We’re doing a three-week miniseries about church ordinances (church what?!?) at CrossWay. Yesterday we kicked it off by talking about baptism.

“Ordinance” is simply a pretty church word for a symbolic exercise that we practice regularly. It’s when we use the stuff of everyday life to connect with something deeper. Ordinances evoke remembrance of what God has done and celebration of what He’s going to do. It’s a shared experience between the church and our God.

Baptism is one of those ordinances. As Mennonites, we don’t sprinkle babies or splash water on people. Instead, we follow Jesus’ instruction to baptize His disciples. In other words, when someone understands the Gospel and responds to it by receiving Christ through faith, they’re baptized (dunked) as a public profession of that faith.

Baptism serves several purposes:

(1) It allows a new believer to publicly profess faith in Christ and a commitment to follow Him.

(2) It symbolizes being washed, cleansed, purified from sin, which is what happens at the moment of salvation. Just to clarify: Baptism is not a requirement for salvation; it is symbolic of what has already happened at the moment of salvation.

(3) It symbolizes a rebirth, a new birth. Jesus said we must be born again (a phrase that has been horribly abused in recent years, but it originated with Jesus).

(4) It symbolizes death, burial, and resurrection. In baptism, the new believer is identifying with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and looking forward to the day of their own resurrection.

(5) It’s one of the earliest acts of obedience for a new follower of Christ. Jesus said to get baptized. When you place your faith in Jesus and get baptized, you’re demonstrating obedience to Him.

Next week we’re looking at the ordinance of communion, or the Lord’s Supper.

Published in: on December 3, 2007 at 7:28 am  Leave a Comment  

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