The Ordinances

The Two Monumental Pillars—The ordinances of baptism and the Lord's supper are two monumental pillars, one within and one without the church. Upon these ordinances Christ has inscribed the name of the true God.—Manuscript 27a, 1900. Ev 273.2

The Lord's Supper a Continuing Memorial—The symbols of the Lord's house are simple and plainly understood, and the truths represented by them are of the deepest significance to us. In instituting the sacramental service to take the place of the Passover, Christ left for His church a memorial of His great sacrifice for man. “This do,” He said, “in remembrance of Me.” This was the point of transition between two economies and their two great festivals. The one was to close forever; the other, which He had just established, was to take its place, and to continue through all time as the memorial of His death.—The Review and Herald, June 22, 1897. Ev 273.3

Feet Washing More Than a Form—We do not come to the ordinances of the Lord's house merely as a form.... Ev 274.1

He has instituted this service, that it may speak constantly to our senses of the love of God that has been expressed in our behalf.... This service cannot be repeated without one thought linking itself with another. Thus a chain of thought calls up remembrances of blessings, of kindnesses, and of favors received from friends and brethren, that have passed out of mind. The Holy Spirit, with its quickening, vivifying power, presents the ingratitude and lack of love that have sprung from the hateful root of bitterness. Link after link of memory's chain is strengthened. The Spirit of God is at work upon human minds. The defects of character, the neglect of duties, the ingratitude to God, are brought to the remembrance, and the thoughts are brought into captivity to Christ.—The Review and Herald, June 7, 1898. Ev 274.2

Heart Preparation—In the early days of the advent movement, when our numbers were few, the celebration of the ordinances was made a most profitable occasion. On the Friday before, every church member endeavored to clear away everything that would tend to separate him from his brethren and from God. Hearts were closely searched; prayers for a divine revelation of hidden sin were earnestly offered; confessions of overreaching in trade, of ill-advised words hastily spoken, of sins cherished, were made. The Lord came near, and we were greatly strengthened and encouraged.—Manuscript 102, 1904. Ev 274.3

The Purpose of the Ordinance of Service—Reconciliation one with another is the work for which the ordinance of feet washing was instituted. By the example of our Lord and Master, this humiliating ceremony has been made a sacred ordinance. Whenever it is celebrated, Christ is present by His Holy Spirit. It is this Spirit that brings conviction to hearts. Ev 275.1

As Christ celebrated this ordinance with His disciples, conviction came to the hearts of all save Judas. So we shall be convicted as Christ speaks to our hearts. The fountains of the soul will be broken up. The mind will be energized, and, springing into activity and life, will break down every barrier that has caused disunion and alienation. Sins that have been committed will appear with more distinctness than ever before; for the Holy Spirit will bring them to our remembrance. The words of Christ, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them,” will be clothed with new power.—The Review and Herald, November 4, 1902. Ev 275.2

Test of the Heart—This ordinance of feet washing was made a religious service.... It was given as something to test and prove the loyalty of the children of God. When modern Israel observes the sacramental ordinance, this ceremony should precede the partaking of the emblems of the Lord's death. Ev 275.3

This ordinance was given for the benefit of Christ's disciples. And Christ meant all that He said when His lips uttered the words, “I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.... If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” He designed by this to test the true state of the heart and mind of those who participated therein.—Manuscript 8, 1897. Ev 275.4

For All Time in Every Country—In the place of the national festival which the Jewish people had observed, He instituted a memorial service, the ordinance of feet washing and the sacramental supper, to be observed through all time by His followers in every country. These should ever repeat Christ's act, that all may see that true service calls for unselfish ministry.—The Signs of the Times, May 16, 1900. Ev 275.5

To Be Often Commemorated—In this last act of Christ in partaking with His disciples of the bread and wine, He pledged Himself to them as their Redeemer by a new covenant, in which it was written and sealed that upon all who will receive Christ by faith will be bestowed all the blessings that heaven can supply, both in this life and in the future immortal life. Ev 276.1

This covenant deed was to be ratified by Christ's own blood, which it had been the office of the old sacrificial offerings to keep before the minds of His chosen people. Christ designed that this supper should be often commemorated, in order to bring to our remembrance His sacrifice in giving His life for the remission of the sins of all who will believe on Him and receive Him. This ordinance is not to be exclusive, as many would make it. Each must participate in it publicly, and thus say: “I accept Christ as my personal Saviour. He gave His life for me, that I might be rescued from death.”—The Review and Herald, June 22, 1897. Ev 276.2

Experience: Dealing Faithfully With an Interested Minister—Sabbath morning, when the church at _____ celebrated the ordinances, Brother _____ was present. He was invited to unite in the ordinance of feet washing, but said he preferred to witness it. He asked if participation in this ordinance was required before one could partake of communion, and was assured by our brethren that it was not obligatory, and that he would be welcome to the table of the Lord. This Sabbath was a most precious day to his soul; he said that he had never had a happier day in his life. Ev 276.3

He afterward desired an interview with me, and we had a pleasant visit. His conversation was very interesting, and we had a precious season of prayer together. I believe that he is a servant of God. I gave him my books Great Controversy, Patriarchs and Prophets, and Steps to Christ. He seemed much pleased, said he wanted all the light he could get in order to meet the opponents of our faith. He was baptized before leaving for his home, and will return to present the truth to his own congregation.—Letter 23a, 1893. Ev 277.1

Not Closed Communion—Christ's example forbids exclusiveness at the Lord's supper. It is true that open sin excludes the guilty. This the Holy Spirit plainly teaches. But beyond this none are to pass judgment. God has not left it with men to say who shall present themselves on these occasions. For who can read the heart? Who can distinguish the tares from the wheat?—The Desire of Ages, 656 (1898). Ev 277.2

There may come in among you those who are not in heart united with truth and holiness, but who may wish to take part in these services. Forbid them not.—Manuscript 47, 1897. Ev 277.3

With Reverence—Everything connected with it should suggest as perfect a preparation as possible. Every ordinance of the church should be uplifting. They should not be made common or cheap, or placed on a level with common things.... Our churches need to be educated to a higher order of reverence and respect for the sacred service of God.—Manuscript 76, 1900. Ev 277.4

This ceremony is not to be performed listlessly, but earnestly, keeping in view its purpose and object.—Manuscript 8, 1897. Ev 278.1

A Blessed Meeting—This day has been a most precious season of refreshment to my soul. The little company here are organized into a church, and I met with them to celebrate the ordinances. I spoke from John 13, and precious ideas were impressed upon my mind in regard to the ordinance of humility.... There is much in this simple rite that is not seen and appreciated. I was blessed in partaking of the symbols of the broken body and spilled blood of our precious Saviour, who became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. He was our sin bearer. Ev 278.2

The meeting today was a very solemn occasion for all present. The testimony meeting was excellent. Everyone whose name was called responded willingly. I know that the Lord Jesus was in the midst of us, and all heaven was pleased as we followed the example of Christ. On these occasions the Lord manifests Himself in a special manner to so soften and subdue the soul, to expel selfishness, to imbue with His Holy Spirit, and to bring love and grace and peace into hearts that are contrite. Ev 278.3

As the meeting closed, and we turned to our tents in the woods, a soft, sweet, holy influence pervaded our hearts. My soul was filled with sweet peace.—Manuscript 14, 1895. Ev 278.4