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The Church - Lesson 23

The Church in 25 Lessons

Jon Gary Williams

Lesson 23 - The Church: The Lord's Supper

The Lord's supper is considered the focal point of the first day of the week assembly. It is this "communion" that the Lord designated to be the way in which his disciples called to memory the great sacrifice he made. This memorial "supper" is unique in that it is not what the world expects in a memorial. While the world looks to monuments and statues as reminders of great men, Jesus established a memorial made up of simple, perishable items -- bread and fruit of the vine. Also, it was his design that his followers be a part of this memorial. It is, indeed, the "communion" of the body and blood of Jesus. (I Cor. 10:16)

I. The origin of the Lord's Supper
A. It was instituted by Jesus himself.
  1. Matt. 26:26-29 (see Mk. 14:22-25; Lk. 22:19,20)

  2. The apostles were to teach people to "observe all things" Jesus had commanded. (Matt. 28:18-20
B. Paul also received instructions about this from Jesus himself (I Cor. 11:23 ff)
II. The place of its observance
A. It was to be "in the kingdom." (Matt. 26:29) (Note: The "kingdom" and the 
"church" are the same. Matt. 16:18,19)

B. The "holy place" in the tabernacle was a type of the church. But the "table of 
shewbread" within the holy place was a type of Lord's supper. (Heb. 9:1,2)

C. The communion was partaken of when the followers of Christ would "come 
together." (I Cor. 11:17,18,20,33,34) (cf. Acts 20:7) 

III. The participants
A. Jesus explained to his disciples he would partake of the Lord's supper "with you." (Matt. 26:29)
B. Those who partook of the communion were Christ's "disciples." (Acts 20:7)
C. Those who had been baptized were to "observe" what Jesus taught. (Matt. 28:20)
D. The Lord's supper was in the assembly of the saints. (I Cor. 11:17-34)
IV. The design of the Lord's Supper

A. Jesus said it was to be "in remembrance of me." (I Cor. 11:24,25)
B. In this supper Christians "discern" the Lord's body. (I Cor. 11:29)
C. This is a "communion" with Christ. I Cor. 10:16 

V. The manner of observing
A. Examination of the manner of partaking is necessary. (I Cor. 11:28)

B. False ideas about "examining."
  1. "Closed communion" which involves men examining each other to determine their worthiness. 

  2. Examining oneself to determine one's own worthiness. (Note: "Unworthily" is an adverb of manner [the way something is done] and does not modify one's worthiness.) 

C. Failing to discern the Lord's body is a sign of spiritual weakness. (I Cor. 11:30-32)

VI. The time of the Lord's Supper
A. It was something in which early Christians were "steadfast." (Acts 2:42)

B. A New Testament pattern.
  1. There was a regular assembly of the saints. (Heb. 10:25
  2. This regular assembly was on the first day of the week. (I Cor. 16:2)
  3. The Lord's supper was in that assembly. (I Cor. 11)
C. This pattern is illustrated by apostolic example. (Acts 20:7)
VII. The duration of the institution of the Lord's Supper
A. Until the Lord comes again (I Cor. 11:26)