Weekly Observance Of The Lord’s Supper
Many people do not want to remember the Lord’s death for us very often since they only partake of the Lord’s supper monthly, quarterly, annually, or not at all. The excuse is given that they do not want to partake of it more often because it will become too common place and loose its meaning. But the very opposite is true. The Lord’s Supper loses its meaning when we choose not to partake and think about it. This would be like saying that we should only pray two or three times a year, for if we prayed more often then prayer would lose its meaning. This would be absurd. Does the Lord’s death really mean anything to us? But Jesus requested in Luke 22:19, "Do this in remembrance of Me." Do we really care to regularly remember the death of our Lord?
People seem to be turned off by the death of Jesus and the shedding of His blood. They don’t care to remember it. But it is His blood that cleanses us from our sins. As Revelation 1:5 says, "To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood." They had rather remember Him as a babe in a manger than a crucified saviour. It is an insult to Jesus to celebrate His manger and then ignore His cross. Many people seem to be ashamed of the death of Jesus. Jesus says in Mark 8:38, "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in His glory of His Father with His holy angels."
This memorial of our Lord is called "the Lord’s Supper" in 1 Corinthians 11:20 and "the Lord’s table" in 1 Corinthians 10:21. In 1 Corinthians 10:16 it is referred as "the breaking of bread" and "communion".
But the church in the first century met every first day of the week to observe the Lord’s Supper. We are told 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." Why did they come together on the first day of the week? Here we see the church in the first century came together on the first day of every week to break bread, which is the Lord’s Supper. Their primary reason of coming together on the first day of the week was to partake of the Lord’s Supper. We cannot be pleasing to the Lord if we observe the Lord’s Supper only a few times a year or not at all. In 1 Corinthians 11:26 we are told, "For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes." Are we really interested in proclaiming the Lord’s death to the world until He comes?
People today do not seem to have a problem with the command to give on the first day of each week as found in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: on the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside." One of the things they were to do when they came together was to give.
What else was the church at Corinth to do every first day of the week when they came together? In 1 Corinthians 11:20 they were condemned for making a gluttonous feast out of the Lord’s Supper and were told, "Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper." When did they come together in one place? Every first day of the week. What were they doing when they came together every first day of the week? Perverting the Lord’s Supper by making it into a glutinous and drunken feast. What were they supposed to be doing every first day of the week? Partaking of the Lord’s Supper.
Two of the things the church at Corinth did every first day of the week was to give and partake of the Lord’s Supper. Why shouldn’t we be like those in the first century who assembled on the first day of every week to remember the Lord’s death by partaking of the Lord’s Supper? But many people seem to have a problem in seeing the importance of partaking of the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week as the church in the first century did when it was under inspired apostolic guidance.
When the Jews, who lived under the Old Testament, were commanded to remember the Sabbath Day, that is the seventh day of the week, to keep it holy, they kept all 52 Sabbath Days of the year holy. The first day of the week also occurs 52 times each year. When Christians today observe the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week, they are following the Biblical example of Acts 20:7 of the disciples who came together on the first day of the week to partake of the Lord’s Supper.
We also read in Acts 2:42 concerning the church at Jerusalem, "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in breaking of bread and in prayers." Again we see the first century church was steadfast or regular in the breaking of bread which is their observance of the Lord’s Supper. But later men in denominational groups chose to partake of the Lord’s Supper less frequently. Should we be any less regular than the church in the first century? According to what we have seen in the scriptures, we are to both give and partake of the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week. Could the Bible be any clearer concerning the Lord’s Supper?
Another perversion of the Lord’s Supper occurred when men introduced the absurd doctrine of transubstantiation in the Decrees of the Council of Trent, which met from 1545 to 1563 A.D. This decree devised by men stated that the bread and the fruit of the vine are converted miraculously into the literal body and blood of Jesus when we partake of it. It is sad that men would dare to pervert the Lord’s Supper into such a mockery.
It is ridiculous to place literal interpretations on symbolic language. In John 15: 5 Jesus says, "I am the vine, you are the branches." Here Jesus is using figurative language because we know He is not a literal vine and we are not literal branches. In John 10:9 Jesus said, "I am the door." But again He uses symbolic language. Concerning the Lord’s Supper Jesus said in 1 Corinthians 11:25, "this do in remembrance of Me." The Lord’s Supper is designed to help us remember what the Lord did for us. And as we partake of it as 1 Corinthians 11:26 says, "you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes". We are showing the world that we believe that Jesus died for our sins.
Let’s not pervert the memorial of what the Lord did for us. But as we partake of the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week in spirit and in truth, let us steadfastly "proclaim the Lord’s death till he comes" again.