Why we need the lord`s supper
In this series,wevhave sought to emphasize why we need......
The Holy Spirit
The Gospel of Christ
Baptism into Christ
The Church of Christ
We now turn our atte ntion to the Lord's Supper, also known as...
The Communion - 1Co 10:16
The Breaking Of Bread - Ac 2:42; 20:7
The Eucharist, from the Greek eucharisteo, "giving of thanks", which Christ did at the time of its institution - Mt 26:26-27
The Lord's Supper is a simple act, in which Christians...
Partake of unleavened bread, and drink of the fruit of the vine
Do so together, as they assemble for that very purpose
Why do we need the Lord's Supper? I suppose one could simply say...
It was instituted by the Lord Himself - cf. Mt 26:26-28
It's observance was commanded by the Lord - cf. 1Co 11:24-25
[But to encourage stronger appreciation for the Supper, and a greater commitment to keeping its observance, let's first review...]
THE OBSERVANCE OF THE SUPPER
THE BIBLICAL EVIDENCE...
The Biblical evidence is that it was done on the first day of the week
Christians came together on the first day of the week to "break bread" - Ac 20:7
"Breaking bread" is likely a reference to the Lord's Supper - cf. 1Co 10:16-17
Other indications of a weekly observance:
The church at Corinth was coming together to eat the Lord's Supper, though they were abusing it - cf. 1Co 11:17-22
Instructions concerning the collection suggest their coming together was on the first day of the week - cf. 1Co 16:1-2
-- Following the divinely approved example of Christians in the Bible, we know God approves of a weekly observance on the first day of the week
THE HISTORICAL EVIDENCE...
The earliest historical evidence outside the Bible confirms the day and frequency
The Didache (ca. 95 A.D.) indicates Christians were to come together on the first day of the week to break bread - Didache 14:1
Justin Martyr (ca. 150 A.D.) records how Christians assembled on Sunday and partook of the Supper - Apology I, 67
"...the early church writers from Barnabas, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, to Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Cyprian, all with one consent, declare that the church observed the first day of the week. They are equally agreed that the Lord's Supper was observed weekly, on the first day of the week." - B. W. Johnson, People's New Testament
Religious scholars confirm this was the practice
"As we have already remarked, the celebration of the Lord's Supper was still held to constitute an essential part of divine worship every Sunday, as appears from Justin Martyr (A.D. 150)..." - Augustus Neander (Lutheran), History Of Christian Religion And Church, Vol. I, p. 332
"This ordinance (the Lord's Supper) seems to have been administered every Lord's day; and probably no professed Christian absented themselves..." - Thomas Scott (Presbyterian), Commentary On Acts 20:7
"This also is an important example of weekly communion as the practice of the first Christians." - A. C. Hervey (Episcopalian), Commentary On Acts 20:7
"It is well known that the primitive Christians administered the Eucharist (the Lord's Supper) every Lord's day." - P. Doddridge (Congregationalist), Notes On Acts 20:7
-- The overwhelming consensus of extra biblical sources supports our conclusion that the Biblical practice was to observe the Lord's Supper each first day of the week
[Even so, some who would agree that when done it should be on the first day of the week are not always diligent to observe the Supper each week. Perhaps they need to be reminded of...]
THE VALUE OF THE SUPPER
AS A MEMORIAL...
Note Paul's account as given by the Lord Himself - 1Co 11:23-25,29
We eat the bread in memory of His body
We drink the cup (fruit of the vine) in memory of His blood
We therefore commemorate the death of Jesus on the cross - Mt 26:28
Whose death make the new covenant possible - He 9:16
Whose blood was shed for the remission of sins - Ep 1:7
-- Is not the memorial of the Lord's suffering, death, and shed blood worthy of faithful observance?
AS A PROCLAMATION...
We proclaim our faith in the efficacy of the Lord's death - 1Co 11:26a
That His death was indeed for our sins
If we don't believe He died for our sins, why keep the Supper?
We also proclaim our faith in the Lord's return - 1Co 11:26b
For it is to be done "till He comes"
If we don't believe He is coming, then why keep the Supper?
-- Is not the proclamation of the Lord's redemption and return worthy of faithful observance?
AS A TIME FOR REFLECTION...
Reflecting upon one's spiritual condition - 1Co 11:28-32
Examining one's self
Discerning the Lord's body
Judging ourselves so as not to be judged
Are we living in a manner that shows appreciation for His sacrifice?
By accepting the grace of God in our lives? - cf. 2Co 5:18-6:1
By living for Jesus who died for us? - cf. 2Co 5:14-15; Ga 2:20
Or are we living in a manner that shows disregard for His sacrifice?
By willful sinning - cf. He 10:26-29
By refusing to repent - cf. He 6:4-6
-- Is not the time for such reflection worthy of faithful observance?
AS A COMMUNION...
It is a fellowship or sharing in the blood of Christ - 1Co 10:16a
As we partake, we commune with the blood of Christ
Perhaps in the sense of reinforcing blessings we enjoy through the blood of Christ
It is a fellowship or sharing in the body of Christ - 1Co 10:16b
As we partake, we commune with the body of Christ
Perhaps in the sense of reinforcing fellowship together in the body of Christ (i.e., the church), as we break bread together
-- Is the communion that we have with the Lord's blood and body worthy of our faithful observance?
AS A MEANS OF BUILDING FELLOWSHIP...
The disciples "came together" to break bread - Ac 20:7
Eating of the same bread reflects our oneness in Christ - 1Co 10:17
Thus Christians were to wait for one another - 1Co 11:33
-- Is the not the fellowship we have with one another in Christ reflected in the Supper worthy of faithful observance?
The first Christians "continued steadfastly" in its observance...
Just as they did in the apostles' doctrine, fellowship and prayer - Ac 2:42
Coming together on the first day of the week for that very purpose - Ac 20:7
Coming together every first day of the week, as supported by historical sources
Christians today should never lose sight of the significance of the Lord's Supper...
As a memorial of the great sacrifice Jesus paid for our sins
As a proclamation of our faith in the Lord's death and His return
As a time for reflection and rededication of our service to the Lord
As a communion or sharing in the body and blood of the Lord
As a means for building fellowship with one another in the body of Christ
Do we appreciate our need for the Lord's Supper today? The frequency and manner of our observance reveals the extent of our understanding of the need for this wonderful ordinance...