By Pat Russell
“Baptism and Communion”- selected Scripture passages.
Pastor Bruce Spear, January 5
This first Sunday of the New Year, we participated in two sacraments, Baptism and Communion. Pastor Bruce gave us a very clear definition of a “sacrament.” “A sacrament is both a visible sign of our salvation and transformation in Jesus Christ and a sacred pledge of fidelity to Jesus.” He pointed out that a “sign” points to something that God has already done. So, in your Baptism and when you enter into Communion, those sacraments point to different and some common truths.
Look on your handout and you will see that Pastor Bruce has spelled them out very clearly. Under Baptism, read #1 and then read Titus 3:3-7. Read #2 and then read Romans 6:3-4. Read #3 and then read Col. 2: 9-12. Finally, read #4 and then read Matthew 28: 18-19. Underline the words in Scripture that affirm the numbered sentences. Which, if any, of these concepts is confusing or difficult for you to believe? How might you address your questions?
If you were at church Sunday, what did it make you think and/or feel when you sprinkled the waters of Baptism on your head in reaffirmation of your fidelity to Jesus once again? Or maybe something else struck you about this sacrament. If you have not been baptized, would you like to consider being baptized? If so, feel free to contact Pastor Bruce.
Read through statements 5 through 8 concerning Holy Communion. With which of those statements do you most connect? Why is that so for you?
Think: what is something new I have learned or experienced in this first Sunday of the New Year?
Now, if you like, pray this prayer of confession by Billy Graham, as an affirmation of your desire to serve God.
Our Father and our God, as we stand at the beginning of this new year, we confess our need of Your presence and Your guidance as we face the future. We each have our hopes and expectations for the year that is ahead of us – but You alone know what it holds for us, and only You can give us the strength and the wisdom we will need to meet its challenge. So, help us to humbly put our hands into your hand, and to trust You and to seek Your will for our lives during this coming year. In the midst of life’s uncertainties in the days ahead, assure us of the certainty of Your unchanging love. In the midst of life’s inevitable disappointments and heartaches, help us to turn to You for the stability and comfort we will need. In the midst of life’s temptations and the pull of our stubborn self-will, help us not to lose our way but to have the courage to do what is right in Your sight, regardless of the cost….And so our Father, we thank You for the promise and hope of this new year, and we look forward to it with expectancy and faith. This I ask in the name of our Lord and Savior, who by His death and resurrection has given us hope both for this world and the world to come. Amen.