The Lord’s Supper - Names & Significance

Look at the Table -
1.  Why do you partake of it?

2.  What does it mean to you?

Far too often the church has made the Lord’s Supper:
1.  A stepchild of the faith.

2.  A tag-on at the end of the service.

3.  A snapshot in the corner of a larger portrait.

Names  of  the  Lord ’s  Supper:

“The Lord’s Supper” is the title given by Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:20.

1 Corinthians 11:20
[20]When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat.

Luke used the phrase “breaking of bread” in Acts 2:42-46; 20:11 and Luke 24:35.

Acts 2:42-46:
[42]And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the
breaking of bread and the prayers. [43]And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. [44]And all who believed were together and had all things in common. [45]And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. [46]And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts.

Luke 24:35
[35]Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

In 1 Corinthians 10:16, Paul employed the term “communion” which referred to believers’
relationship with the Lord (vertically) and fellow believers (horizontally).

1 Corinthians 10:16
[16]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?

“Eucharist” another word used for the Lord’s Supper, is derived from the Greek word
eucharista, “giving of thanks”, as it implies the thanksgiving over the bread & wine as seen in 1
Corinthians 11:24.

1 Corinthians 11:24
[24]and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me."

Paul also used the phrase “the Lord’s table” 1 Corinthians 10:21.

1 Corinthians 10:21
[21] You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.

Augustine in the 4th century A.D., called the Lord’s Supper a “sacrament” which comes from a word that originally meant a pledge or bond. Many evangelicals believe it is not a sacrament of saving grace, but rather it is:

1.  A commitment

2.  A promise

3.  A pledge of allegiance to the Lord

The Gospels & Pauline accounts indicate that the Lord’s Supper is rooted in the O.T. ceremony of Passover.  Jesus used the occasion to identify Himself - by His actions & words - as the sacrificial Lamb.

Christ’s word & actions:
1.  Initiated the celebration of this powerful symbol.

2.  The early church practiced it.

3.  It continues to be observed as one of the most powerful symbols of the faith.
The Lord’s Supper carries not only historical significance, but also theological significance in
that it symbolizes the sacrificial death of our Lord Jesus.
1.  The bread & wine symbolize the very body & blood of Christ.

2.  The blood, being essential to His earthly life & all other life, was shed redemptively for our lives.

The meal also carries ecclesiological significance for His body, the church.
1.  Wayne Grudem in his ‘Systematic Theology’, pointed out that the church reaps the benefits earned for us by His death & that we receive spiritual nourishment for our souls (John 6:53-57) through the Lord’s Supper.

John 6:53-57
[53]So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the  flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. [54]Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. [55] For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. [56] Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks  my blood abides in me, and I in him. [57] As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will      live because of me.

2.  The Table affirms His love to me in that He invites me to come to His supper.

3.  My partaking of the meal affirms my faith in Him.

4.  I am redeemed & accepted by Christ’s actions & my actions proclaim it.

The celebration of communion also carries eschatological significance. As it commemorates a past event, it also anticipates a future consummation in His coming (1 Corinthians 11:26).

1 Corinthians 11:26
[26]For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death
until he comes.

Thus, a feast of love, a memorial of faith - becomes a prophecy of hope! When you celebrate the Table, remember:
1.  What it is - a dynamic symbol of our faith!

2.  What it does - foreshadows a future celebration when we will join Him at the Wedding
Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9)

Revelation 19:9
[9]And the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are         invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These       are the true words of God."

3.  What we do - Celebrate the Table & all its profound meaning with new zeal!

Hear the command & the invitation to the Lord’s Table.

Come to this sacred table, not because you must, but because you may; Come not to testify to your righteousness, But that you sincerely love our Lord Jesus Christ & desire to be His True disciple; Come not because your goodness gives you a right to come, but because in your Frailty & sin you stand in need of Heaven’s help & mercy; Come because you love the Lord a little & want to love Him more; Come because He loved you & gave Himself for you; Lift up your hearts, above all your cares& fears; Let this bread & wine be a sign of GOD’s grace to you & a pledge of your love to the Lord Christ; receive the love of GOD & consecrate your life afresh to Christian obedience & service, to discover & do the will of GOD in humble faith.

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