A church cannot exist without or apart from the preaching of the gospel (Rom. 1:16; Eph. 1:13–14; 1 Thess. 1:5; 1 Pet. 1:23). The apostle Paul teaches us that “faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). Preaching is the most basic element of a church. Without Christ-centered, gospel-centered preaching—no church exists.
This might seem like a negotiable one, but the two sacraments that Jesus instituted—baptism and the Lord’s Supper—are essential for a church to exist (Matt. 26:26–28; 28:19–20; 1 Cor. 10:15–17). Baptism is the sacrament of initiation. It functions as the entry point into Christianity, moving us from “not my people” to “my people,” marking us out as those who have been branded by the Triune God. The Lord’s Supper is the sacrament of nutrition. Through the use of this sacrament, the Holy Spirit continues to grow us and further unite us to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith.
If the sacraments seemed negotiable, this one certainly might seem out of place and antithetical to the church of Jesus Christ. But, contrary to popular opinion, the practice of church discipline is also a mark of a healthy church that cares about the spiritual wellness of its members. Jesus Christ introduced church discipline for the sake of his sheep (Matt. 18) that they would be protected from wolves and truly loved by his appointed under-shepherds.