Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26 - Only Two
Sacraments are the two -and only two- God has commanded His Word be made visible.
Read / Listen
Read Matt. 28:19-20 / 1 Cor. 11:23-26
19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
1 Corinthians 11:23–26
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 68
Q. How many sacraments
did Christ institute in the New Testament?
A. Two: baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
We have spent this week looking at what sacraments are and how they confirm our faith in Jesus Christ. As we come to the end of Lord’s Day 25 we are going to look at one more question. It is a question that perhaps we might think should have been asked at the beginning of the week as opposed to now, but there is a reason it is asked at the end.
Before we get to the question, let's look at our two passages. In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus gives the Christian Church our marching orders. We are to go and make disciples. It is an imperative; a command given to all believers. When we make these disciples of Jesus Christ, they are to be baptized. This comes directly from Jesus himself.
In 1 Cor. 11:23-26, the Apostle Paul is ensuring the church in Corinth knows what the Lord’s Supper means. It is not simply a meal to be remembered. Paul repeats the words that Jesus used with his disciples when instituted the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper was given by Jesus to his disciples (and the Church) as a sign and seal of God’s grace in Jesus Christ.
Question and answer 68 seems fairly straight forward. Afterall, we have been looking at only two sacraments all week long: the Lord’s Supper and baptism. Why then is this question in the Heidelberg Catechism? Because not all Christians believe there are two sacraments. That is why this question comes at the end of Lord’s Day 25 after we have looked at what sacraments are.
The Heidelberg Catechism was written as a tool for teaching and preaching, as well as a confession of faith. It was a tool that ensured that Reformed believers were taught what the Bible says regarding sin, salvation, and Christian living. While not a direct response to Catholicism, some questions address the differences between Catholicism and the Reformed tradition.
For example, the Roman Catholic Church has seven sacraments: Baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, penance, extreme unction, holy orders, and matrimony. Q&A 68 wants to ensure believers know that there are only two sacraments instituted by Jesus. Nowhere in scripture does Jesus give confirmation, penance, extreme unction, holy orders, nor matrimony to the Church as sacraments.
Furthermore, the Baptist church does not believe the Lord’s Supper and baptism are sacraments, they believe they are ordinances (an act of man in obedience to God).
We celebrate the Lord’s Supper and baptism not because of tradition, but because they have been given to us by Jesus. We celebrate these sacraments because the Holy Spirit works through them to confirm our faith in Jesus. These sacraments are signs and seals of God’s promises to his people, and they impart grace to his children.
Praise be to God that he has given us these sacraments as physical signs of what Jesus has done for us. We are saved through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Lord’s Supper and baptism confirm this truth.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The God of all truth;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that the Holy Spirit would make God’s truth known in your life so that you can follow him faithfully all the days of your life;
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Colossians 3