Every church baptizes people and every church observes the Lord’s Supper.
While all churches practice these two ordinances, they often disagree about the mode of baptism or the meaning and practice of the Lord’s Supper.
What can we say about baptism?
First, Jesus commanded His followers to preach the Gospel and to baptize those who believe. Christians call this the “Great Commission.” Jesus told His followers to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
Second, the followers of Jesus did exactly what He commanded them to do. As you read “The Acts of the Apostles,” you will notice that baptism plays a prominent place in the book because of the practice of those early disciples. Again and again, we see Philip, Peter, and Paul preaching the gospel.
In their preaching, they asked for people to repent and to believe the gospel. This was the same with the Ethiopian Eunuch, Cornelius the Roman, as well as Lydia and the Philippian Jailer. Repentance and belief were common in all of these conversion experiences.
In all of these cases baptism accompanied their faith and occurred soon after their belief.
Baptism took a prominent place in the early church precisely because Jesus had told them to do this.
Third, baptism is seen by the various churches as the mark of a Christian. Baptism matters because of how the early church received Jesus’ command and how they saw it as the distinguishing mark of a follower of Christ. In all the cases of Acts, baptism plays a prominent role for the follower of Christ.
As we think about baptism and the Lord’s Supper, one very important thought should be going through our minds: “Am I following after Christ in every way? Am I obedient in my belief and in my behavior?”
We serve a great God who is worthy of our devotion and obedience.