When the Lord Jesus Christ left this earth to be with His Heavenly Father, He knew that His followers, being human, would be forgetful creatures. Because of this, He ordained that certain practices should be observed regularly by the church that would serve as reminders to Christians of all ages of His death and resurrection. We call these the ordinances of the church. At our church, we regularly observe two ordinances: The Lord’s Table (communion) and Christian baptism.
The Lord’s Table
The Lord’s Table is a ceremony in which believers partake of certain elements that represent the body and the blood of Jesus.
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 NIV
A Time of Remembrance
Believers are to recall the details and the meaning of Jesus’ death when they partake of the Lord’s Table.
14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” 17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. Luke 22:14-20 NIV
A Time of Examination
The Lord’s Table is to be a time of examination for every believer present—an occasion asking God to reveal any unforsaken sin in their lives.
28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 1 Corinthians 11:28 NIV
A Time of Recognition
God takes this ordinance very seriously and judges those who partake in an unworthy manner.
27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 NIV
Common questions about the Lord’s Table
- When are my children old enough to participate?
- Does this church practice open or closed communion?
What Does Baptism Mean?
The word baptism in its literal, original form means immersion. If you look up immerse in the dictionary you will see baptism used in the definition. This ordinance of the church was never intended to be simplified by sprinkling or pouring just for the convenience of the believer.
There are 3 baptisms for believers.
- Baptism in Christ
- Baptism in water
- Baptism in the Holy Spirit
This is usually the order in which the baptisms take place. Baptism in Christ must take place however, before anything else. For baptism in Christ is the point of salvation.
Normally baptism in water precedes baptism in the Holy Spirit, but this order is not absolutely necessary. In Acts chapter 10, at the house of Cornelius, the people were baptized in the Holy Spirit when they believed.
Baptism in Christ
Baptism in Christ is baptism into His Body, which is the Church. This baptism is done by the Holy Spirit.
13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:13 NASB95
26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26-28 NASB95
3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin– 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. Romans 6:3-8 NIV
12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, Colossians 2:12-13 NIV
This baptism is done the moment you truly receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
In every baptism there is death, burial, and resurrection, which represents the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, in the tomb, and in the garden.
- Baptism in Christ means that you have been immersed into the Body of Christ.
- Death is to sin (we were born sinners).
- Resurrection is to new life in Jesus… and ultimately new life in Heaven.
Baptism in Water
Water baptism is the public act of being immersed in water by an individual who has professed faith in Jesus Christ.
38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. Acts 8:38-39 NIV
We do not believe that baptism is a requirement for salvation, but we do believe that water baptism is a vitally important first step for a believer.
Every passage where the word is used in the New Testament either requires or allows the meaning of immerse. Passages speak of baptism in Jordan and in the river Jordan.
Jesus Himself went down into the river.
9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. Mark 1:9-10 NIV
Philip and the eunuch in Acts 8:38 went down both into the water and came up out of the water.
John 3:23 says that John baptized near Salim because there was much water there… that is, a sufficient depth of water for baptizing.
No modern church has the right to change or modify the New Testament commands on baptism, or to change the literal and commonly known meaning of baptism, which is to bury, to immerse, and submerge.
There is significant reason for God instructing immersion in baptism.
|Salvation||Holy Spirit||Jesus Christ|
|Baptism in the Holy Spirit||Jesus Christ||Holy Spirit|
Jesus commanded that water baptism is to be performed in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 NIV
Water baptism is a symbol or picture.
- It is a present picture of a past event (the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus).
- It is an outward picture of an inner reality (death to the old you; life of the new you).
The individual who chooses baptism publicly identifies with Jesus Christ. Just as the wearing of a wedding ring follows the marriage commitment and symbolizes that commitment, so Christian baptism follows commitment to Christ.
Common Questions About Baptism
- When are my children old enough to be baptized? When they recognize their relationship with God as a true relationship.
- If I was baptized as an infant, do I need to be baptized again? Yes.
- Does this church require re-baptism for membership? No.
- Does baptism in this church automatically make me a member? No.
Baptism in the Holy Spirit
The Spirit of God did not indwell people in the Old Testament the way He does now. Because of the finished work of the cross, Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection, we are now indwelled with the Holy Spirit! We have become the temple of the Holy Spirit: the place where God indwells. God’s Spirit lives inside!
An Upon Experience in the Old Testament
But what about the baptism in the Holy Spirit? The Old Testament speaks of the Spirit of God coming upon them. An upon experience. A few examples are listed below.
9 And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. 10 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: Judges 3:9-10 KJV
34 But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered after him. Judges 6:34 KJV
29 Now the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, so that he passed through Gilead and Manasseh; then he passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he went on to the sons of Ammon. Judges 11:29 NASB95
5 Then Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came as far as the vineyards of Timnah; and behold, a young lion came roaring toward him. 6 The Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily, so that he tore him as one tears a young goat though he had nothing in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done. Judges 14:5-6 NASB95
9 Then it happened when he turned his back to leave Samuel, God changed his heart; and all those signs came about on that day. 10 When they came to the hill there, behold, a group of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him mightily, so that he prophesied among them. 1 Samuel 10:9-10 NASB95
13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah. 1 Samuel 16:13 NASB95
1 And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: 2 Chronicles 15:1 KJV
20 And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you. 2 Chronicles 24:20 KJV
5 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon me, and he told me to say: “This is what the LORD says: That is what you are saying, O house of Israel, but I know what is going through your mind. Ezekiel 11:5 NIV
So we see that the Power of the Holy Spirit was real and active in the Old Testament, even before the Day of Pentecost. THIS IS NOT A SALVATION EXPERIENCE… THIS IS AN UPON EXPERIENCE! The Spirit of God came UPON selected individuals in specific times of need so that God’s power may be revealed, and sometimes for the prophets’ lives to be saved and others to believe in God!
When these Old Testament prophets experienced the Spirit of God coming upon them, they came under the Spirit’s authority. The POWER OF GOD came upon them to do exploits for the Kingdom of God.
They were made able to tear lions apart; kill 1,000 enemies alone with a donkey’s jawbone, step into the fiery furnace and not be singed by the fire, and speak the Word of God boldly even in the face of death!
An Upon and Dwelling Within Experience in the New Testament
In the New Testament, the Spirit of God comes upon and dwells within believers. This is not a salvation experience; it is an upon and within experience!
49 “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:49 NASB95
8 “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:8 NASB95
2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. Acts 2:2-4 NASB95
17 ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says,
‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND;
AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY,
AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS,
AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; Acts 2:17 NASB95
14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Acts 8:14-16 NASB95
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. Acts 10:44 NASB95
15 “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning.” Acts 11:15 NASB95)
6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. Acts 19:6 NASB95
We read that the Spirit was poured upon them, and that they were also filled! We get the picture here of something sinking in water. Like a ship being sucked underneath a waterfall and sinking, then being filled up with the water.
|Salvation||Holy Spirit||Jesus Christ|
|Baptism in the Holy Spirit||Jesus Christ||Holy Spirit|
The Promise and the Gift of the Holy Spirit is for Believers
38 He who believes in Me [who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me] as the Scripture has said, From his innermost being shall flow [continuously] springs and rivers of living water. 39 But He was speaking here of the Spirit, Whom those who believed (trusted, had faith) in Him were afterward to receive. For the [Holy] Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (raised to honor). John 7:38-39 AMPC
16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever— 17 The Spirit of Truth, Whom the world cannot receive (welcome, take to its heart), because it does not see Him or know and recognize Him. But you know and recognize Him, for He lives with you [constantly] and will be in you. John 14:16-17 AMPC
- Notice how the Lord Jesus says He will ask the Father
- The Holy Spirit will remain with you forever
- The Holy Spirit cannot be received by unbelievers
- Believers know and recognize the Holy Spirit
- The Holy Spirit lives with you
- The Holy Spirit is in you
38 And Peter answered them, Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise [of the Holy Spirit] is to and for you and your children, and to and for all that are far away, [even] to and for as many as the Lord our God invites and bids to come to Himself. Acts 2:38-39 AMPC
- The Holy Spirit being given to believers is a gift from God to you
- The promise of the Holy Spirit is for all believers
13 “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13 NIV
- It is impossible for God to lie, so He will give you the gift of the Holy Spirit if you ask Him!