What is Communion – The Lord’s Supper?
HOLY COMMUNION AUDIO & TEXT TEACHING
“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judgeourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” I Cor. 11:23-32
People who don’t understand church discipline, also don’t understand the Lord’s Supper (Communion). The “judge not” crowd, and the “mind your own business” crowd, don’t like the truth about church authority or Holy Communion. The word “communion”, means “common union”. It comes from the word “Koinonia”, which is translated “fellowship”, and “communion”. The root “Koinos” is translated “common”, when referring to the people “having all things common”. It speaks of a very close knit family group the shares all their belongings, and operates as a body. The church is the body of Christ, and is supposed to be pure and clean. Thus, we are told if we, individually and collectively, are not pure and clean in our walk, then we will be judged for not “discerning the Lord’s body”–for representing His body as having sin in it.
Those who say “self examination” is all that is required, miss the point that Paul is not leaving these people to examine themselves, but is examining the people himself in order to warn them of improper self examination. He is telling the elders of the church to put away those who are not walking uprightly – whether that person thinks he is OK or not. Church discipline is built around the “common union” of the brethren, and keeping the communion holy.
I CORINTHIANS 5
“It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from yourselves that wicked person.”
Let me make some basic observations from this incident:
1. The Elders and Bishops were responsible for keeping communion clean — unleavened.
2. You can’t just depend on people to judge themselves. What about “teaching them to observe”?
3. The Principle is that Jesus was unleavened — sinless — “For even so Christ our passover is sacrificed for us”. Therefore the church should stay unleavened; and this is done by keeping the communion unleavened. What is “leaven”? It is a type of sin. Our communion is representative of the sinless body and blood of Christ — This is the purpose for unleavened bread, and unfermented wine. We are to take communion with the “unleavened bread” of
sincerity and truth.
4. We can’t keep the world clean; but we must keep the communion of believers (the church) clean.
5. The bishop (pastor) must judge them that are “within” the body of Christ, or he is disobeying. Just as if the bishop(pastor) was not baptizing, or allowing backsliders(people who used to live holy and now live in sin), for example, to be in the church.
Just as Israel all suffered for Achan’s sin, so if we knowingly tolerate “sin in the camp”; we will be partakers of other men’s sins. We are told to not even “bid them (heretics) Godspeed” lest we be partakers of their sin.
Galatians 5:9 “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump”
Joshua 7:1 “But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.”
ALBERT BARNES COMMENTARY/EXPLANATION OF ACHAN’S SIN
[Committed a trespass – (compare Lev 5:15 note), “acted treacherously and committed a breach of faith.” This suitably describes the sin of Achan, who had purloined and hidden away that which had been dedicated to God by the ban Jos 6:19.
The “trespass” was the act of one man, yet is imputed to all Israel, who also share in the penalty of it Jos 7:5. This is not to be explained as though all the people participated in the covetousness which led to Achan’s sin Jos 7:21. The nation as a nation was in covenant with God, and is treated by Him not merely as a number of individuals living together for their own purposes under common institutions, but as a divinely-constituted organic whole. Hence, the sin of Achan defiled the other members of the community as well as himself and robbed the people collectively of holiness before God and acceptableness with Him. Israel had in the person of Achan broken the covenant Jos 7:11; God therefore would no more drive out the Canaanites before them.
The accursed thing – Rather “in that which had been devoted or dedicated.” Achan in diverting any of these devoted things to his own purposes, committed the sin of sacrilege, that of Ananias and Sapphira. Acts 5:2-3.]
People who, for the desire to gain acceptance, allow sin in the camp, pretend that the list in verse 11 is exhaustive; thus not excommunicating for anything not on that list. In doing so, they miss the whole point. The point that all sin and worldliness is leaven, and must be kept out of the body.
“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? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.” I Cor. 10:16-17
“Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from everybrother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. For yourselves know howye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;……And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” II Thess. 3:6,7,14,15
Are we to “withdraw” from; “have no company with”; “shame”; and “admonish”; but still take communion with those who throw away the apostolic traditions and teachings? These people are disobeying Christ, and his apostles; but they are not wicked enough to be put out of your communion? How much leaven does it take to make bread leavened? It is clear from all the Scriptures that if someone is not in obedience to Christ, the apostles, and the leadership of the church, then they are not eligible for communion. Our first concern is that our church is attractive to Jesus, not to people.
Communion is to be open between churches of like faith and practice; but not open to the lost, heretics, disobedient, rebels, or those who are new enough, we don’t know what they are. Is this hard to understand? The apostles didn’t hold communion with Gnostics and heathen. A true Christian is to NEVER have communion with a Catholic, Calvinist, Baptist, Pentecostal, JW, SDA, Methodist, Presbyterian, Anglican, Orthodox or ANY other of the 30,000+ denominations and sects of the false “christian” world. Why was there open communion between the Christian churches? Because they were all of like faith and practice.
“Although dispersed throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, the church has received this faith from the apostles and their disciples….The church received this preaching and this faith. Although she is scattered throughout the whole world, yet, she carefully preserves it, as if she occupied only one house. She also believes these points just as if she had only one soul, and one and the same heart. She proclaims these things, teaches them, and hands them down, with perfect harmony–as if she possessed only one mouth. For although the languages of the world are different, yet the significance of the traditions is one and the same. For the churches which have planted in Germany do not believe or hand down anything different. Neither do those in Spain, Gaul, the East, Egypt, Libya, or in the central regions of the world.” Irenaeus 180 AD
“The pre-eminence of the church is its one-ness. It is the basis of union. In this, it surpasses all other things and has nothing like or equal to itself.” Clement of Alexandria 195 AD
“Wherever it will be manifest that the true Christian rule and faith are, there likewise will be the true Scriptures and the correct expositions thereof — and all the Christian traditions.” Tertullian 197 AD
“We hold communion with the apostolic churches because our doctrine is in no respect different than theirs. This is
our witness of truth.” Tertullian 197 AD
Some will foolishly say that since Jesus had communion with Judas, they will have communion with whoever claims to be a Christian. Did Jesus take communion with Judas after he became traitor, or before? Before. Does Jesus accept your repentance, when he knows you are going to fall down again? Yes. God’s foreknowledge doesn’t cause him to judge or chasten or become angry with us BEFORE we have sinned, JUST BECAUSE HE KNEW ABOUT IT. The teaching of the Word of God is clear to those who CARE ABOUT TRUTH.
If a church is based on the TRUTH, which involves the traditions and teachings of the apostles; then converts will rise to that standard when converted and baptized. They will be converted to TRUTH, not error. Then if they begin to reject TRUTH; they are to be disciplined for the purpose of bringing repentance and restoration. If they don’t repent, they are put out of the body, considered apostate, and lose their hope of heaven. If they repent, they are
restored to communion.
The “shunning” is done by “not eating” with them or withholding communion. It is also done by “withdrawing” and “admonishing”. In the O.T. shunning an apostate was done by reporting them to the authorities, and having them stoned; but in the New Testament, we reprove and rebuke to try and restore them to fellowship. While they are being shunned, we cannot treat them as our “buddy” as if nothing happened, but must limit our fellowship with them to discussing the problem and seeking to bring them to repentance. It doesn’t matter if the whole church goes into error, and only the pastor is left with the truth — they still will be judged by God. THOUGH HAND JOIN IN HAND, THEY SHALL NOT BE UNPUNISHED. God’s church is not a democracy — you cannot vote truth out.
Churches should take communion with other churches who are teaching their people “to observe all things” that we have received from Jesus through the apostles; even if they observe them slightly different. If the head veil is a little different; as long as it isn’t worldly; it is not “leaven”, and therefore communion should be open between them.
THE PURPOSE FOR CLOSING COMMUNION WITH ANOTHER CHURCH OR INDIVIDUAL IS BECAUSE THEY WILL INTRODUCE “LEAVEN” INTO THE BODY BY THE LIFESTYLE AND DOCTRINE THEY HOLD TO. We should search our hearts, and be sure it is “leaven”, and not an acceptable variation of understanding, before we close the communion. This takes humility, study, discussion, prayer, and LOVE for Jesus and the brethren.
A church without discipline, is not a scriptural church. Communion that is open to “whomever” claims to believe is foolish and wrong.
“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Gal. 1:10
In order to avoid separation and excommunication, we must strive for loving communication. Leaders and followers alike must prize the testimony of the church, the purity of the faith, and the will of Jesus Christ above our own opinions and “lifestyle preferences”.
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Eph. 4:1-3 (See also Phil. 1:27; 2:1-8; 3:14-16)
Here is a communion discussion that is edifying. It touches on whom you are to have communion with if outside your local fellowship, etc.