BY WHAT AUTHORITY -- THE LORD'S SUPPER?
Authority for the Lord's supper comes by the direct command
of Jesus himself. In the same night in which he was betrayed,
he gave bread and fruit of the vine to his disciples, after which
he commanded: "Do this in remembrance of me" (1 Cor.
It is important for us to recognize, however, exactly
what this authorizes. In the very passage under consideration
we find that the Christians at Corinth went beyond what Jesus
commanded by enlarging the Lord's supper into a common meal (1
Cor. 11: 20-22). It is clear that such violates a major principle
of authority -- the condemnation of going beyond (2 Jn. 9).
The apostle Paul made it clear that we are not at liberty
to alter the Lord's supper to satisfy our own hunger (1 Cor. 11:
33-34). Similarly, we should strive in every way possible to
assure that we do exactly what Jesus commanded to be done
in His remembrance.
For example, the elements to be partaken are clearly bread
and fruit of the vine (Mt. 26: 26-29). Any other elements would
be wrong, as we saw in the case of the Corinthians. This led
to their "eating and drinking judgment unto themselves (1
Cor. 11: 29). There is no reason that anyone should add, subtract
or substitute elements in the Lord's supper.
Another aspect of the Lord's supper is the specific time
at which it is to be partaken. Some might reason that we are
at liberty to decide this for ourselves. However, being specified
by apostolic example takes this out of the realm of judgment (1
Cor 11: 1).
It is clear that the Corinthians were partaking of the
Lord's supper "when ye come together in the church"
(1 Cor. 11: 19), and they were not criticized for this frequency
of occurrence. In addition, Acts 20:7 shows that the very reason
for Christians to assemble on the "first day of the week"
was "to break bread." This must refer to the Lord's
supper, consistently with the apostolic practices stated in Acts
The elements and the time of partaking of the Lord's supper
are two aspects which we can easily discern from God's word.
It behooves us to do the best that we can to comply with God's
word in all aspects of this great privilege of sharing
which the Lord has offered us.
NEXT WEEK: By what authority do we give?
400 WORDS MAX