Public Symbols of Grace

Series: Public Symbols of Grace

Public Symbols of Grace

July 05, 2020 | John Ewart

We have just completed our sermon series on our discipleship goals.
We must retain and apply what we have learned. We do not want to lose this.
We must put our goals into practical application and action steps.
We must begin by making a new commitment to live out our discipleship in an
intentional, reproducible way.
We can start that journey by remembering what Christ has done for us,
recommitting ourselves to the covenant we have with Him, or establishing a
new relationship with Him.
We can live out part of our discipleship by participating in our July Two For
Two Evangelism Emphasis: Intentionally share 2 things with 2 people: your
testimony and the Gospel.
It is time to draw the line in the sand and commit to be the true disciples He
seeks in order to live out this church’s vision, and to fulfill the King’s Mission.
I pray you have prepared yourselves for this.
I pray you have truly examined your hearts and lives and are ready.
I pray you are ready to remember, celebrate, and to proclaim.
What I share and what we do today together will guide us to do that.
I want to share with you this morning about the ordinances of the church.
What is the difference between an ordinance and a sacrament?
A sacrament is normally a sacred ritual in which it is believed that God’s grace
is dispensed when you observe it.
In other words, they are outward signs that help lead to you receiving grace and
even salvation.
They involve a supernatural working of God.
Sacramental theology is the belief that salvation comes through some of these
works as part of your salvation experience.
They would be necessary for you to be fully saved or for you to continue to be
saved.
We do not believe in practicing sacraments.
We believe the Bible clearly teaches that salvation is by grace through faith and
not as the result of works.

So, we and other like-minded churches, observe what are called, ordinances.
An ordinance is an act of obedience believers observe in order to fulfill a
command of Christ and to share a testimony of what He has already done in our
lives.
They are visual symbols of His grace, of what Jesus did for us through his life,
death on the cross, and resurrection.
They are visuals of the Gospel we share, not in order to be saved, or to maintain
our salvation, but because we are already saved and those of us who are saved,
want to testify of our secure salvation in Him.
From your Constitution and By-laws: The Church recognizes two ordinances:
Baptism and the Lord's Supper (Communion).
Simply put, we do not believe baptism or the Lord’s Supper can save a person.
They are acts of obedience and testimony in which those who are already saved
proclaim the Gospel as a unified Body.
Before we share in the Supper, please allow me to share for just a few minutes
about our other ordinance, baptism.
I. Baptism is a Public Confession
Remember part of the Great Commission passage I preached to you last week:
Matthew 28:19
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Or remember from our study in the book of Acts:
Acts 2:41
41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day
about three thousand souls were added to them.
Note the order of things…they believed then they were baptized.
Baptism is a public confession of that belief.
As I shared last week baptism is also a doorway to local church membership.
Not to salvation but to covenant participation in the local body of believers.
Why?

Because of what it proclaims.
It is…
A. A Confession of the Cross
Romans 6:3, 6-7
3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into His death?
6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin
might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he
who has died has been freed from sin.
From your Constitution and By-laws: This Church shall receive for baptism
any person who has received Jesus Christ as Savior.
We practice what is called believer’s baptism.
This is a public confession of our belief in what Jesus did for us on the cross.
Man has two great problems, our sin and the result of our sin, death.
The cross pays for our sin, the empty tomb displays our victory over death.
We believe only those who have understood this Gospel and trusted in Christ as
their Lord and Savior should be baptized.
Therefore, you will not see us baptizing babies for example.
Though we certainly love our little ones and want to lift them up along with
their parents and families, we pray they will reach that place in their lives
where they can personally trust in Christ first before we would consider
baptism.
B. A Confession of Covering
Romans 6:4-5, 8-11
4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as
Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also
should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the
likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His
resurrection,

8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9
knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death
no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to
sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you
also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ
Jesus our Lord.
When we are saved by Christ; we are covered by what His death on the cross
and His resurrection from the grave produce for us.
We are covered by the payment of His blood sacrifice made to pay for our sin.
We are redeemed, purchased, bought back.
Death no longer has dominion over us because it no longer has dominion over
Him.
The old person who was under the penalty of sin and faced eternal death, has
been buried with Him and raised to a new life.
Baptism symbolizes this picture.
When we are baptized, we tell the world, this is what Christ has done for
me…He was crucified, buried, and rose again.
We also testify that the same thing has happened to the old, lost me.
I too was put to death, buried with Him and raised to new life in Him.
From your Constitution and By-laws: Baptism shall be by immersion in water.
Why is immersion such a big deal? Why not just sprinkle or pour?
Well, first of all, our English word “baptize” comes directly from the Greek
word baptizo.
Baptizo does not mean to sprinkle or pour. It cannot mean that.
It means to submerge or completely cover.
I wish we had just translated the original word and use a word like immerse or
submerge or completely cover rather than try to adopt the original into English.
The meaning would be clearer for us today.
The word was used when a ship sank to the bottom of the sea and was
completely covered by the water.
It was used in the cloth dyeing industry when a piece of cloth was completely
soaked and covered in a colored dye.
It is the word used throughout the New Testament.
Jesus was immersed by John the Baptist no matter what a movie may show.

He was not sprinkled, he was dunked.
They would not have used this word.
We are commanded to go and immerse.
One reason this is important is because of the imagery it presents.
When we lower someone into the water, we are symbolizing the death, burial
and resurrection of Jesus and of our old lost selves.
We are also symbolizing the complete covering salvation has already brought
to that person.
God the father no longer sees us, He sees the righteousness of God the Son as
our sin has been laid on Him and His righteousness on us.
The water does not do that.
God the Spirit already did that at the moment of salvation.
Baptism symbolizes that gracious act.
Our passage continues as we confess the cross, our covering and baptism is…
C. A Confession of Cleansing
Romans 6:4, 12-14
4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as
Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also
should walk in newness of life.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it
in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of
unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the
dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin
shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
From your Constitution and By-laws: The physical element of water in
baptism does not save the sinner but is a voluntary external testimony to the
work which the Holy Spirit has already done in the believer. Following the
Lord in baptism is an act of obedience.
In Acts 10:47-48, the Gentile believers were baptized with water after they
had been spiritually baptized by the Holy Spirit (Romans 6:3-6, Ephesians

1:13-14). We believe a person is baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of
Christ upon conversion/belief (1 Corinthians 12:13).
So again, baptism does not save, it symbolizes. It does not dispense grace; it
displays grace already given.
That complete covering of the water symbolizes the complete cleansing power
of that grace, of the complete forgiveness Jesus brings when we trust in Him for
salvation.
Every part of us is saved. It is a complete and thorough salvation.
Every sin is covered and forgiven.
Those we committed prior to that moment and those we will commit in the
present and future.
I tell people they get to preach their best sermon when they are obedient in
baptism.
Which one of you needs to follow the Lord in believer’s baptism? Preach this
sermon?
You can contact the church this week and speak with a pastor about what the
next steps need to be!
Two ordinances. The public confession of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
II. The Lord’s Supper is a Public Commitment
We find Paul describing for us the practice of the Lord’s Supper in
I Corinthians 11.
I always find it interesting we go to a writing of Paul rather than a Gospel when
we quote passages with the Supper.
The context of I Corinthians 11 was a church using the Lord’s Supper for
personal benefit and causing division over it.
They were putting themselves first instead of remembering what Christ had
done for them and their love for one another.
The reasons we observe the Supper matter!
How we do this truly makes a difference.
From your Constitution and By-laws: This Church shall observe the Lord's
Supper in keeping with the commands of the Bible…

A. A New Command
I Corinthians 11:23-26
23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the
Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and
when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body
which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same
manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new
covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of
Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim
the Lord’s death till He comes.
We are to “do this”.
The Bible does not tell us how often we must, but it does tell us that when we
do, we must do this for the right reasons.
We take the Supper together in order to remember what Christ has done for us
on the cross, through His sacrifice.
He gave his body and blood for us.
For our sin.
To pay the price that had to be paid.
Because we never could, and the debt had to be paid.
We owe Him everything.
He earned our everything.
It is important for us to remember so we never forget or grow cold in some lack
of appreciation.
B. A New Covenant
I Corinthians 11:25-26
25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup
is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in
remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this
cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
His sacrifice ushers in the New Testament or covenant.

We take the Supper to renew our commitment to the covenant to be the disciple
Jesus desires for us to be.
This last sermon series was important!
We do not take the Supper in order to be saved but in celebration of the
covenant truth that those who have trusted in Christ are already saved.
Grace is not dispensed; it is remembered and cherished.
The Holy Spirit brings us into a covenant relationship with Christ.
This is a time for renewal, revival, re-commitment of our understanding,
appreciation and participation in that covenant relationship.
The Supper does not make that happen in some supernatural way.
Again, we do not believe this is a sacrament.
From your Constitution and By-laws: The physical elements of bread and
juice are not the actual body and blood of Christ, but represent Christ’s body,
broken for us, and His blood shed for our justification before God.
We do not believe the bread and cup transform into ways to receive grace.
They are symbols of that grace we have already received.
That is why this is only for believers to share.
It is an opportunity to proclaim what Christ has already done for us.
You can follow up by sharing in our July Two For Two Evangelism Emphasis:
Intentionally sharing 2 things with 2 people: your testimony and the Gospel.
As believers we celebrate being…
C. A New Creation v. 27-31

I Corinthians 11:27-31
27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an
unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let
a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks
judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many
are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge
ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are
chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

The way we celebrate the Supper matters!
The Corinthians did not get it and wanted to use the Supper for themselves.
We carefully approach this table with a sense of reverence and awe and respect
for what He has done for us.
We recognize we have been changed.
From your Constitution and By-laws: All who know Jesus Christ as Lord and
Savior will be invited to participate…It is an occasion of remembrance and
self-examination.
Only the one who has experienced salvation can prepare to take the Supper in a
worthy manner.
Only those who have experienced the new creation power of His sacrifice by
grace through faith can recognize any sin that would create such unworthiness.
That is why the Lord’s Supper, just like baptism, is for believers only.
A non-believer has not yet experienced the saving grace which the Supper
proclaims.
They cannot remember or celebrate or proclaim something they have not
experienced personally.
Thus, for those who have not personally trusted in Christ we encourage you to
watch and observe how we take this Supper.
First be saved, then share in the Supper with us in order to remember and
proclaim what has happened to you.
Take a moment for reflection and repentance.
Let’s celebrate the Supper together!
Prayer
Take the Bread
I Corinthians 11:23-24
23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the
Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and
when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body
which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
Prayer

Take the Cup
I Corinthians 11:25-26
25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup
is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in
remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this
cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
Hear the proclamation. Hear the testimony!

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