Monday, April 27, 2009

The Lord's Supper

by Tom Edwards

It's really ironic: members in the church of Christ are often accused of not believing in the blood of Jesus, while those who make this accusation might observe the Lord's supper only one to four times a year.

As Christians, we realize the need to remember that precious blood by which the atonement was made. Without the Lord's life-saving sacrifice, sinful man would remain in a lost and hopeless condition, heading inevitably to an eternal separation from God Himself.

But now through Jesus Christ and by our faith and obedience, we can contact the blood of the Lord and enjoy the benefits of having our sins washed away and the beginning of a new life in the Christ. Actually, the church itself is the ``saved''; and the ``saved'' are simply those who have been ``bought by the blood'' of the Savior.

This lesson has been designed to show that the Christian should take of the Lord's supper every first day of the week in order to remember the death of Jesus and be pleasing to God. Acts 20:7 is the only passage that specifies the first day of the week as being the day in which early Christians met to partake of the communion, but this one passage is enough to suffice.
Let us again consider the comments of a few highly regarded men who represent different denominational backgrounds, as to their remarks on Acts 20:7 and the early church's weekly observance of the Lord's supper. This will clearly establish that the weekly participation in the Lord's supper is not just an ``unusual doctrine'' only accepted by those in the ``church of Christ.'' (Let us also remember, however, that the quotes of men are never to be the basis for our beliefs in religious matters; but only that which is from God Himself.)

Adam Clarke: ''...the Lord's which they commemorated the resurrection of our Lord...'to break bread'...intimating, by this, that they were accustomed to receive the holy sacrament on each Lord's day...''

Albert Barnes: ```to break bread.' Evidently to celebrate the Lord's supper. It is probably that the apostles and early Christians celebrated the Lord's supper on every Lord's day.''

Pulpit Commentary: ```to break bread.' This is also an important example of weekly communion as the practice of the first is impossible not to conclude that the breaking of bread in the celebration of the Lord's Supper is an essential part of the holy sacrament, which man may not for any specious reasons omit....''

Matthew Henry: ``They `came together to break bread,' that is, to celebrate the ordinance of the Lord's supper, that one instituted sign of breaking the bread being put for all the rest...In the primitive times it was the custom of many churches to receive the Lord's supper every Lord's day....''

What does the Bible say? In Acts 2:42, mention is made that the early Christians ``continued steadfastly'' (``were continually devoting themselves,'' NAS) in the Lord's Supper. If I told you that I continued steadfastly in doing my dishes; but, in actuality, I washed them only four times a year; you probably would not consider this being ``steadfast.''

1 Corinthians 11:20-22,33, 34 also indicates the frequent observance of the Lord's supper. It reads: ``Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper, for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God, and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you...So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you may not come together for judgment....'' The inference is that when they met it was to take of the Lord's supper, which shows it was to be observed quite often; but, unfortunately, they had profaned it by turning it into a common meal -- for this, Paul reprimands them.

In realizing the seriousness of this observance (1 Cor 11:27-30), how could one assume that God would allow His children to become lackadaisical with it? to overlook it? or simply minimize it by partaking of it so seldom?

Notice where the emphasis is placed in Acts 20:7: ``And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them....'' Commenting on this, Coffman declares: ``This emphatically states the purpose of Christian assemblies on Sundays throughout history, that purpose being for the observance of the Lord's supper...Even the address of so distinguished an apostle as Paul took second billing on that occasion, the primary purpose having been to observe the Lord's supper...The Christians, from earliest times, had the habit of meeting for the Lord's supper on `a fixed day,' and Acts 20:7 identifies that day as `the first day of the week,' Sunday.''

Sunday is a ``special'' day to the Christian. Though it is true that every day is a day in which one should serve God, Sunday has its special forms of worship. Not only the communion, but also the contribution is to be observed on this day. 1 Corinthians 16:2 reads, ``Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.'' Seldom will one hear any preacher object to the weekly offering of the saints. Actually, many denominations today practice more collections than the Bible authorizes; but without the death of Christ there could not even be any offering from the ``saints.''
The communion is a memorial of Jesus Christ; which has not only been instituted by Him, but also made possible by His very death. As the Lord was quoted concerning this supper in 1 Cor. 11:18, '' this in remembrance of Me.''

Early Christians shared the Lord's Supper every Lord's day. May it be our desire to emulate them in that which we believe and practice. Though some things have ceased, the observance of the Lord's Supper has not; and it is to continue until Jesus Christ returns (1 Cor. 11:26).

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

your subject is the Lord's SUPPER.
I believe each week has a 1st day
for communion with Christ. why is
the Lord's Supper served in the a.m.? Supper is for afternoon; right? I guess when the church 1st came into being, Christians probably worked all day the 1st day of the week, meeting after working all day.Maybe that is why Paul preached until midnight. We find ourselves in this position now,
many people have to workon the 1st day of the week. I think different congregations need to stagger their meeting times &have more times to offer in the p.m.
what do you think?
Meet together @ noon & 8 p.m. for instance.

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Sup is not to be confused with the southern term supper. Its not called the Lord's dinner. Staggering meeting times I surely don't see a problem with. Each church should address that individually to best suit its members, As long as its the first day of the week..........

7:39 PM  

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