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What is the significance of communion and baptism?

Baptism is a beautiful outward sign of a wholehearted commitment.  This commitment includes the confession “I am a sinner” the recognition and acceptance that “Jesus is my personal Savior” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15) and the complete dedication of our lives to God and Christ.
“I present my body—all of my life and all that I am, as a living sacrifice.”  Romans 12.1
This baptismal commitment in life is PICTURED by complete water immersion.  Being submerged under the water pictures the symbolic death of our will:  “Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death.” (Romans 6:6)  Being lifted up from beneath the water to a position of standing is a picture of being raised from death—the old sinful life, to a new standing in Christ and the new life we are now ready to live in Christ:  “in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”  Romans 6:6
This “newness of life” is to be a daily “living sacrifice,” wholly delighting to use our thoughts, energies and time according to the will of God, regardless of the cost to the old nature. The instruction is to be baptized when such a commitment is made. See Matthew 28:19.  It is a very meaningful outward practice to mark this very important decision. It is part of obedience in Christ to illustrate this commitment of heart through literal baptism, and obedience always blesses our spiritual growth.
One aspect of the word “communion” is defined as the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level. We are instructed by Jesus to share and exchange very intimate thoughts and appreciation when he passed the bread and the cup to his disciples and said “Do this in remembrance of me.”
“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’  In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’ ” Luke 22:19-20
Jesus was asking his followers to remember his sacrifice, pictured by the unleavened bread—the body—the sinless sacrifice of his life, and the cup that contained wine, a symbol of the blood—especially emphasizing the suffering of Christ. The reference to the New Covenant is made possible through his suffering and illustrates his suffering was not only for the blessing of his followers, but also to bring New Covenant blessings to all this weary world—all our human family who die in Adam. 1 Corinthians 15:21-16; Jeremiah 31:29-34; Romans 8:20-22

The Apostle Paul provides a second layer of meaning regarding the bread and the cup in 1 Corinthians 10:16-17  “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?  The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?  For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.”

The word “communion” is from Strong’s Concordance Greek word #2844 and means “partnership,” “participation.”  Paul is pointing out we have a participation in both the bread and the cup—to celebrate our deep appreciation of the sacrifice of Christ will also inspire us to be faithful to these privileges in Christ to live in partnership and participation with these symbols as we fulfill our part in the body and sufferings of Christ. Romans 12:4-11; Philippians 3:8-9, 10-11

We are instructed by Jesus to remember him by partaking of the bread and the cup.  Doing this would be a matter of obedience, and a source of great spiritual strength as we continue to walk this narrow way, seeking to walk in the footsteps of Jesus.

However, unlike some Christians who participate in the symbolic cup and bread weekly or even daily, as a memorial of his death, it is appropriate to celebrate on an annual basis.  It is also to remember these are symbols and not the actual “blood” or “body” of Christ recrucified with each remembrance.

Obedience to these scriptural instructions regarding baptism when total commitment to Christ takes place, and to memorialize the sacrifice of Christ are crucial to a Christian’s growth.

To learn more about baptism listen to, “How Many Baptisms Are There?”
and
“What Happened at the Last Supper?”

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