The Lord's Supper...
Abuses by brethren...
By Dick Ward
The Lord's Supper has suffered many, many abuses by religious people over the centuries. Even before Denominations began perverting the Supper, the brethren at Corinth were guilty of changing the Lord's Supper into their own supper. Yes, some of our first century brethren were years ahead of what Denominationalism had done to the Supper. Let us look to some abuses of the Lord's Supper among brethren today.
THE WRONG DAY
Mack Lynn in his book "Churches of Christ in the United States", on page xii of his introduction, identifies by "LS" brethren who "Observe the Lord's Supper on Saturday". Luke records the only account of the "day" the Lord's Supper was scripturally observed by Christians and it was not on the Sabbath: "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight." (Acts 20:7 KJV).
THE WRONG WORDS
Every once in a while we hear a novice or a nervous brother who is offering thanks for the unleavened bread speak of it as the Body of the Father - "Thy body". Likewise, some have falsely identified the fruit of the vine as the Blood of the Father - "Thy blood." Jesus tells us two things; First, He said: "God is a Spirit " (John 4:24) and secondly Jesus said: "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." (Luke 24:39 KJV). Thus, we know and are certain that the Father did not give His body or His blood because He had neither body nor blood to give.
THE WRONG PLACE
For years some brethren have assumed the Lord's Supper can be scripturally eaten outside an assembly of the local congregation. There is no Bible authority for travelers to stop the car or bus along a roadside and eat the bread and drink the cup and call that the Supper. Neither should vacationing brethren pause on a Sunday afternoon and eat the bread and drink the cup at the fishing camp and think they have met the conditions for scriptural eating the Lord's Supper. Taking the elements to a rest home, hospital room or into the residences of the sick is also an unauthorized effort to partake of the Supper. The scriptures authorize the local church to come together to break bread (Acts 20:7,8). Look at what Paul instructed the church at Corinth to do as to the place for the eating of the Supper:
I Corinthains 11
:17 "you come together"
:18 "you come together as a church"
:20 "you come together in one place"
:33 "you come together to eat"
:34 "lest you come together for judgment"
The Lord's Supper is an act we should do together. The church assembles to partake together! We have no authorization to serve the Supper outside a church assembly.
THE WRONG ASSEMBLY
The Bible instructs that the church assembles to partake together. It is said of the church at Troas that: " the disciples came together to break bread, " (Acts 20:7 KJV). The Corinthian church was instructed to tarry one for another when they came together to eat (I Corinthains 11:33). Not only does the Bible teach the church is to assemble to partake of the Supper but it just as clearly instructs that the church assembles to partake together!
When brethren assemble and eat the Supper in a morning service they do not return to an evening service "to (for the purpose of) break bread".
The scriptures authorize the local church to come together to break bread, tarry and eat together the Lord's Supper in only one assembly on the same first day of the week.
THE WRONG THINKING
Anything connected with the gift of God's Son as a sacrifice must be viewed with soberness. Thus, there must be a reverence and respectfulness toward the subject of the Lord's Supper. Paul indicates the danger of eating and drinking without the proper "thinking": "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" (NKJV 1 Corinthians 11:27). Scripture requires a self-examination (I Corinthians 11:28). We are required to properly discern or think about the body and the blood. Eating the bread and drinking the cup, but thinking about other matters than Jesus' sacrificial death is to sin! Being in the proper frame of mind during the eating of the Supper is vital!
THE WRONG ELEMENTS
The unavoidable conclusion is that the bread eaten at the last Passover with Jesus and His select apostles present was unleavened bread. The Jews removed all leaven from their houses: "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 ". (Ex 12:15 KJV). " Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land." (Ex 12:19 KJV).
What is the definition of unleavened bread? Unleavened bread is "Bread made without yeast" (Z.P.E.B. Vol. 5, page 844). Some preparers of the bread for the Lord's Supper tend to put primary emphases on taste and appearance over against keeping the bread free from leavening ingredients. Plain flour (no leaven) is to be used and not self-rising flour or any other additives with leavening agents in them.
Another factor in keeping the bread as true to the Book as possible is the fact that the Jews were not to use the swine as a source of food (Lev. 11:7,8). Swine fat or lard would have made the bread unclean for Jewish consumption.
Some brethren used fermented drink out of conviction but make the mistake of use a fortified wine of 20% or more in alcohol content. Bible fermented wine was by a natural process and depending upon the sugar content of the grape was usually 4% to at most 8% alcoholic content.
[Editors Note: Thanks to Dick Ward for the article! He may be reached at: Dick Ward, 18 El Dorado East, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35405, (205) 556-2407 ]
Email the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
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