Bible Study Guides – The Ordinances

November 22, 2003 – November 28, 2003

Memory Verse

“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.” 1 Corinthians 11:26.

Suggested Reading: The Desire of Ages, 652–661.


“The passover pointed backward to the deliverance of the children of Israel, and was also typical, pointing forward to Christ, the Lamb of God, slain for the redemption of fallen man. The blood sprinkled upon the door-posts pre-figured the atoning blood of Christ, and also the continual dependence of sinful man upon the merits of that blood for safety from the power of Satan, and for final redemption. Christ ate the passover supper with his disciples just before his crucifixion, and the same night instituted the ordinance of the Lord’s supper, to be observed in commemoration of his death. The passover had been observed to commemorate the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt. It had been both commemorative and typical. The type had reached the antitype when Christ, the Lamb of God without blemish, died upon the cross. He left an ordinance to commemorate the events of his crucifixion.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 225.

“In the place of the national festival which the Jewish people had observed, He [Christ] 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.

1 In coming into the world, what position did the Son of God voluntarily choose? Philippians 2:6, 7.

note: “This glorious Being loved the poor sinner and took upon Himself the form of a servant, that He might suffer and die in man’s behalf. Jesus might have remained at His Father’s right hand, wearing His kingly crown and royal robes. But He chose to exchange all the riches, honor, and glory of heaven for the poverty of humanity, and His station of high command for the horrors of Gethsemane and the humiliation and agony of Calvary.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 121

“It is not the seeking to climb to eminence that will make you great in God’s sight, but it is the humble life of goodness, meekness, fidelity, and purity that will make you the object of the heavenly angels’ special guardianship. The pattern Man, who thought it not robbery to be equal with God, took upon Himself our nature and lived nearly thirty years in an obscure Galilean town, hidden among the hills. All the angel host was at His command; yet He did not claim to be anything great or exalted. He did not attach ‘Professor’ to His name to please Himself. He was a carpenter, working for wages, a servant to those for whom He labored.” Evangelism, 132.

2 In His teaching, how did Jesus state this principle of His life? Matthew 20:28.

note: “In His life and lessons, Christ has given a perfect exemplification of the unselfish ministry which has its origin in God. God does not live for Himself. By creating the world, and by upholding all things, He is constantly ministering for others. ‘He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.’ Matthew 5:45. This ideal of ministry God has committed to His Son. Jesus was given to stand at the head of humanity, that by His example He might teach what it means to minister. His whole life was under a law of service. He served all, ministered to all. Thus He lived the law of God, and by His example showed how we are to obey it.” The Desire of Ages, 649.

“To all Christ has given the work of ministry. He is the King of glory, yet He declared, ‘The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.’ [Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45.] He is the Majesty of heaven, yet He willingly consented to come to this earth to do the work laid upon Him by His Father. He has ennobled labor. That He might set us an example of industry, He worked with His hands at the carpenter’s trade. From a very early age He acted His part in sustaining the family. He realized that He was a part of the family firm, and willingly bore His share of the burdens.” My Life Today, 168.

3 As viewed by the world, which is considered the greater, the one that ministers, or the one ministered to? Luke 22:27.

note: “Let us be careful to follow his [Christ’s] example, and feel that we are responsible for the performance of the same duties which we lay upon others to perform. Let us not enjoin upon others that which we will not do ourselves. Jesus rebuked the scribes and Pharisees because they bound upon their brethren burdens which were grievous to be borne, which they themselves would not touch with one of their fingers. In our day there are those who, while urging and exhorting their brethren to greater efforts, fail to set them an example in zeal and effort for the cause of God. Those who urge upon others the performance of duties, must themselves be the first to engage in the good work, or their instruction will lose its force. The world’s Redeemer did thus, and we are to follow in his footsteps.” Review and Herald, November 7, 1893.

4 As viewed by heaven, which class is regarded the greater? Matthew 20:25–27; Luke 22:26.

note: “All things both in heaven and in earth declare that the great law of life is a law of service. The infinite Father ministers to the life of every living thing. Christ came to the earth ‘as He that serveth.’ Luke 22:27. The angels are ‘ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.’ Hebrews 1:14. The same law of service is written upon all things in nature. The birds of the air, the beasts of the field, the trees of the forest, the leaves, the grass, and the flowers, the sun in the heavens and the stars of light—all have their ministry. Lake and ocean, river and water spring—each takes to give.” Education, 103.

5 The night before Jesus was crucified, what ordinance did He institute to keep before His followers the principle of unselfish service? John 13:3–5.

note: “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.” Evangelism, 275.

“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’ [John 13:17], will be clothed with new power.” Review and Herald, November 4, 1902.

6 What did Jesus say when he had completed his task of washing the disciples’ feet? John 13:12–15.

note: “For these disciples the mission of Christ finally accomplished its purpose. Little by little His example and His lessons of self-abnegation molded their characters. His death destroyed their hope of worldly greatness. The fall of Peter, the apostasy of Judas, their own failure in forsaking Christ in His anguish and peril, swept away their self-sufficiency. They saw their own weakness; they saw something of the greatness of the work committed to them; they felt their need of their Master’s guidance at every step.” Education, 93, 94.

“Duties are laid down in God’s Word, the performance of which will keep the people of God humble and separate from the world, and from backsliding, like the nominal churches. The washing of feet and partaking of the Lord’s supper should be more frequently practiced. Jesus set us the example, and told us to do as He had done.” Early Writings, 116.

7 With what words did Jesus point out the true attitude His followers should maintain? John 13:16, 17.

note: “The example of washing the feet of his disciples was given for the benefit of all who should believe in him. He required them to follow his example. This humble ordinance was not only designed to test their humility and faithfulness, but to keep fresh in their remembrance that the redemption of his people was purchased upon conditions of humility and continual obedience upon their part.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 202.

8 After washing his disciples’ feet what did Jesus do? Matthew 26:26, 27.

note: “Here our Saviour instituted the Lord’s supper, to be often celebrated, to keep fresh in the memory of his followers the solemn scenes of his betrayal and crucifixion for the sins of the world. He would have his followers realize their continual dependence upon his blood for salvation. The broken bread was a symbol of Christ’s broken body, given for the salvation of the world. The wine was a symbol of his blood, shed for the cleansing of the sins of all those who should come unto him for pardon, and receive him as their Saviour.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 227.

9 In eating the broken bread and drinking of the cup, what is kept in mind? How long is this memorial to last? 1 Corinthians 11:26.

note: “At the first feast He attended with His disciples, Jesus gave them the cup that symbolized His work for their salvation. At the last supper He gave it again, in the institution of that sacred rite by which His death was to be shown forth ‘till He come.’ 1 Corinthians 11:26.” The Desire of Ages, 149.

“The Communion service points to Christ’s second coming. It was designed to keep this hope vivid in the minds of the disciples.” Ibid., 659.

10 What is the result when one partakes of this bread and wine not discerning the body of Christ? 1 Corinthians 11:27–29.

note: “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?

“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.” Evangelism, 277.

11 How did Jesus and the disciples manifest their joy on this occasion? Matthew 26:30.

note: “In His discourse to the disciples, Jesus made no mournful allusion to His own sufferings and death. His last legacy to them was a legacy of peace. He said, ‘Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ [John 14:27.]

“Before leaving the upper chamber, the Saviour led His disciples in a song of praise. His voice was heard, not in the strains of some mournful lament, but in the joyful notes of the Passover hallel [Psalm 117 quoted].” The Desire of Ages, 672.

12 When will Jesus again drink of the fruit of the vine? Mathew 26:29.

note: “At the first feast He attended with His disciples, Jesus gave them the cup that symbolized His work for their salvation. At the last supper He gave it again, in the institution of that sacred rite by which His death was to be shown forth ‘till He come.’ 1 Corinthians 11:26. And the sorrow of the disciples at parting from their Lord was comforted with the promise of reunion, as He said, [Matthew 26:29 quoted].

“The wine which Christ provided for the feast, and that which He gave to the disciples as a symbol of His own blood, was the pure juice of the grape. To this the prophet Isaiah refers when he speaks of the new wine ‘in the cluster,’ and says, ‘Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it.’ Isaiah 65:8.” The Desire of Ages, 149.

These lessons are adapted from the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, April 1912.