For The Week Of: August 8, 2021
1. In our previous study I provided reasons to believe in the ordinance
a. It is commanded by Christ and His apostles
b. It is the avenue of wonderful blessings
2. Another ordinance worthy of our faith is the Lord's Supper, also known as...
a. The Communion - 1Co 10:16
b. The Breaking Of Bread - Ac 2:42; 20:7
c. The Eucharist, from the Greek eucharisteo, "giving of thanks", which Christ did at the time of its institution - Mt 26:26-27
3. The Lord's Supper is a simple act, in which those who are Christians...
a. Partake of unleavened bread
b. Drink of the fruit of the vine
4. I believe in the Lord's Supper for two simple reasons...
a. It was instituted by the Lord Himself - cf. Mt 26:26-28
b. It's observance was commanded by the Lord - cf. 1Co 11:24-25
[Such is sufficient for the disciple of Christ. Yet in order to develop a stronger faith in the importance of the Supper, and a greater commitment to keeping its observance, let's first review...]
I. THE MEANING OF THE SUPPER
A. IT IS A MEMORIAL...
1. Note Paul's account as given by the Lord Himself - 1Co 11:23-25
a. We eat the bread in memory of His body
b. We drink the cup (fruit of the vine) in memory of His blood
2. We therefore commemorate the death of Jesus on the cross -Mt 26:28
a. Whose death make the new covenant possible - He 9:16
b. Whose blood was shed for the remission of sins - Ep 1:7
-- As the Passover was a memorial commemorating Israel's deliverance from Egypt through the blood of the lambs on the door post, so the Supper is a memorial of our Lord's death who makes our deliverance from the bondage of sin possible
B. IT IS A PROCLAMATION...
1. We proclaim our faith in the efficacy of the Lord's death - 1Co 11:26a
a. That His death was indeed for our sins
b. If we don't believe He died for our sins, why keep the Supper?
2. We also proclaim our faith in the Lord's return - 1Co 11:26b
a. For it is to be done "till He comes"
b. If we don't believe He is coming, then why keep the Supper?
-- Thus the Lord's Supper looks forward as well as backward, and will ever be observed by His disciples who trust in His redemption and anticipate His return!
C. IT IS A COMMUNION...
1. A fellowship or sharing in the blood of Christ - 1Co 10:16a
a. As we partake, we commune with the blood of Christ
b. Perhaps in the sense of reinforcing blessings we enjoy through the blood of Christ - cf. 1Jn 1:7,9
2. A fellowship or sharing in the body of Christ - 1Co 10:16b-17
a. As we partake, we commune with the body of Christ
b. Perhaps in the sense of reinforcing fellowship together in the body of Christ (i.e., the church), as we break bread together
-- The extent to which we share in the body and blood of the Lord
as we partake may be uncertain, but dare we neglect whatever
may be the benefits of that communion?
["The Lord's Supper" therefore has great significance and should done in
faith. We do well therefore to consider what the Scriptures reveal about.]
II. THE OBSERVANCE OF THE SUPPER
A. WITH REVERENCE...
1. That is, "in a worthy manner" (NKJV) - 1Co 11:27,29
a. The KJV says "worthily", which some have misunderstood
b. It is an adverb, describing how we take it, not whether we are worthy (none are truly worthy)
2. With respect for the supreme price Jesus paid for our sins
a. E.g., the cruel torture and humiliation of His physical body
b. E.g., the spiritual anguish suffered as Jesus bore the punishment for our sins ("My God, My God, Why have You forsaken Me?")
3. Failure to observe with proper reverence brings condemnation
- 1Co 11:27,29
a. One will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord
b. One will eat and drink judgment to himself
-- To make light of this memorial puts one in the same category as
those who mocked Him as He hung on the cross!
B. WITH INTROSPECTION...
1. Such as reflecting upon one's spiritual condition - 1Co 11:28
2. Are we living in a manner that shows appreciation for His sacrifice?
a. By accepting the grace of God in our lives? - cf. 2Co 5:18-6:1
b. By living for Jesus who died for us? - cf. 2Co 5:14-15; Ga2:20
3. Or are we by willful sinning, guilty of having:
a. "trampled the Son of God underfoot"?
b. "counted the blood by which [we were] sanctified a common thing"?
c. "insulted the Spirit of grace"? - cf. He 10:26-29
4. Do we, by refusing to repent of our sins, "crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an shame"? - cf. He 6:4-6
-- In one sense, the Supper is a very private matter between a Christian and his or her God; a time to reflect on the past and to resolve for the future
C. WITH OTHER CHRISTIANS...
1. There is ample indication the Supper is designed to be a communal meal
a. The disciples "came together" to break bread - Ac 20:7
b. When they came together, they were to "wait for one another"-
c. Partaking together of "one bread", they demonstrate they are "one bread and one body" - 1Co 10:17
-- We commune not just with the Lord, but with one another
2. For this reason I personally question such practices as:
a. Observing the Supper by one's self when camping or traveling
b. Observing the Supper on Sunday night when just one or a couple of people in the congregation are partaking
c. Taking the elements to the sick or shut-in who were unable to assemble
-- While such issues may fall in the realm of opinion, let's not forget that the Supper builds fellowship with one another as well as with the Lord!
D. ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK...
1. The Biblical evidence is that it was done on the first day of the week
a. Christians came together on the first day of the week to "break bread" - Ac 20:7
b. Other indications of a weekly observance:
1) The church at Corinth was coming together to eat the
Lord's Supper, though they were abusing it - cf. 1Co 11:17-22
2) Instructions concerning the collection suggest their
coming together was on the first day of the week - cf.1Co 16:1-2
c. Following the divinely approved example of Christians in the Bible, we know God approves of a weekly observance on the first day of the week
2. The earliest historical evidence outside the Bible confirms the day and frequency
a. The Didache (ca. 95 A.D.) indicates Christians were to come together on the first day of the week to break bread - Didache 14:1
b. Justin Martyr (ca. 150 A.D.) records how Christians assembled on Sunday and partook of the Supper - Apology I,67
c. "...the early church writers from Barnabas, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, to Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Cyprian, all with one consent, declare that the church observed the first day of the week. They are equally agreed that the Lord's Supper was observed weekly, on the first day of the week."
B. W. Johnson, People's New Testament
3. Religious scholars confirm this was the practice
a. "As we have already remarked, the celebration of the Lord's Supper was still held to constitute an essential part of divine worship every Sunday, as appears from Justin Martyr
(A.D. 150)..." - Augustus Neander (Lutheran), History Of
Christian Religion And Church, Vol. I, p. 332
b. "This ordinance (the Lord's Supper) seems to have been administered every Lord's day; and probably no professed Christian absented themselves..." - Thomas Scott (Presbyterian), Commentary On Acts 20:7
c. "This also is an important example of weekly communion as the practice of the first Christians." - A. C. Hervey (Episcopalian), Commentary On Acts 20:7
d. "It is well known that the primitive Christians administered the Eucharist (the Lord's Supper) every Lord's day."
- P. Doddridge (Congregationalist), Notes On Acts 20:7
4. Some believe that a weekly observance diminishes the importance
of the Supper
a. Which is why they may do it monthly, quarterly, or annually
b. But does the frequent practice of:
1) Assembling diminishing its value and importance?
2) Singing praises and offering prayers devalue their benefits?
3) Preaching and studying God's Word decrease their significance to our lives?
-- Our spiritual lives are dependent upon the value and benefits of our Lord's death on the cross; a weekly observance of the memorial helps us to live appreciatively and accordingly!
1 "The Lord's Supper" is a very special memorial of His death for our sins...
a. Instituted by Jesus Himself, He asked His disciples to do it in His memory
b. Jesus told His disciples that He would not eat of the elements again until:
1) "...that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom." - Mt 26:29
2) "...that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God." - Mk 14:25
3) "...it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God." - Lk 22:16
4) "...the kingdom of God shall come." - Lk 22:18
c. There are two plausible explanations for what Jesus means:
1) Some think it refers to Jesus having fellowship with us as we
observe the Lord's Supper in the church, which is His kingdom
- cf. 1Co 10:16-17
2) Others propose that it refers to the special communion we will have with Jesus in His Father's kingdom, spoken often in terms of a heavenly feast - cf. Isa 25:6-8; Mt 8:11; 22:2-14; Lk 14:15-24; Re 19:9
2. The first Christians "continued steadfastly" in its observance...
a. Just as they did in the apostles' doctrine, fellowship and prayer Ac 2:42
b. Coming together on the first day of the week for that very purpose
- Ac 20:7
3. Christians today should never lose sight of its significance for us...
a. A constant reminder of the great sacrifice Jesus paid for our sins
b. A communion or sharing of the body and blood of the Lord
c. A time for self-examination and rededication of our service to the Lord
d.A means for building fellowship with one another in the body of Christ
Do we believe in the Lord's Supper today? The frequency and manner of
our observance reveals the extent of our faith in this wonderful ordinance...