A Little Time With The 1689: Day 345

Day 345

Of Baptism.

Chapter 29, Paragraph 1.

Baptism is an Ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party Baptized, a sign of his fellowship with him, in his death, and resurrection; of his being ingrafted into him;…”

Scripture Lookup

Romans 6:3-5

Colossians 2:12

Galatians 3:27

Reflection

 

Commanding that the disciples baptize those who come to faith and repentance, Jesus instituted the ordinance of baptism after His resurrection. What is so special about being baptized? What does it signify? Baptism symbolizes union with Christ. When you are baptized, it is a sign to you that we have fellowship with Christ. As Christians we are linked to His death, His resurrection, and are ingrafted into Him.

Plunging beneath the water during your baptism, you are reminded that you are united to Christ in His death. His blood was shed for you: “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” (Luke 22:20) The wrath of God you deserved for your sin fell upon Him, and He willingly endured agony and suffering in body and soul four your sake (See LBCF 8.4). Baptism is a sign to you that you have been buried with Him.

Rising out of the water is a sign that you are not only united to Christ in His death, but also in His resurrection. Christ has fully satisfied the justice of God, and through His resurrection has secured a people such as yourself. Because of Christ’s resurrection you “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4) in order to glorify God.

Christ has died for you. Christ rose from the dead for you. Through the ordinance of baptism, you are shown that Christ does not leave you. Rather, you are now ingrafted into Him. All spiritual blessings are yours through Him due to this union. His Spirit dwells in you, working faith in you, sanctifying you, bringing you to repentance, and working in you to do good works. In baptism you see that you are part of His body, and do not walk alone but with the fellowship of the saints.

More than getting wet, baptism is a profound ceremony for those who are baptized. It is a sign of the new birth we have through Christ Jesus. May we remember our baptism and its sign of the union we have with our Savior.

Questions to Consider

  • If baptism is a sign of union with Christ, then who should be baptized?

 

 

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A Little Time With The 1689: Day 344

Day 344

Of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

Chapter 28, Paragraph 2.

These holy appointments are to be administered by those only who are qualified and thereunto called, according to the commission of Christ.

Scripture Lookup

Matthew 28:19

1 Corinthians 4:1

 

Reflection

Friends gathering together wish to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. They are all believers, but none of them are elders in their church. Is it right for them to celebrate communion in that setting?

A young man comes to faith in Christ and desires to be baptized. His father, while not an elder, proudly baptizes his son. What a touching event, sure to be remembered by both family members – but is it biblical?

When we read about baptism and the Lord’s Supper, it seems at first glance there are no stipulations regarding who is to perform these ordinances. Doesn’t Matthew 28 pertain to Christians today? Aren’t Christians supposed to observe the Lord’s Supper? To have such events occur only at church seems stifling to our modern sensibilities, yet those who penned the LBCF state that only those qualified and called (i.e. the elders in the church) are to administer them. Why would they think this?

When we realize the importance of the assembly of saints, and the respect given to Jesus Christ as head of the church, we will rethink how lax we are with the institutions He has given the church. Jesus directed the Great Commission to the apostles and the church as a whole. Sam Waldron writes:

The Great Commission is not addressed…to every individual Christian….The right conclusion is that the Great Commission was given to the church corporately and not to the Christian individually.

Elders are given the responsibility for feeding the sheep in their care. That includes administering the ordinances. As we look into what baptism and the Lord’s Supper do for the believer, we will guard more carefully how they are performed.

 

Questions to Consider

  • Why is it important that the ordinances are observed correctly?

 

 

A Little Time With The 1689: Day 343

Day 343

Of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

Chapter 28, Paragraph 1.

Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances of positive and sovereign institution, appointed by the Lord Jesus, the only lawgiver, to be continued in his church to the end of the world.

Scripture Lookup

 

Matthew 28:19,20

1 Corinthians 11:26

Reflection

As Christians, we have been called out by Jesus and are united to Him through His life, death, and resurrection. Since we are united to Jesus, we are united to every other saint, as they are also in union with Him. Jesus directs us to gather together as local churches to worship Him. He also directs us to obey His commands. Two commands in particular churches are to observe: baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

What is an ordinance? An ordinance is an authoritative decree. Jesus Christ Himself decreed that the church is to observe the Lord’s Supper: “…He broke it and said,…’Do this in remembrance of Me'” (1 Corinthians 11:25). He also directly commands that the disciples be baptized. These ordinances have been given by Jesus. They are positive commands, meaning that they are to be followed in this day and age. The Old Testament saints were not sinning by not being baptized or observing the Lord’s Supper, for those were not commanded of them. All of us who are Christians, however, are to obey the Lord in being baptized and taking communion.

There will be no baptism and the Lord’s Supper after the end of the world. All who have been called out will be with Jesus Himself at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9). Until that day comes, the church continues to enter the waters of baptism and come together for the Lord’s Supper.

Questions to Consider

  • If you are a Christian, have you been baptized? Do you partake of the Lord’s Supper?

 

 

A Little Time With The 1689: Day 342

Day 342

Of the Communion of Saints.

Chapter 27, Paragraph 2.

“…which communion according to the rule of the Gospel, though especially to be exercised by them, in the relations wherein they stand, whether in families, or Churches; yet, as God offereth opportunity is to be extended to all the household of faith, even all those who in every place call upon the name of the Lord Jesus; nevertheless their communion one with another as Saints, doth not take away or infringe, the title or propriety which each man hath in his goods and possessions.”

Scripture Lookup

Ephesians 6:4

1 Corinthians 12:14-27

Acts 5:4

Ephesians 4:28

Reflection

Everything we own has been given to us by God. We are to share with the other saints the blessings we have been given. But it seems that there are so many needs – how do we know where to begin? How do we determine with whom our resources are shared?

When deciding how to share our goods among the saints, the pattern is like the ripples created by a stone thrown into a pond. Those saints nearest to us, those of our families, are the first priority in our giving. Then those we fellowship with – our local assembly of saints – should receive great consideration to receive our gifts. Our interests should not stop there, though. Saints throughout the world have needs, and if we have the means, we should be generous in relieving them of their burdens.

If we are honest with ourselves, we could probably give more to those in need than we do. While we are to be generous with what God has given us, how much we give is a matter for us to decide. Our possessions are not to be taken by force from us for the benefit of others. Through our free generosity are the saints ministered, and the Lord is glorified.

Questions to Consider

  • How are you distributing the gifts God has given you?

 

 

A Little Time With The 1689: Day 341

Day 341

Of the Communion of Saints.

Chapter 27, Paragraph 2.

Saints by profession are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services, as tend to their mutual edification; as also in relieving each other in outward things according to their several abilities, and necessities;…”

Scripture Lookup

Hebrews 10:24,25, 3:12,13
Acts 11:29,30

 

Reflection

 

Christians are not to go solo. Being part of the fellowship of saints means that we have to actually be around other saints. It means that we show up to worship services and other meetings of the church, unless providentially hindered. How many profess to know Christ but have no interest in knowing His bride?

Attending the services of your church is vital to your spiritual health. But to fellowship with the saints entails more than just showing up to church and then going home again. It means that those you fellowship with will be in your prayers throughout the week. It means that you will get to know them. When they have a need, you will know because you are concerned for their well-being. It means you will give them aid as you are able.

It is easy to sit back and let someone else take care of the needs of those in our midst. Some might think that is the elders and deacons’ job, not something regular churchgoers need to be concerned about. But the church is not made up of only elders and deacons, with the members merely spectators. Christian, you are a part of the church. Make sure you care for her.

Questions to Consider

  • Do you treat church as nice, but not necessary? Are you caring for those in your fellowship?

 

 

A Little Time With The 1689: Day 340

Day 340

Of the Communion of Saints.

Chapter 27, Paragraph 1.

“..and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, in an orderly way, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man.”

Scripture Lookup

 

1 Thessalonians 5:11,14

Romans 1:12

1 John 3:17,18

Galatians 6:10

Reflection

Ever want to become a hermit?

I know there are times when I do! Avoiding everyone and living by yourself can appear to be the most peaceful and stress-free option. Studying and praying with no interruptions, no strife, no disagreements, no annoying people. You’ve got to admit, even being part of a church can be frustrating. Some of your brothers and sisters in Christ can get on your nerves, and living among them and loving them is a lot of work!

While isolation can be attractive at times, its appeal presumes that the church has nothing to offer you. That is wholly untrue. All those who have been called by Christ are given gifts to be used on behalf of others. Each one of your brothers and sisters in your congregation have something to contribute. They are sovereignly placed in your life for your benefit and good, even if you may not see it at times.

Perhaps the life of a hermit does not appeal to you. But there may be times when you wonder if you have anything to offer the church. When a church doesn’t have strife, and everyone is getting along and encouraging one another, it may seem that your place in the church isn’t necessary. Again, that is not true. As a Christian, you are given gifts to be used for the betterment of others. Find a need, and fill it. Sometimes just showing up to service is an encouragement to others. The Lord has placed you there to bring Him glory. Do not hide away from your church.

Questions to Consider

  • Do you view your relationship with your church as necessary for your mutual good?

 

 

A Little Time With The 1689: Day 339

Day 339

Of the Communion of Saints.

Chapter 27, Paragraph 1.

All Saints that are united to Jesus Christ their Head, by his Spirit, and Faith; although they are not made thereby one person with him, have fellowship in his Graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory; and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each others gifts, and graces;…”

Scripture Lookup

1 John 1:3

John 1:16

Philippians 3:10

Romans 6:5,6

Ephesians 4:15,16

1 Corinthians 12:7; 3:21-23

Reflection

Christian, you are never alone.

You may feel lonely at times. But the fact is that when you are in Christ, you are united to Him inseparably. Through His mediatorial work, we have His Spirit with us always. “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5, NASB). We never have to fear that He will remove us from His presence. He has given us every spiritual blessing through Him.

You may feel friendless at times. Yet Christians are united to each other because they are united to Christ. The union we have with our brothers and sisters in Christ is inseparable because our own union with Him will never end.

If Christians are all united in Christ, then there is no place for exclusion or favoritism. Every Christian has spiritual gifts and graces bestowed upon them by the Lord. We all have that in common. No believer is too insignificant to have a place in the body of Christ. Every spiritual blessing given to us is also given to them.

Questions to Consider

  • Do you overlook the gifts and graces in some of your fellow believers?