Baptism & Communion
At Light, we believe that there are two ordinances of the Church community which were established by Jesus, and which we practice today:
“Baptism is an act of initiation, a way in. It is a dramatic act that tells a story. It speaks about dying to an old way of life, an old set of values, an old community, and a former identity. It also speaks about rising to a new way of life, a new set of values, a dynamic new community and a revolutionary identity. Baptism is a communal act, not a solitary affair. It is how we experience the corporate, shared life of the Trinity — Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We become disciples by becoming part of the people of God. Baptism marks our birth into the family of God. This is the context where I am made a disciple.” Tim Chester & Steve Timmis, Total Church, p 112.
While the Bible does not teach that the waters of baptism have any saving power (salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, Ephesians 2:8), we believe that all true believers will long to be identified fully with their Lord and Saviour through the act of believer’s baptism. Biblically, it is the first step of obedience of a new Christian, therefore when you first recognize that you have trusted in Jesus to make you right with God, you should request baptism from the Christian community.
At Light, we practice baptism by immersing the new Christian in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (see Matthew 28:19). This act of obedience is an outward symbol of the inward change which took place when the Christian first believed. It symbolizes (a) cleansing from sin and renewal by the Holy Spirit, (b) the Christian’s unity and identity with Christ through His death, burial and resurrection, (c) the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus; and (d) entrance into the Christian community by the faith of the one baptized.
For Bible passages which explain baptism, see:
- Acts 22:16 (cleansing from sin);
- Galatians 3:27 (identity in Christ);
- Romans 6:3-4 and Colossians 2:12 (death, burial and resurrection);
- 1 Corinthians 12:13 (entrance into the Christian community); and
- Ephesians 1:13, Titus 3:4-7, 1 Corinthians 6:11 (when the inward change took place).
“Our community life is celebrated and reinforced in Communion, where we participate (Greek: koinonia, community) together in the body and blood of Christ: ‘Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf’ (1 Corinthians 10:16-17)” Tim Chester & Steve Timmis, Total Church, p 43.
While baptism is about entrance into the Christian community, communion is participation with the community and, like baptism, symbolizes God’s promises to the Christian community as we meditate on Jesus life, death, resurrection and future return.
At Light, we practice communion weekly in our Light Communities, and monthly at our Sunday Gatherings. It should only be participated in by those who are part of the Christian community (those who trust in Jesus as their Saviour and Lord), and all Christians are welcome to take part in communion at Light.
Before taking communion, the Bible tells us we should examine ourselves and repent before God of any unconfessed sin in our lives; anything that is hindering our fullest fellowship with Him or one another.
For Bible passages which explain communion, see:
- Luke 22:14-20 (Jesus instituting communion with his followers. Also compare Matthew 26, Mark 14, and John 6:52-58); and
- 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 and 11:23-34 (explanation of communion).