The Lord’s Supper: Part 1 – Doctrine (Discipleship Training)
The Lord’s Supper: Part 1 (Doctrine): In the New Testament, Christ gives his church two sacraments. We have studied the first sacrament of baptism in the last two posts (Part 1; Part 2). Now, in the next two posts, we will study the Lord’s Supper. We will begin our study of the Lord’s Supper with a careful examination of the doctrine of what the Bible teaches about the Lord’s Supper. Next time, we will will study the practice of the Lord’s Supper.
Since there are so many different understandings of the Lord’s Supper, it is important to be clear about what the Bible teaches on this. On the one hand, the Bible clearer states that the Lord’s Supper is more than a mere symbol, and that receiving the Lord’s Supper is more than a mere remembering of Christ. Paul writes, “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” (1 Cor. 10:16). The Lord’s Supper is not less than a symbol, and not less than a remembrance of Christ, but it is much more.
On the other hand, we also much reject the idea that the Lord’s Supper is a mass. In the Lord’s Supper, Christ is not in any sense re-sacrificed, or offered up again to the Father. Christ died once for all (Rom. 6:10; Heb. 7:27; 9:12, 26; 10:10). Therefore, the Lord’s Supper is a commemoration of that once-for-all sacrifice.
Between these two ideas, the Scriptures teach that Christ, through his Holy Spirit, mediates to us the benefits of the new covenant in the Lord’s Supper. Through the Lord’s Supper, we feast on Christ’s body, and we drink Christ’s blood, but not in a physical sense, as though our teeth were chewing his physical flesh, or our tongues swirling his physical blood. On the contrary, through the Lord’s Supper, we are feeding on Christ by faith. As such, the Lord’s Supper is a tremendous blessing to those who receive the sacrament by faith in Christ.
To understand the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper as a participation in the body and blood of Christ, through faith.
Read and discuss:
- Matthew 26:26–29; Mark 14:22–25; Luke 22:14–22: The Institution of the Lord’s Supper.
- 1 Corinthians 10:14–22: Paul forbids eating from the table of idols on the same logic that he commends eating from the table of Christ. In both cases, eating is an act of worship that unites the worshiper with their god/God.
- 1 Corinthians 11:17–34: Paul’s instructions on the Lord’s Supper.
- Romans 6:10; Hebrews 7:27; 9:12, 26; 10:10: Christ died once for all. Therefore, the Lord’s Supper is not in any sense a sacrificial offering up of Christ.
Read and discuss:
- What do we mean to say that the Lord’s Supper is a sacrament?
- Why do we say that the Lord’s Supper is not a sacrifice?
- Why do we say that the Lord’s Supper is more than a symbol?
- What do we gain through the Lord’s Supper? What would we lose if we did not have the Lord’s Supper?
- When you approach the Lord’s Table, be mindful that the Lord’s Supper is meant to point you toward Christ. Use the bread and the cup to redirect your faith to Christ.
- Prepare for receiving the Lord’s Supper. Ask God to help you ready your mind and heart to receive Christ’s broken body and shed blood through faith as you eat the bread and drink the cup.
- To learn more, here is my sermon on 1 Corinthians 11:23–26.
FREE eBook: Fruitfulness and Faithfulness: God’s Mission and Mandate of Every Christian
Grow in God’s Plan for Your Fruitfulness and Faithfulness
Invest Your Life Well
Discover God’s breathtaking vision for the fruitfulness of his people.
Learn how to live fruitfully and faithfully in the kingdom of Jesus.
Download the free eBook now.