us in tangible form—we touch and taste the bread and cup; we feel the waters of baptism.
They are means of grace instituted by Jesus that God uses to assure His people of the trustworthiness of His Gospel and the reality of our participation in it.
The ordinances are the visible signs and seals of participation in the New Covenant. After the right preaching of the Word, the right administration of the ordinances is what most visibly marks out the church from the world. So it is especially important that the pastor is faithful here. In part, faithfulness in administering the ordinances means requiring baptism for church membership. Baptism is the physical representation of spiritual conversion. It is the first external sign of membership in the New Covenant, identifying us with the people of God. As such, it should be the first external requirement for membership in the church.
Dever, M., & Alexander, P. (2005). The deliberate church: building your ministry on the gospel (pp. 85–86). Wheaton, IL: Crossway.


Often as evangelicals the thing we emphasize most about the ordinances is that they’re not necessary for salvation. Beyond this, we are sometimes silent to put forward a positive view of the role of the ordinances. So what is the place of the ordinances in the local church, and how do they contribute to its corporate health and holiness?

Baptism (with some passages to read as a family)

According to the Bible, baptism is fundamentally a physical sign of a spiritual reality. indicates that it is for believers only, the initial step of obedience in our new life of discipleship to Christ. is even more specific, indicating that baptism symbolizes our death and burial with Christ as our representative Head, and our spiritual resurrection with Him from the symbolic grave. indicates even more specifically still that baptism is the physical representation of the spiritual circumcision of our hearts. As such, it functions as something of an identity marker, initially identifying us as members of the New Covenant—those who have received new hearts from God (). In other words, baptism identifies us as members of the community called the people of God—the church.
Baptism, then, is the ordinance that guards the front door of the local church. It ensures, as far as externally possible, that those who become members of our churches really are members of the New Covenant, complete with new hearts. In requiring every member to be baptized as a believer, we are only asking them to obey the first commandment Jesus gives His disciples—to externally identify ourselves with His people ()—thus verifying their discipleship to Him. This is the primary way that we protect the regeneracy of church membership. That is, by being baptized as a believer, each potential new member is publicly stating that his or her heart has been circumcised by the Spirit, that they have been crucified, buried, and raised with Christ. They are testifying by their own symbolic actions that they have in fact genuinely repented and believed in the Gospel. In so doing, they identify themselves as one whose heart has truly been regenerated—a new creation in Christ, and as such a member of God’s people.
A word of caution: If baptism functions as guardian of the front door of the local church, then baptizing children may actually endanger regenerate church membership and therefore the purity of the church’s corporate testimony in the community. By God’s design, children are naturally pliable to the instruction and example of their parents. If we baptize them prematurely, then we risk affirming a profession that was made simply to please believing parents or to be accepted by a Christian subculture, thus perpetuating nominalism (even unwittingly). Waiting to baptize the young until they’ve reached some maturity helps to ensure that we do not wrongly affirm a spurious profession with the sign of baptism.
When we have baptisms at our church, we place them at the end of the morning service. I will first introduce the candidates to the congregation and then ask them to give a brief (three-minute) testimony of how they were converted and why they want to be baptized as believers. I then ask them two questions:
Do you make profession of repentance toward God and of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?
Do you promise, by God’s grace, to follow Him forever in the fellowship of His church?
After they answer in the affirmative, the candidate(s) and I prepare to enter the baptistery as the congregation sings a hymn. Once we’re in the water, I say, “John, upon your profession of repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
May the glory of Christ fill us as He leads us to Himself!
Dever, M., & Alexander, P. (2005). The deliberate church: building your ministry on the gospel (pp. 105–107). Wheaton, IL: Crossway.
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