by Irvin Barnes
Originally published in
The Christian Informer
CHRISTIANS MUST EAT THE LORD'S SUPPER IN REMEMBRANCE OF CHRIST, discerning His body, showing forth His death until He comes again (1 Corinthians 11:23-29).
Monday evening, as they sat around the campfire, Bro. Smith began to confess a feeling of guilt for fishing instead of worshiping. "You know, brethren, I feel guilty for missing worship yesterday. This is the first time since I have been a Christian that I have ever missed assembling with the saints to eat the Lord's supper. I rather regret having done so."
"I know the feeling," confessed Bro. Jones, "I feel the same way. But, I am wondering, why couldn't the three of us just commune together here and now? I realize the early church met in assemblies on the first day of the week to eat the Lord's supper, but since there was no assembly nearby and since we were so involved in fishing yesterday, I really fail to see how that the day is of such importance. I really can't see why we would have to be in a church service. After all, we commune with God and Christ regardless of how many are present. The important thing is to remember Christ's death and it seems the three of us could remember Him just as well on Monday as on Sunday. Bro. Brown, what do you think?"
Bro. Smith joined in, "This all sounds good to me. We didn't pack any grape juice, but I do have some tomato juice. Tomatoes grow on vines. One kind of fruit of the vine ought to serve as well as another."
So, around a campfire, late on the second day of the week, three Christians offered thanks for some cheese and tomato juice and ate and drank together in memory of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ.
By turning the Lord's supper into a carnal feast to satisfy physical hunger, the Corinthians disobeyed the ordinances which Paul had delivered. (See 1 Cor. 11:17-22).
Beginning in verse 23, Paul reminds them that what he had previously delivered to them was received from the Lord. He then calls them back to the original pattern by rehearsing it step by step.
Jesus blessed and broke bread. Jesus broke bread either for the purpose of eating or for the purpose of merely dividing the loaf. There are two reasons for believing that Jesus broke in order to eat or broke off a portion to eat rather than breaking the loaf just to be tearing it into pieces.
Second, the bread is called Jesus' body (1 Cor. 11:24). The church is Christ's body, (Ephesians 1:22,23). It should not be divided (1 Cor. 1:10). The Passover lamb was to be eaten whole. It could not be divided (Exodus 12:1-10). The lamb was a type of Christ (1 Cor. 5:7), "For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us." The physical body of Christ was never divided. (See John 19:31-36, especially the prophecy concerning Christ,"A bone of him shall not be broken").
A divided loaf then is completely out of order in the Lord's supper except to break in order to eat or partake. How can one properly discern an undivided Christ by eating a divided loaf? One loaf of bread in each congregation with all the members eating of that one bread is a picture of true communion and unity. A divided loaf is a picture of disunity and division.
May we change the communion? It is obvious we must not! If we can change cup to cups then why not bread to cheese and grape juice to tomato juice. If the example Jesus set for us in how to commune does not have to be followed then why must we follow the example of Acts 20:7, of meeting on the first day [of the week]? Once the changes begin to be brought in there is no end to the innovations that have been and will be introduced. Let us go back to the Bible for faith and practice in worship!
3218 East Farm Road 88
Springfield, MO 65803