Question 43 - What are the sacraments or ordinances?
The sacraments or ordinances given by God and instituted by Christ, namely baptism and the Lord’s Supper, are visible signs and seals that we are bound together as a community of faith by his death and resurrection. By our use of them the Holy Spirit more fully declares and seals the promises of the gospel to us.
Answer for kids:
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”
Commentary (from newcitycatechism.com Web App)
So say I of baptism and of the Lord’s Supper: “In their proper and appointed use they cannot be too highly valued: but, if abused to purposes for which they were not given, and looked to as containing in themselves, and conveying of themselves, salvation to man, they are desecrated.” . . . Let us learn, then, from hence, how to use God’s ordinances—We should be thankful for them: we should honour them: we should look to God in them, and expect from God through them the communications of his grace and peace. They are to be reverenced, but not idolized; to be used as means, but not rested in as an end. No one is to imagine himself the better, merely because he has attended on any ordinances.
Charles Simeon (What are the sacraments or ordinances? | The New City Catechism/#43)
Giver of the Gospel, you have given us signs of your grace that can be seen, felt, and tasted. Help us to observe them according to your commands. May they turn our eyes away from ourselves and onto your saving work. Keep us from exalting the signs in any way that distracts us from the Savior to which they point. Amen.