Baptism and Lord’s Supper
20 January 2019 AM – Acts 2:41 – Baptist Distinctives – Scott Childs
Introduction: In the nearly 2000 years since the time of Jesus Christ, especially during the dark ages from 400-1600 AD, no Bible doctrine has been so hatefully opposed as that of baptism by immersion. For centuries, the Catholic Church called it heresy. Baptism by immersion was the main “crime” for which the Catholic Church killed millions of Christians during the dark ages. Those who baptised believers by immersion, thought they had been sprinkled as babies, were called “ana-baptists” meaning to baptise again. Were they really Anabaptists? No, sprinkling is not biblical baptism.
The symbolic Lord’s Supper has also been an issue of controversy. During the Council of Trent in 1545, the Catholic Church stated that when the priest prays over the bread and wine they actually become Christ’s body and blood (i.e., transubstantiation). The Catholic Church and some reformed churches also claim that the Lord’s Supper (often called communion) is a sacrament aiding one’s salvation. Baptists reject these non-biblical teachings and hold to a symbolic Lord’s Supper.
Transition: This morning we will briefly explain from the Bible why Baptists believe in public immersion of believers and a symbolic Lord’s Supper.
1. Public Immersion of Believers
a. All baptisms in the Bible were by immersion only
1) The Bible word translated “baptize” is baptizo meaning to dip, to immerse, to submerge. Baptism is when a believer in Christ is dipped backward into the water and brought back up picturing Christ’s death and resurrection.
2) John the Baptist baptised by immersion in anticipation of Christ’s coming. (Matthew 3:6) “And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.” Note that he was IN the Jordan River.
3) Jesus commanded that all new believers be baptized or immersed. (Matthew 28:19) “Go ye therefore, and teach [make disciples of] all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”
4) Philip the evangelist baptised the believing eunuch in water by immersion. (Acts 8:38) “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. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.”
5) Baptist historian Thomas Armitage claims that no record exists of any infant baptisms having taken place prior to the year 250. J. M. Carroll claims it was not until the year 370. Either way, biblical baptism is only by immersion.
b. Biblical baptism was for believers only
1) That is what Jesus required in Matthew 28:19. Above
2) That is what the Apostles practiced in our text verse. (Acts 2:41) “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”
3) Philip said the eunuch must believe on Christ before he could be baptised. (Acts 8:37) “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.”
4) Baby baptism is NOT biblical baptism. It is impossible for the baby to believe on Christ. Thus, infant baptism or christening is not baptism. It is also impossible for an adult to believe for a baby.
5) Infant baptism is NOT ONCE mentioned in the Bible. To twist Bible verses to claim that they teach infant baptism is both deceitful and sinful.
6) If you were baptised in a church that did not believe the fundamentals of the faith, their baptism cannot be accepted as Biblical. Before a person can become a Christian, he must believe five fundamentals of the Faith: 1) The Bible is the Word of God. 2) Jesus Christ is God. 3) Jesus bled and died for our sins. 4) Jesus rose bodily from the grave. 5) Only repentance and faith in Christ’s atonement can save us from eternal judgment in the Lake of Fire.
7) If you were baptised by immersion before you were truly saved, you need to be immersed again now that you are SURE you have trusted Christ.
c. Biblical baptism was a public testimony
1) Baptism is not part of salvation. It is only a testimony of God’s saving grace in your life. There are two or three Bible verses that “sound” like baptism is part of salvation, but there are scores of salvation verses that do not mention baptism.
2) Churches that require baptism as part of salvation are adding to the Christ’s atonement.
3) Baptism is not a sacrament. It does not give you any merit or help you get to heaven.
4) Baptism is a public testimony of salvation. It follows salvation to announce publically to all present that you have trusted Christ to save you. It is an act of obedience.
5) Those baptised joined that local church. (Acts 2:41) “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” While church membership is not mentioned much in the New Testament, it was clearly practiced in order to maintain church discipline.
O Becoming a Christian in the 1st Century but not being baptised and becoming a member of a local church was not the New Testament practice. If you have trusted Christ to save you, God wants you to be baptised and join our church.
2. Symbolic Lord’s Supper
While many churches call this Communion, we prefer to call it the Lord’s Supper as it was called in 1Corinthians 11:20.
a. In the Bible the Lord’s Supper was a memorial
1) The night before Jesus went to the cross, He instituted this ordinance. He took unleavened flat bread as Luke 22:19 describes. “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
2) Paul taught the church at Corinth the same memorial. (1 Corinthians 11:24-25) “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.”
3) The entire purpose of the ordinance is to remember what Christ did for us. It is a memorial of Christ’s atonement.
b. In the Bible the Lord’s Supper was symbolic
1) At the Lord’s Supper, Jesus used broken unleavened flat bread to remind of His broken body. He also used wine (literally red grape juice) to remind of His shed blood.
a) Jesus did not cut His flesh and collect His blood to give to the disciples to eat and drink. It was symbolic.
b) The word “wine” in the Bible is generic referring to anything that comes from a grape. Context dictates its form. (Proverbs 20:1) “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” (See also, Pr 23:31-33; Hab 2:15). Since the Bible condemns strong drink, and God wrote the Bible, the liquid He used could not have been alcoholic wine.
2) The Supper was not a sacrament producing any merit with God. It was simply a memorial.
3) As mentioned in the introduction, we totally reject idea of transubstantiation where Catholics claim that the elements are changed into the literal body and blood of Jesus. The Bible simply does NOT teach that.
c. Biblical Lord’s Supper was for church members
1) Jesus gave it to His disciples who were to become the first church.
2) It is only mentioned in a church context. Paul gave instructions to the Corinthian church. Non-church members should not partake. Instead, they ought to be baptized and join the local church and then partake.
Conclusion: As Baptists, we believe in public immersion of believers and a symbolic Lord’s Supper. If you have not yet been baptised since you trusted Christ, you need to speak to me about being baptised. If you are not a church member, you really need to join our church and get involved. If you are not saved, I would love to talk with you about it.
Song: Have Thine Own Way – 388