The Lord’s Supper
January 26, 2002
- 1Cor 11:23-34 23 ¶ 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: 24 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. 25 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. 26 For as 1often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. 27 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. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. 33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. 34 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.
- Last time discussed worship
- 2 things happen at our “worship meeting”
i. Expressions of worship in prayer, sharing the Word, singing
ii. The Lord’s supper
- Will talk today about the Lords’ supper, what it is and what it isn’t
- Instituted by the Lord himself the day before He died i. Accounts in Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22
ii. Matt 26:26-29 26 ¶ And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.
- Implemented by the early church
i. Mentioned at least twice in Acts
1. Ac 2:42-47 42 ¶ And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
2. Ac 20:7-11 7 ¶ And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. 8 And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. 9 And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. 10 And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. 11 When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.
- What we see from these verses: i. A sharing of bread and wine
ii. Done to remember the Lord, at his specific request
iii. Often occurred in conjunction with a preaching service, though not necessarily
iv. May have been done daily at first
v. By the end of the apostolic age, was done on the first day of the week. Context of Acts 20 suggests that it was every week, not monthly, quarterly or a couple of times a year
vi. All the occurrences listed above had only believers present
1. In the gospels, was just with the 11. John 13 suggests that Judas had left by the time this went on
2. Acts 2 speaks of it in relation to those who were following the apostle’s doctrine
3. Acts 20 speaks of the disciples gathering together
vii. No indication of anyone presiding over it. It is the LORDS supper, and no one should presume to take His place
- What is its purpose
- 1st and foremost – remembrance of the Lord: Lk 22:19 this do in remembrance of me. i. Many attributes to contemplate –
1. His many names and their significance
2. His works
3. His love
4. His affliction
5. His exaltation
6. His mercies
7. His words
- Discerning his body – 1Co 11:29 speaks of judgment for not discerning the Lord’s body – will discuss this more later
- Proclaiming the Lord’s death, both to ourselves and to others
i. Reminds us of why He died
ii. Also of what we have gained through His death
- Anticipation of the Lord’s coming – 1Co 11:26 speaks of showing forth the Lord’s death until He comes
- What do the bread and wine represent
- Scripture tells us the represent the body and blood of our Lord #. But are they just symbols or are they reality?
- Catholic position:
i. The priest, by repeating the words of Matthew’s gospel over the bread and wine, actually converts them into the literal body and blood of Jesus (transubstantiation) and his essence is found within them
ii. Jesus is thereby offered in a bloodless way every time the “sacrifice of the Mass” is celebrated.
iii. By this “sacrifice” grace is bestowed, lives are purified, sins are further paid for, and punishment in purgatory can be absolved
iv. The care with which they handle the consecrated bread and wine, which I’ve observed, as well as the way they worship it, show that they truly believe this
1. They use special plates, cups etc to make sure they catch every crumb
2. There is a special sink in each church, which drains directly into the ground and not into the sewer, for washing these special utensils
3. Benediction/adoration of the “blessed sacrament”
v. The church has pronounced a curse on those who reject this idea: “If any man shall….deny the marvelous and unique conversion of the entire substance of the bread into His body, and of the entire substance of the wine into His blood…let him be anathema” (Council of Trent)
- Biblical position
i. Hebrews 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
ii. Jesus himself said basically the same thing on the cross: John 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
iii. The “body of Christ” described with many metaphors in scripture: bread of life, light of the world, door, good shepherd, true vine. He obviously did not actually become any of those objects!
iv. In the accounts of the Last Supper, Christ speaks of the emblems as symbols and not reality
v. John 6:28-29 28 ¶ Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
1. Faith is what God expects
2. This passage immediately precedes one discussing Jesus as bread, which the Catholic church uses as one of its main proof texts for the doctrine of transubstantiation!
vi. Illustration with picture of kids
- Other aspects
- Procedure – place, order of events, time of day, duration – Gibbs gives scripture to support what we do but I believe these to be largely a matter of man-made tradition and not inspired #. Frequency –
i. Different groups do it differently
1. Catholics – every day
2. Assemblies and some mainline denominations weekly
3. Baptists usually quarterly
4. JW’s once a year on Maundy Thursday
ii. Scripture, esp. Acts 20, seems to support the weekly concept
- Our responsibilities as believers
- BE THERE – would we use the same excuses we use to miss the Lords supper if we had been invited to attend a dinner with President Bush?
- Arrive on time
- Be spiritually prepared, and maybe have something in mind to share
- Be reverent and attentive
- Attempted to justify the purpose and circumstances of our observance of the Lords supper
- Hopefully will lead to better understanding of what it is about and better participation by all of us
- Will probably talk about the other scriptural ordinance – Baptism – the next time I speak