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Can We Talk About The Lord’s Supper?
I ask us to reexamine our traditions concerning the Lord’s Supper.

The Singularity of worship

When we talk about the Lord’s Supper we should also talk about worship. And when we talk about worship we should also talk about the Lord’s Supper. This is because the Lord’s Supper exists within the context of worship where it imperatively centers our worship on Christ.

To say that the Lord’s Supper exists within the context of worship is to say that it is not all there is of worship, that there other aspects of worship. For example, perhaps an example that defines worship, Paul uses the language of worship in Romans 12.1 when he says,

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Rom 12:1)

Being a living sacrifice indicates that one seeks the things of God rather than self seeking. A holy sacrifice indicates that one is set aside for God and separating from sin. An acceptable sacrifice indicates that one is doing those things which not only please Him, but that He has chosen as that which He will accept.

Paul’s words comport with what the Lord Himself said to the woman at the well about worship (John 4). He said that worship is to be in spirit and in truth. Worship in spirit is the opposite of worship in the flesh, or an outward show. And worship in spirit necessarily refers to worship in the power of the Holy Spirit. Worship in truth is sincere worship. And worship in truth refers to worship that is according to the Scriptures.

And then, what we commonly call worship (that time when we gather together to praise the Lord) arises out of our sacrificed lives as a sweet savour to God. Consider what is indicated by the words, sweet savour. The first mention in the Bible is the sacrifice of Noah upon leaving the ark,

And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the LORD smelled a sweet savour … (Genesis 8:20-21a)

Noah had presented a sacrifice that was holy and acceptable unto God. Paul uses the same language of worship when he speaks of his own life lived for God, he wrote,

For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ … (2 Corinthians 2:15)

These brief assertions are only meant to say that worship, for the Christian, extends to the character of one’s whole life in Christ, and is not limited to ritual or ceremony. Some of these ideas are discussed in more detail in other chapters. But we can see by them that worship includes a life lived for Christ, born again by, and lived in the power of, the Holy Spirit, and looking forward to the return of the Lord in glory to take us to Himself.

As was said above, the Lord’s Supper is not all there is to worship. Worship extends to our whole life. But when we gather together to praise the Lord, it is the center of worship. It draws all of worship into a singularity, showing before us, Christ, and Him crucified. This is how the Lord has chosen to be known amongst us: the Lamb of God, slain before the foundation of the world (see: John1:29; Acts 2:23; & Revelation 13:8b).

And just here is where we begin to simplify worship to understandable proportions. Here is the singularity of worship. It takes on a human face. We worship the Father, Who we cannot see, through the Son, called by Isaiah,  … Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. …  (Isaiah 9:6). The Son, Jesus, Who was seen by the Apostles (Thomas — John 20:24-29; John — 1 John 1:1-5), Who we see now through their words, just as Jesus said in His prayer: (John 17:20), but Who we will see face to face when He returns (1 John 3:2). Jesus is God in the flesh reconciling the world to Himself (John 1:1-14; 1 John 4:1-3; 2 Corinthians 5:19). Jesus is the singularity of worship.

The Lord’s Supper, at the center of our gatherings, magnifies to us the vision of Christ as the Lamb of God, and focuses His light into a burning heat in our hearts (consider: Revelation 3:15). This is our sustaining vision. The vision we have is Christ and Him crucified, Hebrews 2:9 sums it up:

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9)

The revelation is Christ crucified, dying on the cross for our sins. This leads us to reflect that we have sinned and need salvation. Our response is that we call upon the name of Jesus for salvation, accepting His free gift (Romans 6:23), and repenting we become worshipers in spirit and in truth, awaiting Jesus’ return to gather us to Himself. (Up, In, Out: Revelation, Reflection, Response)

The singularity of worship is that God will be glorified through the worship of Jesus, giving Him the preeminence. This is God’s declared plan:

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:18)

So then how do we worship? We worship Jesus. Our worship must begin with a personal relationship to God through Christ, based on our salvation, being born again. Then we begin to worship in spirit and in truth. Then we begin to do what Paul said in Romans 12:1. Then we gather together as His body, the Church, to worship in communion with Him.

And when we join together as the Church to worship God we have been given the Lord’s Supper to give form and direction to how we worship.

©FH 2012

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