Study 7 Objective: What are Baptism and the Lord's Supper, and why are they relevant to the believer?
Togetherness and community
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper also reflect the unity of believers and fellowship with one another and with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Through “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5) believers “have been united together in the likeness of His death” (Romans 6:5). When a believer is baptized, the church recognizes that in faith she or he has received the Holy Spirit.
Through the reception of the Spirit Christians are immersed into the community of the church. “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free – and have all been made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13).
Jesus will never leave nor forsake the church community (Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 28:20), which is his Body (Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 4:12).
This active involvement in the Christian community is reinforced in the taking the bread and the wine at the Lord’s Table.
Not only is the wine, the cup of blessing, “the communion of the blood of Christ”, and the bread “communion of the body of Christ”, it is also participation in the shared life of all believers. “For we, though many,
are one bread and one body” (1 Corinthians 10:16-17).
In what ways is God’s love made visible through the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper?
How do Baptism and the Lord’s Supper witness to God’s saving grace to the church and to the greater
Both the Lord’s Supper and Baptism are visible participation in God’s forgiveness.
When Jesus commanded His followers that, wherever they go, they should baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19), it was an instruction to immerse believers into the community of the forgiving forgiven. Acts 2:38 explains that baptism is for ‘the remission of sins” and for the reception of the gift of the Holy
If we are “raised with Christ” (i.e. by rising from the waters of baptism into a new life in Christ) we are to forgive one another, even as God in Christ forgave us (Colossians 3:1, 13; Ephesians 4:32). Baptism implies extending forgiving as well as receiving forgiveness.
The Lord’s Supper is sometimes referred to as Communion (stressing the idea of communing with Christ and other believers through the symbols). It is also known as the Eucharist (from the Greek word meaning “thanks” because Christ gave thanks before breaking the bread and passing out the wine).
When we come together to take the wine and the bread, we proclaim with thanks the Lord’s death for our forgiveness until Jesus comes again (I Corinthians 11:26), and we are both declaring and taking part in the
communion or fellowship of the saints with one another and with God. This reminds us that forgiving one another is to participate in the meaning of the sacrifice of Christ.
We are in danger if we judge others of being unworthy of Christ’s forgiveness or unworthy of our own forgiveness. Christ said “judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1). Is this what Paul was referring to in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29? That, by not forgiving, we fail to discern or
understand that the Lord’s body was broken for the forgiveness of all?