Breaking Bread- The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper

Breaking Bread- The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper Part 17

The “Amen, the faithful and true Witness,” has invited all who are a part of His Bride to a table.  In Revelation 3, He speaks to an unfaithful assembly, Laodicea.  She was lukewarm, neither hot nor fervent in devotion nor did she in lowliness acknowledge herself to be cold; neither having fervent hearts in holy affection nor consciously lacking holy fervor and confessing it, she was in a deceived state. This deceived state receives the severest rebuke from the Lord, the ever “True One.”  This was an affluent assembly that seemed “dead while she seemed alive.”  There was no antagonism towards religious error neither was there any heart for contesting false teaching.  Open hostility to the truth is better than being lukewarm, ignoring error.  “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.”  This is very scary—what about those who were in the assembly He DIDN’T LOVE?  Jesus had said; “you are either for Me or against Me.”  Churches that seemed not to care either way are sick assemblies and those of us who participate in a sick assembly die from malnutrition!!  They have a condition called “rickets.”  This is a disease that does not have enough strength in their bones to stand up on those bones.  The numbness of spiritual indifference is the worst kind of sickness; it is a hopelessness that is worse than toleration of false doctrine.

Usually, this occurs in assemblies that think they are already “safe” from any kind of activity Satan will throw at them.  It is possible that dead assemblies are the results of the absence of feeling any need for fire (hard positive preachers and preaching of the gospel) that puts out the sin of laziness in defending the truth and stomping out the error of denominational doctrines, feeling they are safe from any harm from them!! It reminds one of the rich farmer of Luke 12.  He had so-0-0 much of the world’s goods and was so-o-0 safe within himself, he could not think of anything to do but to “tear down his old barns and build bigger ones.”  What did Christ say to him?   “Thou fool, this night your soul is required of thee, then whose shall these things belong to??”  You can watch this kind of assembly, they have the white gloves when they partake and when they break the bread or partake of the contents of the cup, and they have no movement on their heart monitors!!  They are not happy WHEN they partake nor do they feel any loss WHEN they miss the next time the supper is served and they are not there!!  If you check their pulse, there is no reading!!  Laodicea is typical of congregations that have a baptistery with no water in it and no one can remember the last time someone was baptized, there!!

“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcome, and am set down with My Father in His throne.”  Laodicea was about 20 miles from Colosse.  In this city in the fourth century there was a council held in the fourth century, now it lies in ruins.  The Amen, One that is steady and unchangeable in all His purposes and promises, which are always “yea, yea and amen,” whose testimony from God to men was always faithful and true, who was the head of the Body, the firstborn from the dead, who raised Himself from the dead by His own divine power, raises up dead souls to be in a living temple and church.  He who adds, puts saved souls in what meant everything to the Son of God, the Church of Christ, cries out; “why halt you between two opinions,” from His servant Joshua, “if God be God, follow Him; if Baal (be God), follow him.”  There is NO ROOM for neutrality.  An open enemy shall have a fairer quarter from Christ than a disgusting neutral; and there is more hope of a heathen that one who will not declare his or her faith in Jesus Christ because she or he is afraid to offend the lost one.  It is a nauseous thing the Christ of God cannot tolerate!!  Isaiah cries out: “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Isaiah 55:1-3

Imagine, Christ knocking at the door of His purchased Bride!!  Here, He stands using all the proper means to awaken us from sleep, He knocks by the impulses of His Spirit on our consciences as we partake of this bread and cup, invites us to commune with He and the Father—and each other.  Correction and instruction is a blessing from our Master, and all we who partake of this bread and fruit of the vine are being judged as we partake; for as promised to His disciples before He suffered; “I will drink it anew with you, in the Father’s kingdom,”  “the Lord omnipotent reigns, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready.  Blessed are they who are called to the Supper.”

Breaking Bread- The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper Part 16

Of all the apostles to have written of this great Table, the one who was not present at the last Supper wrote the clearest and most about the introduction!  As the apostle Paul was the apostle from whom Luke received the message, Paul tells us things not mentioned in either of the other Old Testament epistles.  Christ was crucified on the evening of the Passover.
The year seems to be settled as A> U.C. 783, A. D. 30, he sixteenth year of the Emperor Tiberius.  In this year, astronomers tells us, the 14th of Nisan fell on a Friday; and as for typical instruction at least, we should expect that Christ would die at the hour when the paschal lamb was slain, we at once see the fitness of this date and day, if they can be safely maintained.  It is incredible that the events immediately preceding and accompanying the execution of Christ should have occurred on the actual feast day; it is also incredible that, as some suppose, the Pharisees altered the legal day in order that they might be free to accomplish their wicked design.  Christ died the hour the lambs were legally slain. John 13:1;29;18:28; 19:14; 19:31.

The apostles were with Him when, in the “large upper room,” the twelve sat down, or rather reclined on the couches covered with carpets, the tables before them laid with the dishes peculiar to the solemn Passover Supper, each dish telling a peculiar story of the great deliverance from Egypt.  There was the lamb the Paschal victim, and the bitter herbs, the unleavened bread and the reddish sweet conserve of fruits—commemorating, it is said, by its color the hard labors of brickmaking, one of the chief burdens of the Egyptian bondage—into which the Master dipped the sop, gave it to the traitor, John 13:26, as the Lord began to transform this into the new supper He would introduce as they proceeded in such a way as to change it into the sacred Supper of the New Testament. ”With desire” is a strange and peculiar expression evidently a reproduction of the original Hebrew.  It described an intense longing to keep this last Passover, first, as a dear Friend who would make this the solemn last farewell.  Do we not all, when we feel the end coming, long for a last communion with our dearest friends?  Secondly, the Master would gather His deepest teaching from this last meal.  Next, as the founder of a great religion, He purposed, on this momentous occasion, to transform the most solemn festal gathering of the ancient Jewish people, which commemorated their greatest deliverance, into a feast which should commemorate a far greater deliverance, not of the old chosen race, but of the new race which would be born from heaven.  It had to be introduced early for on the morrow, when the people eat their Passover, it will be too late for us, before I suffer.”   There was yet another reason for His deliberate actions on this night.  For so many centuries the central act of the ritual observance under Moses would be superseded by a new and yet more solemn religious exercise.  He was announcing the end of the old supper and the beginning of another and far more spiritual banquet in the heavenly realm, which not only the Redeemer, but also His redeemed will partake.  He promised NOT to partake UNTIL He would partake it again with them IN THE FATHER’S KINGDOM.  A promise which He has not fulfilled IF the Kingdom has NOT come into existence as pre-millennialist teach.

This partaking is the solemn declaration publicly made by the communicant as a deliberate wish that those who see and know of our partaking, believe that King Jesus lived, died, and rose again.  It is a fervent expression of belief that strength will be surely given him, “that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith,” Galatians 3:26, asserting that a blessing too great for us to measure by earthly language, too deep to fathom with human inquiry, and too rich, unless measured by life, is the benediction of Christ work on this earth.  To serve this Supper and envelop it in a shroud of mist and cloud, thereby diming it, as with a veil, that we might not see its glory, will keep us from this simple rite, more awful in its grandeur, more Divine and far-reaching in its promises to the faithful believer, and more strengthening than language can describe; is a crime denominationalism has faithfully delivered and preached.  This, the traitor Judas Iscariot was not privileged to remain as a spectator.

“For I have appointed you a kingdom,” to appoint was to dispose by will, make a covenant by entering into a covenant with those to whom one is speaking, for the Passover draws nigh that all Jews partook and the disciples of Christ were the only ones who had already partaken, ready to suffer.

Breaking Bread- The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper Part 15

Reading the book of Esther, entrance to the king stuck me as what we should envision when we come to the Supper of our King!!  As you have read, when Esther went into the presence of Ahasuerus, had he not held out his scepter to her (a sign she was welcomed into his throne room and presence), she would have been slain. Esther 4:11 We often do not imagine the same in invitation of our Lord and King.  We assume we are invited, “we have been baptized,” we say to ourselves!!  Esther was queen and if she had not had the golden scepter held out to her, she would have been killed.  Do you think she did not believe this?  Like Esther, some do not think they have been “called” into the inner court but at their convenience.  We come when we want and stay away when it is not convenient, or when we can blame it on the kids, or lack of gas money.   Her entrance continued the Jewish nation; their existence DEPENDED on her entrance! “Think not with thyself that though shalt escape in the King’s house, more than all the Jews.  For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed.” Esther 4:13-14   The dangers of not attending reach beyond our souls to the soul and spirit of those whom we have brought into this world!!  We had all better seriously think and think long who have the tendency to “forsake the assembling of ourselves, together.” Hebrews 11:25   Maybe you had better go back and read Esther 3 and 4 and see where Satan has you and your children.

Imagine, being invited into the presence of God, the Father, God, the Son, and God, the Holy Spirit!!  The angels that hover as guardians over the mightiest Beings that never began and will never cease to be are there with wisdom that will never allow them to be jealous or envious of our presence, yet have never received such invitation for themselves.  We have come to remember the great plan of the ages, often called the “Mystery of the Ages.”  Into this realm of glory we come with all the attributes of humanity odorously emanating from our presence.  Most come into this regal splendor supposing it is something owed us or something gained because of our self-worth, but never with fear or concern from not being allowed, in!!  Like the old boy with a plug of tobacco in his mouth, we saunter into the holiest of holies with everything but thanksgiving on our minds for the death that set us free from sin.   No one ever looks to see if the scepter has been held out!!  We have been told that eating and drinking of this memorial holds death for us if we do not partake “in the proper manner of reverence and respect,” but here we come, some thinking we are doing God a favor for showing up this Sunday morning having left that pillow still soft and warm!!

We come to “share” something with Deity.  Of all the memorials offered by man, to man; nothing has ever made us think of what we share with God.  We remember WHY HE DIED, not in sadness, but in great thankfulness.  He who died, present with the scepter in His hand, “takes bread.”   Notice, nothing is said by Him.  When God makes a covenant with man, and chooses to use as a remembrance of his covenant, it “requires no language.”  All who assemble recognize and understand just what the bread represents or they have been debarred from this spiritual meal, for the scepter is recognition and respect for what the bread represents.  To mock Him whose body this represents, in His presence is something rare, even for man, yet some of our race have so done.  So, because of our indifference and disrespect, we eat to our death, the scepter did not leave His side!!  In the same state of mind, we drink of contents of the cup, for the contents, not the cup itself, represent the blood shed “before the foundations of the world.”  (Some have tried to argue about the cup, whether it is one cup or many cups-it is neither, it is the contents of the cup that Christ shed, not some chalice!! Don’t find yourself standing in the presence of the Being who shed this blood arguing about the container which holds that which He shed!!)  Our spirits sore within us as we, as quickly as we came, leave this room!  “Oh! What a fellowship, oh! What a joy divine; for we have leaned, for a moment, on the everlasting Arm,” but someday will stay, forever!!  Often, we never show the quiet-tude of respect and reverence deserved, nor does sadness grip our hearts. We have not reckoned where we have been and what we have lost in a fleeting moment that, in the future, will be ours for eternity. We awake in understanding, still in fellowship with the representatives of They whom we have left behind, till next week!!

Breaking Bread- The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper Part 14

What a shame and disgrace for the Church of Christ at Corinth to have come out of destitute circumstances in heathen temples and come into the most vaunted place earth could house, the Church of Christ and starve some who had not; yet this is exactly what they were doing!!  The richer members of the Church were disjoining themselves from the poor members who “had not houses to eat in, or despise you the Church of God and shame them that have not?” 1 Corinthians 11:22  It would shame the Christian community, and quite undo its quickly won reputation for brotherly love and charity, were its members observed  begging for daily bread on the streets.  It was equally unseemly for the rich to accept and for the poor to be denied the meal furnished at the expense of the Church. No quality, of the Church of Christ, was more her own, than charity and no duty more incumbent or lovelier than to feed the hungry, it could not dishonor the Church to spread in it a meal for whosoever should be in need of it, and that she did.

The cup and its significance are now sought in meaning.  This is denominationalist have so sadly been remiss in their understanding.  The Church of Rome has influenced her offspring, the denominational churches which sprang from her, to the extent that the custom of the day prevails to allow the communicant to eat of the bread, but not of the cup.  One of Rome’s authorities has written that “it is well known that this custom was not first established by any ecclesiastical law; but, on the contrary, it was in consequence of the general prevalence of the usage that this law was established.  A pious dread of desecrating, by spilling and the like, even in the most conscientious ministration, the form of the most sublime and holiest whereof the participation can be vouchsafed to man, was the feeling which swayed their minds.”  One cannot but regret that this reverence for the purpose of partaking did not take the form of a humble acceptance of it, in accordance with its original institution; and one cannot but think that the “pious dread of desecrating” the purpose would have sufficiently prevented any spilling of the wine or other abuse, or have sufficiently atoned for any little accident which might have occurred. It is definite that the apostle by inspiration did never insist that such a piety would have never given place to the observance on a more infrequent basis to avoid such a mistake of human frailty.

One of the main arguments used by men is that the frequent observance breeds undue familiarity with holy things and a profane carelessness in handling what should only be approached with the deepest reverence.  That familiarity breeds contempt, or at any rate heedlessness, is hardened by frequentness of observance.   The medical student who faints or sickens at the sight of blood the first time he sees the operating theater soon looks with unflinching face on wounds and blood.  And by the same law it is feared, and not without reason, that if we observed frequent communion, we should cease to cherish that proper awe, and cease to feel that flutter of hesitation, and cease to be subdued by that sacredness of the observance which yet are the very feelings through which in great measure the attendance to the command influences us for good.  We think it would be impossible to pass every week through those trying moments in which the soul trembles before God’s majesty and love as exhibited in the Lord’s Supper: and we fear that the heart would shrink from faithfulness, and that the emotion in partaking would cease. That Paul, as directed by the Holy Spirit, sought to restore reverence in the Corinthians not by prohibiting frequent observance, but by setting more clearly before them the facts which underlie the partaking.  They had a bused not the oftenest, but the purpose for partaking.  In presence of these facts every worthy communicant is at all times living; and if it be merely the outward equipment and presentation of these facts which solemnize our hearts and quicken our reverence, then in this itself is rather an argument for the weekly celebration of the Supper.  We are not governed by instinct, but by command.  We have not been advised by humanity as to the oftenest of observance, but by God.  We have never to fear that since God made us, it is He who could have prevented the frequency from making us lose our reverence for the partaking.

The key to proper observance is not frequency but preparedness.  Our hearts must enter this precious observance not as a religious duty, but in sufficient gratitude for the forgiveness of sins it pictures!

Breaking Bread- The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper Part 13

“Heresies” come from the Greek word which did not mean erroneous opinions but it means party factions.  The word soon acquired a bad sense as in referred to in Acts 5:17; 24:5; Galatians 5:20 and many other places. The primary meaning in Paul’s letter to the Corinthian Church of Christ was that of “division.”  The mutually railing factions, which in their factions bandy about their false and rival charges of “heresy,” are illustrating the virulence of their sin they are professing to denounce; the “sin of factions.”  “That they which are approved may be made manifest among you.”  1 John 2:19; 1 John 2:10, speaks of the aberrations of false teachers as destined to prove that they did not belong to the true Church.  It is not questioned whether they were eating where they assembled, it was stated.  For some to convince themselves that they were not, shows they have not read the text.

These brethren were “coming into one place.”  Wonder what “place” they coming to?  As of yet, the church did not have a place to meet, that would force us to understand that they were meeting in private houses: “for in your eating, every one-all who had contributed a share of the meal-were abusing the connection of the “agape supper,” or love feast, or social gathering, with the Lord’s Supper.  These “club fests” (eranoi in the Greek) were making a distinction between brethren.  “One is hungry.”  The poor saint who has been unable to contribute to the meal, looked on with grudging eyes and craving appetite, while the rich had ample.  They, who were rich, “were drunken.”  Many of the heathen converts were unable to at once break the spell of their old habits, and few modern Churches present a spectacle so deplorable as that which we here find in the apostolic Church at Corinth.  Discipline had to be forth coming.  It is unbelievable how fast Satan had moved in such a short time.

The “club meal,” often called the agape meal was something higher than a mere gratification of appetite.  Though not a symbol of Christ death and suffering, it was an accompaniment of the Lord’s Supper and had to enhance the Lord’s remembrance and not detract from it.  This was not happening.  Paul continues; “have you not houses (of your own) to eat and drink in.”  Those who were coming with the food and drink were pointed out.  They were making mockery of the Church of Christ.  Paul affirms: “despise you, the Church of God?”

“Despise you, those that have not.”  It would have been natural for members of the Body to supply “houses.”  Paul ask the question, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for they seemed to have forgotten that slaves at any rate could hardly be said to have “houses of their own,”  and that not a few of the Corinthian Christians were slaves.  For this, Paul writes, “I praise you not.”  As in verse 17 of the same chapter this is an instance of what is called litotes, which is a mild expression suggesting a meaning much stronger than the words themselves allow.

“For,” Paul is about to give to them the reason for thus strongly blaming their irregularities, “I have received of the Lord Jesus. “  He had reference to the revelation to some special time, and this seems to point to the conclusion that he is not referring to any other account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper, which may have been given him by Peter or one of the twelve, but to some immediate revelation from Christ, Himself.  The terms in which Paul describes the institution of the Lord’s Supper is similar and most nearly those of that of which he gave in the book of Luke with which he penned the account like that of Matthew and Mark. Matthew 26:29; Mark 14:22-25  “When He was betrayed;” rather than was being betrayed.”

“When He had given thanks.”  The same word for “thanks” is used in Luke, and is the origin of the name Eucharist.  Mark, perhaps Matthew have “having blessed it” which is the word eulogesas. What Paul received was a Supper of thanksgiving, opposite to what many have conceived of as being a Supper of pain and anguish from the Lord.  Christ was expressing thanks for the betrayal, not anguish of heart!!  For this reason, we celebrate this Supper as a “sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.”

“Partake” or share in this thanksgiving, as expressed by our Lord, and “remember” this is how it is to be observed!  “This do” is also in the gospel of Luke but not in Matthew and Mark.  This variation shows that it was the essential main fact.  “In remembrance of Me” may also be rendered” to bring Me to your remembrance.”  Sadly this seemed not the purpose for which “they had come together.”

Breaking Bread- The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper Part 12

The congregations of Corinth met every Sunday, the first day of the week, “to show forth the Lord’s death till He come again.” 1 Corinthians 11:26   Let all be cognizant of the fact that Paul had also commanded the membership of Christ to contribute according to his ability.  No religious institution of denominational bearing rejects this “receiving the offering every Sunday!”   All agree and none dissent for it proves the weekly meeting of the saints.  With this concession in mind, we have only to notice what is said in 1 Corinthians 11:20: “When you come together in one place, that is, every week at least, this is not to eat the Lord’s Supper.”   When they gathered together there was a stated purpose, to remember Christ and His death that each communicant shared.

It was common in Corinth and the other cities of Greece for various sections of the community to form themselves into associations, clubs, or guilds; and it was customary for such societies to share a common meal once a week, or once a month, or even, when convenient, daily.  Some of these associations were formed of persons variously provided with the world’s goods, and one of the objects of some of the clubs was to make provision for the poorer members in such a manner as to subject them to none of the shame which is apt to attend the poor being without.  All members had an equal right to present themselves at the table; and the property held by the society was equally distributed to all.  This custom, not unknown in Palestine itself, had been spontaneously adopted by the primitive Church of Jerusalem and was a natural outgrowth of their “coming together.”  The Christians of those early days felt themselves to be more closely related than the members of any trade guild or political club.  If it was convenient and suitable that persons of similar political opinions or belonging to the same trade should, to some extent, share with their community a common meal, it was certainly suitable among Christians.  Quickly, it became a custom for Christians to eat together in their common meals, after remembering the Lord.  These meals were called agapae-love feasts and became a marked feature of the early Church, by custom, not command.  On a fixed day, the first day, marked by purpose, each, which could, would bring a contribution to the feast.  It began by partaking of the consecrated bread and wine.  Some Churches of Christ today, do not have fellowship meals and do not know WHY!

The manner of celebrating the Lord’s Supper was recommended by its close resemblance to the original celebration of Christ and His disciples at the close of the Paschal Supper.  The Paschal Supper was meant to satisfy hunger for the long trip ahead.  It was for the Exodus.  Our Lord took bread and broke it.  He sat with His disciples as one family, and the meal they partook of was social as well as religious.  In Corinth, when the Lord’s Supper with its remembrance was ended, and Christ’s presence was no longer felt at the common table, the Christian love feast was corrupted.  The wealthy took the best seats, kept their delicacies, and, without waiting for any common distribution, each looked after himself and went on with his own supper, regardless of the fact that others at the table had none.  “Everyone takes before other his own supper,” so that, while one is hungry and has received nothing, another at this so-called common love feast has already taken too much and was intoxicated.  The rich had houses in which to eat, but brought their food for the sake of appearance, brought their contribution to the meal, but consumed it themselves.  The results were what Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 10 and 11.  So Paul cries out: “What, shall I praise you in this?  I praise you not.”  The resulting consequence was that from being truly love feasts, exhibiting Christian charity and temperance, these meetings became scandalous as scenes of greed, selfishness, and excess.  But what is interesting is this: Paul did command the whole assembling disbanded, and even though the rich had changed the drink to fermented wine (which they now had an excuse to partake), Paul’s recommendations is that those who had houses “eat at home” so the solemnity of the assembling be put back in the purpose for which they assembled!!  Even though the command to feed the poor is to be remembered by the Church; the dishonoring of Christ became a result the Church was spreading in its meal, weakening the faith, and stopping the very purpose for which they were coming together!!  The Roman Catholics still show signs of this debauchery and went further than was demanded, they allow only that the communicant partakes of the bread, but not the wine, blaming it on the fear of “spilling” the blood.

Breaking Bread- The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper Part 11

Paul and his company arrived at Troas either on the evening of the first day of the week, or on Monday morning at an early hour; for he departed on Monday morning at an early hour; for we are positively told he tarried seven days at Troas.  Now, had the disciples been Seventh Day observers, or observed the seventh day as a Sabbath, and broke bread on it as the Sabbatarians do, they would not have deferred their meeting till the first day of the week, and kept Paul and his company waiting, as he was evidently in a great haste at this time, to get to Jerusalem, for the Pentecost.  His tarrying seven days, and his early departure on Monday morning, corroborate the evidence as proof, that the first day of the week was the fixed and stated day, for the disciples to meet for this purpose.

From the second of Acts, then, we learn that the breaking of bread was a stated part of the worship of the disciples in their meetings; and from the 20th chapter of Acts we learn that the first day of the week was the stated day for those meetings; and, above all we ought to notice that the most prominent object of their meeting was to break bread.  Other corroborating evidences of the stated meeting of the disciples on the first day for religious purposes are found in the fact, that Paul says he had given orders to all the congregations in Galatia, as well as that in Corinth, to attend to the fellowship, or the laying up of contributions for the poor saints in Jerusalem area on the first day of the week.  “On the first day of the week, let each of you lay somewhat by itself, according as he may have prospered, putting it into the treasury, that when I come there may be no collections not received.” 1 Corinthians 16:1-2

There be some who defer this example to say that the breaking of bread was not for EVERY first day!  This argument is fallacious in that they “take up” the offering EVERY Sunday when they come together in every denomination.  In the Old Testament, the Jew was commanded by Jehovah to “keep the Sabbath day, holy.” Exodus 20:8    Nehemiah 9:13-14 and Ezekiel 20:10-12, the same is stated.  “Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spoke with them from heaven, and gave them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments: And made known unto them Thy holy Sabbath, and commanded them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses Thy servant.” Nehemiah 9:12-13.  “Moreover, also I gave them My Sabbaths to be a sign between Me and them, that thy might know that I Am the Lord that sanctifieth them.”  Ezekiel 20:10-12   “Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness.  And I gave them My statutes and showed them My judgments which if a man do, he shall even live in them. “I Am” the Lord your God; walk in My statutes, and keep My judgments, and do them; And hallow My Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you that you may know that “I Am” the Lord your God.” Ezekiel 20:19-20    If this is not enough to convince even the gainsayer, you will notice, in all three places cited, none say EVERY SABBATH.  My question to you is: did Israel understand it was EVERY Sabbath they were to keep?

The congregations in Corinth met every first day of the week.  They met to “show forth the Lord’s death, till He come, again.” 1 Corinthians 11:26   When Paul mentions this observance in the 20th verse, Paul states the purpose of their assembling.  “When you come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s Supper.”  They were acting “unworthy” of the purpose for which they had come together!!  Declaring the “proclaiming the Lord’s death, till He come, Paul is declaring the purpose of their assembling.  When the teacher reproves his pupils for wasting time, he cannot remind them more forcibly of the object of coming to school, nor reprove them more strongly with the point, than to say, “When you act thus, you are not assembling to learn.”  By the Corinthian brethren disrespecting the body and blood of Christ, they were mocking the purpose for assembling.

We have seen, then, that the saints met every first day in Corinth; and when they assembled in one place, it was to eat the Lord’s Supper, a declaration of the practice of the primitive assemblies as explicit as could incidentally be given, differing only from a direct command in the form in which it is expressed!! To add emphasis, when Paul arrived in Troas, he stayed over one full week just to partake!!

Breaking Bread- The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper Part 10

Among the acts of worship, or the institutions of the Lord, to which the saints attend, the breaking of bread is the most conspicuous and important, and for that reason particularly and only is the church called together on the first day of the week.  We are expressly told that the disciples at Troas met for this purpose; and what one church did by the authority of the Lord, as a part of His instituted worship, they all did!!  We have not inferred or guessed this to be true, Luke under the direct operation of the messenger of God who received his information from the Holy Spirit, so stated in Acts 20:7.  “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together for the breaking of bread, Paul, being about to depart on the morrow, discoursed till midnight.”  From the manner in which this meeting of the disciples at Troas is mentioned by the historian, two things are very obvious.  First, it shows this meeting on this particular and special day an established custom.  Second, the primary object of their meeting was to break bread.  They who object to breaking bread on the first day of every week when the disciples are assembled usually preface their objections by telling us, that Luke does not say they broke the bread every first day; and yet they contend against the Sabbatarians, that they ought to observe every first day to the glory of the Lord for on this day He arose from the dead!!  They again tell us that Luke does not tell they met for this stated reason.  How inconsistent, then, are they who make this sentence an express precedent for observing every first day to remember His resurrection and ignore that He also gave His church the joy of remembering the purpose that His resurrection accomplished!!  If this day approves one remembrance, it approves the other; for the weekly observance of this day, as a day of the meeting of the disciples, and the weekly breaking of bread in those meetings, stand or fall together.

All must confess, who regard the meaning of words, that the meeting of the disciples and the breaking of bread, as far as words go, are expressed in the same terms with respect to frequency.  If the one was fifty-two times in a year, or only once, so was the other.  If not, why not?  Or, if they met every first day of the week, they broke bread every first day they met!!  If they did not meet every first day to commemorate His resurrection, we are just as happy to say they would not have met to celebrate their release His resurrection had purchased the partaker.  But, for what and for whom did they come together, why on this special day, and why EVERY first day of the week?  For purposes of clarification, how would brother Luke have stated what he intended to say?  We can see why this day was so important both to them and us, for it was on this day of the week our Lord arose from the dead, sent the Holy Spirit from heaven, announced the plan of salvation for the remission of sins, forgave the sins for the first time in the annals of time, allowed the public confession of the name of Christ before men, instructed all who were so inclined to salvation to be baptized in water, kept all who were assembled on that day together that had been added to His church, and commanded all of them to join in the celebration of their forgiveness by eating of unleavened bread, which symbolized the sinless life of Christ which they all had a part in crucifying, and drinking of the fruit of the vine which, by drinking, entrenched in their minds they had truly been forgiven of sin because of the act of their God who had died, been buried, and arose for the dead for them!!  I ask you a question: what other day would do all these things at once??        

The definite article “the” is, in the Greek and in the English tongue, prefixed to stated fixed times, and its appearance here is not merely accidental, it is definitive of this ONE day,  is expressive of a stated or fixed day of singular importance.  To those who have not the forgiveness of sin, having never met the blood of Christ in baptism, one can see why this observance is not that important, but why meet at all??  Later, the apostle Paul wrote the Church of Christ in Corinth: “For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show (katagello in the Greek-which means to announce, declare, make known-publicly publish and report) the Lord’s death till He come.” 1 Corinthians 11:26  They met to preach, proclaim that Christ died, arose, and ascended to set at the right hand of His Father in heaven and that the partakers were heirs in this beautiful story.

Suppose that some 500 years from now the annual event of the 4th of July was questioned??

Breaking Bread- The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper Part 9

Confusion occurs when denominationalist try and wrongly assert that the phrase “breaking of break” can be either a common meal or the Lord’s Supper, usage determines.  To show this an error in understanding we will see how this was used in the text where we find it.    Common among the Jews was the verbiage we often use which is translated “breaking bread.”  For example, Acts 2:46; “daily, with one accord, they continued in the temple and in breaking bread from house to house.”  They ate their food with gladness and simplicity of hearts. When Paul raised Eutychus from the dead at Troas, we are informed he “brake bread”   “When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.” Acts 20:11   Notice: when “he” had come up “he” broke bread and the “he” had departed, is referring to one in the same person.  The breaking of break here was used indefinitely, because he that eats is in the same number with him that breaks the bread.  When an established usage is referred to, the article or some definite term ascertains to that which is eluded.  So, in Acts 2:42, it is “the breaking of bread” and in Acts 20:7, it is “they assembled for the breaking of bread.”  The usage has by this time been established as explained by the apostle when he wrote to the Corinthian Church of Christ.  This bread is explained by Paul, 1 Corinthians 10:16, as “the bread we brake, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?”   He is not asking a question, he is stating a precedent that to which he is referring that they, to whom he was writing, would understand.

In the partaking of the bread and cup, every heart of every Christian, sees through the “eye of faith” when you see these emblems, and remembers the union shared by bond.  The bread shows His body, broken, not for His benefit, but ours.  The blood, shed for the remission of sins, represents the wounded side from which His blood flowed.  He did this not for Himself, but the partaker.  When the representation of His blood has graced our lips, only one thought should pass through our hearts, “My body was wounded, for we who partake, His life was surrendered.”  As we receive the bread and cup, we have to understand the significance of Who’s life and Who’s blood we partake.  We, who once “aliens from the commonwealth of God and strangers from any covenant, without hope” pass these emblems on to the next citizen of heaven with joy because our sorrows and humiliation which damned us has been atoned.  We have owned our Lord as our Savior and King.  We have “become a people, who were not a people.”  Once an alien from the everlasting embrace of His everlasting arms (a debtor which nothing could ever pay) we are allowed to hold fast our boasted hope unshaken to the end.  As the poet wrote; “we stand there, face to face.”  We, who have “known no man after the flesh,” literally see the ties that spring from eternal love, revealed in a broken body and shed blood, address our senses and draw forth all that is within us that which is complacent and dull of affection.  We recognize we are in the presence of our Lord and King!!

What a cause this grants for me to argue with tomorrow!!  As Job cried out; “I know that my Redeemer lives for I have seen Him and do repeatedly see Him with the eyes of my flesh.”  We, who feel the eloquence ad power of this observance, stand with Christ as He stood, affirming His determination to enter that eternal home as our Captain, sin’s arguments and Satan’s drawing power are woefully inadequate, the enticement with the flesh is over, Calvary’s appeal is far too strong, providence has built for us a wall, and the redeemed of all ages now share with us our release from capital punishment as “it is no longer I that live, but Christ that liveth within me.”  Assembled around this table of remembrance, I have an argument within my heart that sin and Satan can never cause me again to debate.    The Lord’s Supper is well intended to diffuse His love within us and who could ever attend on the first day of the week and not have this table spread?  How could we ever claim to be worshipping the Creator of all things and deny what He left we who He has loved by giving us the reformation power this brings to our minds?  As the Jerusalem Church on the day of Pentecost in the year A D 33 showed us the pattern, how could we leave out what was so perfectly and fully intended to remind all His children, by eyes of faith and eyes of flesh, what love was, when perfectly and absolutely defined!  We stand in awe of Jesus the Nazarene and wonder how He could love us so much.

Breaking Bread – The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper Part 8

In the sense of meals partaken of in one day, can we call the feast of remembrance the Lord’s Supper?  As the Lord had eaten a religious supper, and had partaken of the paschal lamb with His disciples, before he instituted the “feast of life”, as commemorative of His death; it seems improper to call it a supper, for it was instituted and eaten after a supper!   The Lord’s Supper supplies the place of no meal.  Deipnos, here rendered supper, in the days of Homer, represented breakfast we are told in book 2 lines 381-399.  It also signified food in general or a feast.  In the times of Demosthenes it signified a feast or an evening meal.  But it is of more importance to observe, that it is in the New Testament used figuratively as well as literally.  Hence, we have the gospel blessings compared to a supper.  We read of the “marriage supper of the Lamb” and “supper of the Great God.”   Jesus says, “If any man open to Me, I will take (deipneso) supper with him, and he with Me.”  When used this way, it neither regards the time of day, nor the quantity eaten.  If applied, then, to this institution, it is figuratively, as it is elsewhere called “the feast.”  For not only did the Lord appoint it, but in eating it we have communion with the Lord.  The same idiom, with addition of the article, occurs in Revelation 1:10; “the Lord’s day.” (Greek he kuriake homera).  Upon the whole it appears more probable that the apostle uses the words kuriakos deipnos, or Lord’s Supper, as applicable to the breaking of bread for which they gave thanks in honor of the Lord, than to their own supper or the feast of love, usual among the brethren of the first century.  If we say, in accordance with the apostolic style, the Lord’s Day, the Lord’s Table, the Lord’s cup, we may also say the Lord’s Supper.  In the Lord’s House these are all sacred to Him!!

“But, what about the “Sacrament” and the “Eucharist”, you might ask?  Both of these names are of human origin.  If we speak the verbiage of the New Testament, “call Bible things by Bible names,” we cannot use these terms.  “Sacrament” was a name adopted by the Roman Catholic Church because they teach the observance is supposed to be an oath or vow to the Lord, the word sacramentum signified an oath taken by a Roman soldier to be true to his general and his country.  The Greek Orthodox called it the Eucharist, which imports the giving of thanks, because, before participating, thanks were presented for the break and cup.  It is also called “the communion” and teaches that the saints of God exclusively partake, for we alone share in the blessings received by His broken body and shed blood, LIFE!!

I have mentioned before that the bread must be broken before the saints partake.  Jesus took bread from the paschal table and broke it before He gave it to His disciples.  They received a broken segment of the whole, emblematic of His body once whole, but by His own consent broken for His disciples.  In eating it we then remember that the Lord’s body was by His own consent broken or wounded for us.  Therefore, he that gives thanks for the bread should break it, not as being representative of the Lord, but after His example; and after the disciples have partaken of this bread, handing it to one another, or while they are partaking of it, the disciple who break it, partakes with them of the broken bread.  And thus they as priests feast upon His sacrifice.  For the priests eat of the sacrifices and were partakers of “the altar.” NONE BUT THE BLOOD-BOUGHT, PARTAKE. Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 22; and 1 Corinthians 11.  In each, the breaking of the bread, after giving thanks, and before His disciples partook of it, is distinctly stated.

It is not strange that the literal designation of this institution should be what Luke has given it in his Acts of the Apostles thirty years after its institution.  The first time Luke notices it is Acts 2:42, when he calls it emphatically teklasei tou artou, the breaking (fracture, the act) of the bread, a name at the time of his writing, A.D. 64.  For, says he, in recording the piety and devotion of the first converts, “they continued steadfast in the teaching of the apostles, in fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers—praising God.”  It is true, there is more than breaking bread in this institution, but, in accordance with general, if not universal usage, either that which is first or most prominent in laws, institutions, and usages, is that which is first mentioned and gives a name to them (for example Habeas Corpus, our Fiere Facisa, our Nisi Prius and others).  The saints had separated themselves from that “untoward generation” even when in the Temple WHEN THEY WERE PRESENT and did not include them in their Celebration of Life, for the “life was in the blood.” Leviticus 17:11