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Communion

June 11, 2007

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

1 Corinthians 10 16

In this verse we see the name I’ve heard most commonly used for the Lord’s Supper: Communion. The word communion carries with it the ideas of fellowship and participation. When we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we remember Christ’s work on our behalf, and in a sense, fellowship in his sufferings and participate in his death and subsequent victory. His Supper is the communion of the body of Christ.

Now I think it is important that we recognize not only our fellowship with His physical sufferings in some way, but also our fellowship with His body that we can see right now — the church. Communion is the fellowship and participation of the church as it remembers the work of Christ in His death, burial, resurrection and triumphant ascension. This is one reason why we don’t bring communion to people that are not at church. That’s not communion. You have to have an assembly in order to have participation with one another in fellowship.

This is another reason why the Lord’s Supper is necessary for the health of a church. As we partake, we ought to discern the Lord’s body around us. His body that we are a part of. His body that we have mistreated, or slandered, or envied. If we come to His table with these sins in our lives, we should immediately confess and forsake them. We should right them. If we have this understanding of the Lord’s Supper, the more often we partake, the healthier the body will be. This confessing and forsaking is true self-denial, maybe even taking up our cross.

For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death til He come.

The Lord’s Table is His supper celebrated with thanksgiving in communion with other believers because of our fellowship in Christ. We show loyalty to the Lord as we remember His broken body and shed blood, which washes away our sin.

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Categories: Lord's Supper, Voegtlin
  1. June 11, 2007 at 7:46 am

    Amen, Brother Jeff.

    I just taught in my Sunday School class on the importance of the church being “assembled together” to partake of communion.

    God bless.

  2. June 11, 2007 at 8:46 am

    This is one reason why we don’t bring communion to people that are not at church. That’s not communion. You have to have an assembly in order to have participation with one another in fellowship.

    So true! I have heard so many times of pastors (or priests) bringing communion to the hospital or rest home where the absentee member was – but as you stated, that is not true Biblical communion, that is just being religious. Seems like trusting in the bread or some ritual more than fellowshipping with the Lord and other believers. I’ve always had a problem with those believers that have communion when they are out on some camping trip or some youth group activity. Seems like they are missing the point of it all.

  3. Anvil
    June 11, 2007 at 10:44 am

    So would all of you be against ever taking communion to a true shut-in, even if a group of the members from the church went along to “assemble” and allow the shut-in individual to partake, not only in the elements, but also in the fellowship with other believers?

    It seems to me that if we are insisting it be at “the church” we are belying the belief that the local church consists of the people of God, not of the building itself.

  4. June 11, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    Anvil,

    If the church assembled at that person’s house, then that would be a church service, wouldn’t it?

    I am against a handful of people taking communion to shut-ins, etc. The New Testament accounts, particularly in 1 Cor. 11 states over and over again the “coming together” at the church as an assembly.

    By the way, the church is not just the “people of God”, it is a called-out ASSEMBLY. I agree that the church is not a building, but that is not the issue, as I see it.

  5. June 11, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    Anvil,

    We are to regulate our practice by what Scripture says, not by what it doesn’t say. Bringing bread and cup to someone to partake is not what we see in Scripture. If you remember, when Nadab and Abihu decided to slightly alter the percentages of the incense, God killed them. We are not to take what He ordained and tweak it to fit what we want. That “shut-in” isn’t going to lose his salvation by not partaking—it isn’t a sacrament. The pattern of going to someone’s house seems to come from Roman Catholic tradition, not the Bible.

  6. Anvil
    June 11, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    I would actually agree with you guys that it’s not a sacrament, and I also don’t think it’s something that the pastor just takes to the person alone. Having said that, I see no reason that there cannot be an assembly of people (with one of the pastors present as well) from the local church celebrating the ordinance of communion at someone’s house when that person physically cannot make it to church. There is still a coming together — a church service (as Art stated).

    I certainly agree that a person who cannot partake is not losing his salvation, but I can’t see that the scripture requires that this ordinance not be done in anyone’s home rather than at the “normal” place of corporate worship. Certainly in the case of home churches it would be.

    Pastor B., I agree that we follow what scripture says — I have never said otherwise. Under the conditions I stated, how would celebrating communion in the home of a shut-in be prohibited by scripture?

    P.S. Art, I agree with you about the assembly. However, on any given week there may be members of the local church that are away from the assembly. They are still members of that church even when they are not assembled with the body. That’s why I said that the local church is the people of God. I meant that a person who was shut-in could still be a part of the local assembly even if they could no longer assemble. I thought it was obvious that I wasn’t referring to all believers everywhere as I specifically stated “local church” as part of that sentence. I apologize if I was unclear.

  7. Chris Stieg
    June 11, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    Anvil,

    I think you may have missed Pastor Brandenburg’s point (either that, or I did). In regards to something that Scripture prescribes, as the Lord’s Supper, we limit ourselves to what the Scripture tells us TO DO. We do not do more than what the Scripture tells us to, even if it does not prohibit it.

    The Scripture does not specifically prohibit us from taking communion to some one’s house. It also does not specifically prohibit feeding it to our dog, to use a silly illustration, but both are outside the bounds of what God did prescribe.

  8. June 11, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    Chris, Your explanation of my comments stands with the very nice dog illustration. My Scriptural illustration works in this also—the OT did not say that they could not do it a different way. It also doesn’t say we can’t use coca-cola for the cup.

  9. Anvil
    June 12, 2007 at 5:00 am

    OK, maybe I am misunderstanding. When the scriptures say to “come together” this never means in a home if there is an official church building? Does “coming together” always mean every member in the church?

    When the Jerusalem church was over 5000 strong, and they were breaking bread from house to house, this could never include the Lord’s Supper? Did they always come together in a single place and celebrate the Lord’s Supper with all 5000 or so? Can we ever have a communion service today if every single member is not present?

    If we are limiting ourselves to what scripture says TO DO with respect to the Lord’s Supper, WHERE does the Bible say it is to be done? Or does it actually say? I certainly don’t want to be guilty of offering strange fire any more than any of you do.

  10. June 12, 2007 at 7:59 am

    Anvil,

    First, I would like to commend you for discussing Scripture on here with us, albeit anonymously. I recognize that if you did say your real name on here (which I don’t need to know), you would be ostracized by many in the FBF and Sharper Iron type crowd. We did a month long discussion on the Lord’s Table here and I think that you can conclude that “breaking bread” does not mean Lord’s Table in Scripture, but eating an actual meal. When it is the Lord’s Table, the cup is included (do word study).

    I don’t have a problem with the church assembling in the shut-ins home thereby allowing him to take of the table with them, so that he too can commune with the Lord’s body.

  11. Anvil
    June 12, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    Pastor B., thank you for the clarification. I will check out the various places where bread is mentioned, both together with the cup and separately.

    I remember reading at least some of the month on communion, but I must have missed the part about “breaking bread” not meaning communion if the cup is not mentioned. My memory may be faulty, but I seem to recall the discussion being more about open/close/closed communion and why the greater consensus here was for the closed position. I may go back and check out the posts/discussion from that month.

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