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And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

Lord's Supper

By H. A. (Buster) Dobbs

I.  Introduction.
    A.  "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and 
        brake it; and he gave to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; 
        this is my body.  And he took a cup, and gave thanks, and gave 
        to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of 
        the covenant, which is poured out for many unto remission of 
        sins.  But I say unto you, I shall not drink henceforth of 
        this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new 
        with you in my Father's kingdom" (Matt. 26:26-29).
    B.  The Lord's Supper was instituted during a Passover Feast.
        1.  Passover was observed with unleavened bread.
            (a)  "Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the 
                 first day ye shall put away leaven out of your 
                 houses:  for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the 
                 first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be 
                 cut off from Israel" (Exodus 12:15).
        2.  The juice of the grape, or fruit of the vine, was also on 
            the Passover table.
            (a)  "But I say unto you, I shall not drink henceforth of 
                 this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink 
                 it new with you in my Father's kingdom" (Matt. 
                 26:29).
        3.  The bread represents the body of Jesus; the grape juice 
            represents his blood.
            (a)  It is basic to understanding language to regard every 
                 statement as literal unless the context requires a 
                 figurative application.
            (b)  Jesus said many things that are figurative:  "I am 
                 the door...I am the vine...I am the bread of life...I 
                 am the water of life."
            (c)  When Jesus said of the cup containing the fruit of 
                 the vine, "this is my blood of the covenant," and when 
                 he said of the bread, "this is my body," he obviously 
                 did not mean literal blood and literal flesh.  He was 
                 present with them in the flesh.  They had to 
                 understand he was saying the bread is symbolic of my 
                 body, the fruit of the vine is symbolic of my blood.
II.  Essentials of the Lord's Supper.
     A.  The time of observance.
         1.  First century disciples assembled regularly on the first 
             day of the week to worship.
             (a)  "Not forsaking our own assembling together, as the 
                  custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so 
                  much the more, as ye see the day drawing nigh" (Heb. 
                  10:25).
             (b)  "Upon the first day of the week let each one of you 
                  lay by him in store, as he may prosper, that no 
                  collections be made when I come" (1 Cor. 16:2).
             (c)  "And upon the first day of the week, when we were 
                  gathered together to break bread, Paul discoursed 
                  with them, intending to depart on the morrow; and 
                  prolonged his speech until midnight" (Acts 20:7).
         2.  Since the first day of the week is the day of worship, 
             and since the Lord's Supper is a part of worship, it 
             follows that the Lord's Supper is to be observed on the 
             first day of the week.  Acts 20:7 shows this was the 
             practice of the early church.
     B.  Who may partake?
         1.  "For I received of the Lord that which also I delivered 
             unto you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he 
             was betrayed took bread; and when he had given thanks, he 
             brake it, and said, This is my body, which is for you: 
             this do in remembrance of me.  In like manner also the 
             cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant 
             in my blood: this do, as often as ye drink it, in 
             remembrance of me.  For as often as ye eat this bread, 
             and drink the cup, ye proclaim the Lord's death till he 
             come.  Wherefore whosoever shall eat the bread or drink 
             the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be 
             guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.  But let a 
             man prove himself, and so let him eat of the bread, and 
             drink of the cup.  For he that eateth and drinketh, 
             eateth and drinketh judgment unto himself, if he discern 
             not the body" (1 Cor. 11:26-29).
             (a)  Each person is to examine or prove himself, and so 
                  eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
             (b)  The fruit of the vine or the cup is Jesus' blood of 
                  the covenant.  A person who is not in a covenant 
                  relationship with Jesus is not a proper candidate to 
                  partake of the cup or eat the bread.
         2.  "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a 
             communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we 
             break, is it not a communion of the body of Christ? 
             seeing that we, who are many, are one bread, one body: 
             for we are all partake of the one bread" 
             (1 Cor. 10:16-17).
             (a)  No person can discern the body of Jesus who has not 
                  obeyed the conditions of pardon given in the New 
                  Testament.
         3.  To discern the body and blood of Jesus and, therefore, to 
             partake in a worthy manner, one must have the right 
             attitude toward the supper.  A part of that attitude is to 
             know ourselves to be unworthy; only then can we partake 
             in a worthy manner.
         4.  Still, each person is to prove himself, and then eat and 
             drink.
     C.  The communion is not the most important part of the worship 
         (one of God's commands is not more important than another) 
         but it is the centerpiece of our worship.
         1.  In all worship we must have proper feelings of piety and 
             devotion.

H. A. "Buster" Dobbs, email: had@worldnet.att.net
P. O. Box 690192
Houston, Texas 77269-0192
(281) 469-3540

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