Communion (Part 1) - What Communion Is; Proper Elements Used in Communion


I. What is communion? 1. Definitions A. Communion - 1. Sharing or holding in common with others; participation; the condition of things so held, community, combination, union. 3. The fellowship or mutual relation between members of the same church 7. Participation in the Christian sacrament of the Lord's Supper;...close or strict, free or open communion: among Baptists, a division on the question of admitting to the Lord's Table persons who have not received baptism in accordance with Baptist principles. B. Sacrament n. - 1. Eccl. Used as the common name for certain solemn ceremonies or religious acts belonging to the institutions of the Christian church. 2. As an ordinance, communion is only mentioned twice in one verse of scripture (1Co 10:16). 3. The communion service is also known as the Lord's supper (1Co 11:20). 4. The communion ordinance was first instituted by Jesus Christ on the night before He was crucified (Mat 26:26-28; Mar 14:22-24; Luk 22:17-20). 5. The apostle Paul instructed local churches to partake of the Lord's supper in remembrance of Christ's death for them (1Co 11:23-25 c/w 1Co 4:17). 6. In communion, the church shares and participates in commemorating the shed blood and the broken body of Christ by corporately partaking of the wine and the bread which symbolizes it (1Co 10:16). 7. Communion is the New Testament counterpart of the Old Testament Passover. A. The Passover was instituted by God for Israel to commemorate their deliverance from Egypt (Exo 12:17). i. The LORD had declared that He would kill all the firstborn in Egypt as a judgment against Pharaoh for not letting Israel go (Exo 11:4-6). ii. On the night of the first Passover, Israel was to take a blemish-free lamb and kill it and strike its blood on the doorposts of their houses (Exo 12:3-7). iii. When the LORD came through the land to destroy the firstborn and He saw the blood of the blemish-free lamb on their doorposts, He would pass over that house (Exo 12:13,23). B. Jesus Christ is our Passover and the fulfillment of the Passover which was a type of Him (1Co 5:7). i. He is the Lamb of God (Joh 1:29; Rev 5:6). ii. He is blemish-free (1Pe 1:19). iii. He is the propitiation for our sins who causes the wrath of God to pass over us (1Jo 2:2; 1Jo 4:10). a. Propitiation - 1. The action or an act of propitiating; appeasement, conciliation; atonement, expiation. b. There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1). c. Jesus' blood saved us from the wrath of God (Rom 5:9). C. Just as Israel kept the Passover to remember their deliverance from Egypt, we, too, keep the feast of the Lord's Supper to remember the death of Christ, the lamb of God, which delivered us from the wrath to come (1Co 5:7-8 c/w 1Co 11:24-25). D. Just as the Passover was to be kept forever (Exo 12:17), the Lord's Supper will be kept until the coming of Christ at the end of time (1Co 11:26). II. What elements should be used? 1. Unleavened bread must be used in the communion service. A. Jesus instituted the Lord's supper during the Passover on the first day of the feast of unleavened bread (Mat 26:17 c/w Mat 26:26). B. The Passover was to be eaten with unleavened bread (Exo 12:8). C. Leaven was not to be eaten or even to be found anywhere in the house during the week of the feast of unleavened bread (Exo 12:17-20). D. Therefore, the bread that Jesus used for the first communion service was unleavened bread. E. Therefore, the bread which the church uses should be unleavened bread like Jesus used (1Co 11:23-24). F. The reason for using unleavened bread. i. The unleavened bread represents Christ's body (Mar 14:22) in which there was and is no sin (1Pe 2:22; 1Jo 3:5). a. Leaven represents sin (1Co 5:8). b. Leaven represents false doctrine and wickedness (Mat 16:11-12; Mar 8:15). c. Therefore, to use leavened bread for communion ruins the picture of Christ's sinless body being broken for us. ii. The unleavened bread also represents the local church, the body of Christ (1Co 10:16-17). a. The church is supposed to purge out leaven (commonly known sinners) from its membership in order for it to remain pure (1Co 5:7). b. Leaven spreads and corrupts the whole lump (1Co 5:6; Gal 5:9). c. Leaven adds no substance to the bread, but only puts space between particles, making the bread look larger. d. So it is with allowing sin and false doctrine in the church -- it may make the church look larger, but it only puts goats between the sheep. e. Therefore, to use leavened bread for communion ruins the picture of the purity and unity of the body of Christ, the local church. 2. Grape wine must be used in the communion service. A. Jesus drank wine (fruit of the vine) at the Passover feast (Luk 22:15-18). i. Grapes are the fruit of the vine (Job 15:33; Son 7:12). ii. When grapes are crushed without refrigeration, the juice immediately starts fermenting and becomes wine. iii. Wine n. - 1. a. The fermented juice of the grape used as a beverage. It is essentially a dilute solution of alcohol, on the proportion of which in its composition depend its stimulating and intoxicating properties. B. Wine represents blood (Gen 49:11; Deu 32:14; Isa 49:26). i. Being an intoxicant, wine is symbolic of blood which is symbolic of an intoxicant (Isa 49:26; Eze 39:19; Rev 17:6). ii. This is why Jesus used wine to represent His blood (Luk 22:20). C. The Corinthians clearly used wine for the Lord's supper, in that they were made drunken from it (1Co 11:20-21). D. Paul didn't rebuke them for what they were eating and drinking, but for how much they were eating and drinking (1Co 11:22,33-34). E. In the Old Testament there were figures of wine being used for communion. i. Jesus Christ is a priest after the order of Melchizedeck (Heb 6:20) a. Melchizedeck brought forth bread and wine for Abraham (Gen 14:18). b. Likewise, Jesus brought forth bread and wine for the seed of Abraham (Gal 3:29). ii. Wisdom, who is personified in Proverbs, built her house (Pro 9:1) and called men to come into it and eat of her bread and drink of her wine (Pro 9:4-5). a. Jesus Christ is the wisdom of God (1Co 1:24). b. Jesus built His house, the house of God (Mat 16:18 c/w 1Ti 3:15). c. Jesus likewise served bread and wine in His house. iii. Bread and wine are referred to together frequently in the Old Testament (Jdg 19:19; 1Sa 10:3; 1Sa 16:20; Neh 5:15, etc.). F. The wine should be divided among the church before consuming it, rather than everyone drinking from one cup (Luk 22:17).
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