Jun. 06, 2021
Outward Signs...Inward Grace
Matthew 3:11-17 & Luke 22:14-20
i. St Augustine, in the 5th century described a ____________ as “An outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace.”
ii. Only two within the United Methodist Church—Communion and Baptism
iii. John Wesley believed “…the sacraments are an instituted means of ____________.”
“In other words, Jesus said, ‘Do these things and the Spirit will be active in these ways in your life…Jesus left these for us as a means of continuing to abide in him and abide in the grace and the love of God.”
“God's grace is not only biblical, it's everywhere…‘We love because God first loved us’…All grace is prevenient; it is God's actions toward us because of our inability to save ourselves.”
“How grace ‘works’ through the sacraments is a subject upon which the Wesleys – John and Charles – chose not to speculate and neither have subsequent United Methodist teachings. This is not a theological cop-out, but an indicator of trust in God's promises.”
“John Wesley was less confident about an adult's ability to receive justifying and sanctifying grace at the time of baptism, since a person might have conscious or unconscious obstacles set against it. Yet, God's grace was always given, even though a person might become aware of it or appropriate it at a later time. United Methodists can affirm that God's grace is ‘most surely and immediately available' because God's promises are true. God can always do as God chooses, but God has shown again and again to the church that the sacraments are sure means, or channels, of grace.”
Rev. Karen Westerfield-Tucker
iv. “By Water and the Spirit” is the document first adopted by the 1996 General Conference of The United Methodist Church about ____________.
v. “This Holy Mystery” is the document first adopted by the 2004 General Conference of The United Methodist Church about ____________.
vi. Both documents acknowledge that “God is the ____________ initiator and source of grace.”
2. Baptism Is…
a. A sign of God’s ____________ with us.
[Abraham] received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.
“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.
b. Acknowledged through ____________ and faith in Jesus Christ.
“Therefore, let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" Peter replied, “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. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
c. Offered to us and our whole ____________.
“But Paul shouted [to the jailer], "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!" The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household." Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized.”
d. Our response to the ____________ News of Jesus Christ.
“The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it." Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the [Ethiopian eunuch] reading Isaiah the prophet. "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asked. "How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: "He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth." The eunuch asked Philip, "Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?" Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water. Why shouldn't I be baptized?" And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.
3. We Partake In Holy Communion Because…
“For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 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." 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." For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.”
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
a. Christ ____________ his body and blood for you.
“The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed…”
1 Corinthian 11:23
“…This is my body (and blood) which is for you…”
1 Corinthian 11:24-25
b. Jesus ____________ us to take it.
“[Jesus said], "This is my body, which is for you; do this…after supper [Jesus] took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this…”
1 Corinthian 11:24-25
c. We ____________ his sacrificial death.
“…[Jesus said] "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me…this cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me. For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.”
1 Corinthians 11:24-26
d. Christ is a "sure and real ____________ " during Holy Communion. (This Holy Mystery)
The ritual is not merely a ____________.
The bread and wine represent Jesus himself—they are ____________ (outward signs).
Our communion table is ____________.
“Christ our Lord invites to his table all who love him, who earnestly repent of their sin and seek to live in peace with one another.”
“Sacraments give dignity to our humanity and, by the grace of God, lift our humanity Godward… God in Jesus Christ knew that we needed to touch, feel, taste, see and hear God. Thus, God invites us into an experience through the sacraments. Grace transforms us. How, exactly, is a mystery.”
“We come and receive the elements so that we become what I receive. That's the whole Wesleyan notion about going on and going on…Our hope, then, is that we become ‘perfect in love’…We become the love that claims us in our baptism, the kind of love that nourishes us at the table, the kind of love that unites us to the communion of those who have been saints of God, always and everywhere, and become that body of Christ that does justice and loves mercy."
Rev. Gina Campbell