Lesson 15: The Lord's Supper
"What is the Importance of the Lord's Supper in My Life?"
One of the ordinances that God has instructed us to keep is that of the Lord's Supper. The Lord's Supper signifies many spiritual truths that apply to us as Christians today. Although it does not play a part in our salvation, its importance is to act as a memorial of Jesus Christ's death.
The purpose of this lesson is to acquaint you with what the Bible teaches about the Lord's Supper, its importance and the attitude with which is should be celebrated and conducted.
The Importance of the Lord's Supper
- It is to bring to remembrance the death of the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:26) It is intended to bring our attention back to what Christ has done for us.
- Not only are we to remember His death, but also His suffering. This is signified in the breaking of the bread (1Corinthians 11:24; Mathew 26:26).
- The blood, which is able to cleanse us from our sin and save our souls, is pictured in the cup from which we drink during communion. This blood was shed for us according to Mark 14:24, and the importance of the shedding of blood is stated in Hebrews 9:22.
Am I Really Eating His Body and Drinking His Blood?
There are some religions which teach that the body and blood of Christ are really consumed when they take communion, but that teaching is not scriptural.
- When Jesus Christ spoke of eating His flesh and drinking His blood, He was very careful to explain that He was not Speaking literally. The Bible tells us that the words Christ spoke unto them "are spirit." They were not to physically eat Him, but to spiritually "partake" of His life and death (John 6:53-63).
- The Jews were commanded not to eat blood, for the blood is the life of the flesh (Leviticus 17:11-21). That is why the Jews were confused whith Christ's statements and they said, "This is an hard saying." they were trying to apply what Jesus had said literally and physically. They thought He was teaching them to go against Old Testament Scripture (John 6:52, 60).
- Would Christ teach us to be cannibalistic? And if He did teach us that, how would we eat of His body today? He is risen from the dead and ascended to the Father. There is no body available to eat.
Who Should Participate in the Lord's Supper?
The passage of Scripture that is used to teach the Lord's Supper was written to a church and describes how communion should be conducted. the people Paul was writing to were Believers. Lost people are not included at the Lord's table because they are not saved and the death and suffering of Christ would not have any significance to them (1 Corinthians 11:20-34).
Since the Lord's Supper Is Important, How Often Should It Be Held?
The only instructions that God has given us concerning the frequency with which we have the Lord's Supper is found in 1 Corinthians 11:25-26. In verse 25 it says "... as oft as ye drink it," and verse 26 states, "For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup...," indicating that it si decided by the church officers when the Lord's Supper should be held. No other passage tells us how often this ordinance is to be celebrated.
How Should the Lord's Supper Be Performed?
There are no explicit instructions on how to perform the Lord's Supper. Unleavened bread should be used as in accordance with the Passover Feast, which the Lord's supper typifies (Matthew 26:17; Luke 22:1). Those believers who which to participate should be allowed to do so, and as God wants all things done, it should be done decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40).
In What Manner Should the Lord's Table Be Approached?
- With fear and trembling: Paul rebukes the Corinthians for taking this event lightly. They had turned it into some kind of feast for satisfying one's hunger rather than a time of remembering the Lord's death. This is a sacred time and it should be approached with a sacred attitude(1 Corinthians 11:17-34).
- With desire: Jesus Christ desired to eat the Passover with His disciples (Luke 22:15). although the Lord's table should be approached with reverence, a believer should look forward to the Lord's Supper as a way of bringing his attention back to what Christ has done for him.
- With a clean heart: The Bible tells us to examine and judge ourselves when we partake of the Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 11:28, 31). This examination and self-judging is to make sure that our relationship with God is right and that we do not participate "unworthily" (1 Corinthians 11:27,29). 1 Corinthians 11:30 states, "For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep" (died). God chastises those that partake who are not clean before Him. The Lord's Supper is a reminder that our sin was the reason for Christ giving His life for our salvation, and God wants us to be clean when we partake of the Lord's Supper.
Key Memory Verses
"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" John 6:63
"For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat his 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". 1 Corinthians 11:26-28
Popular attitudes about the Lord's Supper are:
- The Lord's Supper, or communion, has some mystical power to save.
- The Lord's Supper must be taken every week or every service.
- The elements of the Lord's Supper are transformed into the literal body and blood of Christ.
From the Bible principles taught in this lesson, you should understand that these teachings are false, and why.