Life Church observes two biblical sacraments rooted in the actions and teachings of Jesus: Baptism and Communion. These sacraments represent both the individual, inward commitment to a personal relationship with Jesus and the corporate, outward sign of being connected to a local community of Jesus followers—the local church.
ADEQUATE KNOWLEDGE, FORETHOUGHT, AND REFLECTION
If the purpose of Baptism is to publicly identify a believer in Jesus Christ, you may well be asking yourself, “What was the significance of my Baptism as a baby?” In the New Testament, we find parents bringing their children to Jesus. He held them and prayed for them and told His disciples to welcome them. But He did not baptize them, and He did not tell anyone else to baptize them. Baptism is for those who have made a personal decision to trust Christ alone for their salvation.
If you were baptized as a child, it was the intent of your parents that you would one day be a follower of Christ. Your Baptism as an adult can be viewed as the fulfillment of your parents’ wishes. It in no way repudiates the Baptism you received as a child.
While recognizing the right for other churches to practice infant Baptism if it conforms to their theology, Life Church understands Scripture to teach that only professing believers qualify for Baptism.
- Baptism is an act of obedience to the command of Jesus, fulfilled by individuals who have submitted themselves to His sovereignty.
- Baptism symbolizes the spiritual cleansing through divine forgiveness and the newness of life believers experience by virtue of their identification with Jesus in His death and resurrection.
- Baptism provides an opportunity for believers to make a formal profession of their faith before the church.
Although the old covenant practice of infant circumcision is sometimes given as a rationale for infant Baptism, the biblical definition of the functions of circumcision and Baptism shows that those two institutions fulfilled different purposes in their respective covenants. The equation is never made in the Bible between the circumcision of male infants in the old covenant, and the Baptism of born-again believers, much less of infants, in the new covenant. However, Life Church encourages Jesus following parents to present their children for the ceremony of dedication, whereby God’s blessing is formally invoked upon the children, and the parents publicly commit themselves to raise the children in accordance with the teachings of Scripture.
Proverbs 20:25 issues a significant caution against the danger of making a vow before adequate knowledge, forethought, and reflection have been given. In an effort to prevent young people from making a premature commitment they may not fully understand, a minimum age of 7-8 years has been established.
Baptism recognizes and celebrates the redemptive life change that is continually occurring within our church. Life Church encourages new believers and believers who have not yet participated in adult Baptism to be baptized by immersion. The Pastors’ position is that Baptism by immersion paints the truest picture of dying to sin and arising to Christ and new life.
THE BIBLICAL FOUNDATION FOR BAPTISM
Jesus’ final recorded words to His followers before His ascension to heaven express the importance He placed on Baptism. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus commands His followers, “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
Baptism does not provide salvation for an individual, but rather serves to identify the individual publicly as a follower of Jesus. In passages such as Acts 2:41, 8:12, and 10:47–48, the act of Baptism follows an individual’s decision to trust in Jesus alone for salvation. The New Testament records the Baptisms of adult believers only. In Romans 6:1–11, the apostle Paul describes the immersion of Baptism as a means through which the believer identifies with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ: Going under the water represents Christ’s death—and a believer’s death to sin; coming out of the water illustrates His resurrection and the believer’s new life in Christ.
Baptism is an act of obedience to Jesus that follows an individual’s acceptance of salvation by God’s grace alone.Baptism isn’t a prerequisite for salvation; however, if an inner commitment to trust Jesus alone for salvation has been made, then the outward symbol of that commitment—Baptism—should follow, as is modeled throughout the New Testament in the lives of those choosing to follow Jesus.
WHEN CAN I BE BAPTIZED?
Baptisms take place quarterly at Life Church following Sunday services. Check online or in announcement slides and brochures to see when the next Baptism is scheduled.
THE BIBLICAL FOUNDATION FOR COMMUNION
Jesus’ Last Supper, the Passover meal He shared with His disciples on the night before He was crucified, is the biblical foundation for the Communion meal celebrated in His honor by Christians all over the world today. With His twelve friends gathered around Him for the traditional Jewish Passover meal, Jesus “took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body, given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you’” (Luke 22:19–20).
WHO CAN TAKE COMMUNION?
Communion is “the believer’s meal,” a sacrament intended for Jesus’ followers, by which they acknowledge and remember His work on the cross—the ultimate sacrifice made on our behalf for the forgiveness of the sins of humankind.
- Life Church extends an “open” Communion table, meaning the invitation to receive Communion during a LC service is open to any follower of Jesus, regardless of membership, denominational affiliation, or spiritual tradition.
- Those investigating Christianity who have not yet made a commitment of faith through Jesus are encouraged to simply let the Communion plate pass by, using that portion of the service to pray and invite God’s activity into their investigation of faith.
WHEN IS COMMUNION CELEBRATED?
Communion is celebrated during select weekend services at each Life Church throughout the year, usually every other month.