Baptism and Communion
Kettering Seventh-day Adventist Church observes two biblical sacraments rooted in the actions and teachings of Jesus Christ: Baptism and Communion. These sacraments represent both the individual, inward commitment to a personal relationship with Jesus and the corporate, outward sign of being connected to a local community of Christ followers — the local church. Whether you’re seeking a greater understanding of our position on these sacraments or you’re interested in participating in Communion or Baptism in the future, you can learn more by exploring the topics below.
Jesus’ final recorded words to His followers before His ascension to heaven express the importance He placed on Baptism. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus commands His followers, “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Baptism does not provide salvation for an individual, but rather serves to identify publicly the individual as a follower of Christ. In passages such as Acts 2:41, 8:12, and 10:47–48, the act of Baptism follows an individual’s decision to trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. The New Testament records the Baptisms of adult believers only. In Romans 6:1–11, the apostle Paul describes the immersion of Baptism as a means through which the believer identifies with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ: Going under the water represents Christ’s death and a believer’s death to sin; coming out of the water illustrates His resurrection and the believer’s new life in Christ. Baptism is an act of obedience to Christ that follows an individual’s acceptance of salvation by God’s grace alone. Baptism isn’t a prerequisite for salvation; however, if an inner commitment to trust Christ alone for salvation has been made, then the outward symbol of that commitment — Baptism — should follow, as is modeled throughout the New Testament in the lives of those choosing to follow Christ.
If the purpose of Baptism is to publicly identify a believer in Jesus Christ, you may well be asking yourself, “What was the significance of my Baptism as a baby?” In the New Testament, we find parents bringing their children to Jesus. He held them and prayed for them and told His disciples to welcome them. But He did not baptize them, and He did not tell anyone else to baptize them. Baptism is for those who have made a personal decision to trust Christ alone for their salvation. If you were baptized as a child, it was the intent of your parents that you would one day be a follower of Christ. Your Baptism as an adult can be viewed as the fulfillment of your parents’ wishes. It in no way repudiates the Baptism you received as a child.
Once someone professes faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, the Bible says they should proclaim the life change that has occurred — the watching world needs to know. Baptism has always stood as a public testimony for people who have become believers in Christ. Believers are those who have realized that their sins have separated them from God. They have given up all efforts to reach God through their own good works or religious activity. They have concluded that Jesus Christ’s death on the cross for their sins is the only thing that can bridge the gap between them and God. A believer is someone who has decided to trust Christ alone for his or her salvation. If you have come to this point in your spiritual journey, then you are ready to be baptized. Let the miracle that has happened in you show through the sacrament He ordained for you.
If you are ready to get baptized, you will need to complete the following three steps:
STEP ONE: Let someone know about your desire to be baptized.
You can speak to a pastor by calling the church office or you can check the appropriate box on the pink cards in the pew or at the information desk. A pastor will then call you about planning for your baptism.
STEP TWO: Prepare for Baptism
A pastor will study with you the meaning of baptism and how it is the entrance to a fulfilling life with Christ and His family, the church.
STEP THREE: Get Baptized!
Baptisms are very special in our church. We try to make a special introduction of each candidate to our congregation. Your new church family will rejoice after you come up from the water and your friends in the church will greet you at the edge of the baptismal pool.
Jesus’ Last Supper that He shared with His disciples on the night before He was crucified is the biblical foundation for the Communion meal celebrated in His honor by Christians all over the world today. With His twelve friends gathered around Him for the traditional Jewish Passover meal, Jesus “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 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.
Communion is “the believer’s meal,” a sacrament intended for Jesus’ followers, by which they acknowledge and remember His work on the cross — the ultimate sacrifice made on our behalf for the forgiveness of the sins of humankind. Kettering extends an “open” Communion table, meaning the invitation to receive Communion during a worship service is open to any follower of Christ, regardless of membership at Kettering, denominational affiliation, or spiritual tradition. Anyone who has accepted His forgiveness and surrendered their lives to Him is invited to share the Communion table at Kettering. Those investigating Christianity who have not yet made a commitment of faith through Jesus Christ are encouraged to simply let the Communion plate pass by, utilizing that portion of the service to pray and invite God’s activity into their investigation of faith.
Communion is celebrated during select weekend services four times a year. Weekend services that include Communion are announced at least one week in advance.