Christian Communion

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Christian Communion

The Lord’s Supper


Official AG Statement:
Holy Communion
The Lord’s Supper, consisting of the elements 
–bread and the fruit of the vine–
 is the symbol expressing our sharing 
the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:4), 
a memorial of his suffering and death (1 Corinthians 11:26, 
and a prophecy of His second coming (1 Corinthians 11:26, 
and is enjoined on all believers “till He come!”
Note: Our practices and beliefs are much the same as the Baptist in this area

Text: 2 Peter 1:4; 1 Corinthians 11:26

2 Peter 1:4 by which have been given to us 
exceedingly great and precious promises, 
that through these you may be partakers 
of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death 
till He comes.


See what I have here?
It is a jar of marbles. They are from my childhood.
This is only part of them… I have more at home.
I still have my marbles… contrary to what some may think, I have not lost them

marblesJust looking at them or touching them brings back memories
I also have some other things here that bring back memories.
They may not mean much to others… but they mean a lot to me
Its personal… they are part of me.

Some, although they may mean nothing to you, mean a lot to me
I am not going to ask you if you have lost your marbles
But maybe you have something that brings back memories to you.

On the night before the Lord was crucified He gave us something to remember Him by
It may not mean much to some people, but for us… 
 its personal… its part of me!

First lets talk about what communion is and is not…
Different views of the elements (bread & cup) of the Lord’s Supper.


A. Roman Catholic (Transubstantiation)

1) The elements (bread and cup) supernaturally 
 become the literal body and blood of Jesus Christ.

a) Eternal life comes from eating the bread, which is Jesus’ flesh. 
John 6:51,54

b) His flesh is “real food” and his blood is “real drink.” John 6:55

c) No salvation unless Jesus is eaten. John 6:53 “Means of Grace”

2) Only a priest can administer communion.

3) The people are expected to come to the Priest

4) In past years, only the bread was given. Priests drank all the wine.

5) This idea was not the teaching of the early church

Catholics believe this transformation occurs at the moment of the Priest’s enunciating the words. Orthodox believe that they must invoke the Holy Spirit to accomplish the transformation. Catholics believe the Mass/Eucharist/Lord’s Supper has a ‘sacrificial’ nature, where Christ is the SAME victim in the Eucharist as He was on the Cross.

The doctrine of the Lord’s Supper first occasioned discord in the church in the ninth century when Radbertus, influenced by the hankering for the mysterious and supernatural which characterized his time, taught that a miracle takes place at the words of institution in the Supper. 
 The elements are changed into the actual body and blood of Christ.
Radbertus was opposed by Ratramnus, who held the Augustinian position that Christ’s presence in the Supper is spiritual.
The teaching transubstantiation was declared the faith of the church in 1059, although the term itself was not used officially until the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215.

The medieval church continued and refined the teaching of transubstantiation, 
adding such subtleties as 
(1) concomitance, i.e., that both the body and blood of Christ are in each element; hence, when the cup is withheld from the laity the whole Christ, body and blood, is received in the bread alone; 
(2) consecration, i.e., the teaching that the high moment in the Eucharist is not communion with Christ but the change of the elements by their consecration into the very body and blood of Christ, an act performed by the priest alone; 
(3) that, inasmuch as there is the real presence of Christ in the Supper, body, blood, soul, and divinity, a sacrifice is offered to God; 
(4) that the sacrifice offered is propitiatory; 
(5) that the elements thus reserved should be venerated as the living Christ.
The Council of Trent (1545 – 63) confirmed these teachings in its thirteenth and twenty second sessions, adding that the veneration given the consecrated elements is adoration (latria), the same worship that is given God.

RCC usually refer to it as the Eucharist yoo’ – kuh – rist
Since early Christian times the word Eucharist from the Greek eucharistia “thanksgiving”, has been used to describe the Last Supper. The central religious service of the Roman Catholic church is called “MASS”
Mass is the celebration of the sacrament of the Eucharist.
The two chief parts of the Mass are the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The first consists primarily of two or three Scripture readings, a homily following the Gospel reading, and general intercessions or prayers of the faithful. 
The main actions of the second part are the preparation of the altar and gifts, 
eucharistic prayer, breaking of bread, and communion. 
The Lord’s Prayer is recited at the end of the eucharistic prayer and is followed by the exchange of the sign of peace. Introductory rites, including an entrance song, 
penitential rite, and opening prayer, precede the Word liturgy, 
and a concluding rite follows communion. Just a little added information:

High Mass is sung, with a Priest, a Deacon and a sub-Deacon participating.
Low Mass is spoken, not sung, with only a Priest and server participating.

B. Lutheran.(Consubstantiation)

1) The elements supernaturally become the literal body and blood of Jesus, 
but also remain literal bread and wine.

2) Only a minister should administer communion.

3) he viewed the sacrament as a means of grace 
by which the participant’s faith is strengthened.

C. Presbyterian.(Spiritual Presence)

1) Similar to Assemblies of God and Baptist view, but emphasis is put on the spiritual presence of Jesus among the believers during the meal.

2) The special nature of the Lord’s Supper is seen in that improper observance can lead to physical harm.

3) Communion is closed and in some churches only allowed by those who have a communion card or token

D. Salvation Army.

1) Communion is not practiced. (Neither is baptism)

2) One reason is that these practices divide Christians and they don’t wish to put a stumbling block in the way of people.

3) Another reason is that from earliest times the Army has ordained women and it didn’t seem proper for women to give communion.

Quakers do not take communion either
seeing it as strictly ritual

E. Assemblies of God and Baptist. (Memorial meal / Lord’s Supper)

1) The elements always remain bread and juice, nothing more.

a) Note that when Jesus said, “This is my body,” 
he had not been crucified yet. It was a symbolic act.

b) The passage in John 6 is also spoken when Jesus was still alive. He must have been speaking metaphorically (eat = be totally committed to me).

2) Jesus is not present in the elements, but among the gathered Christians.

3) The pastor serves it symbolically to the deacons – he is not acting as a priest.

4) The deacons serve the bread and cup ( usually passed through the pews by the deacons so that each Christian serves those next to them.)

a) It is not a leadership role at all, though it is perceived as such. 
It is a role of servants

b) This is the reason we have no problem with deaconesses serving communion.

4) Since communion is meant to be a community celebration, many do not see it as appropriate to have it at wedding or private gathering. However, others have found a way to make it relevant such as this being the first act of a married couple to remember Christ at the start of their marriage and for small groups remembering Christ is at the center of all they do.

The difference between an ordinance and a sacrament.

A. “Sacrament” implies the act itself has spiritual power.

1) For example, holy water has real power to Roman Catholics, but not to us. 
To us, water is water.

2) A sacrament can only be administered by an ordained priest.

B. “Ordinance” means something that is commanded (by Jesus).

1) The act has no spiritual power in and of itself.

2) Assemblies of God and Baptists believe both communion and baptism 
are ordinances.

I remember Him because of…

The symbol expressing our sharing the divine nature 
of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:4),

2 Peter 1:4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Even as we teach that we practice the ordinance of baptism to signify the death and burial of the old man and the resurrection of the new man… 
As we share in communion, we must remember that it was His literal physical death that made this spiritual death and resurrection available to us

I remember Him because of…

A memorial of his suffering and death 1 Corinthians 11:26

1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, 
you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

We MUST continue to preach Christ and Him crucified…

As we take the Lord’s Supper we are proclaiming His crucifixion for the sins of the world!

We also MUST preach that He was only sacrificed once!

I remember Him because of…

A prophecy of His second coming (1 Corinthians 11:26

1 Corinthians 11:26 …you proclaim the Lord’s death 
till He comes.

Knowing that we are to do this UNTIL HE COMES
reminds us of our ‘BLESSES HOPE’
There is coming a day when we will know longer have to remember Him… WE WILL BE WITH HIM!!!!

I remember Him because of…

It is enjoined on all believers “till He come!”

1 Corinthians 11:26 …till He comes.

This Remembrance is to be practiced by all believers Until He Comes


Closing Explanations

The meaning of the Lord’s Supper.

A. The original Last Supper was most likely a Passover celebration or administered like a Passover meal. 
Mark 14:12-16 (although it was practiced the night before His crucifiction and before the actual Passover)
 Some say this is why Judas turned against Him…???

1) In a passover meal, the different foods and cups are given a spiritual interpretation in relation to the Exodus event.

2) Jesus gave his own interpretation of the meaning of the food, 
and applied it to his own life (and death). Mark 14:22,24

a) His death is the once-for-all sacrifice for our sins.

b) By taking communion, we “participate” in his death. 1 Cor 10:16

3) Early Christians continued having a full meal (called a love feast) with the celebration of communion. 1 Cor 11:20-21; Jude 1:12

B. Communion has past, present and future aspects.

1) Past – Jesus’ death on the cross. 1 Cor 11:24-25

2) Present – He is present among us in the Spirit. Luke 24:30-32

3) Future – He tells us to practice it tills he “comes again” in the future Kingdom. 1 Cor 11:26

C. Communion emphasizes the unity of the body of Christ, the Church.

1) Having one loaf illustrates the unity of the church. 1 Cor 10:16-17

2) Paul tells the Corinthians to wait for the poor members, who had been neglected at the meal. “Recognizing the body” may mean paying attention to other believers, not just Jesus. 1 Cor 11:29-34

D. Communion is a time of joy, as well as solemn introspection.

1) Early Christians “broke bread” with the awareness that Jesus might appear among them. Luke 24:20-21

2) Christians should examine themselves before taking part. 1 Cor 11:28

3) It is a serious thing to abuse the Lord’s Supper, 
and can lead to physical distress. 1 Cor 11:30

The frequency of the Lord’s Supper.

A. Jesus only says, “as often as you drink it.” 1 Cor 11:25

B. We differ in their practice.

1) Some have communion once a month.

2) Others do it once a quarter.

3) A few do it once a year, usually during Easter week.

4) Some have it every Sunday

I cannot go back and play marbles with my old friends
I do not even know where all my old friends are
Even if I could it would not be the same.
I enjoy the memories… but that is not a complete picture.

weddingHere is a picture… a wedding photo…
That event 40+years ago still is a part of my life today
When I see this picture, I remember how beautiful my wife was then and still is now. We have been through a lot together. Some good and some not so good. But looking at the picture makes me remember an event that changed everything about me. It was that day, and that commitment, that changed me from a single guy to a married man. It gave me the opportunity to be a husband, a father, and now a grandfather. It gave me responsibilities and privileges. It was one of the single most important commitments I have made in my life.

Some of the “things” that make us remember are still a part of us, a jar of marbles, a wedding photo…

The Lord’s Supper is one of those things that make us remember the price that he paid for our sins and that what he did changed everything for us. He suffered and died for my sins. He was buried and rose again. I could not pay for my own sins. I deserved death, but through his shed blood and through his murdered flesh, I can have eternal life. And not just after I die. I have this life in me now because of his blood and his body.

There was a day when I made a commitment based on our remembrance of what Jesus did for me. By faith in His finished work, I committed to make Him the Lord of my life. That day, and that commitment changed me to who I am in Christ. It gave me an opportunity to be a Christian, a church member, a pastor, a missionary as well as a better husband, father, and grandfather. If you would like to know more of what that day was like for me… click here

Thank you Lord. I remember what you did for, and are doing in, me.

1 Comment

  1. I enjoyed your article very much! Thank you for sharing the memories and the reminder that communion is a reminder of His presence in the past, present and future! I loved it! Blessings!

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