What two ordinances did Christ give to his Church?


Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

As we learned in the last question, a church is not a building made of bricks – it’s an assembly made of believers! Churches are groups of people who have put their faith in Jesus to save them. Ephesians 5:23 tells us, “Christ is the head of the church.” Jesus the Christ is the church’s leader – he’s our boss! And as the head of the church, he has given its people two “ordinances,” special orders about important things he wants the church to do.

The first ordinance Jesus gave the church is something we call “baptism.” Matthew 28:19 describes Jesus giving this ordinance to his disciples after he rose from the dead: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Before leaving for heaven, Jesus gave his disciple a mission: to travel the globe and make new disciples in every nation on the planet. How were they to accomplish that great big goal? By preaching the good news to anyone who would listen!

While many people would hear their message, only a few would believe it. When they did, Jesus told his disciples to baptize those believers, then teach them his commands. A baptism is where a believer is dipped down into water, then brought back up again. As we’ll learn later, this ordinance is a picture of how Jesus’ blood washes our sins away.

The second ordinance Jesus gave the church is the Lord’s Supper. Like the Lord’s Prayer, it’s called the “Lord’s Supper” because the Lord Jesus told us to eat it. As you can guess, the Lord’s Supper is a special meal the church eats together. On the night before his death, Jesus shared this dinner with his disciples, eating bread and drinking wine. During that supper, Jesus said to his disciples, “do this in remembrance of me” (1 Cor. 11:24). As we’ll learn later, this memory meal is a picture of what Jesus suffered so we could be saved.

The two ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper are signs, pictures that point us to the good news. They remind us of the gospel: that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead. In the ordinance of baptism, believers celebrate entering into God’s kingdom and joining God’s people, the church. And in the Lord’s Supper, believers celebrate remaining in God’s kingdom and enjoying the life of their church family.


+ Have you ever seen a baptism or been to a celebration of the Lord’s Supper? What did you think about them the first time you experienced them?

+ What do you think someone who doesn’t go to church thinks about baptism and the Lord’s Supper?


Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 11:24-26

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