At Christ Church we practice a form of what is called “open communion.” Anyone who professes Christ and is baptized is welcome to join with us. This is the Lord’s Supper, and all of His people are most welcome here. At the same time, the elders of Christ Church are responsible to Christ for protecting His sheep. So we do practice church discipline and we honor the discipline of other faithful churches, and that sometimes means barring individuals from the table. This is why at the bottom of the bulletin it says, “We warmly invite to the Lord’s table all those who are baptized disciples of Jesus Christ, under the authority of Christ and His body, the Church.”
But the thing I actually want to note this morning is the glory of your baptism and underline a bit why we do emphasize being baptized first before coming to this table. There are some views of baptism that we reject – what we might call mystical or sacerdotal views, that God magically infuses individuals with His grace in the moment of baptism – as though His grace were like some kind of invisible fluid. But we also reject the mere memorial view of baptism – that it is merely a special way to say that you are saved.
We hold to a covenantal view of baptism. Baptism is not only part of our public testimony to be a disciple of Christ, it is also God’s public testimony that He has made promises to us and to our children. It is like our family crest or a seal. It’s like our flag, our badge. Just as you instinctively show honor for a national flag or a soldier in uniform, the Bible teaches us to think highly of baptism as God’s sign to us of His promises. Those promises must be received by faith alone to be effectual, but they are wonderful, glorious promises. He promises to wash away our sins and to be our God and the God of our children to a thousand generations. But notice where God prefers to place those promises. He prefers to put them on us, and He puts them on us in the form of His own name – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
So are you baptized? Then you bear the name of the Triune God. He has placed His promises on you, His seal, His royal crest. And therefore, you are here by grace. You are the baptized, and you are most welcome here. Believe in Him, and so come and welcome to Jesus Christ.