The Sacraments
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The Sacraments

What is a Sacrament?

A sacrament is a sacred act

  1. Instituted by God;
  2. In which God Himself has joined His Word of promise to a visible element; and
  3. By which He offers, gives, and seals the forgiveness of sins earned by Christ.

By this definition there are two sacraments: Holy Baptism and the Lord's Supper, which is also called Holy Communion and The Eucharist.

Peter said to them, "Repent and be Baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38

"The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ?  The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?" 1 Corinthians 10:16

The Sacraments and all outward things that God ordains and institutes should not be considered according to the coarse, outward mask, the way we look at a nutshell.  But we respect them because God's Word is included in them. (Luther's Large Catechism IV 19)

  • Holy Baptism

    We believe Baptism is a Gift of God. Yet Baptism separates and divides the Christian Church because people don't agree on its definition. For some, including us, Baptism is a "sacrament", an act of God that unites us with the risen Christ and makes us members of God's family. For others, Baptism is an "ordinance," a human act of confession of faith. Lutherans understand Baptism as a “sacrament”, an act instituted by Jesus Himself (Matthew 28:18-20) for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38-39) using a visible element (water) along with God’s Word.

     

    Each person is baptized with water in the Name of the Triune God. Since Baptism is an Act of God, there is no age restriction on receiving the Sacrament. "All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God." [Romans 3:23] Jesus said to the disciples, "Let the little children [Luke uses the term "infant"] come unto me and forbid them not; for of such is the Kingdom of God." [Mark 10:14].

     

    Parents, Sponsors [or God-parents] and Pastor all play a role in the baptism of a child. Parents are responsible for bringing their children to Baptism and for creating a family environment in which the child can be raised as a baptized Child of God. Sponsors present the child [or adult] at baptism and by example, prayer and encouragement help the baptized person grow in the new life that God has given. The Pastor and the church celebrate the Baptism in keeping with God's command and welcome the newly baptized into God's wider family.

     

    For Lutherans, Baptism is a sacrament. It is the rebirth by water and the spirit of which the Lord speaks in the Gospel of John [John 3:3-6]. It is a means of grace through which the Holy Spirit engenders faith in the heart of the baptized person. As a Sacrament, it conveys the forgiveness of sins won for us by Jesus Christ. Since the action is on the part of God and since Lutherans believe that all, including infants, are a part of this sinful world, there is no restriction on the age of baptism. In emergency situations an infant may be baptized at birth. A person is baptized into the Christian Faith, not into a particular denomination. Therefore, the Lutheran Church accepts as valid the baptism of any denomination as long as it is done with water and in the Name of the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Lutherans find no Scriptural restrictions on the way in which the water is applied and therefore use and accept baptism by immersion, pouring, or sprinkling. The link which baptism forms between the baptized person and the Lord is so complete that the Lord's death becomes our death and his resurrection becomes our resurrection into a new life. St. Paul wrote to the little congregation in Rome, "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life." [Romans 6:3-4].

     

    In baptism through the work of the Holy Spirit we receive the faith which trusts in the grace of God. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God." [Ephesians 2:8] The role of the Christian life is then to live out his/her baptismal grace.

  • Lord's Supper

    Lutherans teach and confess the Real Presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper. Our teaching is unique in that it differs from both the Roman Catholic Church and the Reformed churches. We believe that Jesus Christ is truly present in, with and under the bread and wine. Therefore, when one communes and partakes of the sacrament, one receives four elements: bread, wine, body and blood. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the bread and wine are now changed into the body and blood, although the elements look, feel, smell and taste like the bread and wine. Therefore, in the Roman Catholic Church, one believes only two elements are received, body and blood (although they rarely receive the blood. That is usually reserved for the priest). The Reformed churches teach a symbolic representation of Christ in the Lord’s Supper. In these churches, the bread only represents Christ’s body while the grape juice (sometimes wine) only represents the blood. Lutherans recognize that no where in the Bible does ‘symbolic’ language occur when the Lord’s Supper is being instituted by Christ or later taught by St. Paul. The gospels record Jesus’ words as stating, “This is my body . . . this is my blood”. St. Paul describes this Real Presence in communion when he describes it as a participation (Greek: koinonia) in the body and blood of Christ in 1 Corinthians 10:16. Again, nowhere in the Bible is symbolic language used when describing the Lord’s Supper. See 1 Corinthians 11:23-29

     

    Some have stated that Christ cannot be truly present as we Lutherans believe. They say the ‘finite can’t hold the infinite’. To this we ask, “Was Jesus divine? While walking the earth, playing as a child or teaching in the synagogues as an adult, was He really Emmanuel, God with us? Was He God in the flesh?” Of course He was! And He was in a finite body, taking up finite space, in a specific time period. We believe God makes His presence where He chooses to do so; the Lord’s Supper is a unique place where He has promised to be found. Furthermore, Jesus could have easily stated that the bread and the wine represented his body and blood. But no! Jesus said it is; therefore, we believe it! Those who distort His teachings here may distort His teachings elsewhere.

     

    We also believe the primary purpose of the Lord’s Supper is for the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:26-28) and for us to proclaim the Lord’s death until He returns (1 Corinthians 11:26). The Lord’s Supper, also known as Holy Communion, the Eucharist, and the Last Supper, is central and vital to our worship life as a congregation.

     

    As far as logistical practice, we don’t serve the Lord’s Supper to just anyone who comes to the sanctuary for a worship service. Nor do we ONLY serve the Lord’s Supper to members of King of Kings. If you are a member of another LC-MS church and/or confess the faith which we hold (though you may not be a member here at King of Kings), and are coming to the altar with the right mindset of seeking God’s forgiveness while recognizing the body and blood of the Lord is truly present, then you are welcome to commune. However, be sure to note St. Paul’s warnings of people who commune with bad, false motives (1 Corinthians 11:27-29). We don’t want to contribute to this hazardous situation; therefore, we want to be careful to administer the sacrament properly so all receivers of the sacrament know what is happening. If you’re not sure about our teachings and/or your faith regarding this topic, please call or visit with Pastor before communing.

Baptism - Small Catechism

What is Baptism?

Baptism is not just plain water , but it is the water included in God's command and combined with God's Word.

What benefits does Baptism give?

It works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.

LCMS - Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) is a Christ centered, mission-oriented, Bible-based, confessional Christian denomination headquartered in St. Louis, Mo., founded on the teachings of Martin Luther.

In grateful response to God’s grace and empowered by the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacraments, the mission of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is vigorously to make known the love of Christ by word and deed within our churches, communities and the world.