Week 5 - Marked by God

SACRAMENTS - Part one

There are three primary ways God strengthens are faith.  We call these the Means of Grace.  The first is hearing God's Word preached regularly.  The second is what you are doing right now as part of this class: you are submitting to the discipline of the Church.  We will spend the next two weeks discussing the third means of grace: sacraments.

The Belgic Confession reminds us why God gave us sacraments:

  • We believe that our good God,

    • mindful of our crudeness and weakness [in other words, He gave us something we can see, touch and taste rather than just read / listen],

    • has ordained sacraments for us, signs which

      • seal his promises in us,

      • pledge good will and grace toward us,

      • and also to nourish and sustain our faith.

Jesus command us to keep two sacraments.  Next week, we will be preparing for the Lord's Supper.  This week, we're going to spend some time on baptism.

The Confession goes on:

  • By Baptism we are

    • received into God’s church

    • and set apart from all other people and alien religions,

    • that we may wholly belong to him whose mark and sign we bear.

 

  • Baptism also witnesses to us that God,

    • being our gracious Father,

    • will be our God forever.

  1. Why is it so important that you were baptized?

​One of the most difficult disagreements in the Protestant Church is whether or not infants should be baptized.  It's difficult because there is not a clear cut scripture that commands us one way or the other.  We need to use our theology do come to an answer.

At some point in your life, you will have to confront this question.  Here's how the Heidelberg Catechism answers the question, "Should infants be baptized?"

A.    Yes.
Infants as well as adults

belong to God's covenant and congregation.

Through Christ's blood

the redemption from sin

and the Holy Spirit, who works faith,

are promised to them

no less than to adults. 

Therefore, by baptism, as sign of the covenant,

they must be incorporated into the Christian church

and distinguished from the children of unbelievers. 

This was done in the old covenant by circumcision, 

in place of which baptism was instituted

in the new covenant. 

  1. How would you respond to a Baptist friend who asked you why infants should be baptized?
  2. What is your responsibility when you stand up as a member of the congregation and promise to help raise a baby that's just been baptized?

Lately many churches promote being baptized again, especially if you've gone through a time in your life where you drifted away from God and the church but have come back.

The Confession speaks to this as well:

  • For this reason we believe that anyone who aspires to reach eternal life

    • ought to be baptized only once

    • without ever repeating it—

    • for we cannot be born twice.
       

  • Yet this baptism is profitable

    • not only when the water is on us and when we receive it

    • but throughout our entire lives.

  1. Why is this concept of being baptized again wrong?
     
  2. What kind of things will remind you that the water you were baptized with a long time ago is still on you?

Sunnyside Christian Reformed Church

700 North 16th Street | Sunnyside, WA| 98944
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