Three ordinances that all New Testament churches and believers obeyed:   



Honoring Christ In Baptism: 

When a person believed in Jesus as their own Lord and Savior they were
immediately baptized: 
“Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all” (Acts 2:41). 

Three things happened, one right after the other, and all in the same day:

         º  They believed
          º  They were baptized
          º  They were added to the church

No adult, much less infant, who had not received and believed in Jesus, was ever baptized in the New Testament.  New Testament baptism had no relevance apart from becoming a new believer in Jesus.  Baptism in the New Testament was for all new believers to openly and symbolically declare their new spiritual birth identifying with Jesus in His death, burial and resurrection:

“Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?  For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was… For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead” (Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12). 

For this reason if a whole household got baptized their sons and/or daughters were also old enough to believe: 
“Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, and everyone in his household believed in the Lord. Many others in Corinth also heard Paul, became believers, and were baptized” (Acts 18:8).

There is not one example in the Old or New Testament of infant baptism. To be saved a person must confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead” (Rom.10:9). To baptize an infant who has not “confessed” and “believed” is just as wrong as baptizing an adult who has not “confessed” and “believed”. Such a “baptism” would be a public mockery to the message of salvation and the very meaning of baptism itself. 

To dedicate an infant to the Lord is totally different than baptism. The two must never be confused! For that reason, in the Bible no infant was ever dedicated to the Lord using any water, much less calling it baptism!    

The prerequisite for baptism is not only “confessing” and “believing” but such a person would also “have received the Holy Spirit”. None of this would be true with an infant. “Peter asked, ‘Can anyone object to their being baptized, now that they have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?’” (Acts 10:47). Why did Peter ask that question? Because no one was, or is, to ever get baptized unless “they have received the Holy Spirit”. All the believers there, including Peter, would have objected” for any adult, much less an infant, to be baptized if they had not received the Holy Spirit”.     

If Jesus is to be our example, Jesus was never baptized as an infant but He was baptized and immersed as an adult: “Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John tried to talk him out of it. ‘I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,’ he said, ‘so why are you coming to me?’  But Jesus said, ‘It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.’  So John agreed to baptize him” (John 3:13-15).

“Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ…’” (Acts 2:38).  An infant is certainly not capable of “repenting”.  And if there had been infant baptism Peter would have had to say, ‘Repent, and each of you, who have not been baptized as an infant, be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ…’”.

Because baptism is the public picture of the new believer identifying with Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, every example of baptism in the New Testament was by immersion. There is not one New Testament example of “sprinkling”, nor is it ever taught. The Greek word for baptism is baptizo which means literally “immerse”. It is found nearly 80 times in the New Testament and is the only word ever used for believers being baptized, even though there was a Greek word rantizo for “sprinkling”. The word rantizo for “sprinkle”, is only used four times in the New Testament and only for “sprinkling blood” (Hebrews 9:13, 19, 21; Hebrews 10:22). 

Not only does the Greek word “baptizo” mean to “immerse” but every example confirms immersion: 

  • "They came to some water...both...went down into the water and Philip baptized him ... they came up out of the water” (Acts 8:36-39).
  • “They were baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River" (Matthew 3:4-6; Mark 1:5).
  • "John also was baptizing at Aenon...because there was plenty of water" (John 3:23).
  • "As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water" (Matthew 3:16). 

 

Only immersion shows the full picture of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, and only when a believer is immersed can he fully picture Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. 

Finally, no verses on baptism can possibly apply to infants but only to adults: 

  • "Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved.  But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). 
  • “Pharisees… rejected God’s plan for them, for they had refused… baptism” (Luke 7:30). 
  • “Peter said, ‘Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:38).  
  • “He preached that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven” (Mark 1:4).      

All disciples of Jesus, any believer, can baptize new believers: “Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were” (John 4:2).



Honoring Christ In Supper: 

Christians gathered in house churches, and only house churches, for the “Lord’s supper”:
“They… met in homes for the Lord’s Supper…” (Acts 2:46). It was not a token wafer or thimble sip of wine or juice but rather an actual “supper” as stated. Jude described it as, “Your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love” or “love feast” (Jude 1:12). It was like a “pot luck” where everybody brought food “…sharing with others” (1Cor. 11:21).

Like baptism that is symbolic so also during the Lord’s supper is taking the “bread” and “cup” symbolic of Christ’s body and blood that was sacrificed for us at the Cross.  “After supper” (1Cor.11:25) they took the bread and cup:

    º  “In remembrance of Jesus" (1Cor. 11:24-25).
    º  “Examining themselves” (1Cor. 11:28).
    º  Proclaiming the Lord's death" (1Cor. 11:26).
    º   In expectation, "until He comes" (1Cor. 11:26).

The New Testament Christians not only celebrated the Lord’s supper together in their homes but did it every first day of the week:  “On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord’s Supper” (Acts 20:7).



Honoring Christ In Headship:
 

Most churches follow at least two of the New Testament ordinances -- baptism and the Lord's Supper. But there is actually a third New Testament ordinance equally as important -- Christ's Headship! Christ's Headship is being publically demonstrated, in honor or dishonor, every time the church gathers:

"Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances… that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. For if a woman is not covered, let her shave her head. But if it is a shame for a woman to be shaved, let her cover her head.  For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man" (1Corinthians 11:2-7KJV).

This is Christ's Headship ordinance. There are far more Scriptures on the general ordinance of Christ’s Headship throughout the Old and New Testament then there is the other two ordinances of the Lord’s supper and baptism put together! In fact the only place the apostle Paul instructs on the Lord's Supper is in this same chapter in 1Corinthians 11. However, right before Paul instructs on the Lord's Supper he instructs on Christ's Headship, how men and women are to pray and prophesy during the Lord's Supper. If we follow the Lord's supper ordinance we certainly should follow Christ's Headship ordinance how to pray and prophesy during the Lord's supper!

The Apostle Paul's primary basis for "head covering" is Christ Headship!  For this reason alone "head covering" should never be ignored.  Paul even states that "head covering" also reflects "the image and glory of God" (1Cor. 11:7) and the "creation of God" (1Cor. 11:8-9)! I know of no other single subject in all of the New Testament where obeying one thing, reflects so much --- Christ Headship, God's image, glory and creation! Paul introduces the subject with Christ Headship by declaring the following (1Corinthians 11:3): 

º  God is the head of Christ 
º  Christ is the head of man
º  
Man is the head of woman        

Christ's Headship is to be uniquely displayed every time believers gather by what the men and women wear or do not wear on their heads when they pray and prophesy:

“A man dishonors his head [Christ] if he covers his head while praying or prophesying.  But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head [husband]” (1Cor. 11:4-5). 

First, though "prophesying" in the Old Testament was often foretelling the future, in the New Testament Paul said, "prophesying is for strengthening, encouraging and comforting others" (1Cor.14:3). "Prophesying" sounds like a highly spiritual word to us today but actually in the New Testament times it was not a spiritual word at all but a very common word that Christians and non-Christians alike used for simply speaking or sharing. Today, when Christians share what is on their heart or the Word, it is the same as prophesying. So for our contemporary understanding we'll simply use the common word "share".  

So, when a man prays or shares in a church gathering he should not "cover his head" or he will be "dishonoring his head [Christ]". Because of America's past deep rooted Christian culture even most non-Christian men today will still take off their hats during any public prayer out of respect.  All this came from this verse and has been done since the time of Christ. Even so since the time of Christ until the last century all women in most all Christian denominations would always cover their heads during church gathers. Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox and most all Reformers taught this.   

Why now do most respect men for taking off their hats when they pray but think it doesn't matter what women do? Do we think women are less important or what they do is less importance? We devalue women if we don't think it matters whether they obey God or not. 

Christian women and their Christian custom of head covering to how women dress in general has been far more attacked then men. And Christian husbands have fallen from their love and duty for their wives to instruct them in the Word which is their first priority of love for their wife, according to Ephesians 5:25-26. The 20th century feminists have done more to influence Christian women today than the Church or their husbands. But when those who really love Christ see what He wants, they "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect" (Rom.12:2NLT).

And this is God's will for a woman when she prays and shares in a church gather… "A woman dishonors her head if she prays or prophesies without a covering on her head” (1Cor.11:5NLT). So every woman when in church praying or sharing "without a covering on her head" is dishonoring her husband as well as Christ's Headship and the Bible.

And a husband that does not care whether his wife obeys God in covering her head or not, when she prays or shares in a church gathering, is a husband that does not know what God says, or does not care much for his wife or what God says for his wife. Some husbands really don't want their wives to look to them to be their head knowing more would be expected of them.  Of course that's a husband that does not reflect "the image and glory of God" (1Cor. 11:7) or the "creation of God" (1Cor. 11:8-9). Then not only is their wife not under Christ Headship but neither is the husband… and only time will reveal how sad that will become. 

But the Scriptures here for Christ's Headship are not just for married women. The Scriptures here make no reference to whether the woman is married or single.  It never uses the word "wife" but only "woman". It is the male/female creation order of Christ's Headship: God over Christ, Christ over man and man over woman. The single woman’s male/head would be her father and the married woman’s male/head would be her husband. 

If a man prays or prophesies with his head covered he is publically declaring he does not honor his Head, Christ. In such case a man is publically declaring himself to be under no head but to be his own god and equal with God. Even so any woman who prays or shares with her head uncovered is publically declaring herself to be under no head but to be her own god and equal with God.                   

This was essentially what the first woman Eve did in not honoring her head, Adam. She dealt independently from Adam in talking with Satan and deciding on her own to eat the forbidden fruit. As her own head and leader now she also then became Adam's leader. She led Adam into also eating the forbidden fruit. But by being her own head and leader she became very easy to be deceived and that she was as the Bible says (1Tim.2:14). But, being out from under her head for just that one time cost her life! And that led in her leading her husband to do wrong and costing his life and eventually the whole human race! Always showing with head covering to be under our head and therefore under Christ's Headship when praying or sharing in a church gathering is not something to be taken lightly. Eve was not showing herself to be under Adam, her head, when she sinned and led in bringing down her husband and the whole human race…

"The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, 'Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?' 

'Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,' the woman replied.  'It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’

'You won’t die!' the serpent replied to the woman. 'God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.'

The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it.Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness" (Gen. 3:1-7).

Eve was not honoring her head, Adam. She was acting independent of her head as his leader. She independently decided to eat the fruit and then began to be the leader over her husband in doing the same.  When a woman does not want to show she is under her husband/head in covering her head when praying or sharing in a church gathering, in essences she is showing the same spirit as Eve in wanting to be head… to "be like God".  At any time to not be under our head is to not be under Christ's Headship. And to not be under Christ's Headship is sin and sin always brings some form of death even today.   

Now some women may be more concerned about how they look to others when they're praying then showing a spirit of submission under Christ’s Headship. Or some try to explain that a woman's hair is her “covering”. But the context does not permit that. If it did, then a man’s hair would also be his “covering”. And then a man should take his “hair” off every time he prays in church? Even so, is a woman to put her “hair” on every time she prays in church? Such an interpretation is humorous yet some will reject the simple truth no matter how absurd they have to twist Scripture. And if "hair" was to be the woman's head cover when she prayed or prophesied there would obviously be no reason for Paul to even address the subject to begin with, since all women already have hair on their head. But the Scripture says:

“A woman dishonors her head if she prays or prophesies without a covering on her head, for this is the same as shaving her head.  Yes, if she refuses to wear a head covering, she should cut off all her hair!  But since it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut or her head shaved, she should wear a covering” (1Cor. 11:5-6).

It is impossible in this context to interpret “covering” and “hair” as the same. Women cover or uncover their head with a veil or scarf etc. 

However, later in the chapter a word “covering” is used in reference to a woman's “long hair”. Though the same English word is use they are entirely different Greek words.  The Greek word for "covering" above is "katakalyptō", for a cloth or veil covering, as is obvious in the above context. The Greek word for "covering" later in the chapter is "peribolaion" (1Cor. 11:14-15). Not only is the word entirely different but the context is also entirely different.  Later in the chapter "peribolaion"  is used referring to a woman's "long hair" as being her "glory", compared to if a man has "long hair" it is his shame. In fact, this is one reason a woman is to “cover her head when she prays or prophesies” so as to cover or veil her "glory" to show honor for her husband and Christ's Headship.

It’s interesting how all three church ordinances are symbolic pictures of Christ:  Baptism – Christ death, burial and resurrection. The Lord’s Supper – Jesus body and blood.  Head covering -- Christ’s Headship. But only with the ordinance of Christ’s Headship does God say His “angels are watching”! How amazing is that!  That is incredible! 

"For this reason, and because the angels are watching, a woman should wear a covering on her head to show she is under authority” (1Cor. 11:10). 

For a woman wearing a head covering is the only thing in the entire Bible where God says His "angels are watching"! Again, how important does God and the whole angelic world think it is for women to cover their head when they pray or share in a church gather. And, why is it necessary for a woman to "show" she is under authority? Only God can see in the heart of everyone, not even angels can see our hearts. 

The Old Testament says, before man was created a third of the angels rebelled against God and Christ Headship authority. They wanted to be as God. And therefore God kicked those rebelling angels out of heaven, often referred to as demons. "And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment" (Jude 1:6). God's angels that have submitted to Christ's Headship authority and maybe also the rebel angels are all watching to see how many of God's chosen women will honor Christ's Headship authority in "…wearing a covering on her head to show she is under authority”.

If we want to think of how a woman looks when she prays or shares, we should see her as showing she is under authority if her head is covered. If not, we should see her as God says, "… disgracing her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved" (1Cor. 11:5).

We should not worry about what is fashionable in the world but what God and billions of angels that are watching consider "fashionable". Is baptism anyway fashionable?  You don't look very pretty when you come out of the water soaking wet!  But if we love Jesus we obey Him in baptism. How fashionable is it to symbolically eat and drink flesh and blood every time you eat the Lord's Supper? Yet we eat the Lord's Supper. And Scripture doesn't actually command us how to be baptized or actually command us to eat bread and drink wine for the Lord's Supper. We do all that by way of example. However, when it comes to God's ordinance regarding prayer and sharing in a church gathering, God commands us exactly how He wants us to pray and share, with men's head uncovered and women's head covered.  

God concludes head coverings and Christ's Headship authority with this final verse, "But if anyone wants to argue about this, I simply say that we have no other custom than this, and neither do God’s other churches” (1Cor. 11:16).     

This obviously was not the world's custom then anymore than it is today. But rather it was only all the churches custom!  In fact, the New Testament churches had "no other custom". 

Those who want to honor their head and Christ's Headship authority will not "argue" about this but obey and rejoice to know how to "show" honor and submission to their head and Christ's Headship authority.