Communion or The Lord's SupperBy Pastor Boffey on Sunday, May 23, 2010.
Communion or The Lord's Supper Communion: “Sharing or holding in common with others; participation; the condition of things so held, community, combination, union.” I. The following passages give instruction regarding this ordinance. MAT 26:26-29; MAR 14:22- 25; LUK 22:14-20; JOH 13:1-4; ACT 2:42, 46; 20:6-7, 11; 1CO 5:6-8, 11; 10:16-22; 11:18-34; 2CO 6:14-18. II. The commandment is set forth by Paul's order from Christ. 1CO 11:2, 23-25. III. The content of the ordinance is the eating of the bread and the drinking of the cup (wine). 1CO 11:23-26; 10:16. IV. The proper elements of the service are unleavened bread and wine, i.e., the fermented fruit of the vine. A. Consider that the material that Christ ate would have been in conformity to the law of the passover. LUK 22:15-19 c/w DEU 16:1-4. 1. The word “this” in LUK 22:19 is “a demonstrative pronoun. Indicating a thing or person present or near (actually in space or time, or ideally in thought, esp. as having just been mentioned and thus being present to the mind); spec. as being nearer than some other.” 2. 1CO 5:7-8 confirms the significance of unleavened bread as properly representing Christ and renewal. B. Consider that the fruit of the vine that was used in communion was an intoxicant, which hardly applies to grape juice. 1. 1CO 11:20-21. Paul did not upbraid the church at Corinth for WHAT they used, but rather for HOW they abused it. 2. The drink of the Lord's supper represents blood. Observe the symbolism of the following passages where blood is likened to an intoxicating beverage. REV 17:6; ISA 49:26; GEN 49:11. V. The proper administrator of the ordinance is an ordained preacher. A. Christ commissioned ministers to promote His ordinances. MAT 28:19-20. B. Paul delivered such ordinances to Corinth. 1CO 11:2. C. Paul told Titus that he (the minister) should set in order the things that were wanting. TIT 1:5. D. Paul's instructions to Titus included the ordination of elders, who are also stewards. TIT 1:5-7. 1. Steward: “An official who controls the domestic affairs of a household, supervising the service of his master's table, directing the domestics, and regulating household expenditure.” 2. The communion table is the Lord our Master's table. 1CO 10:21. E. Nowhere in the N.T. do we find the ordinance being administered by other than ministers of the word. VI. The proper participants of communion are baptized members of the local church. A. Persons must be baptized into the body of Christ before they are eligible for the Lord's Communion or The Lord's Supper Page 1 of 4 Supper. MAT 28:19-20; ACT 2:41-42; 1CO 12:13 c/w 10:16. B. Communion is a local church rite. 1. The examples of communion in the gospels and ACT 2 obviously set forth only local church communion. 2. In 1CO 11:18-34, the commandment regarding the observance of communion is given only to a local church. 3. Nowhere is instruction given to a local church to share the Lord's Supper with those who were not members of that church. a. This was also seen under the law. b. Only members of the church (Israel) were to partake of the O.T. passover. EXO 12:43. 4. 1CO 5:6-11 shows an indispensable connection between communion and church discipline. Church discipline is a local matter as 1CO 5 and REV 2-3 demonstrate. Hence communion should be a local matter. 5. To open communion up to a member of another church is to require the scrutiny of the order of that church since he is one of them (1CO 12:12). This invariably leads to meddling and actually creates strife between churches, not fellowship. 6. The one exception to this principle is set forth in ACT 20:4-13. a. Paul partook of communion at Troas. b. Mark, though, the shift in pronouns from the first person plural in v.6 (“we” --- Luke, Paul and his travelling companions) to the third person in vs.7-12. c. ACT 20:7-12 describe the activities of Paul and the Troan disciples. Paul's travelling companions are not included in this group. d. Hence a visiting minister may participate in communion. e. NOTE: This is the exception, not the rule! VII. There is no specified date for observing the Lord's Supper. A. The operative word in 1CO 11:33 is “when” which means “Indefinitely or generally: At any time, or at the several times, at which; on any occasion that; most commonly with vb. in present tense.” B. We should steer clear of the establishment of lunar or solar calendar “days," or continuing the bygone relics of the law. GAL 4:9-10; COL 2:16-17. VIII. Preparations are needed for proper partaking of the Lord's Supper. A. The church should be purged of wicked persons. 1CO 5:11. B. One must examine and judge himself, which involves confession of sin and repentance. 1CO 11:28-32 c/w 1JO 1:3, 8-10. C. The Lord's Supper puts pressure on church members. 1. To avoid participation when you know to do so and could partake is presumptuous sin. JAM 4:17; HEB 10:26-27. 2. To refuse to partake because of unconfessed sin is to transgress the commandment: “this do” (1CO 11:23-25). This incurs judgment. LUK 12:47. 3. To partake with unconfessed sin is to further transgress and incur judgment. 4. This leaves a believer with one of two choices: a. Make things right with God and partake. b. Exempt himself from righteous duty and suffer the wrath of God which could involve loss of inheritance in the kingdom of God on a charge of unrighteousness or variance. 1CO 6:9; GAL 5:19-21. Communion or The Lord's Supper Page 2 of 4 D. One must discern the body of the Lord in the Supper. To partake of it as if it were an ordinary meal with no regard to the body of Christ is to do so unworthily. 1CO 11:29-30 c/w 1CO 11:20-22. E. There is especially a warning against unworthily eating and drinking. 1CO 11:27. 1. Guilty of: “Culpably responsible for (a result); to blame for the loss or destruction of (something).” 2. Christ's physical body will never be exposed to the humiliation of suffering and destruction again. 1PE 3:18; 4:1. 3. This expression refers to guilt by association. One who unworthily partakes of the elements is held guilty of the body and blood of Christ because these elements are associated with that body and blood. See also HEB 10:29; MAT 25:40. IX. The symbolism of communion deserves recognition. A. The verb “to be” can mean “to represent.” See examples of this in GAL 4:24; MAT 13:37-39 c/w MAT 13:24. 1. Consider the bread. a. The bread represents the physical body of the Lord broken for sinners. 1CO 11:24; JOH 6:51. b. It represents the church, the spiritual body of Christ and our participation in it. 1CO 10:16-17. 2. Consider the cup. a. The word “cup” is used metonymically. Metonymy is “a figure of speech which consists in substituting for the name of a thing the name of an attribute of it or something closely related.” b. “Cup” refers to the contents of the cup. c. The cup REPRESENTS the blood of Christ shed for many for the remission of sins and of our holding of that blood in common. MAT 26:28; 1CO 10:16. See also 2SAM 23:17. d. The cup represents the New Testament in Christ's blood. The death of Christ through the shedding of His blood has put the New Testament with its provisions in force! HEB 9:15-18; 8:8-12. B. The eating of the bread and the drinking of the cup is a MEMORIAL of the Lord Jesus and a SHEWING of His death until He come (1CO 11:24-26). It is not a reenactment of it! See HEB 9:24-28; 10:1-2, 10-18; ROM 6:9-10. C. The following is a refutation of the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation (the bread and wine become the literal body and blood of Christ) and consubstantiation (the literal body and blood of Christ are together with the elements). 1. MAT 26:28-29. Catholics believe that the wine becomes the blood of Jesus when the priest says, “This is my blood.” a. But, Jesus referred to the wine as the fruit of the vine AFTER He said it. b. Also, Christians are to abstain from consuming blood. ACT 15:20. 2. 1CO 11:26-28. Catholics maintain that the bread becomes the flesh of Christ when the priest says, “This is my body.” a. But Paul affirms that it is BREAD that is eaten, not flesh. b. If it is flesh, is this not cannibalism? 3. If the bread and wine become the flesh and blood of Christ in the communion, then Jesus Christ is seen and handled. But how does this fit with 1JO 1:1; 1PE 1:8? 4. If the priest has the power to transform the elements into Christ, how does this Communion or The Lord's Supper Page 3 of 4 square with ROM 10:6? 5. If the bread and wine actually do become the flesh and blood of Christ, what becomes of Christ in the digestive process? 6. JOH 6:53-58 is appealed to for support of transubstantiation. a. These words were spoken BEFORE the institution of the Lord's Supper. b. Christ was speaking in the present tense of something that was THEN occurring. c. The Lord is setting forth the fact that participation in the humanity of Christ is necessary to the possession of eternal life. (1) Eating Christ is defined in v.57 as living by Him. If one has eternal life by Jesus Christ (JOH 6:33; 10:27-28; 17:2), then he is spiritually eating His flesh and drinking His blood. (2) This passage teaches us that we have eternal life by the man Christ Jesus. See HEB 2:14-15. d. Note JOH 6:62-63. The physical presence of Christ would be removed. The union with the humanity of Christ is through the Holy Spirit, Who imparts eternal life. ROM 8:9-11. e. In JOH 7:37-38, Jesus equates coming unto Him and drinking with believing on Him and believers in Christ certainly have eternal life. JOH 6:47. 7. Catholicism maintains that Christ is continually offered for sin via the Mass. If so, then how was His sacrifice any different from the repetitive, ineffectual sacrifices of the Law? HEB 9:25-26; 10:2, 11-12, 18. D. The Lord's Supper is the N.T. counterpart of the O.T. passover. 1CO 5:7-8. 1. The O.T. feast was a memorial of Israel's deliverance out of Egypt. DEU 16:1-3. 2. The O.T. feast looked forward to the first coming of Christ, the Lamb of God. HEB 10:1; 1CO 5:7; JOH 1:29. 3. The N.T. feast is a memorial of the first coming of Christ and of His death. 1CO 11:24-26. 4. The N.T. feast looks forward to the second coming of Christ. 1CO 11:26; MAT 26:29. X. There are lessons to be gleaned from the Lord's Supper. A. Herein we perceive the attitude of God towards sin. 1PE 3:18; GAL 3:13. B. Herein we perceive the love of God for us. Calvary, not our circumstances proves God's love for us. 1JO 3:16; 4:9; ROM 8:35-39. C. Herein we learn how to love one another. 1JO 3:16-18; JOH 15:12-13. D. Herein we find motivation for living unto God. 2CO 5:14-15. E. Herein we find hope for time to come. MAT 26:29.