Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 10, 1958
NUMBER 48, PAGE 1,10b

The Lord's Supper

J. Paul Lusby, Amarillo, Texas

The Lord's supper was instituted at the close of the last passover observed by Christ and his apostles. Christians are instructed to partake "in remembrance" of him who instituted it.

Frequency Of Observance

All that the Bible says on how often God's children are to eat the supper is found in Acts 20:7. It reads: "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight." According to this approved example, the first day of the week is the time.

The purpose of their coming together was to break bread, or partake of the supper. Paul took advantage of this assembly to preach unto them. Therefore, it is good, according to apostolic precedent, to have preaching at this meeting; but if your main purpose in assembling with the saints on Lord's day is to hear the preacher, and if there is to be no preaching you stay away, then your purpose is not the same as was the disciples' at Troas.

Some churches act as if they are unable to carry on in the absence of a preacher. Some members act as if it is unimportant to assemble just to eat the Lord's supper, if there is no preacher to preach. But the disciples in apostolic days did not so think, and hence it is said: "Upon the first day of the week the disciples came together to break bread." It is true that in this instance Paul preached unto them, but it is also true that they would have assembled to break bread whether Paul had preached to them or not. Attention is called to this in an effort, not to minimize preaching or the other acts of worship, but to magnify the Lord's supper.

Some seem to think that every Easter is often enough to eat the supper. Friends, the world is not divided over what the Bible does say, the world is divided over what the Bible does not say; and nowhere does the book of God say that the apostolic church met each Easter to break bread, nor for any other purpose. In fact, God's book knows nothing about Easter. It is possible for all who profess to be God's people to be united upon what the Bible says, but upon the silence of the scripture, never! So, God's people met upon the first day of the week to break bread.

If some one should ask: "Which first day?" I would reply that there is only one first day in any week. It is impossible for a week to have more than one first day in it, and that was the day upon which the early disciples met together to break bread.

Some object that the Bible does not say the first of every week. It says that just as often as it says the Jews were commanded to keep every sabbath day holy. The command to the Jews was: "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." (Ex. 20:8.) There can never be a week with more than one seventh day in it; hence, God commanded the Jews to remember the sabbath day to keep it holy. Likewise, there can never be a week with more than one first day in it, and so it is written: "Upon the first day of the week ... the disciples came together to break bread."

I remember that on one occasion a man was picking up sticks on the sabbath day, thereby desecrating that which God had designated a holy day, and God had him put to death. According to some people's views the man could have pleaded with God not to take his life on the grounds that he was not specific enough in his command. "Why," he could have said, "Lord, I have remembered the sabbath and kept it holy, in fact, several of them, and you did not say, 'Remember EVERY sabbath,' therefore, I thought I had met all that was demanded of me when I rested on those sabbath passed." My friends, that but demonstrates the ridiculousness and absurdity of the position of those who argue that we are not required to partake of the supper on every first day, because the Bible does not say the early Christians met on the first day of every week to eat the Lord's supper, but only the first day of the week.

The man just mentioned forfeited his life physically, because he failed to keep the sabbath day holy. We will forfeit our lives spiritually, if we fail to eat the Lord's supper on the first day of the week; because in so doing we neglect that which is representative of the sacrifice that can take away sins.

Robert Milligan said: "During the first two centuries the practice of weekly communion was universal, and it was continued in the Greek Church till the seventh century. Such as neglected it three weeks in succession were excommunicated." But some of my brethren today think they can neglect it for three months, with impunity, and then come back as if they had done nothing wrong. They want to be recognized and called upon, without a confession of any semblance of sin, the same as those who have been in regular attendance all the while. The greatness of such a one's sin can hardly be over-emphasized, and unless he repents, confesses, that sin, and prays for forgiveness, he is doomed to eternal destruction, and will be made to cry out with the arch-enemy of mankind, as the endless ages roll on and on.

"Me miserable! Which way shall I fly Infinite wrath, and infinite despair?

Which way I fly is Hell. myself am Hell;

And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep Still threatening to devour me opens wide,

To which the hell I suffer seems a heaven."

Such must be the terror and agony of all who are consigned to the infernal regions of abode. No wonder the apostle warns: "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Brethren, let us neither neglect nor forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but let us be present on the first day of every week to commemorate the death of him who suffered that we might live.

Design of The Supper As to the reason for eating the Lord's supper, Jesus said we are to do it "in remembrance of me." (1 Cor. 11:24,25.) It is a monument erected to our glorious King.

Paul informs us that in eating the bread and drinking the cup in memory of Christ, we "do shew the Lord's death till he come." (1 Cor. 11:26.) The supper, therefore, is observed in commemoration of the death of our Lord, and it likewise manifests or proclaims (makes known) the Christian's faith in his return.

It is a communion of the body and blood of our Redeemer. Paul wrote: "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 Cor. 10:16.) We must "discern the Lord's body" when we eat and drink, else we eat and drink damnation to ourselves. (1 Cor. 11:27-29.) Because the Corinthians failed to recognize its design there were many "weak and sickly" among them, and many were asleep. (1 Cor. 11:30.)

We should be impressed with the truth that God's children, all of them, are to assemble upon the first day of the week to break bread in remembrance of Christ. This should not be a burden, but a joy. If those at Corinth who ate and drank in an unworthy manner — not discerning the Lord's body, or recognizing that for which the supper stands — ate and drank damnation to themselves, what about those today who willfully absent themselves from the assembly and eat not at all? If those who eat and drink unworthily are for that cause weak and sickly, and many sleep, that is, are dead spiritually, how much more must this be true of those who discern not the Lord's body through their failure to partake at all!

Let us therefore, "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead," and be present each and every Lord's day to eat the bread and drink the cup, in memory of him who died that we might live — looking forward to his coming again.