The Baptism and Lord's Supper

Bible Book: Matthew  3
Subject: Baptist; Lord's Supper; Commitment; Dedication; Obedience

The Baptism and Lord's Supper

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com
Introduction

Matthew 3

Today we shall take part in the Lord's Supper. It is always inspiring when we come to the Lord's Table and remember that our salvation is not through anything we have done but is due only to work Jesus did for us on the cross.

As we receive the Lord's Supper today I want us to also think about Baptism - specifically, about the Baptism of Jesus. It may seem unusual to link these two together - the baptism of Jesus and the Lord's Supper - but in reality we have only two ordinances given to us by our Lord. And, in fact, they do fit together as intertwined activities of the people of God. So, let's think on the Baptism of Jesus and bring into focus the Lord's Supper as well.

Our text today tells us that Jesus came to the Jordan River to be baptized by John the Baptist. For thirty years Jesus had been preparing for the ministry He had come into the world to perform. Part of the preparation of introducing Jesus into the years of ministry He was to perform fell to a man named John the Baptist.

John the Baptist was down by the River Jordan. He preached repentance from sin to the people who came out to hear him. Great crowds were coming because the power of God was upon John. People could feel that something was about to happen, and John explained to them that what they were expecting was actually the coming of the Messiah. So, in essence, John the Baptist had been called of God to prepare the way for Jesus - the Messiah. In this sense, he was fulfilling prophetic Scriptures.

Jesus came down to the Jordan and asked John the Baptist to baptize Him. John sought to discourage this, for he felt unworthy to even untie or tie the sandals of Jesus. In fact, John stated that he had need for Jesus to baptize him, but Jesus insisted and John the Baptist immersed our Lord in water and lifted Him ought of the water. This Jesus did to set forth an example of what He expected every person who receives Him as Lord and Savior to do also.

After Jesus came up out of the water, the Spirit of God descended upon Him as a dove. Then, the Father spoke and said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

Now this begs the question, "Why was Jesus baptized?" John's baptism was for repentance from sin, but Jesus never sinned - he never violated God's Law prior to or after He was baptized by John the Baptist. So, why was He baptized? I want to share with you two things that the Baptism of Jesus portrays and how this is linked to the Lord's Supper. You see, the Baptism of our Lord reveals two important truths about Him and they explain why He was baptized at all.

First, we see that ...

I. His Baptism Reveals Jesus As Substitute

The death of Christ upon the cross was for our sins, not for any sins of His own. Yet, Jesus still took part in the supper He instituted, which we know as the Lord's Supper. That meal which our Lord established and said that all believers are to take part in, was symbolic of the sacrifice He was to make on the cross at Calvary. In the same way, the Baptism of Jesus was not for His sins, but was symbolic of what He was going to do for us at the cross.

Now, we can be certain that Baptism is a picture of the cross, for the Scripture states that it is symbolic of our identification with His death.

Look at Romans 6:3-4:

"Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."

Here we see that baptism is a picture of what Jesus did for us when He died on the cross and rose from the dead. Baptism pictures a death, as we are lowered into the water, and a resurrection, as we are lifted up out of the water. That death and resurrection symbol in baptism pictures exactly what Jesus did for us. His resurrection is a picture of the new life we experience once we come to know Him as Lord and Savior.

The songwriter penned:

"Low in the grave He lay, Jesus our Savior,

Waiting the coming day, Jesus our Lord.

Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph over His foes;

He arose a victor from the dark domain,

And He lives forever with His saints to reign.

He arose, He arose, Hallelujah, Christ arose!"

So, baptism portrays the resurrection from the dead, and we know that the Bible speaks of death as the last enemy. Christ died and rose to give us the victory over that enemy.

When a person is baptized, he or she is stating a belief in the Lord Jesus for salvation, and the baptism reveals that the believer has true faith in the resurrection from the dead, because Christ arose and He is the first fruit of all those who will arise.

Now, how many times will one be saved? Once, for Jesus died only once. How many times should a believer be baptized? Once, for that is the symbol or picture of our salvation. However, it is important to understand that calling something baptism does not necessarily make it baptism. Baptism is the act of following Christ in the waters of baptism after having placed faith in Him to be your Lord and Savior. Anything that takes place before that, whether it is called baptism or not, is not true baptism. Being baptized when you are not saved may be a religious ceremony but it is not true baptism - actually, if a person is not saved when baptized, you can say that the individual merely gets wet.

Baptism must follow salvation and must be a conscious decision of an understanding mind and heart. That is why you will see many people come to be baptized who have already gone through a ceremony called baptism previously. You see, those who do this come to know that they went through a human ceremony but it was not a conscious decision following their commitment to Christ; therefore, the former act was not baptism. If you were immersed in water before you are saved, what you did does not represent what you are called to do or what baptism is meant to symbolize.

You will note that John did not want to baptize Jesus. Why? Because he saw, no doubt, the sinless nature of Jesus; and, secondly, he saw his own sinfulness. Dear friend, if you get near Jesus, you will understand your own sinfulness and His glorious sinless nature. You will know your need of the Savior and you will willingly follow Him into the baptismal waters.

What about you, have you experienced Biblical baptism? If not, today would be a good day to make the commitment to obey Jesus on this matter. For always remember this, it is not the preacher or the church that instructs you to be baptized, it is the Lord Himself who commanded this act.

So Baptism pictures Jesus as our Substitute. He was baptized as a picture of the price He would pay for my sin and yours at the cross - which He did at the end of the public ministry he performed.

I visited a man and his wife on one occasion to share a witness regarding faith in our Lord. The man stated that his parents had him baptized as an infant and that was enough for him. Of course he revealed no real faith in Jesus, nor did he know anything regarding what the Bible teaches on the subject. I told him that his parents were certainly loving and caring, and that they had shown a desire for him to know Jesus Christ, but that his baptism as an infant had not saved him or done anything to help him experience the forgiveness of sin. Well, he became irate. He was very upset. I tried to explain the truth of salvation, but he was to upset to even hear anything I said. I left feeling like a failure, but I continued to pray for him. A few days later he actually called the church and asked to see me. When he came to my office he explained to me tht he became convicted after I left his home and had prayed to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. He wanted me to baptize him. What a victory that young man experienced when he came to full faith in Jesus rather than trusting some religious event from his infancy.

Now, think with me about another thing baptism says to us about our Lord.

So, we know that baptism speaks of Jesus as our substitute, but note also that ...

II. His Baptism Reveals Jesus As Sovereign

The baptism of Jesus pictures His Lordship - the fact that He is the Sovereign Lord of heaven and earth. We don't often think of His Baptism as unveiling His Lordship, but indeed it was just that. We can see this clearly from Scripture.

In Psalm 2:1-12 we read,

"Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed  One. 'Let us break their chains,' they say, 'and throw off their fetters.' The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, 'I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill. I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery." Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him."

This passage points out that the Anointed One, the King and the Son are one in the same person. Jesus is that One. At His baptism Jesus is identified as the Son in whom the Father is well pleased. So we can determine without question that Jesus is the Sovereign Lord, the Anointed One, the Lord, the Son of God. Since He is Lord, we ought to obey Him.

Look at how Jesus spoke after His resurrection and just before His ascension as recorded in Matthew 28:18-20 ...

"Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'"

He told His disciples that all authority is His - that statement is the voice of the Sovereign Lord. Then, He told them to go forth and baptize believers in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is a step of obedience for the believer to follow His Lord through repentance from sin and faith in Christ. We see from this, as the Lord instructed, that every believer is to be baptized. This is a testimony that one has accepted Him and it is an act of obedience to His Lordship.

Now let's look at Baptism and the Lord's Supper as complimenting each other. It has been said that the Apostles never strayed far from the two pillars of the Church:

  • The Conversion of our souls
  • The Consequences upon our Souls

Spurgeon once said, "If you look for the Apostles, you will find them standing between those two pillars." The point is that those who have been converted should reveal the consequences of that change.

Baptism, like the Lord's Supper, calls on us to remember.

  • In Baptism we remember the person of our redemption.
  • In the Lord's Supper we remember the price of our redemption.
  • In Baptism we see who Christ is.
  • In the Lord's Supper we see what He has done.
  • The first represents obedience.
  • The second represents remembrance.
  • Baptism is a one-time event to reveal our obedience to Christ and testimony to the world.
  • The Lord's Supper is repeated for remembrance, so we do not forget how we came to be saved.
  • Baptism is a one-time event because we can only come to Christ and be saved once.
  • The Lord's Supper is repeated because we can remember the price He paid for our salvation again and again, and by remembering we renew our commitment again and again to Him.

As Baptist people, we need to see clearly the difference between Baptism and the Lord's Supper. And, we should follow Biblical teaching concerning both.

  • Baptism signifies our Commencement into the Kingdom of God.
  • The Lord's Supper signifies our Continuation in the Kingdom of God.

In Heaven, Jesus will take part in the Lord's Supper with us, but Baptism will never be repeated.

Conclusion

Both Baptism and the Lord's Supper point to the coming of our Lord.

Listen to what Paul wrote to the young minister named Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:13-16 ...

"I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time - He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords; who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen."

So, as we receive the Lord's Supper today, we need to know that this is an act of remembrance and recommitment. Baptism is a once for all ordinance for the believer, but the Lord's Supper is a repeated ordinance. It is in the Lord's Supper that we are told to consider ourselves before we take it. We should examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith, only then should we take part in the Lord's Supper. That is, we should confess and repent of every known sin. Let us reflect today on who we are as God's people. And if one is not a child of God, come now to Him.

I do not doubt at all that there is someone here today who is saved, but has never been baptized - at least one who has not experienced the real, genuine, believer's baptism God demands. Come now and obey the Lord.

"Kiss the Son, lest He be angry."

Some of you may well be thinking to yourself that Baptism does not matter. You may say that salvation does not depend upon baptism, and you are right. You may say that you can go to heaven without baptism and you are right. But friend, you need to know that Jesus walked as much as 70 miles to be baptized, even though it was not necessary for salvation. He calls you to be baptized and certainly no one here today has walked 70 miles to get here. Are you better than your Master? Take the step today to come forward in this service and commit yourself to obey the Lord in this matter. You will honor your Lord, bless your own life, and help others as well. Before the Lord's Supper, let us respond to our Lord's calling just now.