The Lord’s Supper and its Meaning
Jesus never asked His disciples to remember His birth or life, but He did instruct them to remember His death, burial and resurrection. He gave the church two visible symbols which we call ordinances as continual reminders of His death burial and resurrection. These two ordinances are: Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper is an object lesson that represents several great spiritual truths for believers.
I. What the Lord’s supper is not!
A. It is not Transubstantiation.
This is the Roman Catholic view of the Lord’s Supper. It means "a change of substance". They teach that a miracle takes place as the priest consecrates the bread and wine. The bread and wine become the flesh and blood and the divinity of Christ. The Communion offered in the Mass is the offering again of Christ. They teach that this offering is a "true proper and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead."
(Hebrews 10:12-14) But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
B. It is not Consubstantiation.
This view holds that, while the elements of bread and wine remain the same substance, the body and blood of Christ is present in the elements during the Communion service. This was observed by those breaking with the Catholic Church in the early days of the Reformation. The Lutherans, Anglicans and the Episcopalian generally observe it. Many that hold this view are willing to reject the view that the Communion service is the sacrifice of Christ. However, great spiritual significance is attached and one is never really separated from transubstantiation.
C. It is not The Reform View.
This view arose during the Reformation, it was Calvin who taught that Christ is present in the Communion and those who participate enjoy the entire person of Christ. Some type of spiritual "grace" is communicated to the participant. While this view rejects the literal presence in the elements, it does make the Communion service a means of receiving something special from the Lord. Those who hold to this view, as well as to transubstantiation and consubstantiation, will observe this in private with individuals believing it will supply some grace to the sick, dying, and those in trouble.
II. What Is The Lord’s Supper? (1 Cor. 11:23-26)
A. It is a Simple Act with great Spiritual Meaning.
(1 Corinthians 11:23)"…the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread..."
B. It is a constant Reminder.
(1 Corinthians 11:24) "...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.’"
C. It is a Symbol or Picture.
(1 Corinthians 11:25) "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 as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me"
D. It is a Statement of Faith.
(1 Corinthians 11:27) "For as oft as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come"
III. Who Should Take The Lord’s Supper?
Only those who are already Believers.
(Mark 14:22-26) And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
(1 Corinthians 11:29) "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body."
Some churches practice "closed" communion, while others practice "open" communion, while some practice what we term "close" communion. Closed communion simply means in order to partake of the Lord’s supper you must be a member of the church. Open communion means that any person who names the name of Christ regardless of their doctrine or practice may participate in the Lord’s supper. We at Val Verde Baptist Church tend to practice close communion which simply means you do not have to be a member of our church to join us in the Lord’s supper, but you should be a member of a church of like faith and practice. As the Lord’s supper is an individual matter between the person and the Lord, we pray that those who partake of it understand the seriousness of the ordinance.
IV. How Do I Prepare Myself For The Lord’s Supper?
(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."
A. Self Examination-
(1 Corinthians 11:27) 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.
(1 Corinthians 10:21) 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.
B. Confession of Sin-
(1 John 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(Jeremiah 3:13-15) Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD. Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.
C. Recommitment to Christ-
(Romans 12:1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
D. Restoring of Relationships-
(Matthew 5:23-24) Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.