Milk to Meat 1

Praise the LORD Saints,

In my last pastoral note I introduced the concept and biblical requirement of Spiritual growth and maturity.  Well let us have some meat.  Christianity is not ritualistic or sacramental.  To be ritualistic or sacramental is to say that your salvation is based on the performance of certain rituals.  Churches that are sacramental believe in performing those rituals they are safe.  Faith is not a requirement to be saved in a sacramental or ritualistic religion. In Christianity, Faith is a requirement.  The Christian church has two ordinances instituted by the leader of the Christian church, Jesus the Christ. The first is Baptism in water. Baptism does not save you. In Christianity we don’t use Baptism as a ritual. Jesus Christ’s Cruxificion and Resurrection is where we get our Redemption and Salvation.  Baptism is an outward symbol of death to an old way of life and our acceptance of a new life in Christ.  Baptism is your personal statement to the world that you are a new creature in Jesus Christ.  The word baptism comes from the Greek word baptizo which means ‘plunge under’.  Therefore, we accept the teachings in the Scriptures of full immersion of the body in water in performing the Baptism ceremony.  The second ordinance instituted by the head of the church, Jesu Christ, is Holy Communion or The Lord’s Supper.  Holy Communion consists of two elements, bread and fruit of the vine. Holy Communion is the ceremony that expresses our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus the Christ (2 Peter 1:4), a memorial of His suffering and death (1 Corinthian 11:26), and a prophecy of His second coming (1 Corinthian 11:26), and is enjoined on all believers till He come.  You may have heard me used the term Holy Eucharist in referring to the Lord’ Supper.  The word Eucharist comes from the Greek word eucharistic (1 Cor 10:16) which means thanksgiving.  The Lord’s Supper is a ceremony of Thanksgiving of three values: commemorative, instructive, and inspirational.  For commemorative, Jesus said ‘Do this in remembrance of me’ (Luke 22:19). We use the Lord’s Supper to deeply consider what Jesus did for us. For instruction, it instructs us on the incarnation of Christ and the Atonement for our sins.  When Jesus said, ‘This is my body and this cup is the new Covenant in my blood, He means that that the bread is His body given in death and the juice His blood poured out on that Cross on Calvary.  Finally, the Lord’s Supper is inspirational. By partaking in the Lord’s Supper we are identifying with Jesus Christ and are reminded that He died and rose again so that we might have victory over sin and avoid every kind of evil (1 Thess. 5:22).  At the beginning of this pastoral note I stated that the church has two ordinances.  What is the church?  In the Greek, the word used for church is ekklesia which means assembly or in todays vernacular I could say community.  The church (ekkelesia, assembly, community) is the Spiritual family of God , a Fellowship created by the Holy Spirit, based on Faith in the atoning work of Christ.  The Christian church is not a building.  The church can be a localized assembly or it may refer to a worldwide community of believers.  There are no Black churches or White churches or Hispanic churches or Korean churches.  For Christianity there is just ekkelesia.  

Now let me bring it home and make what I have been saying real for you.  Take a look at our name; Agios Baptist Community of Faith.  Agios means holy, sanctified, consecrated which means to set apart.  Baptist means we believe in the practice of baptizo. Community means ekkelesia. Faith means we acknowledge that Christianity requires faith in the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus.  We are Agios!   

Next Sunday we will celebrate the Holy Eucharist.  We will use that occasion to give Thanks for the Atoning work of our Lord and Savior.  Come celebrate with us and invite a friend.

Much love to you all,

Pastor Nicely