The New Testament Teaching on the Lord’s Supper (3)

In the last post, we moved from Last Supper to Lord’s Supper. We looked at three ideas:

  1. The Lord’s Supper is a participation in the benefits of Christ’s redeeming work.
  2. The Lord’s Supper makes the church visible.
  3. The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance.

Today we continue digging deeper into what it will mean for us to come together as a body to the table.

The Lord’s Supper unites the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:18-34). Sadly, Paul’s writing to this local church about the proper practice of the Lord’s Supper because they were abusing it by abusing one another. They were practicing in self-preference, immodesty, and abiding disunity. In my opinion, that’s what informs the enigmatic phrase ‘discerning the body’ in 11:29. They were taking the Lord’s Supper without ensuring that all was well with the body of Christ.

Before partaking, they needed to put off their self-centered ways. They needed to mend any broken relationships. They needed to see to the unity of the body. As they didn’t, Paul says God disciplined them! Some grew sick. Some died! The Lord is watching to bless or judge. One cup. One bread. One body. See a pattern? Jesus ordained the Lord’s Supper to remind of, display, and effect our unity in Him.

The Lord’s Supper is a time for personal examination (1 Corinthians 11:28). There is an unworthy way to take the Supper (1 Corinthians 11:27). There is also, then, a worthy way. Prior to practicing the Lord’s Supper, we should examine our hearts, our lives, our relationships in the church. As best as we can, we need to aim at being a holy people, those watchful to obey the Lord and live in increasing love for Him and His people. This meal offers a reminder of the need for sanctification, of continuing to walk closely with Jesus. It’s a time for personal examination.

The Lord’s Supper is another powerful way we preach the whole Gospel (1 Corinthians 11:26). I want to end here because, well, it’s the goal of all we do as a local church. As often as we take the Lord’s Supper, we climb a pulpit! We declare to the ear, the eye, the taste buds, to all gathered, to principalities and powers, to our triune God and Savior, ‘Jesus has won! He’s redeemed! He died for us, but He rose for us, as will be evident to all when He returns!’ The Supper is the church’s sermon about her Savior and His salvation, from first to last, from the cross to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Well, I hope this survey of the Lord’s Supper has only further whet your appetite! Next time, we’ll go into the relationship between baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Until then, continuing to aim only for fully-informed minds begetting fully-rejoicing hearts as we, in spiritual unity and with holy accountability, come to remember the Lord’s death until He comes again. Devoted to the most Scriptural display of Christ’s glory in and through you,

TMC elders

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