RMS BIBLE ENGINEERING

The Lord's Supper

Are Christians Really Dying At The Communion Table?

The ordinance called "The Lord's Supper" or "Communion Service" is one of two ordinances given to the Church by our Lord Jesus. The other ordinance is water baptism by immersion. This particular ordinance is practiced by most Churches to commemorate new covenant in His blood, and to remember the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ until He comes again for us, to receive us unto Himself.

Unfortunately, there are two myths about this ordinance that have come into existence and are circulated and practiced widely by many Churches including fundamental Churches. The two myths stem, as usual, from misinterpretation of scripture and are as follows. . .

  1. Myth #1 - Partaking of the Communion Service is for Believers Only
  2. Myth #2 - Failure to partake of Communion in a worthy manner will result in DEATH of the partaker

Myth #1

The first myth or false doctrine listed above is actually the worse of the two and will be discussed first. The myth manifests itself in which the Conductor of the Lord's Supper makes a rather unusual request to the church congregation before the service begins. The request is usually worded similar to the following:

The Lord's Supper (Communion Service) is an ordinance commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ and commemorates the new covenant made effective by His death upon the cross. This supper is for "believers only" and those who are not "believers" should not partake. Therefore, it is to you that we ask that you please abstain from partaking of the bread and wine (or grape juice).

Well, first of all, this request smacks of favoritism right off the bat. Any first time unchurched visitor or family would certainly feel uncomfortable as they are immediately isolated, singled out, and identified in front of a Church congregation where most members are going to participate in this service. The friendly smiles, the welcome greeting, and warm handshakes they received as they entered the large sanctuary doors from the Church Greeters are a distant memory. If they comply with the request, they have been forcibly branded an outcast prior to the start of this service. Common sense and proper etiquette would appeal to even a Church outsider that such a request is both- - -

Rude And Crude

However, the Word of God must be our guide in this situation and not that of customary and proper etiquette. Even a knowledgeable Bible Student would immediately be aware that such a request is both improper and unscriptural. It is a fact that the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, the body of Christ on earth is composed of both Believers and Unbelievers. This is a fundamental truth of doctrine concerning the Church. Our Lord Jesus tells us this in the second Kingdom of Heaven parable in Matthew 13 - - -.

Matthew 13
37 He answered and said to them: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man.
38 "The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one.

Jesus gave instruction to the disciples who wanted to root out the tares from among the wheat -- He told them to - - -

"Let Both Grow Together"

Back to the example above, the unchurched family or visitor has unwittingly been asked to identify themselves as a tare among the congregation. Each member is either a wheat or a tare. That identification and separation is NOT to be made today, but Jesus will do that when He comes...

A Believer in Christ is aware that some church members sitting to the right, to the left, in front, and behind may or may not be Believers in Christ. Whether these Church members are truly born again is not for us to know. It is our duty as members of the body of Christ to assume that everyone who says they are a member of the Church, a Believer in Christ, to be recognized and respected as a fellow Brother in Christ. This relationship must exist until proven otherwise by one or more unrighteous acts committed by the so called Brother. Such unrighteous acts must bring reproach on our Lord Jesus Christ as to negatively reflect His name, the body of Christ, or fellow Believer in a public manner. Even under such circumstances, the offending person shall continue to be recognized as a fellow Brother in Christ. This situation is covered adequately by the Apostle Paul...

II Thessalonians 3
12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.
13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.
14 And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.
15 Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

How could a well meaning Christian, called upon to conduct a Communion service, be so insensitive and discriminatory? This action certainly doesn't come from scripture, for scripture teaches the very opposite. The passage in question which we will review is found in I Corinthians which we will look at in detail later to examine in the light of myth #2 stated above. But in that same chapter we note - - -

I Corinthians 11
23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;

Jesus is conducting the "Communion Service" for the first time if you will and He is going to be betrayed. Someone sitting at the table is actually a "tare" and not a "wheat". Someone sitting at that table is really not a "True Believer" in Jesus Christ to the saving of their soul. Now notice what Jesus is going to say . . .

This supper is for "believers only" and those who are not a True Believer, should not partake. Therefore, it is to you that I ask that you please abstain from partaking of the bread and wine.

What utter nonsense!!!

Jesus said nothing of the kind, in fact, notice what He does do and say - - -

24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me."

Jesus has just given thanks, broken the bread, and guess who He is going to give it to? Yes, Judas Iscariot, is sitting there and is a recipient of the broken bread. The man who is going to betray our Lord Jesus and turn him over the the Temple authorities. This man is going to eat of the bread. This man is the same man who responded, "Lord, Is It I?" when Jesus stated that someone at that table would betray him that very night.

Jesus knew who Judas was. Jesus knew what Judas was about to do. Jesus knew this was the man whom scripture calls, "The Son of Perdition" which is a title also given to the future AntiChrist. To be consistent with myth #1 above, Jesus should have pointed Judas out to the other Disciples and asked that he NOT PARTAKE of the bread... But Jesus is going to violate myth #1 again as we listen to Him - - -

25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."

Jesus repeats the same distribution scenario for the wine as He did for the bread. Is Jesus going to allow Judas to partake again with the other Disciples?

26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.

It is important to know that the Apostle Paul is not repeating ordinance proceedings for the Lord's Supper (Communion) here to show its purpose, but to show that the Lord's Supper is intended for - - -

The Church

Jesus, by example, intentionally let a man destined to betray him partake of the ordinance. How much more appropriate that we not exclude unchurched and nonmembers who sit among the Church congregation from partaking of Communion Services. They too must be invited to the breaking of bread --- that is, giving instruction by the Service Conductor to reveal to them its purpose and meaning.

By Jesus own example, an unchurched visitor or family is made to feel welcome and invited to a very special ordinance which we enjoy. That person is apt to ask questions, perhaps then, perhaps years later, as to what was the meaning of that ordinance. That participation could have a profound influence and perhaps turn an unchurched member of the Kingdom of Darkness into a born again member of the Kingdom of Light.

As a final example, the following passage in James is also applicable in responding to myth number 1 as does our Lord - - -

James 2
1 My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.
2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes,
3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit here at my footstool,"
4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?

Myth #2

We now turn our attention to Myth #2 which states to the effect that . . .

Failure to partake of Communion in a worthy manner will result in DEATH of the partaker

(To Be Completed . . .)

I Corinthians 11
17 Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse.
18 For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it.
19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.
20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper.
21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk.
22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.
23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;
24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.
27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.
31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
33 Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.
34 But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.

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