Safeguard the Lord’s Churches by Keeping the Ordinances
 – Part 2 (The Lord’s Supper)

The ordinances Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are designed as a safeguard to the Lord’s churches. If practiced scripturally, they protect from un-regenerate membership, doctrinal error, and the undermining local church authority.
The Lords Supper - Cherokee Baptist churches - Trail of Tears

This Lord’s Supper set belongs to Long Prairie Baptist Church, one of seven Cherokee churches who traversed the Trail of Tears and re-organized near Tahlequah, OK. They held the Lord’s Supper even on the Trail of Tears, using this set, and they occasionally use it to this day.

A Sermon From Missionary Raymond Johnson

I Corinthians 11:2 “Now I praise you, brethren that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.”

Introduction

The Lord gave the church two ordinance: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and in that order. Baptism is a prerequisite to partaking the Lord’s Supper. Baptism is the doorway into the local church for membership (Acts 2:41) and the Lord’s Supper is for church members who are under the discipline of that local, visible, organized church body. (I Corinthians 10:16-17)

Baptism is an initiatory ordinance to be administered to the believer only one time. The Lord’s Supper is a continuing ordinance to be observed at stated intervals throughout the believer’s life until Jesus comes again. The Lord Jesus did not say when the believers should observe the Lord’s Supper, but he did say “as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” (I Corinthians 11:26) The Church alone sets the time to take the Lord’s Supper and has the authority to administer these ordinances.

I. The Purpose of the Lord’s Supper

  1. A Time of Commemoration – “this do in remembrance of me.” (I Corinthians 11:24)
    1. Jesus, by first eating the Passover according to the law, and then instituting of the Lord’s Supper, was the fulfillment of the Passover symbols. (Matthew 26:17-30)
    2. Christ is our Substitute. He died in our place. The sentence of death fell upon an innocent victim. A lamb without blemish died in the place of those who needed deliverance. (Exodus 12:5-6) Just as the blood was applied to the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, the blood of Christ has been applied to his people and we will escape the judgment of God. (Exodus 12:7-13 & Hebrews 9:16-28)
    3. The Lord’s Supper is symbolic and a memorial supper, not a sacrament. There are four views historically held concerning the elements (unleavened bread and fruit of the vine). The first three of the following views are sacramentary and are false.
      1. Transubstantiation – The Roman Catholics believe that the elements in the Mass actually become the body and the blood of Jesus.
      2. Consubstantiation – The Lutherans believe that the body and blood of Jesus are present with the element.
      3. There are some Protestant churches who believe the Lord’s Supper is a means of grace to save sinners from their sins.
      4. The fourth view is held by Baptists and states that the elements merely symbolize the body and blood of Jesus, with no saving effect in partaking of them. This is the only view supported by the Scriptures. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  2. A Time of Proclamation – “ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” (I Corinthians 11:26)
  3. A Time of Examination – “let a man examine himself,” (I Corinthians 11:17-34)
    1. Rebuke for disorderly conduct. They had mixed their love feast with the Lord’s Supper and were guilty of gluttony and drunkenness. It’s a memorial supper and not a meal. (I Corinthians 11:17-22 & 34)
    2. Results of taking the Lord’s Supper unworthily. (I Corinthians 11:29-30)
    3. Remember to judge yourself. (I Corinthians 11:28 & 31-33)
      1. Self-judgment avoids chastisement. (v31)
      2. If we neglect self-judgment, the Lord judges and the result is chastisement. (v32)

II. The Participants in the Lord’s Supper

  1. Baptists have been criticized for teaching “closed” or “restricted” communion. There are three positions on this subject:
    1. Open Communion – The supper can be served to its membership and other denominational church members or any believing individual who chooses to participate. This position would promote the universal, invisible view of the church.
    2. Close Communion – The supper can be served to its membership and other churches of like faith and order.
    3. Closed Communion (Restricted Communion) – The supper is to be served only to its membership in good standing with the church. Open and Close communion both could and would undermine the church’s authority in discipline.
  2. The practice in the New Testament was to observe the Lord’s Supper with those who were saved, scripturally baptized and members of a local church.
    1. The Corinthian Church was observing the supper as a local church. (I Corinthians 11:17-18 “when ye come together in the church”)
    2. Paul states the ordinance was delivered to the church. (I Corinthians 11:23)
    3. When Jesus served the supper, he did not invite the Sadducees, Pharisees, or any others except His apostles. (Mark 14:17 & 22-26 & I Corinthians 12:28)
    4. The Lord’s Supper is to be observed by the Church body. The Church is one body, speaking of the Corinthian Church. (I Corinthians 10:16-21)
    5. We are not allowed to eat the Lord’s Supper with a church member under church discipline. The Church can only administer discipline to its own membership. Part of church discipline is to withhold the Lord’s Supper to a disciplined member. A local church cannot discipline another church’s member, nor can they eat the Lord’s Supper together. (I Corinthians 5:1-13 [v11]; Matthew 18:15-19 [v17]; II Thessalonians 3:6)

III. The Picture Portrayed in the Lord’s Supper

  • The Suffering of His Body
    1. The breaking of bread represents His broken body. The practice is to demonstrate His sufferings by breaking the unleavened bread before the congregation representing His beaten and battered sinless body as He suffered on the cross for our sins. (I Corinthians 11:24)
    2. The unleavened bread represents a body without sin. Christ is our Passover Lamb, perfect without spot or blemish.
    3. The Shedding of the Blood.
    4. The fruit of the vine represents the shedding of His blood. The practice is to pour the fruit of the vine before the congregation into the cups (or in some churches one cup) to demonstrate the shedding of His blood. (I Corinthians 11:25)
    5. Only the shed blood of Christ will satisfy the wrath of God on behalf of the sinner and reconcile them to God. (Romans 5:9-10)
    6. The New Testament in Christ’s blood meant the Covenant of Grace, which represents the love of Christ. Just as the atonement is everlasting, so is His covenant with his people. The blood guarantees the salvation of His people and the promises He has made to the saints. (Hebrew 13:20)

Summary

The ordinances Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are designed as a safeguard to the Lord’s churches. If practiced scripturally, they protect from un-regenerate membership, doctrinal error, and the undermining local church authority.