Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3- Chapter 30- The Lord’s Supper
CHAPTER 30-THE LORD’S SUPPER #Mt 26:26-30 Mr 14:22-26 Lu 22:14-20 #1Co 10:16,17,20,21 11:17-34
The Old Covenant religion was characterized by ceremonies and the priest was the important person. He offered sacrifices for his own sins and then for the sins of the people. These ceremonies were typical and found their fulfillment in Christ. This made them temporary. They passed away with the coming of Christ and the one sacrifice He made.
In the New Covenant religion there are but two ceremonies or ordinances: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Baptism symbolizes the work of Christ in death and resurrection; and also our legal union with Him in death and resurrection. In Him we are dead to sin and alive unto God. The Lord’s Supper symbolizes our participation of the benefits of Christ’s death and resurrection.
Baptism says that the believer is in Christ; the Lord’s Supper says that Christ is in the believer. These two ordinances gave us a full picture to the eye of the whole gospel. Do not save but give us a picture of what saves.
We will try to answer some pertinent questions concerning the Lord’s Supper.
1. What is it?
2. Why observe it?
3. How should we observe it?
1. WHAT IS THE LORD’S SUPPER?
1. It is a memorial supper. It is to be done in memory of Christ.
2. It is a church ordinance, a church act. The church must act in concert. Christ is one bread or loaf and the church is one body. At Corinth it was observed individually or in groups or parties. One group would come and bring their basket and eat, then another group, and so on. The rich would have a big meal and get drunk; the poor would have nothing and go away hungry. Paul says tarry one for another. Thinking of it as a church ordinance, we might ask, Who is to come to the table? What are the steps to take to get to the table?
2a) Salvation- one must be a believer.
2b) Baptism-all Christians say that baptism must precede the Lord’s Supper.
2c) Church membership.
2d) Self examination.
2. WHY OBSERVE IT?
1. Because Christ commanded it. “And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me” (#1Co 11:24).
2. It is to help us remember His blood shed for us. “And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many” (#Mr 14:24).
3. HOW SHOULD WE OBSERVE IT?
1. It is to be done worthily. That is, in a worthy manner. Not a question of personal worthiness. It is not to honor ourselves as if we were worthy. He is to be honored as the one altogether worthy.
2. What is the worthy manner of observing it? Answer: There must be the exercise of three faculties: memory, faith, and hope.
2a) Our memory must work. Memory looks back. We are to remember Christ, not father or mother or wife, or any other human being. And we are to remember Christ on the cross dying for our sins. Christ said: “This do in remembrance of me”. We are not to remember Jesus lying in the cradle or Jesus going about doing good. We are to remember Him as He hung on the cross.
2b) Faith must be exercised. What does faith do? It discerns his body. In partaking of the emblems of the body and blood of Christ we are symbolizing our faith. Just as eating is appropriating food for the body; so faith is appropriating the benefits of His shed blood.
2c) Our hope is exercised. “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come” (#1Co 11:26). In observing the Lord’s Supper we should look back at the cross and look forward to the future when we will have all the benefits of the cross in glorification.
Communion is a misunderstood word. We talk about communing with one another at the Lord’s table. It is not communing with one another but with Christ. We commune with one another only in the sense that we are physically together, but we all participate together as a unit of His blood by means of the symbol. We participate symbolically occasionally while we participate by faith continually.
The Corinthians perverted the Lord’s Supper:
1. By mixing with heathen ceremonies, “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils” (#1Co 10:21).
2. By making it a common meal to satisfy hunger. “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged” (#1Co 11:31).
3. By failure to discern the Lord’s body. “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord” (#1Co 11:27).
4. The order and meaning of the Lord’s table. “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come” (#1Co 11:23-34).
C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 3