The Church: Rites and Rituals

Scripture: Acts 2:38
Date: 12/01/2012 
Lesson: 9
"God has instituted ordinances that, properly understood, help to reinforce our faith."
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Music welcome to central study hour coming to you from Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church in Sacramento, California on the west coast of the united states of America. So, for all of our international audience that join us every week, a special welcome to each and every one of you and, of course, those of you that are right here with us in the sanctuary. It is December the 1st - can you believe it? This year has gone so fast. It's absolutely crazy how fast time seems to go. So, you know what that means? Pull out your hymnals and join us for 'go tell it on the mountain' - #121.

This is a request from all over the planet: cecilia and marek in australia, sonea, trenton, tonea, and tasshena in the bahamas, let's see - we have a whole list - adam, zoe, and the gibson family in Canada, ocian in england, Christopher in french guyana, we have cheryl, pooma, and gladwin in india, jared and emily in ireland, magalie and micha in mauritius, deb in Montana, let's see - felicita in nicaragua, wilson in oman, vanessa in saint vincent and the grenadines, jolly in saudi arabia, william in Wisconsin, and jody in Wyoming. That was just a few of you. It's a favorite so we're going to absolutely start with this one and we're going to sing all stanzas. #121 - 'Go tell it on the mountain'. Thank you so much for sending in your favorite requests.

We get so many from each of you every week and it is so exciting to see where our extended Sabbath school family really is all over the planet. If you are watching on television or online, don't forget: tune in next week, Saturday December the 8th at :00 pm pacific standard time - you'll be able to watch our Christmas concert here live at Sacramento central as we will be streaming that. December the 8th at 6:00 pm. So tune in, you won't want to miss that. We have lots of great music coming up and then the following week we're going to be blessed with fountainview academy coming from british columbia, Canada.

They've been coming for the last few years so you won't want to miss that either on December the th and that's at 4:00 - check our website, our Facebook page for more information. That's coming up so Mark your calendar. Our next song - 'o sing a song of Bethlehem' - this is a beautiful song and it has been requested by a few people: hylda in Canada, nici, ken, anja, and nicola in germany, joyce in Michigan, howard and dian in Mississippi, lori in Oregon, chiemela in saudi arabia, and eben in sri lanka. We're going to sing all three stanzas - #144. Isn't that beautiful? Thank you so much for sending in your requests and if you're watching on television, you have one more week to get in your favorite Christmas songs and then it is over and we're just going to keep singing them here.

So, one week - get them all in and if we don't get to your favorite song we will hold it for next year so don't worry. Let's bow our heads. Father in Heaven, thank you so much for this time of year when - we know you weren't born in December 25th - but we know that you were born and that's what matters. And this time of year the world - they just start thinking about the season and the holiday and that you were born and I just pray that this year that it will be different for each of us. That it won't be about presents and all the glitz and things that come with the Christmas season, but we will truly think about you and why you came to this earth.

And help us to reach out to our neighbors and our friends and share you - the reason for the season. Be with us as we open up your word and we study together. Fill us with your spirit. Fill this place and be with our speaker. In Jesus' name, amen.

At this time - yep - our lesson study is going to be brought to us by pastor harold white. He is our administrative pastor here at Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church. Thank you debbie and musicians. Good morning. It's good to see each of you this fine day.

It's good to think about Christmas season. Sometimes people say, 'oh, you shouldn't have any focus on Christmas.' But, you know, the whole world does because it is focusing on the fact that Jesus was born. So you can focus on that fact any time during the year, can't you? Why wouldn't we do it at this time of the year when other people are doing it? It just seems like that would put us out of step. It's a good opportunity to share Christ this time of year. Well, we have a free offer for you this morning - or today - the offer - it's offer #121 - 'purity and power'.

Probably a lot of you have gone through this lesson before - study guide - but if you haven't done it for awhile I think it'd be very refreshing for you to get one and go through it again because it answers a lot of questions that we're not going to get to in our lesson this morning so you might want to send for this offer by just calling 1-866-study-more or -866-788-3966. All right, we are studying lesson #9 - 'the church: rites and rituals'. I trust you all had an enjoyable time going through this lesson. Hopefully you learned a few things. Our key thought - well, let's read our memory text first of all, it's taken from the new king James version and if you would read with me it's acts :38.

Are you ready? "Then Peter said to them, 'repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." That's a pretty important thing if you're going to be baptized. Receive the gift of the holy spirit. Can we make it in this world without the gift of the holy spirit? I don't think so - not very well. The key thought for the day or the week is God has instituted ordinances that, properly understood, help to reinforce our faith. That's the important part about these rituals - rites - we're talking about today.

Not that they save us but they support and reinforce our faith in the one who can save us, right? And at the bottom of the opening page it says, 'this week we'll look at three rites that express our faith: baptism, foot washing, and the Lord's supper.' Okay, with that let's move onto Sunday's lesson entitled 'the sacred rites'. As the lesson points out, in the early church sacred rites were referred to, in the greek, as mysterion or mystery. In the west, where latin was predominant, the term sacramentum - that's latin - or sacrament was used. Now, we who live in Sacramento, we live in the sacrament. We're worshiping in the Sacramento this morning because Sacramento is the spanish word for sacrament.

Yeah. Bet you never knew that, did you? Stands to reason though, right? Sacramento - spanish for sacrament. So, sacrament or Sacramento are not bad words, it's just that we don't use them very much anymore when it comes to these rites and rituals and there's reasons we don't use these because back in the middle ages the church - the predominant church at that time - had what they called seven of them - seven sacraments. Now some of these we can appreciate but there's some on the list we're not too excited about. The list includes baptism - good - confirmation, holy eucharist, penance - or confession - anointing of the sick or, really, the last rites, holy orders, and matrimony.

So you can pick out a few in there, right, that you can go along with, but you can see why the protestant world kind of shies away from the concept of sacraments. And what do we use in its place today? The term 'ordinance'. I think we could use sacrament and it'd be all right - the sacrament of baptism - wouldn't be a bad thing but we've moved away from that because of these reasons I just mentioned. Now, a statement at the bottom of Sunday, I believe is worth reading - where it says this, "however much importance we place on the ordinances, we must always remember that these are not conduits of grace or acts by which we earn salvation or gain merit before God." That's a very important statement, isn't it? We don't partake of an ordinance in order to be accepted by God. He already accepts us.

We're the ones that have to accept him, right? We partake as an expression of faith and an opportunity to learn more of his will for our lives. The children of Israel - as you go back to the old testament times - they had a lot of ceremonies and rituals called the ceremonial laws. And you know what happened to the children of Israel when it came to these ceremonies, they became all in all to them. In other words, they thought they were saved because they kept these ceremonial laws and they even added to them their own laws and made it really something far beyond what it was meant to be. Instead of pointing them to the Savior - the one that could save them, which was all that the ceremonial law was up to - that was what it was meant to do - they lost sight of that and put their faith in these rituals to be saved by them.

So that's something that we cannot allow ourselves to do. And as I think about the three ordinances we're going to discuss this morning, it's hard for me to imagine these three ordinances becoming that to us, and there's reasons why I say that. First of all, because baptism, for the most part, is only done once in our life. Now, once in awhile people are re-baptized - they stray from God, they come back to the church - or once in awhile people are re-baptized because they want to make a stronger commitment to God and that's fine. But usually, for most people, done once, maybe twice.

It seems hard for me to believe that baptism then would become a ritual that we think we are saved by. In fact, the more we grow in grace and understanding of God's will, we understand that more fully, don't we? That we're not saved because we went into the water, we're saved because we went under the water pointing to who could save us. And as far as foot washing and communion or the Lord's supper, we don't do it daily, we don't even do it weekly, we don't even do it monthly. We probably do it on an average of three to four times a year and there's no stipulation, by the way, in God's word, how often we should do it, but we try to do it about three or four times per year. So, to me, that is not conducive of becoming a legalistic ritual.

We don't do it often enough so it becomes that - do you think so? You think that's true? In fact I think - this is what I think - we are apt to lose the importance of these ordinances rather than make them more than what they are. Did you get that? We're apt to lose the importance of what they mean to us rather than overdoing it in what they do mean for us. Now, the ordinance is there to help us put our focus on God and our relationship with him. We have to be deliberate about this as we have to be deliberate about everything we do in the Christian life. And I want to focus on that by a little story from the past.

In the days of the circuit rider preachers this minister was out riding on his horse one day and he came upon a man out working in a field and the minister hollered out, 'fine day, isn't it?' 'It's fine for you,' the man replied, 'all you have to do is ride around on that horse thinking about God all day long while I have to sweat out here in the field and then when the day's done I have to walk home. I don't think it's right you should have things so easy while I have to work so hard.' 'On the contrary,' the minister said, 'thinking about God is one of the most difficult things you can do. And to prove it, I'll give you this horse if you can think about God and nothing else for one minute.' 'You're on!' Said the man and immediately sat down and closed his mouth. All went well for about 30 seconds. Then he looked up a the minister and he says, 'does that include the saddle?' He didn't do too well, did he? And I bet you all of us who listened to that little story can relate to it.

Because there are times I have even been praying and my mind goes somewhere else. You've been there, haven't you? We're so fickle, aren't we? Yep. Well, these ordinances are designed to help us focus on God and our relationship with him in special ways. And suppose somebody isn't focusing on God and the real meaning for baptism when they are baptized. You know what happens most of the time? Three months down the road, six months down the road, you don't see them in church anymore.

Or at least they have the wrong focus on baptism. So it's important we really study these things out before we are baptized. And, of course, with foot washing and communion ordinances, much is lost too, to being distracted. Let's move on to Monday's lesson entitled 'baptism'. First of all, what does the word 'baptism' mean? To immerse - to go under, right? You have to have a lot of water to be baptized officially - rightly - biblically.

One might wonder how it was that John the baptist baptized people in water. I don't remember reading anywhere in the old testament where people were baptized. But as you go to the Jewish historians, you find that the Jewish people did baptize people that came - that they prosthelytized - that came into the Jewish faith - and they were baptized - just like people come into Christian church today. So it wasn't that the Jewish leaders didn't question the fact that John the baptist was baptizing people, they just questioned his authority to be able to do that. For example, in John 1:25 it says this, "and they asked him, and said unto him, why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ (22:48:05 - 'that' is repeated on the screen) nor elias, neither that prophet?" So, you know, if he had been a prophet or they had recognized him as a prophet, or even Christ, then it would have been alright for him to be baptizing.

So they weren't concerned with the fact that he was baptizing people, just the fact that he didn't have the credentials they thought he needed. Now, would somebody look up for us - I think they have the text - Romans 6, verses 3 through 8 - who has that? Right here, thank you. Know ye not, that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of The Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him." Thank you very much. This symbolism identified with baptism really covers the closing scenes of Christ's life, right? Beginning with his death, to his burial, and on to his resurrection. When we stand in the water before we are ready to be baptized, we kind of go through this think with everybody that's being baptized and give them a little idea of what to expect and what to do and we say, right after we pronounce that we are going to baptize them in the name of The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit, we tell them a couple of things to do. One is - hold your breath.

It's not good to go under water taking a big deep breath. So, holding your breath symbolized death, right? No breath equals death. Now, granted, going under the water and up in a matter of two seconds does not equal death, but the symbolism does - death. No breath - death. Okay, then you go under the water - it's like you're being buried as Christ was buried and then you come up out of the water and you come to new life as Christ came back to new life.

Isn't that wonderful symbolism? It really is. So then it takes on a whole depth of meaning when we are baptized. And therein lies a great difference, I believe, between the baptism of John and what we are privileged to have today. They didn't have the closing scenes of Christ's life yet. They were baptized unto repentance and that's good, but, as we read earlier in our Scripture reading, we're baptized and then the holy spirit comes into us and we need the Holy Spirit, as we mentioned earlier.

So, I think that's a huge difference. But this coming up to a new life in Christ has to include the baptism of the Spirit. Some people who come to know Jesus as a Savior, they want to be baptized right away, right then and there before they ever learn a lot of wonderful Bible teachings. Now why don't we do that? Well, there have been a couple pastors that I know of through my 36 years in ministry that actually did that and they kind of had to learn the hard way because I'll tell you what happens. If a person accepts Christ as their Savior and they go through that and it seems very real, and if it is very real then, as you take them through the lessons and they learn all these other wonderful Bible teachings, they'll begin to accept them one by one.

But, what often happens is people come to a specific doctrine or a specific teaching that cuts across their grain and they don't want the change. So what do you have? You bring somebody into the church through baptism and then when it gets to something like, 'well, I've smoked all my life. I don't want to quit now.' Or 'I've drank all my life. That's what my family does. I have a little wine before - after supper and, you know, a couple during the day, whatever.

' So what do you have? You bring people into the church that don't believe what the Bible teaches. That's what happens too often if we baptize people right away. So I think it's very important - in fact, the Bible, I believe, tells us that. Somebody has Matthew 28:18 through 20. Who has that this morning? Right over here.

Okay. If you - Matthew 28 - of course, these are the words of Jesus and it's talking to us about what our commission is, but there's a couple of important aspects found in there and we will be ready for Matthew 28, verses 18 through 20. Go ahead. "And Jesus came and spake unto them saying, 'all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of The Father, and of the son, and of the holy ghost.

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even until the end of the world. Amen.' " Alright. Beautiful passage, isn't it? This is a little off the subject but I remember this little story: somebody flying on a plane and the plane was having serious trouble and this guy was very nervous and somebody was sitting next to him and said, 'well, don't worry, you know the Bible says that God will be with us always'. And he says - the other guy says, 'yeah, it says, 'low he will be with us always.' ' I don't think that's how it meant but anyway, God will be with us up in a plane or on the ground. Before baptism comes, the word 'teach' is used.

And again it is emphasized that people should be taught all things they should observe or comply with. What happens all too often is there are some things that people don't totally agree with later on. It's a matter of patience, really, as you go through studies with people. For someone who really has an experience with Christ, they will accept these truths one by one. And so, it's just a matter of waiting for them to do that.

Now, let me share a little story with you and then ask you a serious question. It's a story told about the baptism of king angus by the person referred to as saint patrick. It took place in the middle of the fifth century. Some time during this right, patrick leaned on his sharp pointed staff and inadvertently stabbed the King's foot. Well, after the baptism was over, he looked down at all the blood and realized what he had done and he begged the King's forgiveness.

'Why did you suffer the pain in silence?' Patrick wanted to know. Well, the King's reply was, 'i thought it was part of the ritual.' My question is this: is our baptism supposed to be pain - one of pain - or exhilaration? Exhilaration? I think so but, you know, I think there should be some pain involved somewhere. You know where? Before you're baptized. There should be some pain and sorrow for the sins you have committed against your God and you should have pain and if you haven't been under conviction then you don't know what that kind of pain is because conviction can bring you pain. We should have pain in our life for the sins we have committed only up to our own sinfulness.

Now we shouldn't seek any kind of physical pain such as being stabbed with a sharp point. And when it comes to our baptism, it is one of exhilaration because we are belonging to Christ from that day on, officially before the church and before God and the universe really. If we have experienced that sorrow, then when it comes to baptism, itself, it is a time of rejoicing. I remember the whole process very well for myself back in, let's see, it's been about 35 years or so, when I was baptized. And I was taking Bible studies and I came to the concept, 'wow, Sabbath is the seventh day of the week.

' And that's different than I had ever heard in my life. And so, I kept studying. The problem was, I just got out of a school for computer programming, had my first job, and I was working nights - Friday night - and so I had those school bills and we just had our first baby and I had those hospital bills and I thought, 'wow, if I tell them - I just started working here - that I can't work on Sabbath, they're going to fire me.' And so the conviction was painful until I made the decision. I didn't care what happened to me because I just believed God would take care of me. I made the decision and when I made the decision peace came.

Didn't know how God was going to work things out but, miraculously, he did and that's a wonderful thing because you do your part and God will always do his, right? The second point that brought me such conviction in those days was I was smoking. I hadn't smoked until my last six months in the army and then I started. Oh, I wish I never had but, I came to learn that the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and putting all that smoke in my lungs was not going to be good for this temple. The problem with this one is just the mere choice isn't good enough in a sense. When you make a choice about an addiction there is some serious follow through on that.

But you know, God helped me with that too, praise God, and - but that's some of the kind of pain we have to go through in this process before being baptized. I'm sure that all of you can relate to some of the things you experienced before you were baptized. Now, the lesson talks about infant baptism and, of course, we who know the Bible realize that infant baptism is not something the Bible teaches. In order to be baptized, the Bible says you should be taught, you should repent, and the Bible can't - a little baby can't even say those words let alone understand what they mean, so we shouldn't be confused about infant baptism. Dedicate a little one? Yes, we do that all the time.

We have examples in the Bible of children being dedicated. Now we must move on to Tuesday's lesson entitled 'the ordinance of humility'. By the way, as you can tell, we didn't cover all there is to cover about baptism and that's why I would say, make sure you send for this because it answers a lot of questions we had no time to get to. Okay. 'The ordinance of humility' - there is so much to talk about here but the first thing I think we need to do is turn to John chapter 13.

If you will turn in your Bibles there, I'm going to read - this is really the basic place in all the Bible that talks about the ordinance of humility - foot washing - John chapter 13 and we're going to go through these entire verses that talk about this so follow along best you can, John 13, verse 1. "Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto The Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him; Jesus knowing that The Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; he riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, (36:26:04 - basin is misspelled) and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, 'lord, dost thou wash my feet?' Jesus answered and said unto him, 'what I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.

' Peter saith unto him, 'thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, 'if I was thee not, thou has no part with me.' Simon Peter saith unto him, lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.' Jesus saith to him, 'he that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.' " So, and you jump down to verse and it says, "ye call me master and lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your lord and master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." So we see the importance of this wonderful ordinance and how important it is to our lives. We, of course, first of all know what was going on with the disciples. They didn't have a lick of humility in them at this point, did they? They were all striving for the top position in God's kingdom that Jesus was thinking they thought he would set up while he was here. In fact, one of the twelve was going to sell him for what? Pieces of silver? So, of course, we know that one of the disciples should have taken him up on this task of a servant. It was custom in those days to have a servant present to wash the people's feet as they came in.

No servant was present so the disciples knew that one of them should have done this. They knew it. Read 'Desire of Ages' and it makes it very clear. But they didn't and when they saw Jesus do it it cut them to the core and we have that bold statement by Peter - you know, 'you'll never wash my feet. Not ever!' But Jesus comes back, 'if I then, your lord and master wash your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet.

' Along with giving us an example to continue, Jesus adds to this concept an important word and the word is found in 1 Corinthians 11:24 and 25, where it has these words to say, "and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, 'take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.' After the same manner also he took the cup; when he had supped, saying, 'this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.' " Remembering is important, right? If your wife tells you, 'george, remember - remember you have to stop at the cleaners today and pick up the clothes because this is the last chance before the wedding.' And george forgets - is that a catastrophe? It is for george. He's not going to have a very good night. What if you forget to take your medicine? Well, for some diseases it wouldn't make much difference but for some it may make a big difference, right? If you do not partake of the foot washing and communion service it becomes a much more serious issue. What happens? Well, to most human eyes, nothing. So somebody didn't partake of the communion service - nothing happened to them.

But something happens to them spiritually speaking. Maybe not if you miss once for some reason or other, but if you continually miss these wonderful and sacred rites and ordinances, something does begin to happen inside you spiritually. I recently heard a devotional about this experience. Some of you might have heard this too - about Joseph there in Egypt. Joseph was one of the most serious types of Christ in all the Bible and he was sold as a slave into Egypt but he finds himself between a rock and a hard place when pharaoh's wife made a play for this young man.

But Joseph was a man of principle and he - even though he knew he'd probably either be killed or go to prison. Well, I think that pharaoh probably had some kind of understanding about the kind of wife he had or he probably would have killed him. But he sent him to prison. Well, the baker and the butler - you remember the story - they got thrown in prison with Joseph and they had dreams and Joseph came and interpreted the dream. The butler was going to be out and be back reinstated to his job but it wasn't such a good message for the baker - he was going to be a dead man in three days.

But Joseph, speaking to the butler, said this to him in Genesis 40, verse 14, "but think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto pharaoh, and bring me out of this house." 'Remember me, please remember me when you get there back in that wonderful setting.' Did he remember him? No. For two years Joseph languished in prison wondering, 'oh, that guy, he didn't keep His Word.' But what happened when Joseph was again remembered? He was loosed from prison, he became second to the King in power, basically. It was brought about because of prophecy. Think about how applicable this is to Christ. You know, he's at the right hand of The Father in Heaven and it came through prophecy and because of prophecy - Revelation :1 says that "the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass.

" So, all this takes place when the type of Christ is loosed from prison - good things happen and when we loose Jesus from not being part of our lives and he becomes part of our lives then good things happen too, right? We are humanity that strives to get ahead. To be the ones being served, not the ones serving. But every time we stoop towards one another's feet, it is a reminder that we are not saved just to be saved, we are saved to serve. Christ, who was king of Kings, became servant of servants in stooped to wash the disciples' feet. We should do no less, right? Is this service outdated? Out of touch with modern society? I think this is the most needed service in the world.

Our politicians could use a good foot washing. I shouldn't have said that. Some of them probably are very great people. Okay, well we need to move on quickly to Wednesday and the communion service, 'partaking of the emblems of the body and blood of Jesus.' Did you know that there were wars fought over the fact that these emblems - what they represented? Back in those dark ages some erroneous teachings crept into the established church whereby they thought that the established priest had power to change these emblems into the actual body and blood of Christ. And then when people partook of that little wafer - by the way, I was raised a catholic.

For all of you who never had communion in a catholic church, that little wafer is nothing like bread, I can tell you that. It's just kind of a little white thing that dissolves in your mouth. But anyway, it's supposed to be bread. But they believe that it actually turns into the body and blood of Christ. So we know the difference and praise God that we can know the difference.

Now Jesus could have preached for hours on the subject of humility and it wouldn't have done nearly as much as this example that he gave us, right? It did so much for the disciples and I pray that it does just as much or more for us. Do some people shy away from this service? Yes, unfortunately and I don't know the reasons why but if you happen to be one of those, let me encourage you to become part of it the next time we have one. Let's see. When Jesus talked about eating his body and drinking his blood in John chapter 6 - we have that text in John 6, verse 66 which, by the way, is very applicable to what it says. John 6:66 says that many of the disciples turned and walked no more with Jesus from that day.

Now some may have understood his symbolism - his symbolism meaning, 'you take of these emblems - it really - the symbolism is you're bringing me into your life - my principles, my teachings and me as your Savior and your lord and master.' That's what he's really teaching by that. And some people might have understood that and that was too hard for them. Others might have understood him to say, 'you've got to eat his body and drink his blood? No way, I'm leaving.' But either way, people left and walked no more with Christ, rejecting the idea and teaching behind these emblems that we are to take all of Christ into our lives must become ours by his grace and if we don't do that it's a tragic mistake likewise. Partaking of the emblems but not with correct desires is not a good thing. In fact, somebody has 1 Corinthians 11:29 - who has that? Right up here.

This is a verse that really should make us stand up and take notice when it comes to the communion service and when it comes to receiving the bread - symbolic for his body - and the grape juice - symbolic for his blood. Go ahead. "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body." Thank you very much. When we think of these emblems it should generate repentance. I might have shared this sometime in a sermon in the past, but my - when my parents were young there was a song that they liked and I remember a couple lines to it and it went something like that - like this: 'we always hurt the ones we love and the ones we shouldn't hurt at all.

' Anybody ever heard that song? 'We always hurt the ones we love. The ones we shouldn't love - hurt at all.' Well, there's so much truth in that little line, actually. When we sin we hurt the one we love - we hurt the one that loves us - Jesus. We hurt him very badly. In fact, the Bible says when we sin it's like crucifying him afresh.

Now I don't understand what all that means, totally, but that can't be good. Crucifying The Son of God afresh? So it brings pain to Christ and if we hurt people on earth - the ones we love - or the ones we should love then that brings more dishonor to God and more pain, doesn't it? We always hurt the ones we should love - somehow. Well, God helps us with grace that we don't do that. Jesus spilled his blood and his body was broken so that we can make things right with him and with our fellow man, right? One thing the lesson brought out is how the communion service was instituted to take the place of the passover. Now I totally disagree with a few people sprinkled here and there that insist on the fact we should keep the old feast days.

I think there's enough biblical evidence that that's just not true. I can understand people who want to have some kind of special ceremony or service that can make them feel better, but Jesus gave us the communion service and it should make us feel better but there's certain aspects to the foot washing and repentance and all that. It's much easier to focus on those people way back there that had something to celebrate - the passover they were brought out of Egypt and they passover - you know, the angel passed over. It's so much easier to focus on other people, isn't it? Especially a long time ago - than to focus upon 'oh yes, this is communion. Oh yes, I'm going to have foot washing.

There's some sins I should confess. Maybe there's somebody I should make things right with.' Oooh. That's a lot different than focusing on somebody three, four thousand years ago. One thing that happened during the passover was God telling the people to apply the blood to the lintel and the doorpost. A couple of years ago in the ministry magazine there was an article - one of the most inspirational little articles - I can't remember the fellow who wrote it - I'd love to be able to give him credit this morning, but it talked about how the children of Israel, when they were in bondage there in Egypt, they began to copy a lot of things that the Egyptians did - even building their little hovels compared to the Egyptians - they followed their pattern and on the doorposts they've unearthed some of these homes that the Israelites were living in and on the doorposts they found their names were on the doorposts just like the Egyptians had done.

And so, God told them to put the blood on their names, you know, because the Egyptians had such a righteousness by works in their so-called Gods, and even their name was important in all that. God said, 'no, it's not important in order to be saved. What's important in order to be saved is you apply the blood of the lamb.' And the same applies to us. We can have the best and highest name on earth - maybe we're the best in some field and everybody - we're renown for something great - that is nothing compared to the blood that is applied to our lives - the blood of the real lamb, Jesus Christ. Righteousness by faith is how that all comes by.

Now we must move on very quickly - we're running out of time. We must move to Thursday, 'anticipation of the second advent.' The verse in 1 Corinthians 11:26 is the text used at the top of the page where it says, "for as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you do show the lord's death til he comes." Perhaps this is one of the points - as important as it is - that may be the most overlooked, at least bringing these two concepts together - the communion service and the second coming of Jesus. As the lesson points out, the first advent paved the way for the second, right? The whole purpose for the first advent was to make it possible for ready - for people to be ready for the second. The sacrifice of Christ's body and blood at the cross did that, right? The question is asked, in the lesson, 'what God would the first coming of Christ be without the second?' Now think about that. What good would that be? Jesus came and he paid the price for sin - well, there'd be a little bit of good in it.

We would live a peace-filled life for 70 - 80 years because we'd know we're right with God - but then that's it? That's not enough, is it? Not enough for me. I'm so happy to know the full truth that this communion service does connect with the second advent washing away of our sins, partaking of these emblems, these sacred emblems that are emblems representing his broken body and his spilled blood does help me to be ready to meet my lord and Savior in peace. So that connection is very wonderful, isn't it? You can't have the second advent without the first just as there could never be a harold white - this particular harold white - without my mom and dad. I would never be if they hadn't been and if they hadn't come together. Well, let's see, we've got time for one more text.

Matthew 26, verse 29. Who has that? Right up front here. "I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my father's kingdom." Okay, thank you very much. The creator of the universe is waiting to drink of the fruit of the vine and he's waiting until he can do it with us. That's pretty good, isn't it? Pretty powerful.

Perhaps the most important part of this point that's being made on Thursday is the connection with the communion service and the advent - second advent of Christ. Well, I'm here to remind you this morning that the free offer this week is for the study guide entitled 'purity and power' - offer #121 - and all you have to do is call 1-866-study-more. I want to tell you about this - this little study guide. It answers questions we didn't get to this morning such as 'is baptism essential?' And 'what about the thief on the cross?' We didn't get into that - we didn't have time - but this lesson covers it very thoroughly. Why - how can he be in heaven and he wasn't baptized.

Well, the lesson covers that very thoroughly and 'what is the meaning of baptism?' And 'what four things does baptism not do?' It's all in this lesson so make sure you send for it and order it. It's free. You can't beat something like that, can you? Well I pray that baptism, the ordinance of foot washing, and communion will be more special to each and every one of us because of our lesson today. What do you say to that? Amen. If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at ''. There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs including Amazing Facts presents. One location. So many possibilities.

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