Some churches use the term sacraments instead of ordinances. Sacraments, however, carries for many people the idea that a spiritual work takes place in a person when the sacrament is received or experienced. The Assemblies of God chooses to call water baptism and holy Communion ordinances because they are religious practices ordained or established by Jesus himself.
In fulfilling these spiritual duties Christians are reminded of an important work that has already taken place in the heart of the believer.
Baptism in Water
The ordinance of baptism by immersion in water (not sprinkling) is commanded in the Scriptures (Mark 16:16). All who repent and believe on Jesus Christ as a personal Savior and Lord are to be so baptized. This act of baptism symbolically declares to everyone that the old sinful life and life -style of the baptized believer died with Christ at salvation and a new spiritual being has been raised with Christ (in His resurrection) to live a new life (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 10:47-48; Romans 6:4).
The Lord's Supper or Communion, consisting of bread and the fruit of the vine (grape juice), is a memorial of Christ's suffering and death (1 Corinthians 11:26). In eating and drinking the symbols of Christ's suffering and death, the believer expresses his awareness that through salvation he, (1) has been made right with God, and (2) shares the divine nature of eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:4). The ordinance also looks forward to Christ's second coming (1 Corinthians 11:26) for it is a reminder to proclaim the Lord's death "until he comes!"
Importance of this doctrine: Water baptism and Communion are not simply religious customs. Both embody the central message of the Christian faith. Water baptism is a one-time event in which the new believer announces publicly that he is now a child of God who has identified with Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection. Communion is a periodic (often monthly) reminder that the believer has received his free salvation through the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Both ordinances focus regular attention on the central truth of Christianity.
BETHANY ASSEMBLY OF GOD
916 Hollister Street · San Diego, California 92154
Statement of Fundamental Truths
[Scriptures Inspired] [One True God] [The Deity Of Christ] [Fall of Man] [Salvation Of Man]
[Ordinances of the Church] [Baptism in the Holy Ghost] [Evidence of Baptism in Holy Ghost]
[Sanctification] [Church and its Mission] [Ministry] [Devine Healing] [Blessed Hope]
[Millennial Reign of Christ] [Final Judgment] [New Heaven and Earth]