There are two ordinances that Christ gave us to observe.

These ordinances are not to be observed out of habit, ritual, or ceremony. They are to be done to glorify Him and show Him to the world around us. They are given to us for specific purposes. The Pastor sets the tone of how the ordinance is done. It is administered by the pastor, or by those that he selects to help him administer these ordinances.

We do not call them sacraments. The Bible uses the word “ordinances.”

1 Corinthians 11:2 “Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.”
There are two specific ordinances given to us, and we are told how to administer and partake of these ordinances.

1. Baptism.

The first ordinance that we are given is the ordinance of Baptism. This is of first importance, because it is the first ordinance that we partake in as believers. A person should be baptized Scripturally soon after they become a Christian. They should be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and should be immersed in the water. This is a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
-As you stand in the water, the water crosses your body, reminding us of the cross where Jesus died.
-As you go under the water, we are reminded of Christ’s burial in the tomb.
-As we come up out of the water, we are raised to walk in newness of life as Christ was raised from the dead the third day.

Matthew 28:19 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
Acts 8:36-38 “And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.”

-There must be a pool of water present to have a baptism.
-The baptismal candidate must truly believe in Jesus Christ with their heart and have confessed their belief in Him with their mouth.
-They must be immersed under the water to be Biblically baptized.

Romans 6:3-4 “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
Baptism is a picture of our death with Christ to sin, and the new life that we have in Christ.

Water baptism does not save a person, but publicly shows that a person is saved and believes in Jesus Christ. Baptism is not a requirement for salvation, but an outward expression of our salvation. Baptism identifies us with the Lord Jesus. We get baptized to show the world that we belong to Christ.

Acts 16:30-33 [The jailor] “brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.”

2. The Lord’s Supper.

This ordinance may also be referred to as Communion or the Lord’s Table (1 Corinthians 10). It is the time in which the church gathers together to commemorate the death of Jesus Christ. It follows the pattern set by Christ at the Last Supper with His disciples. At the Last Supper Jesus commanded His disciples to observe this ordinance.

Matthew 26:26-30 tells us the account of the last Passover Jesus partook of with His disciples.

“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.”

The Lord’s Supper is a picture of Christ’s death. The bread does not turn in to the actual body of Christ. That is blasphemous, and is a false doctrine called “transubstantiation.” Jesus had not given His body and blood yet, and Jesus referred to the drink as “the fruit of the vine.” It is only a picture. We do not eat or drink His literal body and blood; we are commanded to do this in remembrance of Him. It pictures His broken body and His shed blood.

How are we to observe this ordinance? There are several things to understand from 1 Corinthians 11:20-34.

“When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? what shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.”

1. The purpose of the Lord’s Supper is to remember Christ and show His death. The Lord’s Supper is not for the purpose of having a meal. It is for the distinct purpose of remembering what Christ has done for us. It shows His death till He comes.

2. The manner in which we take the Lord’s Supper should be a worthy manner. We are to take it in a solemn manner, understanding and discerning that we are commemorating Christ’s body and blood. It should not be done carelessly, and all sin should be confessed before taking it.

3. The Lord’s Supper should be preceded by a time of self-examination. No one should take the Lord’s Supper until they have had a time of examination in which they have asked the Lord to forgive and cleanse them of inward and outward sin. A person SHOULD NOT take the Lord’s Supper if they are living in unrepentant sin. That’s why many were becoming ill and dying in the Corinthian church. They were abusing and misusing this ordinance.

4. The Lord’s Supper may be taken as often as we desire. Paul said “as oft as ye drink it” and “as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup.” It should never become routine or habitual. It should always be meaningful and fresh. It may be done once a month, or a few times a year, or however the pastor is led by the Lord.

5. We should wait for one another in taking the Lord’s Supper. We are told to “tarry one for another.” We take the Lord’s Supper together, and partake at the same time of the elements to reverently remember our Lord.

Who may take the Lord’s Supper?

1. Those who are saved and baptized. The saved can partake of the Lord’s Supper, and preferably only those who have been baptized. Baptism is the first step of identification with Christ and should be taken care of before one takes of the Lord’s Supper.

2. Those who are willing to examine themselves of sin. Only those who are willing to let the Lord chasten them and show them sin in their life should partake of the Lord’s Supper. If one is not willing to do this or is too prideful, he should not partake of the Lord’s Supper.

3. Those who are genuinely following the Lord. One should only take of the Lord’s Supper if they have a sincere desire to follow the Lord and are not living in open sin.
Should only church members take the Lord’s Supper? There are three types of Communion practices that are common in churches.

-Open communion. This is where anyone who is in the church assembly at a communion service is allowed to take of the Lord’s Supper. This is very dangerous and unadvisable because there may be unsaved people in the service. They would certainly be taking it “unworthily” and would be profaning the name of Christ. There could be people living in open sin who are taking it carelessly as well. This could cause the judgment of God on that church.

-Closed communion. This is the type of communion in which only church members eat and drink of the communion elements. Others might be asked to leave before the elements are passed. This would bar those who are visiting that church from partaking of the Lord’s Supper. They must become a member first. This may help safeguard a church against sin, but is not a regulation set forth in the Bible.

-“Close” communion. This type of communion allows all believers to partake of the Lord’s Supper whether they are members of that particular church or not. Therefore, they must meet the qualifications of being saved and baptized and have a willingness to be examined by the Lord. This is then based on the individual’s heart, and is judged by the Lord individually. It is for those “close” to the Lord. I believe that if the pastor properly explains the requirements, this is a safe and reasonable method of practicing Communion.