Summary: Many churches and denominations today are observing the Lord's Supper less and less, but this is not God's plan for the church. It appears that the first Christians observed the Lord's Supper weekly on the Lord's Day.
A. Today’s sermon continues our series called “Blueprint: God’s Plan for the Church.”
B. I heard about a church that recently began offering “gluten-free” bread for the Lord’s Supper.
1. It has been very well received, but its initial introduction didn’t go so well.
2. The first Sunday when the gluten-free communion bread was offered, the minister excitedly announced, “Before we take the Lord’s Supper today, remember that we have two tables at the front with our staff behind them to administer the communion. The table on the left is a “GLUTTON-FREE” table for those of you who have need of that.”
3. The minister was so embarrassed and the congregation keeps teasing him about it.
C. I also read a heart-warming story about something that happened one day when a family went to the grocery store.
1. When the family arrived in the juice aisle, their six-year-old, said, “Mom, can we get some grape juice?”
2. The mom was surprised because she had never purchased grape juice for her kids to drink, she only bought them apple and orange juice.
3. She asked her six-year-old son, “Do you even like grape juice?”
4. He replied, “Yeah, it tastes like community.”
5. This made the whole family laugh, but they knew what he meant to say.
6. He meant to say, “It tastes like communion.”
7. But later, as his mother thought more about what he said, she realized his slip of the tongue had some truth to it.
8. In many ways, the Lord’s Supper is all about community.
D. Today is Sunday, the Lord’s Day, and that means God’s people will be gathered today around the Lord’s Table to remember Jesus.
1. Some will gather under a spreading tree on the plains of Tanzania, and others will meet in a rented building in downtown Buenos Aires.
2. In the United States large assemblies will take communion in beautiful church auditoriums – in China today, small groups will huddle around kitchen tables, behind locked doors, and drawn curtains.
3. From a tent in Saudi Arabia to a ship in the Pacific, in great cathedrals and tiny prison chapels, all over the world today believers will enact the same simple ceremony: they will take unleavened bread and fruit of the vine, and together they will remember their Lord.
4. And perhaps the most unique communion service took place 50 years ago when Buzz Aldrin took communion on the moon.
5. God’s people have done this week after week, century after century, in one bright chain of devotion that reaches back almost 2000 years.
6. Of one thing you can be certain – on the first day of the week, somebody somewhere will be taking bread and wine, and remembering Jesus.
E. Most of us understand the “WHY” of Communion – it is a reflection of the Cross, a reminder of the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf.
1. What some have wondered, however, is the “WHEN” of communion.
2. Why do we observe it each Sunday?
3. Other Christian groups set the Lord’s table once a month, once a quarter, or even once a year!
4. Why do we do it weekly?
F. I would like to answer that question this morning, because it is a good question.
1. When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, He said to “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19), but he didn’t specify any frequency.
2. When Paul described the institution of the Lord’s Supper, he comments “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:26), but notice that Paul didn’t say how often.
G. And there is no single proof-text explicitly commanding, “The Lord’s Supper must be a part of your worship every Sunday” – it’s simply not in the Bible.
1. How, then, do we know what is appropriate?
2. We must look to the meaning of the memorial, and the way it was practiced by those early Christians.
3. When we do, we learn four things:
I. First, We learn that it was assumed that on the Lord’s Day Christians would partake of the Lord’s Supper.
A. Perhaps, the reason we don’t have a specific verse about the “when” of communion is because the issue never came up in the first century!
1. The early church understood the significance of the “first day of the week.”
1. The greatest event in human history – the one thing that changed everything – the cornerstone of our faith and the foundation of our hope – is the resurrection of Jesus on a Sunday morning some 2000 years ago.
2. That’s why we worship on a Sunday, not a Sabbath – because this is the Lord’s Day!