Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Lord's Supper/Communion

looks at the 1689 Baptist Confession and highlights four things:
CHAPTER 30 - Paragraph 1. The supper of the Lord Jesus was instituted by him the same night wherein he was betrayed, to be observed in his churches, unto the end of the world, for the perpetual remembrance, and showing to all the world the sacrifice of himself in his death, confirmation of the faith of believers in all the benefits thereof, their spiritual nourishment, and growth in him, their further engagement in, and to all duties which they owe to him; and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other. (emphasis mine)

1. Lord’s Supper

The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:20, "When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat." (ESV)

2. Ordinance

Paul also said to the Corinthians, "For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread," (1 Cor. 1:23, ESV)

3. Sacrament

The [Latin word] sacramentum meant both "a thing set apart as sacred," and "a military oath of obedience as administered by the commander." The term sacrament denotes a special act of obedience. So this begs the question, "What is so special about this ordinance that Jesus instituted it?"

the 1689 Baptist Confession: Chapter 30: Paragraph 7:
Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this ordinance, do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually receive, and feed upon Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death; the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally, but spiritually present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses.
What makes this Lord’s Supper special is not that its elements are supernatural but that as we eat them physically we also spiritually worship Christ in a special way. Jesus spoke clearly in John 6:63 that when he referred to His body and blood that he was only doing so in a figurative way. Jesus taught that to "feast" upon him one must do so by faith, faith in who He is and what He has done.

The Lord sanctified this form of worship and thus it has a unique and special blessing. So, if one asks, "Do believers receive a special grace in the Lord's Supper?' The answer is: yes, believers receive a special sanctifying grace that nourishes their soul and strengthens one's faith. To partake of this sacrament is to participate in the work of Christ, to fellowship in the blessings of Calvary afresh and anew. See Paul's explanation of that in 1 Corinthians 10:16.

4. Communion

A believer’s communion with God is through Jesus Christ. We are united to Christ by His Spirit and through Christ we thus have fellowship with God(1 John 1:3). Thus by our faith in Jesus Christ we have communion with a triune God. Therefore, when you participate in this meal, you feast and fellowship with God. Indeed, your worthiness to sit at this table with God is based on your relationship to Jesus.

Furthermore, by virtue of our union with Christ, believers are in communion with all other saints, even with the glorified Church in heaven (Hebrews 12:22-24). When we partake of Communion we are spiritually feasting with all the saints, even those already in heaven.

Finally, we believers have unity with other believers on earth; we are in communion with one another even in our local church. Thus have a responsibility to one another (1 Corinthians 12:7).

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