An Exposition Of The Lord’s Supper From The Apostolic Point Of View

1 Corinthians 11:17 Now in this that I declare to you I praise you not, that you come together not for the better, but for the worse.

1 Corinthians 11:18 For first of all, when you come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

1 Corinthians 11:19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

1 Corinthians 11:20 When you come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.

1 Corinthians 11:21 For in eating every one takes before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

1 Corinthians 11:22 What? have you not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise you the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

The Apostle Paul, to whom the Lord committed the gospel to the Gentiles, discovered some errors in the way the church in Corinth was taking the Lord’s supper. He used the passages above to express his displeasure and dismay at the way the sacred communal meal of the Church was being desecrated, before setting out to correct the wrong observance of the Lord’s supper in that church.

A lot of errors exist among the various denominations and believers today, as to the observance of the Lord’s supper. I want to use this medium to set things straight, by using the Apostolic writings to expose the erroneous practices with regards to the observance of the Lord’s Supper. I will also present the Apostolic view on this important ordinance of the Church. This exposition will focus on the origin and significance of the Lord’s supper, the elements of the supper, qualification for participation at the Lord’s table, as well as the timing and frequency of observance of the Lord’s supper.

The Lord’s supper was instituted by our Lord Jesus, on the night in which he was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, while he was celebrating the Passover with his disciples. It was during that night that he took bread, broke it and gave his disciples as a symbol of his body that was to be soon broken for them. He asked them to do it in remberance of him. He also took the cup of wine on the table and gave them to drink, as a symbol of his blood that would soon be shed for them, for the remission of sins. He also enjoined them to do it in remembrance of him.

Luke 22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

Luke 22:20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

The Apostle Paul taught that any time believers correctly observed the Lord’s supper, they were proclaiming and remembering the Lord’s death. So, anytime we partake of the Lord’s supper, we are commemorating the death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It’s the Lord’s supper that we are instructed to observe in remembrance of the Lord, in commemoration of his death, not Easter!

We’re enjoined to remind ourselves of his sacrificial and substitutionary death and subsequent ressurection always, not just on a particular day in a year. In fact, believers are told to partake of the Lord’s supper often, in remembrance of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till he come.

So, the Lord’s supper was instituted on the night our Lord was betrayed, and symbolises his sacrificial death for us that gave us life.

John 6:53 Then Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you.

John 6:54 Whoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

John 6:56 He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in him.

John 6:57 As the living Father has sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eats me, even he shall live by me.

John 6:58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eats of this bread shall live for ever.

The bread represents his flesh which was broken for us. The wine represents his blood which was shed for us. Taken together, they signify the appropriation of his death on our behalf, and faith in his sacrificial and substitutionary death, which was a ransom for our soul. If you believe in that and place your faith in him, and him alone, you move from death to life!

Now, let’s look at the elements of the Lord’s supper, the bread and the wine. Let’s start with the examination of the bread. I’ve seen people and churches use all kinds of stuff as bread for the Lord’s supper, ranging from leavened bread, cakes and biscuits, to all kinds of pastries. Surely, people can’t just choose whatever they like as bread for the Lord’s supper? Surely, there should be a scriptural standard for the bread to be eaten at the Lord’s table? Thank God there is!

Recall that the Lord’s supper was instituted while our Lord was having the Jewish Passover feast with his apostles. During the Passover and the feast of unleavened bread that followed for the next seven days, the Jews had an injunction not to eat leavened bread or even keep leaven in their houses. Anyone who did that was to be cut off from his people!

Exodus 12:6 And you shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.

Exodus 12:7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.

Exodus 12:8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.

Exodus 12:15 Seven days shall you eat unleavened bread; even the first day you shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.

So, no Jew eats leavened bread during the Passover or the following seven days feast of unleavened bread. There is a reason for that. Do you know what leaven (or yeast as it’s commonly called) signifies? Leaven signifies hypocrisy and sin! Leaven or yeast makes bread or dough to rise when there’s really nothing inside it. It makes bread or dough to get puffed up! That’s pride! Leaven or yeast symbolises pride and hypocrisy.

Luke 12:1 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, so that they stepped one on another, he began to say to his disciples first of all, Beware you of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

Leaven or yeast also typifies malice and wickedness, or sin generally.

1 Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?

1 Corinthians 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

1 Corinthians 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Like we mentioned earlier, the bread of the communion meal represents the body of Christ. There is no sin in Christ. Four times, both Herod and Pilate, after examining Jesus, admitted they couldn’t find any fault in Him. Jesus still remains the only man who was born sinless, lived sinless and died sinless!

John 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world comes, and has nothing in me.

John 8:46 Which of you convinces me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do you not believe me?

Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

The Passover lamb was to be without blemish, and was to be observed for four days to ensure that it was free of any defect or blemish, as we saw in Exodus 12. The Passover lamb was a type of Christ, and of course there was no sin in Christ, as we’ve shown from Scripture. And the Passover lamb was to be eaten with unleavened bread, as we showed earlier from Scripture. That’s why the bread of the communion meal, which represents the body of Christ, must be unleavened, for leaven represents sin!

I Corinthians 5: 8 says we keep the Passover (which was a type of the Lord’s supper) with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth! The elements of the Lord’s supper are symbolic, and represent deep spiritual truths and principles! So, the bread for the Lord’s supper is unleavened bread (bread without yeast)! Don’t corrupt and distort the body of Christ by representing it with leavened bread! There is no sin in Christ! It’s an abomination to use any thing other than unleavened bread as bread for the Lord’s supper! Using bread or any substance containing leaven or yeast distorts scripture and misrepresents Christ’s body as being sinful! God forbid!!

Let’s move to the wine. That’s where a lot of people are going to have the shock of their lives! We see churches and individuals using all kinds of things for the wine of the Lord’s supper, from colored carbonated drinks, to fruit juices. Let us examine the Apostolic writings to find out what the Apostles of the Lord taught about the wine to be used at the Lord’s table.

1 Corinthians 11:20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper.

1 Corinthians 11:21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk.

Ladies and gentlemen, some people in the Corinthian Church were getting drunk on the wine used for the Lord’s Supper, because they were gulping it excessively and selfishly, not waiting for others! Fruit juices would not get anyone drunk, however much you take it!

The wine for the Lord’s supper, as initially instituted,was the fruit of the vine, the product of the vineyard.

Matthew 26:27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink you all of it;

Matthew 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Matthew 26:29 But I say to you, I will not drink from now on of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

The fruit of the vine, as the Jews knew it, was something that had the potential to intoxicate, being alcoholic.

Genesis 9:20 And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard.

Genesis 9:21 Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent.

Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.

Let me zero in to the heart of the matter. The wine for the Lord’s supper is not coca cola, it’s not ribena and it’s not any non-alcoholic wine! It is the fruit of the vine which is potentially intoxicating if taken in large quantities. The wine for the Lord’s supper is alcoholic red wine, which is what the fruit of the vine is!

Somebody may want to crucify me and say, ” You mean we’re to take alcohol at the Lord’s table? But, didn’t the Bible say a Christian shouldn’t drink alcohol?” I’m not going into the argument for or against alcohol today, but just know that, except for people who took the Nazirite vow in the Old Testament, no where does the Bible condemn alcohol. What the Bible condemns is drunkenness! Do you know that, under the Mosaic Law, people were to use their yearly tithes to purchase wine and strong drink, and drink same in the presence of the Lord in the holy place in Jerusalem?

Deuteronomy 14:22 You shall truly tithe all the increase of your seed, that the field brings forth year by year.

Deuteronomy 14:23 And you shall eat before the LORD your God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of your corn, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herds and of your flocks; that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.

Deuteronomy 14:24 And if the way be too long for you, so that you are not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from you, which the LORD your God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD your God has blessed you:

Deuteronomy 14:25 Then shall you turn it into money, and bind up the money in your hand, and shall go to the place which the LORD your God shall choose:

Deuteronomy 14:26 And you shall bestow that money for whatever your soul lusts after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatever your soul desires: and you shall eat there before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you, and your household,

Deuteronomy 14:27 And the Levite that is within your gates; you shall not forsake him; for he has no part nor inheritance with you.

The wine is symbolic. It represents the blood of Christ which is shed for the remission of sin. The blood of Christ has power to deliver and transform and free people from sin. The alcohol in the blood of grapes or the fruit of the vine which is used for the Lord’s supper represents that power to transform.

Now, I’m not advocating for drunkenness, or even for anyone to go and start taking wine or alcohol. It’s a matter of conscience, both ours and those of other not-so-convinced believers, and is dealt with in relevant portions of scripture, which I’ll be willing to discuss with anyone who’s interested. But, don’t let’s try to be holier than God, or force scripture to speak what it does not say.

So, the wine represents the blood of Christ. And there’s power in that blood. The people in Corinth as we saw in 1 Corinthians 11 were taking the wine during the Lord’s supper in a disorderly way, some were gulping it and getting drunk (you don’t get drunk non-alcoholic wine). Paul rebuked them for their disorderliness, and instructed them to wait for one another, and take the supper in an orderly and reverential manner. People just need to take a little sip of the wine during the Lord’s supper, because it’s just a symbolic meal. The wine represents the power in the blood of Christ to transform and make one a new creature!

Having dealt with the elements of the Lord’s supper, let’s look at the qualifications for participation at the Lord’s table. Who qualifies to partake in the Lord’s supper? As usual, we shall turn to scripture for our answer.

At its inception, only the disciples of Christ took the bread and the wine at the first Lord’s supper.

Matthew 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

Matthew 26:27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink you all of it.

The Lord’s supper is only for believers in Christ. It is a fellowship meal that signifies communion with the Lord. You cannot commune with Christ unless you’re already his and part of his body.

1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

1 Corinthians 10:17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.

1 Corinthians 10:18 Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?

Even with Israel under the Old Covenant, no uncircumcised person was allowed to partake of the Passover, a type of the Lord’s supper. A foreigner could only take the Passover if he had been converted to the Jewish faith and had been circumcised.

Exodus 12:43 And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof:

Exodus 12:44 But every man’s servant that is bought for money, when you have circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof.

Exodus 12:45 A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof.

And so brethren, unbelievers who have not been circumcised in heart by the circumcision made without hands (by the Holy Spirit) are to be excluded from the Lord’s table. An unbeliever who eats the Lord’s supper eats and drinks damnation to himself or herself! Keep unbelievers away from the Lord’s table!

Also, even believers need to examine themselves carefully and ensure they’re not living in unconfessed sin, before taking the Lord’s supper! We must be free from any known sin whenever we partake of the Lord’s supper, if we are to receive the blessings at the Lord’s table and not curses!

1 Corinthians 11:27 Why whoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

1 Corinthians 11:29 For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

1 Corinthians 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

1 Corinthians 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

1 Corinthians 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

What does the scripture mean by “not discerning the Lord’s body”? If you don’t recognize and understand that you’re actually having a communion with the Lord, and therefore approach the Lord’s table without due reverence, you’re not discerning the Lord’s body. If you don’t understand the significance of that broken bread, you’re not discerning the Lord’s body. If you don’t understand that you’re now a part of the body, and you come with the leaven of sin in your heart to partake of the unleavened bread, you’re not discerning the Lord’s body. If you don’t recognize that it’s one bread (body), even though broken into many pieces (members) and therefore fail to appreciate the unity of the body of Christ, you’re not discerning the Lord’s body.

Those who come to the Lord’s table must come with clean hands and sanctified hearts. The Lord’s supper is a sacred fellowship meal with the Lord, and must be approached in the most reverent way possible. Eaten the right way and with the right approach, the blessings of a Lord’s supper are incalculable! If people could become weak and sickly and even die from eating the Lord’s supper unworthily, like we saw in 1 Corinthians 11, imagine what would happen if people ate it worthily! Taking the Lord’s supper worthily will bring such strength and healing and life and power to the body of Christ and all the members! It will make every participant so vibrant and so charged to take on the devil and the world , and manifest the power of God for all to see!

Now, let’s talk about the correct time to partake of the Lord’s supper. Here again, I’m going to shock a lot of people. You are forewarned! Is there a specific time of the day or night we should eat the Lord’s supper? Or can it be taken at just about any time? Answering these questions should not have been any problem if people have regard and respect for the scripture and follow apostolic teachings! The question we should rather ask is, when should supper be taken? If we can answer that question, then we should know when the Lord’s supper ought be taken! Remember what the meal is called: The Lord’s supper! It’s not the Lord’s breakfast or the Lord’s Lunch! It’s the Lord’s supper! I hope we really catch this profound revelation!

Let’s go back to the Apostolic writings to settle what should never have become an issue, if we had been following the rules of everyday language. Remember when the Passover was eaten? At night! Remember when the Lord’s supper was instituted? At night! The night when Jesus was betrayed. And if we remember that the Passover was a type of the Lord’s supper, there wouldn’t be any problem at all appreciating why it must be taken at night or in the evening, and not in the morning or afternoon, as most people erroneously do!

1 Corinthians 11:20 When you come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.

1 Corinthians 11:21 For in eating every one takes before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

Luke 24:29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

Luke 24:30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and broke, and gave to them.

Luke 24:31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.

Luke 24:32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

Luke 24:33 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,

Luke 24:34 Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon.

Luke 24:35 And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

The Acts 20:7 And on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached to them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

The Acts 20:8 And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.

The Acts 20:9 And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.

The Acts 20:10 And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.

The Acts 20:11 When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.

It is instructive to note that the Lord’s supper, like all other suppers, was eaten only in the evening or at night, by the apostles and early church believers. It is not only contrary to common sense to eat supper in the morning or afternoon, it is absolutely unscriptural and a blatant violation of scriptural and spiritual principles which the Lord’s supper represents, to partake of the Lord’s supper during the day. It is completely unapostolic to do so. It amounts to desecrating the most sacred ordinance of the Church.

Finally, how often should the Lord’s supper be eaten? How frequently should believers come to the Lord’s table for the breaking of bread? There is no clear cut instruction as to how often we may eat of the Lord’s supper. We are only told that each time we partake of the Lord’s supper, we remember the Lord and proclaim his death.

Luke 22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till he come.

So, how often should we partake of the Lord’s supper? As often as we can do it! As often as we want to remember the Lord! You can eat the Lord’s supper daily , weekly, monthly, etc, as often as you choose! In the early church in the book of Acts, they were breaking bread daily, from house to house.

The Acts 2:46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts.

In conclusion, the Lord’s supper is one of the most sacred ordinances of the Church. However, it has been greatly corrupted in its practice, thereby robbing the Church of the great benefits of this sacred meal. Because the majority of the Church have been partaking of the meal unworthily, a lot of believers have been weak, sick, and have been dying prematurely. Only a return to the Apostolic pattern of coming to the Lord’s table will restore the Church back to power and glory.

God bless you!

Published by Dr. Ndubuisi E. Ojo

Dr. Ndubuisi E. Ojo is a teacher and an expositor of the word of God with an intense passion for doctrinal purity and the restoration of the Church to the original Apostolic faith.

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