Tidings for Tuesday

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized, and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. Acts 2:41

As a young and newly-baptized Christian, I asked a member of a denominational group why they were allowing several young people to participate in the Lord’s supper, even though they had not yet been baptized. His answer was that it was not scriptural to require baptism first. A week later, I put the same question to a member of another denomination, whose answer was just the opposite: Scripture requires baptism before participation in the Lord’s supper, he said. Who was right? How was a 13-year-old youngster to tell which position was actually scriptural? The answer is, of course, that both were operating from a false premise.

Our text today makes it clear that these folks in our text, after they were baptized, were not added to the participation in the Lord’s supper. No, they were added to the Assembly fellowship. Participation in the Lord’s supper, or Breaking of Bread, was part of activities of the Assembly, as we see in the very next verse: And they continued steadfastly in… breaking of bread.

This is why we don’t permit casual attendance by those not in Assembly fellowship, to the Breaking of Bread. We are accused sometime of excluding people unjustly. But the pattern of scripture, and the teaching of this chapter, makes it clear that the order is very specific. After a person trusts Christ, they are to be baptized. Then, they are to be ‘added’ to the local Assembly fellowship. After that, they participate in the Assembly’s activities, including the Breaking of Bread. This is also why it is wrong for a group of people to gather spontaneously outside of an Assembly setting and hold a Breaking of Bread meeting. It is not a difficult concept. It is nice and clear. We need not become confused or at odds with anyone over it.

God’s patterns and practices for His Assembly are simple and direct. Let us honour them. Let us appreciate His order. -Jim MacIntosh

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