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

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This is the introduction to the series of studies “Can We Talk About the Lord’s Supper?”.
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English has many words with overlapping meanings. Usually that is because we have borrowed words with similar meanings from several different languages. There are also many words that we may encounter and this glossary may help us share common definitions.
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Self Knowledge
The first thing we need to know about worship in spirit and in truth is that it is not all about us.
Who is This Study For?
To whomever is looking more satisfying worship, pastor, or seeker: What are you looking for? I suggest that we examine what we know about worship and the Lord’s Supper as the place to start. This will stir up the things of Christ within us. But you know who this study is really for? Me.
This Isn’t
This study is not an attempt to provide a liturgy for worship.
Doctrinal Point of View
This study attempts to be non-denominational, and non-theological as much as may be possible. However it is not syncritistic or ecumenical in any way.
What about Catholics?
Although this study has a fundamental Protestant point of view, the aspects of the Lord’s Supper, as they are discussed here, have overlapping areas of meaning and value for Catholics and Protestants alike. Catholics can benefit from some of the things said in this study. Read this to find out more.
Up In Out
Up In Out. A paradigm found in Isaiah. (Shamelessly borrowed, but with the deepest appreciation, from a truly great sermon, which has the subtitle: “Revelation Reflection Response”.)
Indirectness and Reversal
Our ways are not God’s ways. His ways may seem backward to us but they are not. Some have called this the theology of reversal. The greatest statement of reversal is that Christ, the Holy One Who knew no sin became sin for us, and by dying conquered death.
Mission Statement
A call to worship centered around the Lord’s Supper is a call to foster a religious devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ of great power and purity.
A Caution
The mission statement is a positive statement of what we want to achieve. But there is that which we want to avoid.
The Attenuated View of the Lord’s Supper
To state the matter bluntly, many, if not most, Christians have an attenuated view of the Lord’s Supper. And to state the reason why just as bluntly, many, if not most, of our teachers also have an attenuated view of it.
A Fresh Look
Throughout the history of the Church questions have needed to be answered, and errors have needed correction. Sometimes the correction of an error leads to the loss of something valuable. I submit this has happened to our conception of the Lord’s Supper. It is time for a fresh look.
We benefit from worship but it belongs to God.
What is God Like?
Too often objections are raised when we begin to talk about some aspects of God’s character. Despite that, it is necessary to understand that He has revealed that He is jealous of His glory, and that He will not share it with anyone. And, that He is angry with His enemies, and will take vengeance upon them. No, we don’t cower in fear of Him, because He has also revealed that He loves us, and has proved that love by sending His Son to die on the cross for our salvation. But to understand the fearsome aspects of His character requires us to focus upon them in their own turn. In other words, to talk about it means that we talk about it and not change the subject.
God is not Changeable
Jesus Christ, Who is the exact revelation of the Father, is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow. This means that we know what to expect, and that we can trust Him.
God Planned
God made His plans before He created the world. The Apostle Peter called this His “determinate counsel and foreknowledge” in his declaration on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.
Defining Worship
Worship is a complex topic. But by thinking about it we can begin to sort it out, and find the essence of the matter.
This is All Too Holy Sounding
It is true that these things are too holy for us—on our own. But Christ lives in us, and by the power of His Holy Spirit we may be holy as the Father in Heaven is holy.
The Singularity of Worship
A singularity is a point where everything stops and something new begins. The Lord Jesus Christ is the singularity of worship.
Old and New
An Old Covenant of the Law teaching us about the New Covenant of Grace which is the fulfillment of the Promise. Yet before we knew about Promise, Law, and Grace there was worship.
False Worship
Scriptures are given for our admonition. A look at false worship may leave us surprised as we recognize some of the same in our own worship.
Pictures of Worship in the Old Testament
Are we tired of the sameness of our liturgies, our worn patterns of worship? If we look at one aspect of worship, who it is for, that affects our thinking about these things.
Shachah, An Old Testament Word for Worship
Worship in the Old Testament is a very physical action.
Proskuneo & Other New Testament Words for Worship
This word pictures for us the humble position we take before the Lord.
Keynotes for Worship in John 4
An important keynote for worship is found in John chapter 4. Here Jesus tells us that it is to be in spirit and in truth. The ramifications of this raise our consciousness of what worship is to new levels.
Vocation of the Eternal
We have a heavenly calling, one has called it our eternal occupation, another, more poetically, has called it the vocation of the eternal. Our calling, our predestination, is to be conformed to the likeness of Jesus, and to be one with Him and the Father. (We're not talking about doctrines of election here.)
Three Companions
The Christian message of God’s gift to us of redemption in Christ is proclaimed in the Gospel, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. These three are cognate, or companion declarations of Christ and Him crucified that the Lord has given to the Church so that He may be proclaimed in the way that He has chosen for Himself.
Master of the Feast
The Last Supper was a the Passover feast of all Passover feasts. Here Jesus sat as the master of the feast, explained its true meaning, gave us a new feast to celebrate the fulfillment of the prophecy hidden in the Passover, and then went out and completed salvation. The new feast is called the Lord’s Supper.
Plan not Improv
Christ was delivered up to death on the cross by God’s determinate counsel and foreknowledge. The Lord’s Supper was devised by God in those same determinate counsels, before the foundation of the world, and given to the Church by the Lord Himself to declare His death till He comes again.
“All things whatsoever I have commanded you”
The words of the Lord, “This do” were not merely a suggestion. Even though they don’t take the verbal form of an emphatic command such as, Thou shalt, the Church has, from the earliest times, understood those words to be an imperative.
It is not Common
The elements of bread and wine remain simple according to Protestants. They are changed according to Catholics. But, because they are consecrated to the Lord’s use, they are not thought to be common according to anyone.
The words Jesus used at that last Passover supper when He took bread and the cup, passing them, were: “Take, eat”, “Drink ye”, and “This do”. Celebrating the Lord’s Supper is an opportunity for us to be obedient to His word. Here we are doing His will.
Remembrance and Memorial
The exhortation to remembrance is a common and important thread throughout the entire Bible. The Lord’s Supper is the congregational memorial of the Paschal mystery of Christ. It holds before our remembrance Christ, and Him crucified.
We shew the Lord’s death till He comes again when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. The KJV translators used shew to translate the Greek word: kataggello, which means to proclaim. The Lord’s Supper proclaims the historic and orthodox message of the mystery of the faith by the Christian Church.
Profession and Confession
At the Lord’s Supper each individual, by eating and drinking, effectually makes a profession of their faith. And thereby confesses that Jesus is Lord, and that they believe God has raised Him from the dead.
Communion, one translation of the Greek word, koin´┐Żnia. It is oneness, or fellowship, or communion, or intimacy that is profound. At the Lord’s Supper the broken bread is the communion of His body, the cup is the communion of His blood. As we eat and drink His flesh and blood in a figure, we show that we are one with Him. The Church is called His body. We declare fellowship together in Christ, and the unity of the faith.
Worship focused exclusively on the Lord Jesus Christ is adoration in the truest sense.
Of all things that we are thankful for we are most thankful for the Lord Jesus Christ. At the celebration of the Lord’s Supper the Church gives thanks to Him, and for Him, and for our redemption and sanctification through His body hung on the cross, and His blood shed for our sins. And, the Church is seen by all to be thankful. Thankfulness is another great Biblical theme.
Self Examination
We have cause to examine ourselves before we partake of the Lord’s Supper. We reaffirm our faith, confess our sins, and make things right between ourselves. This is not merely necessary, it is a great blessing because it is God working within us to both will and to do His good pleasure, which is to work out our salvation in fear and trembling. It is also a public display by the Church that God is holy.
Protestants agree with the spiritual truth that we partake of Christ’s sacrifice for us by faith believing in Him for salvation. His sacrifice is made present to our hearts and minds in the figures of bread and the cup. The issues of His presence in the elements are not addressed here. Rather the element of sacrifice is shown to be present in its other senses.
When we celebrate the Lord’s Supper we anticipate the pledge of future glory because we eat and drink one more time and one last time till He comes again. Christ’s imminent return is at the core of the blessed hope of the Church. And the practice of anticipating His return is an encouragement to holy living.
Silence is golden, sometimes.
A vision for the People
The Lord’s Supper holds the vision of Christ and Him crucified before ourselves, the Church, the world, and principalities and powers in Heavenly places.
To celebrate something is to, with some measure of ceremony, joyfully and gladly make it well known, to make it famous. The Church joyfully proclaims the mystery of the faith at the Lord’s Supper in the truest sense of celebration.
Where We Learn Our Best Theology
Worship, though it is not a didactic exercise, has great heuristic value.
Ritual, Liturgy, and the Lord’s Supper
God has established how He will be worshiped; He has this right. So then, what has God established?
An Invitation
Jesus and His Gospel must always be the center of our gathering and our worship must celebrate Him.
A Means to an End
We worship the Lord with, or without the Lord’s Supper. Jesus is the center, not a ceremony. But it is His ceremony, and He gave it to us.
Built Up In Him
It is striking that the Emmaus disciples recognized Jesus when He broke the bread with them. We also are called to recognize Him when we break bread in the assembly of the faithful. We call to memory and stir up the things of Christ amongst ourselves in our worship, as we do, we are built up in Him.
How Should We Worship?
The elements of indirectness and reversal apply to worship. Worship is not what we at first think it to be. And we find that it is much more than we might think it to be. Worship is not formulaic, nor ritualistic, as Temple worship was. We have freedom in our form, but within guidelines. How do we avoid the excesses of novelty and human invention yet at the same time achieve a rich and satisfying worship that engages the congregation?
Ite Missa Est
“Go! You are dismissed”(loose translation). This implies that the Church has a God given mission which we are to engage in outside of worship services. We are sent out to serve the Lord in our daily lives.
One More Thing
There is always more than one last thing to talk about. But we’ll try to cut it short with one more thing.

©FH 2012

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