"THE LORD’S SUPPER"
1. An act of worship in which we engage each Sunday is The Lord’s Supper...
a. Known also as The Communion (1 Co 10:16) and The Breaking Of Bread (Ac 2:42)
b. Today, some refer to it as The Eucharist, from the Greek eucharisteo, "giving of thanks",
which Christ did at the time of its institution - Mt 26:26-27
2. It is a simple act, in which those who are Christians...
a. Partake of unleavened bread
b. Drink of the fruit of the vine
3. It is an important act, one that we should understand why we do it, lest our participation be...
a. Meaningless to us
b. Displeasing to God
c. Detrimental to us - cf. 1 Co 11:27
[Therefore it behooves all Christians, especially those new in the faith, to be well acquainted with the meaning and practice of the Lord’s Supper. Let’s begin by carefully noting...]
I. THE MEANING OF THE SUPPER
A. IT IS A MEMORIAL...
1. Note Paul’s account as given by the Lord Himself - 1 Co 11:23-25
a. We eat the bread in memory of His body
b. We drink the cup (fruit of the vine) in memory of His blood
2. We therefore commemorate the death of Jesus on the cross – Mt 26:28
a. Whose death make the new covenant possible - He 9:16
b. Whose blood was shed for the remission of sins - Ep 1:7
-- As the Passover was a memorial commemorating Israel’s deliverance from Egypt through
the blood of the lambs on the door post, so the Supper is a memorial of our Lord’s death
who makes our deliverance from the bondage of sin possible
B. IT IS A PROCLAMATION...
1. We proclaim our faith in the efficacy of the Lord’s death - 1 Co 11:26a
a. That His death was indeed for our sins
b. If we don’t believe He died for our sins, why keep the Supper?
2. We also proclaim our faith in the Lord’s return - 1 Co 11:26b
a. For it is to be done "till He comes"
b. If we don’t believe He is coming, then why keep the Supper?
-- Thus the Lord’s Supper looks forward as well as backward, and will ever be observed by
His disciples who trust in His redemption and anticipate His return!
C. IT IS A COMMUNION...
1. A fellowship or sharing in the blood of Christ - 1 Co 10:16a
a. As we partake, we commune with the blood of Christ
b. Perhaps in the sense of reinforcing blessings we enjoy through the blood of Christ –
1 Jn 1:7,9
2. A fellowship or sharing in the body of Christ - 1 Co 10:16b-17
a. As we partake, we commune with the body of Christ
b. Perhaps in the sense of reinforcing fellowship together in the body of Christ (i.e., the
church), as we break bread together
["The Lord’s Supper" certainly has great significance and should not be taken lightly. We do
well therefore to consider what the Scriptures reveal about...]
II. THE OBSERVANCE OF THE SUPPER
A. TO BE DONE WITH REVERENCE...
1. That is, "in a worthy manner" (NKJV) - 1 Co 11:27,29
a. The KJV says "worthily", which some have misunderstood
b. It is an adverb, describing how we take it, not whether we are worthy (none are truly
2. With respect for the supreme price Jesus paid for our sins
a. E.g., the cruel torture and humiliation of His physical body
b. E.g., the spiritual anguish suffered as Jesus bore the punishment for our sins ("My God,
My God, Why have You forsaken Me?")
3. Failure to observe with proper reverence brings condemnation - 1 Co 11:27,29
a. One will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord
b. One will eats and drinks judgment to himself
-- To make light of this memorial puts one in the same category as those who mocked Him as
He hung on the cross!
B. TO BE DONE WITH SELF-EXAMINATION...
1. Such as reflecting upon one’s spiritual condition - 1 Co 11:28
2. Are we living in a manner that shows appreciation for His sacrifice?
a. By accepting the grace of God in our lives? - cf. 2 Co 5:18-6:1
b. By living for Jesus who died for us? - cf. 2 Co 5:14-15; Gal 2:20
3. Or are we by willful sinning, guilty of having:
a. "trampled the Son of God underfoot"?
b. "counted the blood by which [we were] sanctified a common thing"?
c. "insulted the Spirit of grace"? - cf. He 10:26-29
4. Do we, by refusing to repent of our sins, "crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and
put Him to an shame"? – Heb 6:4-6
-- In one sense, the Supper is a very private matter between a Christian and his or her God; a
time to reflect on the past and to resolve for the future
C. TO BE DONE WITH OTHER CHRISTIANS...
1. There is ample indication the Supper is designed to be a communal meal
a. The disciples "came together" to break bread - Ac 20:7
b. When they came together, they were to "wait for one another" - 1 Cor 11:33
c. Partaking together of "one bread", they demonstrate they are "one bread and one body" –
1 Co 10:16
-- We commune not just with the Lord, but with one another
2. For this reason I personally question such practices as:
a. Observing the Supper by one’s self when camping or traveling
b. Observing the Supper on Sunday night when just one or a couple of people in the
congregation are partaking
c. Taking the elements to the sick or shut-in who were unable to assemble
-- While such issues may fall in the realm of opinion, let’s not forget that the Supper builds
fellowship with one another as well as with the Lord!
D. TO BE DONE OFTEN...
1. The Biblical evidence is that it was done weekly
a. Christians came together on the first day of the week to "break bread" - Ac 20:7
b. Other indications of a weekly observance:
1) The church at Corinth was coming together to eat the Lord’s Supper, though they were
abusing it - cf. 1 Co 11:17-22
2) Instructions concerning the collection suggest their coming together was on the first
day of the week - 1 Co 16:1-2
c. 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
2. The earliest historical evidence outside the Bible confirms the day and frequency
a. The Didache (ca. 95 A.D.) indicates Christians were to come together on the first day of
the week to break bread
b. Justin Martyr (ca. 150 A.D.) records how Christians assembled on Sunday and partook
of the Supper - Apology I, 67
c. "...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
3. Religious scholars confirm this was the practice
a. "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
b. "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
c. 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
d. "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
4. Some believe that a weekly observance diminishes the importance of the Supper
a. Which is why they may do it monthly, quarterly, or annually
1. "The Lord’s Supper" is a very special memorial of His death for our sins...
a. Instituted by Jesus Himself, He asked His disciples to do it in His memory
b. Jesus told His disciples that He would not eat of the elements again until:
1) "...that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom." - Mt 26:29
2) "...that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God." – Mk 14:25
3) "...it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God." - Lk 22:16
4) "...the kingdom of God shall come." - Lk 22:18
c. There are two plausible explanations for what Jesus means:
1) Some think it refers to Jesus having fellowship with us as we observe the Lord’s Supper in
the church, which is His kingdom 1 Co 10:16-17
2) Others propose that it refers to the special communion we will have with Jesus in His
Father’s kingdom, spoken often in terms of a heavenly feast - cf. Isa 25:6-8; Mt 8:11;
22:2-14; Lk 14: 15-24; Re 19:9
2. The first Christians "continued steadfastly" in its observance...
a. Just as they did in the apostles’ doctrine, fellowship and prayer - Acts 2:42
b. Coming together on the first day of the week for that very purpose - Acts 20:7
3. Christians today should never lose sight of its significance for us...
a. A constant reminder of the great sacrifice Jesus paid for our sins
b. A communion or sharing of the body and blood of the Lord
c. A time for self-examination and rededication of our service to the Lord
d. A means for building fellowship with one another in the body of Christ
May such thoughts encourage us to never neglect opportunities we have to observe the Lord’s
Supper, but to continue steadfastly and in so doing "proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes."