Mar 8, 2013

THE MEANS OF GRACE AND THE SACRAMENTS

I believe that within the church there are special blessings God has given: the means of grace of the church. Examples include: the sacraments, the preaching of the Word, prayer, church discipline, worship, giving, spiritual gifts, and fellowship. The two sacraments (baptism and communion) are ceremonies or rituals that we are commanded to do by Jesus. They provide a special blessing but do not impart merit. Disciples of Jesus are to be baptized (Matt 28:18-20) by full immersion (Mk 1:10; Jn 3:23). Baptism should only be administered to those who make a credible profession of faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 2:41; 8:12, 36-39; Gal 3:27). Baptism symbolizes - but does not impart - new birth, the cleansing of sins, and being buried and raised with Christ (Rom 6:3-4; Col 2:12; Tit 3:5; Acts 22:16). 

        I believe the Lord’s Supper was instituted by Christ as a memorial to his sacrificial and atoning death (Matt 26:26-30; Mk 14:22-26; Lk 22:14-20). Christ is present to bless in a real (but not physical) way at His table. Communion pictures soul nourishment and our union with Christ - as well as our unity with other believers. Communion is limited to believers (Acts 2:41-42; 1 Cor 11:28), should be done frequently (1 Cor 11:24-26), and should be given in the context of a local church setting (Acts 20:7).

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