Matthew 28:19 NIV78 – “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…”
This morning we have the privilege of witnessing the wonderful expression of the great Love of Christ that is seen in Water Baptism. As Believers, we are Children of God and citizens of His Kingdom, living our lives as visible representatives of His invisible Grace in this Arena of Conflict. Today, we are blessed to share with those who are walking in the power of the Love of Christ that is witnessed when a precious human soul enters the waters of baptism.
Water Baptism is one of the most common practices in the whole tradition of Christianity. It is not merely a religious ritual, but rather a powerful identification of the Believer with the Grace of God expressed through our Lord Jesus Christ. Not only did our Lord Jesus command us to baptize those who repent and come to Him for salvation…but He Himself was also baptized (Luke 3:21-22).
This ceremony is a practice of the Church that applies to every member of the Body of Christ. In the same way, that every Believer is invited to the Table of the Lord, so too, every Believer is commanded to follow the Lord in Water Baptism. It is so important that we consider it an Ordinance of the Church, signifying simply "that which is ordered or commanded." In Christian usage, it refers to a divinely instituted rite, which conveys truth through its symbolism. Essentially, there are three distinguishing marks that characterize a New Testament ordinance:
• Instituted by Christ.
• Taught by the apostles.
• Practiced by the early church.
Therefore, we understand an Ordinance of the Church to be a command to be obeyed, and to serve as a representation of the Work, Favor, and Grace of the Lord Almighty manifested in Christ Jesus. An ordinance is a visible enactment of the Gospel message and the mighty work of Christ within His Body, both collectively and as individuals.
For example, you and I individually take the elements of Communion, but we are all together at the Lord’s Table. Individuals will be baptized in water today, but most of us have followed the Lord in baptism, and we will all witness it this morning…collectively sharing in this Grace.
Dr. Tobey Montgomery