Saturday, February 25, 2017


Eating The Lord’s Supper

Lord's Supper: Christ Jesus instituted this memorial as a physical act with deep spiritual meaning.  The ceremonial eating of bread and drinking of wine which Jesus said was His body and blood [by faith].  Churches in the Restoration tradition celebrate this each Sunday (the Lord's Day).

Robert Milligan wrote, 1859: "We must, therefore, simultaneously eat of the commemoration loaf and of the bread of life; and while we literally drink of the symbolic cup, we must also, at the same time, drink spiritually of that blood, which alone can supply the wants of the thirsty soul.  Unless we do this, the bread that we eat can in no sense be to us the body of the Son of God; nor can the wine that we drink be in any sense the blood of the New Covenant, which was shed for the remission of the sins of many."  [from the Millenial Harbinger]

Place: Bethany, (W) VA.  Time: Sunday morning, some years before the War Between The States.  Alexander Campbell is presiding at the Table, assisted by his father, Thomas.  On the Table are the customary loaf of bread, baked by one of the sisters; and two chalices  containing the cup of fruit of the vine [fermented], also produced by a sister.
Campbell read: "Then, taking a cup, he gave thanks, and said, Take this, and share it amongst you; for I assure you, that I will not again drink of the product of the vine, until the Reign  of God be come."  [Luke 22:17-18 Living Oracles Version]
Thomas Campbell, the father, then worded a prayer of thanks and blessing for the bread and fruit of the vine.
Then the congregation came forward, two by two.  Both Alexander and Thomas broke off a piece of the bread, dipped it in the fruit of the vine, and put it in the mouth of the brother or sister.  It was their intention to commune in the body and blood of the Lord.  They have done what the Lord said to do.

Place: here.  Time: last Sunday.  We were gathered to worship.  The brother who served that day presided at the Table.  On it were two circles of crisp bread [on plates], baked by one of the sisters.  Also two trays with individual cups [containers] of grape juice.  The brother read a few verses of Scripture, then prayed.  Three brothers, who were assisting this day, passed through the congregation with the bread.  Each person broke off his/her piece and ate it.  Returning to the Table, each assistant served the bread to the other.  The brother prayed a second time.  Those assisting took the trays of cups [containers] and passed through the congregation.  Each person took a cup and drank it.  Returning to the Table, each assistant served a cup to the other.  We have done what the Lord said to do.  We have celebrated His death and resurrection and coming again.  We have recognized His body which was crucified; and we have recognized His One Body of which we are part.  We have proclaimed His death until He comes again!  It was our intent to commune in the body and blood of the Lord.

1. What is this Holy Meal?

  a) A memorial feast by faith
        "And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."  Luke 22:19
        In the Bible remembrance is reliving the original event.

  b) A communion (sharing) with Christ
        "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 Cor 10:16

  c) A FACT celebrated in real time.
  It is an action in which we share. 
  It has a deep spiritual reality. 

  We are discerning the Lord's sacrifice.

  We are asking God to remember what His Son’s death effected between Him and us - the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:7-13).
  We are remembering that we are one body in Christ.  "For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread."  1 Cor 10:17

2. Who should eat?

  a) Citizens of the Kingdom
        "And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."  Luke 22:29-30  [This was to the Apostles.  But we are in the Kingdom and we eat and drink as He commanded.]

        A kingdom is relationship and loyalty.  In obeying the gospel we "put on Christ."  Paul wrote: "He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins."  Col 1:13-14

  b) Those who discern the body.

        His body of flesh & blood that was nailed to the cross
        "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world."  1 John 4:1-3

        His spiritual body  - which we are members of.
        "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free--and have all been made to drink into one Spirit." 1 Cor 12:13

  c) Those who have examined themselves.
        "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you are disqualified.  But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified."  2 Cor 13:5-6

        Some think they must punish themselves for sin by refusing to eat the Supper.  This is an error. 

"Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world.  You took away my sin when You died on the cross.  I am celebrating You in eating this Holy Meal."
"how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance."  Heb 9:14-15

        Properly humble and repentant.
        "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin."  1 John 1:7

  d) We should neither invite nor forbid.  The Supper is open to all.  Each knows his/her faith.  Each who eats and drinks take upon themselves the worship of the Risen Christ.

3. We should want to remember Him often.
        The "first day" (Sunday) comes once a week.  We - the church - gather to worship Him.  Every Sunday we eat the Supper to praise Him and thank Him for His sacrifice.  We show forth His death until He Comes.  We presently celebrate the Supper in Christ's invisible presence, though one day we will see Him face-to-face in His eternal Kingdom.


Stand Still - Go Forward
    "Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God."   Job 37:14
     1. Closure  Have you thought about the Bible being full of closures... not just moving "rite on" and leaving the past behind. The past is history, and the future is a mystery, that's why today is the present.  Hold on to faith, hope, love.
a) "And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite,"  Gen 25:9 (NKJV)
     Both Isaac and Ishmael celebrated Abraham in his burial.  Death often puts an end to strife and reconciles enemies.  This funeral brought closure to their conflict.
    b) Illness.
O Lord, how can I move on?
I don't see any open door.
I crawl through the valley of cancer.
I know YOU know the answer.
And the battle won't rattle me.
You're around, and I've found
there's something about Your empathy,
Your symphony of sympathy
that comforts me.
You are with me.
YOU comfort me.
     (Rob Lacey, an English preacher-musician who wrote as he was dying from bladder cancer.)
     2. Moving On
     a) Many of God's people are not schooled in the art of moving on. We spend a lot of our time stuck, not able to move beyond what happened yesterday.
     "Now the Lord said to Samuel, "How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons."  1 Sam 16:1 (NKJV)
     God had decreed a new king.  This was of the greatest importance for the interests of the nation.  It would establish David's title and comfort the mind of Samuel and other good men with a right settlement, whatever things might happen.  Samuel had reached a place in his life from which he needed to move on.
     Like it or not, we all hit this type of place in our journey of faith.  Many of God’s people are not schooled in the art of moving on. We spend a lot of our time stuck, living in the past, never able to move beyond what happened yesterday. We’re unskilled at navigating new beginnings.
     3.  The Bible shows us that life is a succession of closures and new beginnings.
     God said to Abraham,  "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you."  Gen 12:1 (NKJV)
     We see this pattern demonstrated time and again in the lives of God’s choice servants.  They are required to let go of the old and step out in faith toward the new.
     4.  Closure is one of the great keys to moving forward in life.               When we don’t understand its importance, we often get stuck in our yesterdays or simply grow comfortable with the way things are.  “You played your best.  The game is over.  Time to go home.”
     It is foolish on our part to believe that nothing in life will ever change. Everything changes! Our characters develop, our personalities blossom, our attitudes change, and unfortunately, our bodies grow older.
     The definition of the word “closure” is “to bring something to a close; to bring to an end, to resolve and finalize it in your thinking, to move beyond.” It’s the act of resolving to let something go. Most often, closure is a decision; it’s an act of the human will. Sometimes it is easy, at other times grueling. More often than not, it is purely an act of faith; ACT and feelings catch up with you later.
     Many who are struggling with a decision to move on in life will battle day in and day out with the turmoil of weighing the pros and cons of life’s decisions. Uncomfortable, but actually a part of the process of life.  It forces us to fully examine our decisions in light of good judgment. Is it possible the Lord is saying to you, “You have mourned long enough”? Could it be that you need closure in an area of your life?

PRAYER at Graveside:
     Almighty God, through the death of Christ Jesus on the cross, You have overcome death for us.  Through His burial and resurrection from the dead You have made the grave a holy place.  You sent Christ Jesus so that the world might be saved.
     In Jesus, who rose from the dead, our hope dawned of being raised to life at the end of the world.  Our great sadness of death gives way to the bright promise of eternal life. Lord, because of You, life is changed, but not ended.  When this body of our earthly dwelling lies in death, we hope for an everlasting dwelling with You in heaven.
     Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might; heaven and earth are full of Your glory. We come to You, Father, with praise and thanksgiving, through Your Son Jesus Christ.

     Our Lord Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.  Do you believe this?  She said to Him, Yes Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”