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                          "OUR LIFE TOGETHER"

                        The Secret Of The Supper


1. As we continue this study on "Our Life Together", we are looking at
   how various "acts of worship" have a part in strengthening the kind
   of fellowship Christ intends for His church

2. Our previous study looked at "the collection" or "contribution", in
   which we saw that...
   a. It not only supplies the needs of the saints and the preaching of
      the gospel
   b. But it also builds fellowship between the givers and the 

3. In this lesson we will focus our attention on "The Lord's Supper",
   which is also called:
   a. The "breaking of bread" - Ac 2:42; 20:7
   b. The "Communion" - 1 Co 10:16

4. People who visit our services for the first time may often be 
   perplexed as to its meaning
   a. Indeed, what IS its meaning?
   b. And what does this observance have to do with "fellowship between

[Let's begin by first defining...]


      1. It is "a memorial" - 1 Co 11:23-25
         a. Instituted by the Lord Himself 
         b. To commemorate the death of Jesus on the cross for our sins
            - Mt 26:26-28
      2. It is "a proclamation" - 1 Co 11:26
         a. In which we proclaim our faith in the efficacy of Jesus' 
            death in our behalf
         b. To be done till He comes again (so it also a proclamation 
            of our faith in His Second Coming)
      3. It is to be "a period of extreme reverence" - 1 Co 11:27,29
         a. It is to be observed "in a worthy manner"
         b. Out of respect for the supreme price Jesus paid for our 
            1) E.g., the cruel torture and humiliation of His physical
            2) E.g., the spiritual anguish suffered as the Son of God
               bore the punishment for our sins - cf. "My God, My God,
               Why has Thou forsaken Me?"
         c. To make light of this memorial is to put one in the same 
            category as those who mocked Him as He hung on the cross!
      4. It is "a time for self-examination" - 1 Co 11:28
         a. Reflecting upon our own spiritual condition in relation to
            the sacrifice of Christ
         b. Are we living in a manner that makes His sacrifice 
            1) By our accepting the grace of God in our lives? - cf. 
               2 Co 5:18-6:1
            2) By living for Him? - cf. 2 Co 5:14-15
         c. Or are we by willful sinning, guilty of having...
            1) "trampled the Son of God afoot"?
            2) "counted the blood of the covenant by which [we were] 
               sanctified a common thing"?
            3) "insulted the Spirit of grace"? - cf. He 10:26-29
         d. Do we, by refusing to repent of our sins, "crucify again 
            for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an shame"? - 
            cf. He 6:4-6
      5. It is "a communion" (sharing, fellowship) - 1 Co 10:16
         a. With the blood and body of Christ
         b. Certainly, then, a "vertical" relationship and fellowship 
            with Christ as we commune

      1. It also has something to do with "our oneness in the body of 
         Christ"! - 1 Co 10:17
         a. Though many, we are "one bread and one body"
         b. Why?  "for we all partake of that one bread"
         c. There are at least two possible ways to view this...
            1) Partaking of the one bread together "reminds" us of our
               oneness, i.e., our fellowship
            2) Partaking of the one bread together "strengthens" our 
               oneness, or fellowship
            -- Both views are plausible, and both are accomplished,
               whether or not that is what Paul actually had in mind
         d. In this way "The Lord's Supper" is an act of worship in 
            which there is both:
            1) A "vertical" fellowship (communion with the Lord's body
               and blood)
            2) A "horizontal" fellowship (communion with one another)
      2. This helps us to see some implications in several passages
         a. E.g., Ac 20:7 - "...when the disciples came together to
            break bread..."
         b. E.g, 1 Co 11:33 - "...when you come together to eat, wait
            for one another"
         c. The Supper is designed to be a "communal" meal...
            1) Even as the Passover, from which the Lord took elements 
               to institute the Lord's Supper, was a communal meal
            2) For this reason I personally question such practices as:
               a) Observing the Supper by one's self when camping
               b) Observing the Supper on Sunday night when just one or
                  a couple of the congregation are partaking
               c) Taking the elements to the sick or shut-in who were 
                  unable to assemble with the saints
               -- However, these are things I am willing to leave in 
                  the realm of "opinion"

[Yet I am convinced there is sufficient evidence for us to appreciate 
that "The Lord's Supper" is more than just a personal act of devotion
between a Christian and his Lord.  As we do it together, it should 
remind us our fellowship in the one body of Christ, and by such 
remembrance actually strengthen our sense of fellowship!

With this understanding, allow me to make some suggestions for...]


      1. The fellowship aspect of the Supper can be alluded to from 
         time to time
         a. Those who lead the song in preparation for the communion 
            might point out when a song refers to the shared nature of
            this supper (e.g., the song entitled "The Lord's Supper")
         b. Those making comments or reading Scripture might
            occasionally make reference to the relationship between 
            Christ's death and our fellowship with one another - e.g., 
            Ep 2:13-16
         c. Prayers offered can include thanksgiving for the 
            reconciliation between men made possible by that suffering
            of Christ which we now commemorate
      2. By occasionally making a connection between the "communion" 
         and the "collection"
         a. It is true the "collection" is not a part of the 
         b. But taking up the "collection" immediately following the 
            "communion" need not be thought of as simply "a matter of 
         c. What better time is there to have "fellowship in the matter
            of giving"?
            1) We have just completed having "fellowship in the matter
               of the communion"
            2) It is the death of Christ who has made our fellowship
               possible - cf. Ep 2:16
            3) And it is His sacrificial example we are to follow - cf.
               2 Co 8:7-9

      1. We should keep in mind the significance of Paul's statement in
         1 Co 10:17
         a. "For we, being many, are one bread and one body;"
         b. "...for we all partake of that one bread."
      2. We should think not only of the communion we are having with 
         the Lord, but with one another as well
      3. We should make every effort to be present when the church 
         "comes together to break bread" - cf. Ac 20:7


1. The fellowship we enjoy in Christ...
   a. Was made possible by His death on the cross
   b. Is strengthened whenever we participate together in the "breaking
      of bread"

2. Is this how you view the Lord's Supper?
   a. Or do you consider it simply as a personal act of worship?
   b. With no bearing on your relationship with other Christians?

3. The "fellowship" aspect of the communion has not often been pointed
   out in teaching about the Lord's Supper, and for this reason it has
   been called "The Secret Of The Supper."

I hope that this "secret" is no longer a secret to us, and that we 
might get more out of the time we spend together around "The Lord's 
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