It is important to remember that in any discussion of sacraments or sacramentals with a non-Catholic you must set the ground rules as to what is meant by a “sacrament.”
When you understand our Church’s teaching on what constitutes a sacrament and why, then you will be more comfortable explaining yours, mine and our position (we happy few, we loving band of brothers, we Body of Christ!) to those separated from the Church founded by Christ upon St Peter and the Apostles.
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) it says “The sacraments are perceptible signs (words and actions) accessible to our human nature. By the action of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit they make present efficaciously the grace that they signify.” (CCC, 1084)
There are many other cites to what the Church teaches (from the Bible she put together and the traditions she inherited prior to that canon being assembled some 350 years after our Lord’s death and Resurrection) and a good site is Immaculate Heart Radio homepage (i think its ihr.org) where there is a link to the online CCC on the lower right.
Historically, we inherited our belief in sacred signs and symbols from Judaism. The Ark of the Covenant for example was a symbol of God’s presence among the Israelites. Moreover, the Ark was an efficacious symbol which accounts for the fact that it was carried into battle to ensure victory against their enemies. The ritual blessing of the eldest son, the Passover meal, the rabbinic blessing of marriage, the official confession of sins, the anointing of the sick with oil.
Even baptism was first a rite in Judaism for the cleansing of sin and preparation for acceptance into the Kingdom of God.
Remember, Jesus was a Jew. He knew his laws and his customs and his sacraments. Catholics are, in essence, Jews of the New Covenant, we are the spiritual heirs of the Jewish faith (the CCC addresses this concept too).
So to any bible thumping Protestant, I think he (or she) would be hard pressed to deny Jesus His Jewish sacraments and their place in God’s plan of salvation.
The NT never uses the word *sacrament, *but it mentions numerous ritualistic actions that were efficacious signs of spiritual realities.
Here is a short list: Baptism (Acts 8:12-13); the Eucharist (1Cor 10:16, Luke 24:13-43, John 20:19-23, 26-29); Holy Orders (ordination) or the Laying on of Hands (Acts 19:1-7).
Now it is important to remember that upon undergoing this rite (Holy Orders) the believer came to manifest what St Paul called the “fruits of the Holy Spirit” (Gal 5:22-23).
The word sacrament comes from its use in the Vulgate of St Jerome (a compilation of the oldest and best manuscripts of the Septuagint and the NT) into Latin. The word sacramentum, which meant the pledge of allegiance to the Emperor that was administered to recruits when they entered the Roman Army. It was first applied to a Christian (that is, Catholic) ritual by Tertullian around 190 AD, when he spoke of baptism as a sacramentum since it represented entrance into Christian life and a statement of complete allegiance to the teachings of Christ.
This is a beginning for you, I hope it helps.