Bible Topics In The Christian Library

INTRODUCTION: One of the things which clearly distinguishes churches of Christ from the majority of the various denominations is the weekly observance of the Lord's Supper. It is our earnest conviction that the Lord, having established the Lord's Supper (Communion) as a memorial of Christ's death upon the cross, has revealed not only the command to partake of it, but the regularity with which it should be observed. Let us examine the Lord's supper, and apply the teaching to see that we do "all things according to the pattern." 


A. During the days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, on the night before His death, Jesus instituted the Supper (Luke 22:14-23; Matt. 26: 17-20, 26-29) 
B. Notice the following: 
1. The purpose: "this do in remembrance of Me" (Lu. 22:19) 
2. The elements: unleavened bread and "the cup" (fruit of the vine). 
3. What they stand for: His body and blood 
a. Matthew 26:26 -"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....For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." 
b. 1 Corinthians 11:26 - "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come." 
c. The New Covenant which He has made through His blood. 
1. Hebrews 9:15 -"And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance."
d. Remission of sins effected by His blood (v. 28)
4. It is a communion together with all Christians. 
a. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 "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? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread."
C. The observance of the Lord's Supper is a command. 
1. Luke 22:19 - "And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me."
A. It's observance was intended to endure throughout the ages. 
1. 1 Corinthians 11:26 - "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come." 
2. Without qualifying instructions as to its frequency, once a year, or even once a lifetime would suffice.
C. The Scriptures give conclusive testimony as to the frequency with which the early church partook of the Lord's Supper. 
1. Acts 20:7 - Note the following: 
a. Paul waited 7 days in Troas to meet with the brethren (v. 6). This suggests a scheduled meeting. 
b. A purpose for this meeting is stated: "the disciples came together to break bread." 
c. That this is not a common meal is evident by a comparison with Acts 2:42, 46 
i. Verse 42 contains the article "the." This denotes a special activity, as contrasted with the common meal of v. 46. In the original, the article appears in 20:7 
ii. Verse 42 states that this was something in which the disciples "continued steadfastly," suggesting regular, frequent observance.
2. 1 Cor. 16:1-2 
a. Although this passage does not address the communion, it shows the frequency with which the early church observed another item of worship--giving. 
b. In the original, and in some translations , the phrase is "first day of every week." 
1. 1 Corinthians 16:2 - "On the first day of every week let each one of you put aside and save, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come." (NASB)
D. Objections: 
1. "The text does not say `every week'." 
a. Neither does the command for Israel to remember the Sabbath day say "every Sabbath." (Exodus 20:8), but the meaning is clear.
2. "Such frequent observance will diminish the meaning". 
a. Why is this not said of other acts of worship, or of daily Bible study and prayer?
3. "Paul does not bind the frequency of observance" (1 Cor. 11:26) 
a. "As often" does not refer to frequency, but to purpose and manner of partaking, as the context shows.
4. "Jesus did not bind the frequency of observance." 
a. We do not have everything recorded that Jesus said (Acts 20:35) 
b. That is significant in light of the fact that what the inspired writers wrote was from Christ (John 16:13).
A. We must take care how we partake, keeping our minds fixed on Christ and His cross. 
1. 1 Corinthians 11:27,28 - "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." 
2. Unworthily refers to an unworthy manner. 
3. Cannot refer to anyone being worthy enough to partake of the Supper, for none would be.
B. The danger of not partaking in a worthy manner. 
1. 1 Corinthians 11:29,30 - "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." 
2. This passages refers to those who sleep. 
a. Most logically refer to those who are dead spiritually, whose desire for carnal things have made them dead spiritually.
C. The beauty of this memorial. 
1. In its simplicity - it can be erected and observed anywhere without great expense and detail. 
2. In its timelessness - it can be observed in every age. 
3. In its enduring nature - long after man-made memorials crumble to the ground, the communion stands, as new and fresh as the first time men partook. 
4. In its universality - it is for all men of all nations, and can be observed with equal effectiveness and uniformity.
CONCLUSION: The Lord's Supper has been called "the world's longest table." Each Sunday, all over the world, those of like faith assemble to partake of the same items for the same purpose, communing together with Christ. We should be careful to observe it not only according to the correct pattern, but in the right spirit. 

Note- Much of this sermon came from a sermon by brother Timothy Forlines, fine young evangelist for the Claxton Church of Christ in Powell, TN. 

Copyright 1999 by Grady Scott may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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