THE LORDS SUPPER

 

As we continue our series on the topic of worship we will be examining the Lordís Supper this morning. The Lords Supper is a topic that is misunderstood in the religious world today. The reason why I believe its misunderstood is due to a lack of study and mediation of Godís Word. The Bible makes it clear what the Lordís Supper is, when and how it is to be taken and its purpose.

 

What is the Lordís Super?

 

Christ himself instituted the Lord Supper on Thursday night at the Passover meal. This is recorded in Mat.,Mark and Luke. You might remember Jesus had sent Peter John to prepare the Passover meal for him and the disciples. Letís pick up on this story in Lukeís account starting at,

 

Luke 22:14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him.15 Then He said to them, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;16 "for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves;18 "for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.

 

Jesus had many times told his disciples that he would have to die and suffer sometime in the future. Well, now he knew the time was getting close because he realized that this would be his last time to eat this Passover meal with his disciples. This the apostles first glimpse into what the Lord Supper is. Notice Jesus tells them that the bread represent his body that would be slain and the fruit of the vine would represent his blood that would shed to usher in the new covenant that bring about forgiveness of sins. This gave the unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine a whole new meaning. Until now the bread and fruit of the vine were viewed as a memorial of how the Jews were delivered out of Egypt. Now, they were being told to partake of them ďin remembranceĒ of Jesus. So this is what the Lord Supper is, a memorial of what the great sacrifice Jesus made for each and every one of us.

 

This is very significant to us because when Jesus died on the cross he delivered us from the law and from the power of sin. Paul tells us in Col. 2:14 that Jesus nailed the requirements to the law to the cross. Through this great sacrifice he made for us he established a new covenant which made it possible for us to receive the forgiveness of our sins. Heb. 9 goes into great detail of how Christ is the author of better covenant and how he died for our transgressions. This is why Jesus has become our Passover. Paul states thisin,

 

1 Corinthians 5:7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.

 

We can only imagine the emotions that had to be floating around in that room after what Jesus had said. We need to remember these men had been through a lot together and they truly loved Jesus and it had to hit hard in their heart that this would be their last meal with Jesus. You know this had to be hard on Jesus as well, but he knew what he had to do. Not only did Jesus have tell his disciples this heart wrenching news notice what else he had to tell them.

 

Matthew 26:21 Now as they were eating, He said, "Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me."22 And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and each of them began to say to Him, "Lord, is it I?"23 He answered and said, "He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me.24 "The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born."25 Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, "Rabbi, is it I?" He said to him, "You have said it."

 

Judas, Judas, Judas how his heart must have been pounding in his throat to know that Jesus had found him out. Judas would be responsible for betraying Jesus and which would ultimately lead to his death. Now that we have examined what the Lord Supper is now lets take a look at

 

Howit should be taken.

 

The best way to discover this is to look at how it shouldnít be taken and we have a great example of this found in,

 

1 Corinthians 11:17 Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse.18 For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it.19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper.21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk.22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? 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 do not praise you.

 

You have to understand that the Corinth church had a lot of problems and these verses are talking about how they were abusing what was suppose to be the Lordís Supper. Corinth was the center for the immoral worship of Aphrodite, goddess of love, whose followers practiced ritual prostitution. The at that church had been influenced by sinful surrounding and we find these Christians coming together and eating huge meal and getting drunker than a skunk and having wild parties and committing fornication. Paul was letting them know this is the Lords Supper you are making a mockery of it I do not praise you for this malicious behavior. You see the Lords supper isnít some kind of feast where you make a pig of yourself it is time of remembrance where unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine are divided amongst the people and all partake of it not just one. Lets continue on with what Paul says,

 

 

1 Corinthians 11:23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me."25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

 

Now Paul has turned is attention on how the Lord Supper should be taken.First of all we are to take in remembrance of Jesus Christ. Just Passover was a reminder to the Jew of how death passed them over and brought about their freedom slavery. The Lords Supper is to remind us of how Jesus has made eternally salvation possible for us by becoming the perfect sacrifice and dying on the cross so that we could be freed the bondage of sin.

 

Second of all we need to realize that when we do partake of the Lords Supper that it is away of proclaiming his death until he comes again.

 

Third from verse 28 we learn that the partaking of the Lords Supper is a time of reflection. We need to examine how we are living our life in accordance to Gods will. When we stop and think about the significance of the Lords Supper and what it all about it becomes a reminder for us each week for us to live pure and holy lives before God. It important that we know what are doing as partake of Lords Supper so that we donít partake of it in unworthy manner as the Corinthians had been doing. Paul makes it clear that we be judged guilty of Jesus blood and his body by God if we partake of it in unworthy manner. In Heb. 6:6 it describes those who fall away like the Corinthians had was like crucifying Christ all over again. So, we need to be careful of how we partake of the Lords Supper.

 

Another we see over and over again is that the Lord Supper is to consist of unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine. That is all we should use because God has not given us the freedom to substitute these with something else like wonder bread and cool Ė aid.Now before we move away from this passage I want to deal with the topic eating in the building. You see there are those who say that it wrong to have a fellowship meal in the church building and therefore making it wrong to have a kitchen attached to a church building. Their argument comes from this verse.

 

1 Corinthians 11:22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? 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 do not praise you.

 

Now let me give several reason whythis argument just doesnít make any sense. Paul was condemning these people because they were not observing the Lords Supper instead they were having this feast and getting drunk and they werenít even doingthis in unity. From this alone we can see that Paul is not condemning a common meal at the place the Christians meet he was only condemning them for making a mockery of the Lords Supper. Again this go back to the misunderstanding that worship has a beginning and end and also is a failure to recognize thatthe people are the church and notthe building.

 

Now we need to keep in mind that in the first century many times the people would meet in a persons home. Would this mean that once they used that home as a meeting place that they could never prepare a meal their again? Absolutely not. It was pretty common back then after they meet together they would eat together.

 

Acts 2:46So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,

 

Its kind of funny but those that teach thisand hold to it will many times have a water fountainin their building and they donít see a problem with that. Some of the offices and the preacher will drink a cup of water or eat a snack there without blinking an eye. I have never got to ask what they thinkabout nursing mother. If her child gets hungry and feeds her baby at the building if they want to hold to their teaching they would have to say that she was sinning because she fed her baby.When you really thinkabout this teaching you and to put into perspective you begin see how silly it is.††

 

While we are on this topic I also want to show the misunderstanding of those who teach that you must drink from one cup.

 

Matthew 26:27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you.

 

You see they would say the Jesus just used one cup so we should use just one cup. However they fail to understand is thatJesus is using a figure of speech known a Metonymy (met tawneme). A metonymy is defined as a figure of speech in which the name of one thing is used in place of that of another associated with or suggested by it. For example, someone might ask did she like her lemonade? Then they might respond yes she drankthe whole cup. You see the cup represent the lemonade and not the cup itself.We Use the form of speech all the time. We might say the pot is boiling but we understand that the liquid is what actual boiling and not the pot. Let me give you 2 Biblical examples.

 

Genesis 6:11 The earth also was corrupt before God.

Moses wasnít talking about the dirt or the water he was talking about the people that are on the earth. The same thing is true with our next verse.

 

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son:

 

Again he is talking about the people and not the earth. So you see when Jesus was talking about the cup he wasnít giving any special meaning to the cup itself he was talking about fruit of vine. We can further prove this by the fact that just as the bread was to be eaten the fruit of the vine was to be drunk (Mt. 26:27) and it was to be divided ( Lk. 22:17). Which by the way this word divided can carry the meaning that they poured the fruit of the vine in separate cups. But the whole point of the matter is that Jesus emphasis is on the fruit of the vine and not the cup.

 

When should we partake of the Lordís Supper?

Look at what Luke says in,

 

Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

 

In context Luke has just finished talking about the birth of the church and the 3000 that became Christians that day and he statesthatthey continued steadfastly or continually devoted themselves to various thingswhenbreaking bred being one them. Now breaking bread here is referring to the LordsSupper. So we can see that they were partaking of it often. But, we get more detail of exactly when they partaking of it in,

 

Acts 20:7 ††Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.

 

Now we looked at this some last week when I was showing the significance of the first day of the week. So might remember that Paul stayed at Troas for 7 days so he could worship with these brethren even though he was in hurry to make it to Jerusalem by Pentecost. We learn a couple of thingsfrom this verse. First ofall we now know that the disciples came together on the first day of the week to break bread. Notice no other day is given so by way of example we can know that the first day of the week and only the first day of the week iswhen we should partake of the Lords Supper as a part of our worship to God. If it had been ok to partake it on another day Paul could have saved some time and not had to wait around for 7 days to partake of it. Another thing we need to understand is that it is to be taken on first day of every week. Many denominations will only partake of it monthly, quarterly and sometimes yearly but common sense tells that that every week has a first day so we are to do it every single week.

 

1 Corinthians 16:2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.

 

Now I want you to know that every denomination that I know of will teach that you must give of your means every first day of the week. In fact the NAS and ESV both render this first day of every week. But, did you know that the exact same Greek words are used in Acts 20:7 describing when the Lord Supper is to be taken. So, if you are going to teach that giving must be done ever first day of the week then you must teach the same thing about the Lords Supper. Again I want to remind you significance of the first day of the week.

1. Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of week.

2. The church began on the first day of the week.

3. We are commanded to give on the first day of week

4. By example we are to partake of the Lords on the first day of the week.

 

I think this makes it easy to see when Lords Supper is be taken. Now before we leave this section of scripture itimportant that I point out that not ever time you see the term break bread does it mean the Lords supper because sometimes it can refer to a common meal. You have to look at the context to determine which is being spoken of and some get confused because Paul uses thisterm in both ways.

 

Acts 20:7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.8 There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together.9 And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead.10 But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, "Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him."11 Now when he had come up, had broken bread and eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak, he departed.

 

In verse number 7 notice how it says the disciples came together to break bread. This means that all of them would obviously referring to the Lords Supper. However watch after Paul goes down and brings Eutychus back up alive it sas in verse 11 it changes from the disciples to just Paul breaking bread and it adds the word eaten. No doubt after preaching as long as he had he was not hungry so Paul ate a common meal and was not partaking the Lords Supper again as some have misunderstood. The whole understanding is this is the fact that only Paul broke bread and no else. Now finally lets take a look at who should partake of the Lords Supper.

 

Who Should Partake of the Lordís Supper?

 

This should be no-brainer only Christians should partake of the Lords Supper. Now one thing I like to do is look at what they did under the OT in regards to the Passover. Notice what Moses says in,

 

Exodus 12:48For no uncircumcised person shall eat it. According Gen.17:10ff circumcision was a necessary act in order to enter into God covenant that God had made with Abraham. So, only those who had been circumcised could part of the Passover. In a similar manner only Christians are to partake of the Lords supper. The Bible even describes the process that we go through to become a Christian is a type of circumcision made without hands.

 

Colossians 2:11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

 

Besides this let me give you several reason why only Christians should partake of the Lordís Supper.

 

1 Corinthians 10:15 I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say.16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

 

What Paulsays here goes hand and hand with what Jesus says in,

 

Matthew 26:29 "But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom."

 

When we are partake of the Lords Supper we are in fellowship with Jesus and since it is in the kingdom or we might say in the church that we do this, this tells us that only Christian should partake of the Lords Supper.

 

Another reason that we looked at earlier is the fact that we are to examine ourselves and how we have been living our lives for God. How can a non-Christian do this when they have never became a Christian and the fact that we must know what we are doing leaves out the young children because they donít full comprehend what Lords Supper is all about. Also you cannot find one example where a child or non-Christian was allowed to partake of the Lordís Supper in the Bible. So only Christiansshouldpartake of the Lords Supper.

 

Conclusion.

††††††††††† The Lordís Supper was instituted by our savior and we should honor our Lord by partaking of the Lordís Supper each and ever first day of the week. The Bible is very clear that we are to partake of it on the first day of the week only. The Passover was observed in the Old Testament by the Jews in remembrance of their deliverance from Egypt. In the New Testament we now partake of the unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine in remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ who has delivered both Jew and Gentile from spiritual death. So lets never forget the true significance of the Lords Supper.