Sabbath: The Church: Rites and Rituals

Read for This Week’s StudyMatt. 28:19-20; Rom. 6:3-8; Matt. 26:26-28John 13:1-17; 1 Cor. 11:24-26.

Memory Text: “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’” (Acts 2:38, NKJV).

Key Thought: God has instituted ordinances that, properly understood, help to reinforce our faith.

Many societies have initiation rituals, sometimes called ‘rites of passage’. In some cultures, rites of passage were designed in order to help persons to transition from one stage of life into another. For example, rites of adulthood were performed around the onset of puberty. These rites varied from place to place; yet, all had the goal of ensuring that younger members were shaped to be productive and responsible community-oriented individuals. In the process, boys or girls were taught the ways of adulthood; that is, they were shown what was expected of them as adult members of society.

In the Christian community there are specific rites as well, acts that formalize the commitment of individuals to the faith that they profess. These sacred acts not only confirm a person’s participation and fellowship in the community, but, ideally, help to prepare individuals to become faithful and productive members of that community. They also are the means of helping members understand what their commitment to Christ must entail. This week we’ll look at three rites that express our faith: baptism, foot-washing, and the Lord’s Supper.

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, December 1.



Sabbath: The Church: Rites and Rituals — 8 Comments

  1. Rites and rituals define our faith in God. These are acts that distinguishes Gods people. Not the rituals of our respective cultural setting nor the rituals of this contemporary world. God has a distinct culture in the form of rites and rituals advocated through God's insitution which is the church.

    We can't go through ritual initiation of different kind and claim that to be of Gods and anticipate the right to be there. A classical analogy is, one can't practice the techniques of playing basketball in the basketball court and turn up in the playing field to play baseball or rugby. One must undertake the appropriate training to develop the skills necessary to be good at the sport.

  2. The rites and rituals of the church have no power and cannot save us, it is only the grace of God that is able to save us. Nevertheless Christ, Himself, participated in these activities, such as John baptising Him. Baptism, for example, establishes our relationship with God and the church community and we receive the Holy Spirit as approval. Christ personally initiated foot washing and the Lord's supper. Therefore as His followers we do these things. The meanings and symbolisms of these rites and rituals keep important spiritual themes in the forefront of our minds and cause us to experience renewal and restoration of relationship with God and man.

  3. Christ set the example of being baptized, and further detailed it in the visit with Nicodemus. John 3:1-17 Foot washing is an ongoing reminder of humility, Christ again setting the example of service. He came not to rule but to be of service to humanity. Taking of bread and grape juice is in rememberence of Jesus. I have never thought of these symbols as rituals. However, a ritual is a set of actions, preformed mainly for their symbolic value. I do believe for us it is more than that, foot washing, taking of bread and grape juice in communion services, help us understand our commitment to Christ. Baptism is more than just a ritual, also. Baptism is a public surrender to Christ. Being born again, of water and the Holy Spirit is much more than a symbolic value, it is essential to eternal life. I am sure the author will agree. Maybe this week the author will give us more details.

  4. Timely lesson…far to many Churches are empty on communion Sabbath. These rites go hand in hand with the Sabbath. The Sabbath celebrates the creator of all things physical…communion and foot washing celebrates recreation of man’s fallen nature. Equally Powerful…equally loving.

  5. Rituals are a way of embodying spiritual truths in this world. We should pay more attention both to the power of ritual in life, and the important place it held in OT worship and in the heavenly worship we see in Revelation. We are right to be wary of meaningless or formal ritual, but we need to give more thought to the ways that ritual, when done well, can enrich our lives and worship, and lead to a deeper understanding of the gospel.

  6. There is one more question we need to ask concerning baptism. And the question is, why was Jesus baptised? Did He need to be baptized? No. Why not? Because baptism was reserved only for sinners. Baptism was the symbol of cleansing from sin. So, why Jesus who never sinned insisted on John to baptize Him?
    In Signs of the Timesm Ellen White wrote: ST.1889-06-17.011
    "Often we have read over the description of Christ's baptism with no thought that there was any particular significance in it for us. But it means everything to us!” (ST.1889-06-17.011)
    Well, Christ's death is everything to us, but why she says that His baptism is everything to us? So, why Christ's baptism is so important for us? What was the main reason Jesus was baptised?
    Desire of Ages, Baptism:
    „The Savior's glance seems to penetrate heaven as He pours out His soul in prayer. He asks for the witness that God accepts humanity in the person of His Son.
    He asks for the witness that God accepts fallen man, in his Son (YI. 1874 -03-01.003)...
    The word that was spoken to Jesus at the Jordan, This is My beloved Son, embraces humanity! God spoke to Jesus as our representative.
    Notwithstanding that the sins of a guilty world were laid upon Christ, notwithstanding the humiliation of taking upon Himself our fallen nature, the voice from heaven declared Him to be the Son of the Eternal!”
    Why was Jesus baptized? Why His baptism is everything to us?
    It is everything to us because He was us, He was you, He was me. What gave Him the legal right to represent fallen humanity? He got the right by taking our representative corporate fallen nature!
    So, when He was baptized who was baptized? You and me! When God said, "This is my beloved Son", who was that beloved son or daughter in Jesus? You and me!
    When Jesus perfectly obeyed the Law of God in our representative fallen humanity, who obeyed it in Him? You and me!
    When Jesus died on the cross experiencing the second death, who died in Him? You and me!
    Where is Jesus now?
    He is in the heavenly places at the right hand of God. Who is there with Him and in Him? You and me!
    Ephesians 2:4-10
    4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
    5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
    6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
    7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
    8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
    10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
    But there is certain very important difference now. Until the cross the whole sinful human kind was in Jesus. All sinners were included in Christ since His birth until His death. But after the cross who only resurrected in Christ and went to heaven in Him? Only true believers!

  7. Very good Slawek. I believe in Christ as my Saviour. I have been baptized by immersion, and washed in His blood. I enjoy the baptism of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. Praise the Lord.


Please leave a comment long enough to say something significant and considerably shorter than the original post. First and last name required.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *