Series 1 - Lesson 4 - Annotation 13
Explain how baptism and the Lord's Supper are the means by which man becomes a conscious member of the "church of Christ."
13. Baptism and the Lord's Supper can be the means by which man becomes a conscious member of the "church of Christ" only if these sacraments are observed in the Spirit instead of the "letter." The "church of Christ" is an inner consciousness of God's Presence that must develop within the outer organism, (the form or the body). What we read in the scriptures regarding the "church" is to be applied to the invisible spiritual body as it goes through the process of regenerating and redeeming the biological flesh body.
The outer rites and ceremonies of church organizations are symbols that lose their true significance if more attention is given to the symbol than to that which the symbol represents. All symbols are good when rightly used, and when they emphasize the reality they represent. Every word we utter, everything we see in the outer world of manifestation, is a symbol. Mankind has had need of the rites and ceremonies of the organized churches as symbols of devotion to and worship of God. We are, however, learning that the value lies beyond the outer act; it lies in the soul's own contact with Spirit through prayer. Only in this way can the Lord's Supper or baptism become valuable to the individual in awakening him to his place in the "church of Christ."
Denial corresponds to water baptism. Affirmation corresponds to Holy Spirit baptism -- "Receive ye the Holy Spirit" (John 20:22). Affirmation also corresponds to the eating of the "bread" and the drinking of the "wine" of the Lord's Supper. However, both denial and affirmation yield their full meaning for us only as we remember the inner activity back of the words.