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Individual Preparation for the Lord’s Supper

April 2nd, 2012


Individual Preparation For The Lord’s Supper

Tuesday … April 3, 7 PM

New Testament Baptist Church family members need to make the prayerful participation in the Lord’s Supper a priority for several days. As your Pastor, I aspire to conduct this service in the manner and at the time that most properly follows the Word of God.

The night before He was crucified, our Saviour supervised a Passover. With only His disciples present, He then instituted the Lord’s Supper. As the Old Testament Passover was held once annually, so the New Testament Lord’s Supper is observed once annually. We are to conduct this memorial service as often as Jesus did (1 Cor 11:25) – at the time of the Passover and only once in a year.

The Lord’s Supper is a Divine Command!   Twice Paul writes: this do (1 Cor 11:24,25).  Every believer has an obligation to participate. We are a part of the family of God, and when the family has a function, each is to be involved. No one is above the responsibility of participation. No one is so “spiritually superior” that he / she does not need this annual event!

The Lord’s Supper is not an option!this do! The LORD has commanded us to participate at His supper. What a privilege! This “table” is only for His very own. It is not for the unsaved … they are not His own!  It is not for the unchurched … they may be His saved, but if the house of God is not a priority, they’re not  in His perfect will. The Lord’s Supper is for those who are His and are obedient to His Word as servants of God!  This is not a “church supper;” not a “denominational supper;” not a “friendship supper;” not a “fellowship supper.” It’s the Lord’s Supper, where He is the Divine Host. Our sins put Him on the cross, but once we are His, He invites us to serve and love Him as we participate at His table.

You slight the Lord when you avoid His prepared table! (Luke 14:17-24)  It is an affront and the height of ingratitude to evade His invitation! This is no small thing in the sight of Almighty God. Scripture is obvious: don’t mess with The Holy GodHe damns those who refuse His salvation offerAlso, He disciplines His own that refuse His supper offer! (1 Cor 11:29,30; Heb 12:6-8)

Before Tuesday night, use the remaining hours as a time of soul-searching: 1) that you are born again, 2) that you are scripturally baptized, 3) that you are involved in your family church, 4) that you will confess and forsake anything that displeases your heavenly Father.

The Preacher

 

… Tuesday Night We observe the Lord’s Supper …

No Mid-Week ServiceNo AWANA

this Wednesday  (April 4) only. 

  

THE TIMING AND FREQUENCY OF THE LORD’S SUPPER

As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come

(1 Cor. 11:26)

 

Why We Observe “The Lord’s Supper” Once a Year On The Tuesday Before Easter?

 

The first Lord’s Supper occurred at a particular time – the time of the Passover … the night before Jesus was crucified.   Read Matt. 26:17-29.  The first Passover was instituted approximately 1500 years before Christ’s advent (Ex.12:1-4). Every Passover was a perpetual memorial observed each year at a particular time to show in type and picture Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and Messiah’s death until He came to die as an atonement for sin (Isa. 53).

 

For Christians, the Lord’s Supper replaces the O. T. Passover … Christ is our Passover!!

Read 1 Co 5:7; 11:23-26

 

To determine the time and frequency of our observance of the Lord’s Supper, it is essential to first establish which day of the week Jesus was crucified.

Christ is the Lamb of God (John 1:29) as our passover is sacrificed for us (1Co 5:7). In regard to  His sacrifice – His death – Jesus predicted that as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matt 12:40). Read  Eph 4:8-10 and 1 Pet 3:18,19. We must properly interpret Scripture literally as written! The Lord Jesus declared that He would remain dead – His body in the tomb, His soul in Paradise – three days and three nights, literally, three 24-hour periods of time.

As to the three days and three nights from late Wednesday afternoon when He was placed in Joseph’s tomb until His resurrection – Three Nights: Wednesday night, Thursday night, Friday night …  Three Days: Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Saturday night does not count because He arose sometime after 6 PM (Saturday) as evidenced by the fact that He was not in the Tomb very early in the morning (dawn) that first Easter Sunday (Luke 24:1).

 

Not “good” Friday … it’s “good” Wednesday!

The false idea and traditional view that Jesus died on Friday has passed from the Roman Church to the Protestant denominations to Baptists, and thus “good Friday” is observed traditionally. It’s not “good” Friday, scripturally, it was a “good (for us) Wednesday” that our Lord Jesus died for sins.

Since He died on Wednesday, it’s scriptural to observe the Lord’s Supper on the Tuesday night before Easter!  This is the only conclusion since the Lord observed both the Passover and the Lord’s Supper on the night before He was crucified. Again, when the Lord Jesus said He would “be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth … those are three literal days, each having 24 hours!

How could there be three days and three nights from Friday afternoon until very early in the morning Sunday? Mathematically there can’t be by any stretch of the imagination. If Jesus died Friday afternoon, at the most, there could only be ONE night – Friday night (and, if you count Saturday night – keep in mind, that the Hebrew next day started at 6 PM) that’s still only TWO nights!  If Jesus died Friday afternoon, at the most, there could only ONE day – Saturday, (and, if you count a part of another day, Sunday – keep in mind that He out of the Tomb before dawn) that’s still only TWO days!

If Jesus said “three days” without the “three nights,” we could understand that to mean a part of three days, since both in and out of the Scriptures we use the words to mean a portion of a day. In our way of saying it, the expression “on the third day” in the Gospels referring to His resurrection would be after the third day.  However, the Scriptures specify three days and three nights, and thus, we who maintain the verbal inspiration of Jesus’ words, insist on three twenty-four hour days!

To further assist our understanding, we must be aware of the calculated differences between a Roman day, a Jewish day, and a day as we moderns observe time. The Roman day began at 6:00 AM [our time] and a new day began twenty-four hours later. The Jewish day began at sunset and closed at the next sunset – from approximately 6:00 PM [our time] and a new day beginning twenty-four hours later. In contrast, our day begins at 12 midnight and a new day began twenty-four hours later at midnight.  The Lord Jesus was placed on the cross at the third hour, Roman time (Mark 15:25) which is 9:00 AM [our time] and remained on the cross until about the ninth hour, Roman time (Luke 23:44) which is 3:00 PM [our time].  Our Lord was, for six hours, hanging on the cross.

At the request of the Jews, He was taken down from the cross and placed in the tomb before sunset which was the beginning of that particular sabbath day. The sabbath referred here was NOT the regular weekly sabbath starting at sunset on Friday, but a high sabbath - a sabbath which came on Wednesday that particular week! There were many high sabbath days in the Jewish calendar (Lev. 23:5-7).  When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head,

and gave up the ghost. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, for that sabbath day was an high day (John 19:30-31). This high Sabbath day was not a regular weekly sabbath, but the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, also called a sabbath day.

Our dear Lord paid the penalty for sin on Wednesday (not Friday)! By sunset on Thursday His body was in the grave ONE night and ONE day. By sunset on Friday, His body was in the grave TWO nights and TWO days. By sunset on Saturday, His body was in the grave THREE nights and THREE days.  The THREE full nights and THREE full days (Matt 12:40) were accomplished by sunset on Saturday, Then, He arose, sometime after sunset, 6:00 PM Saturday [our time]. The women came early Sunday morning to find the grave empty and were told He had already risen from the dead (Luke 24:1-8).

 

For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. (1 Cor 11:26)   

The question naturally arises: how often shall we as New Testament believers observe the Lord’s Supper?  The answer is evident – at the same time and as often as Jesus participated in this marvelous Supper! He instituted the service at the time of the Passover (Matt.26:19-30). FACT: Jesus participated in the Lord’s Supper only one time in His entire life and that was observed at the time of Passover, the night before He was crucified.

As to the Passover, how often did the Israelites observe this custom?  Once a week, once a quarter, or just when they felt like it?  NO, once a year as prescribed by the Word of God (Lev.23:5-8)!  It was not a matter of choice or convenience! Each year at the very same time, the Jews observed the Passover to show the Lord’s death until He would come the first time.  The original purpose of the Old Testament Passover was fulfilled when Christ our Passover was sacrificed (1 Cor. 5:7).

Likewise, the Word of God regulates the Lord’s Supper. It was not a matter of a Christian’s choice or convenience! … nor, the decision of a religious hierarchy! We observe the Lord’s Supper to show the Lord’s death until He comes again (1 Cor. 10:26). We find no record in the New Testament that declares any local Church participated in the Lord’s Supper every week, or every quarter, or tacked on the end of a regular worship service.  The Lord’s Supper was given at a special time, for a special purpose, and special care should be taken that it be one of the high days of the local Church ministry!

 

Is the term, breaking of bread, the same as the Lord’s Supper? (Acts 2:42, 46; 20:7-11; 27:35, 36)    Some believe that every time the disciples broke bread together, they were observing the Lord’s SupperNot so!  It means just exactly what it says they did, “they broke bread.” Breaking bread is only one element and does not mean the Lord’s Supper. When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, there were two elements – bread and wine – symbolic of His broken body and shed blood!

 

Consider these Scriptures pertaining to the breaking of bread:

 

Acts 2:42,46  In the first place, bread is mentioned, but not wineMeat is mentioned as a part of their table.  The Lord’s Supper that Jesus instituted had two elements: bread and wine and no meat!  The Passover observance did have a lamb … but the Lord did not include lamb in His supper – He was the LAMB!  It is commonly accepted by various religious denominations that breaking of bread and the Lord’s Supper are synonymous. That cannot be proven by Scripture!  If the disciples were participating in the Lord’s Supper, the Holy Spirit would have inspired Luke the writer of Acts to say that it was the Lord’s Supper. He inspired Paul to call the ordinance, the Lord’s Supper, not “breaking of bread,” when he wrote to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 11:20).  Paul mentioned the two necessary elements: bread and cup.  Paul told them they had houses to eat and to drink in, and wrote that the Church of God to be a separate entity (1 Cor. 11:22,34).  Acts 2:46 relates that they went from house to house eating bread and meat. Not by any stretch of the imagination could this mean that all members of that first Church who then numbered over 3,000 (Acts 2:41) had the Lord’s Supper together when they ate together from house to house!  It means that since they were saved, every aspect of their daily life in their homes had new meaning and significance! They enjoyed fellowship and had meals together when away from the local Church service.

 

Acts 20:7-11   Again the breaking of bread is mentioned twice. They met on the first day of the week and they continued until the next day.  This was an all day, all night meeting. Did they come together for the Lord’s SupperNo cup or wine is mentioned; in fact they broke bread twice … once when they came together during the day, and then after midnight they broke bread and ate again.  Does that mean they participated in the Lord’s Supper twice?  I think not.  It means that they had preaching, and in between times, had fellowship with each other around a table of food.

Here is some insight on the term breaking of bread.  Bread was a principal food in those days.  To understand this, the following is a quote from the book, “Manners And Customs Of Bible Lands,” by Fred H. Wright, published by Moody Press.  “In the Orient it has been estimated that three-fourths of the people live entirely upon bread or upon that which is made from wheat or barley flour.  It is unquestionably the principal food of the East.  In the Bible such an expression as “eating bread” is often used when we Occidentals would say: ‘eating a meal.’ When the Bible states that the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews (Gen. 43:31,32), it means they could not eat a meal with them.  …The Palestinians are brought up to think of bread as having a mystic sacred meaning …Since there is this attitude of sacredness in relation to ‘the staff of life’, there grows out of it the universal Eastern custom of breaking bread, and not cutting it.” (p. 44,45)

 

Acts 27:35-37   Again bread was broken. This has the same elements as mentioned above namely, bread and meat.  Was this event on board ship with Roman soldiers, ship crew, and the apostle Paul, an observance of the Lord’s Supper?  Of course not! But if you interpret the breaking of bread as the Lord’s Supper, you must be consistent to define this event as the Lord’s Table, also. We must utterly reject such an interpretation!  For certain we know that the 276 persons on that vessel did not constitute a body of baptized believers in a local Church, yet all participated in the breaking of bread.

 

The participation in the Lord’s Supper is a  Divine command. (1 Cor. 11:24,25)  Twice Paul writes: this doEvery believer has an obligation to participate!  It is not an option; it’s a command – this do!   No true Christian, desiring to be in God’s perfect will, can “pick and choose.” We are a part of the family of God, and when the family has a function, each is to be involved! No one is above the responsibility of participation! No one is superior! No one has “arrived” spiritually!

 

Every member of New Testament Baptist Church is to participate in the Lord’s Supper next Tuesday night! We are commanded to take the Lord’s Supper as detailed in Scripture!

 

For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

(1 Cor. 11:26)

 

Pastor J. C. Joiner

New Testament Baptist Church,  Adult Bible Study Wednesday Night, 3-28-2012

NEW CONVERTS CLASS … Every Sunday Night

 Scripture Memorization for the Week of April 1

(1 Corinthians 11:28) 

But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat

of that bread, and drink of that cup.




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