Position on the Lord's Supper
What is our position on the Lord's Supper?
The Lord’s Supper is the rite Christ established for the church to practice as a commemoration of His death and the anticipation of His return. The physical act of taking the bread and the cup is a graphic display of the gospel and what Christ’s death accomplished. It points backward to His death as the basis of our salvation and forward to the hope of His return. More than that, it declares as present truth the power of the gospel in the life of the participant. The value of taking the elements lies in receiving by faith the benefits of Christ’s death and resurrection. (Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, Luke 22:7-38, John 13:1-17, I Corinthians 11:23-26)
The proper participants in the Lord’s Supper are those that are committed believers in Christ who have a personal identification with Christ’s saving work, which is represented by the elements on the table. The person who takes the bread and the cup testifies to sharing in the fruits of Christ’s death, including a communion with both God and fellow Christians through the Spirit. We expect that all those who celebrate the Lord’s Supper have a credible possession and profession of faith making the participant not only a believer but a practicing believer. (Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, Luke 22:7-38, John 13:1-17, I Corinthians 11:18)
The believer must only take of the elements in faith with a self-examined heart. So the appropriate way to approach the Lord’s Table is to take time to examine our hearts and repent of sin in our lives. Even more important is to remember the One who died for our sins, Jesus. When we eat and drink the elements of the Lord’s Table in faith, the gospel is presented to us again and we are reminded of the sufficiency of Christ’s atonement for our sins. This does not mean we approach the table only after we have successfully, and decisively dealt with every sin in our lives - that will never be the case. We approach the table with an understanding of our sinfulness and a grateful recognition of Jesus’ body broken and shed blood on our behalf. “No one comes to the Table in unblemished worthiness or undiminished strength. We come to the Table in need. We come to the Table to refresh from battles with sin, discouragement, unbelief, and the world. We need to be fed again. We need to receive the sustenance that Christ affords. By faith we receive the nourishment we need as we imbibe the benefits of Jesus’ atoning work for sinners and weaklings.” So we come to the Lord’s Supper with an understanding of our sin, but a greater understanding that Christ paid for that sin – for this is the very thing the Lord’s Table visually proclaims.(I Corinthians 11:28-29)
While there is no explicit command regarding the frequency of this ordinance, Scripture does indicate that this ordinance was practiced regularly and reverently. We will celebrate the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis (approximately monthly), and will always provide advance notification and instruction to ensure the table is approached carefully and reverently. (Acts 2:42; 20:7)