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What Must We Do To Be Saved? Part 6 – What about the Lord’s Supper?

SIH STSTA ICONTHE most important question that anyone can ask is the question posed by the keeper of the prison in Acts 16:30… “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”.

The answer to this question is more valuable than gold, silver and all the wealth this world has to offer.  This answer will reveal to us the path that leads to the forgiveness of our sins, the receipt of the indwelling Holy Spirit, fellowship with the Only True and Living Creator, and eternity in paradise with God Himself.  Our very spiritual life and  eternal destiny rely upon finding the answer to this question.

This question is of such importance we will be taking several blog entries to carefully  answer this question…

Blog Entry #1 Salvation

Blog Entry #2 Repentance

Blog Entry #3 Faith / Belief

Blog Entry #4 What about good works?

Blog Entry #5 What about baptism?

Blog Entry #6 What about the Lord’s Supper?

Blog Entry #7 What about church membership?

We now begin our study with blog entry #6…. What about the Lord’s Supper?  ….

THE SCRIPTURES:

Matt 26:26-29 (KJV)

26) And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed [it], and brake [it], and gave [it] to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

27) And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave [it] to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

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

29) But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

 Mark 14:22-25 (KJV)

22) And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake [it], and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.

23) And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave [it] to them: and they all drank of it.

24) And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.

25) Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.

 Luke 22:17-20 (KJV)

17) And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide [it] among yourselves:

18) For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

19) And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake [it], and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

20) Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup [is] the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

 1Cor 10:15-17 (KJV)

15) I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.

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?

17) For we [being] many are one bread, [and] one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

 1Cor 11:23-34 (KJV)

23) For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the [same] night in which he was betrayed took bread:

24) And when he had given thanks, he brake [it], and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

25) After the same manner also [he took] the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink [it], in remembrance of me.

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

27) Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink [this] cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

28) But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup.

29) For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

30) For this cause many [are] weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

31) For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

32) But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

33) Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.

34) And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

 THE STUDY:

Continuing with our study to find the answer to the question “What must I do to be saved?”, we now turn our attention to the church ordinance of “the Lord’s Supper” or “Communion”.   These are the only two Scriptural names for this ordinance.  We find the title “communion” given to this observance in 1 Cor 10:15-17.  We find that the Lord personally instituted this observance in Matt 26:26 and Mark 14:22, hence the name “The Lord’s Supper” (ie The Supper Began By the Lord).

What is “Communion” or “The Lord’s Supper?  It is when a local assembly of believers partakes of unleavened bread and fruit of the vine.  As they are partaking of this “supper” it is being used as a reminder of Christ’s sufferings, His shed blood, and His death for the sins of His people.  It also is a reminder of the promise of His second coming. (1 Cor 11:26)

Other observances SIMILAR to that of the Lord’s Supper are commonly called “The Eucharist”, “The Blessed Sacrament”, or “The Sacrament of the Altar”.

A common teaching existing throughout the ages is the need to partake of this observance to gain, or keep, salvation from our sins.  Let’s take a moment to see if this belief has Scriptural foundations.

The historical accounts of the institution of the supper…

Matt 26:26-29 – And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed [it], and brake [it], and gave [it] to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave [it] to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.  But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

 Mark 14:22-25 – And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake [it], and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.  And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave [it] to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.  Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.

 Luke 22:17-20 – And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide [it] among yourselves:  For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.  And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake [it], and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.  Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup [is] the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

 1Cor 11:23-26 – For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the [same] night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake [it], and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also [he took] the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink [it], in remembrance of me.  For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. 

 In the above four texts, we find the origins of the Lord’s Supper.  All four are very similar in their accounts of the supper.

When Christ served the bread, He referred to the bread as “my body”… “Take, eat; this is my body” and “ This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me”.  Likewise, when serving the fruit of the vine he described it as “my blood” … “ For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins”, “This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.”, and “This cup [is] the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. “

When Christ described the bread and fruit of vine as “His body” and “His blood” respectfully, what did He mean?  Did He mean that they mysteriously, literally, became His body and blood?  Or did He mean that they symbolized His body and His blood?

Both Christ and the Apostle Paul help us to come to answer these questions:

Note that Christ used the phrase “this do in remembrance of me.”  Here, we are clearly told the motive of our taking the supper is not to partake of His literal blood an body but to simply remember what He has done on our behalf.

In 1 Corinthians 11:, Paul described the observance of the supper in this way… “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.”

Here he says the observance is to “shew the Lord’s death” which should continue until Christ comes at His second coming.  In other words, Paul’s emphasis in on the public declaration of the death of Christ that the supper produced.

Please notice, in both examples… neither Christ, nor Paul said anything about the act causing a gain of, or a retention of salvation. Both clearly declared that the Lord’s Supper was a symbolic act.  It was done to remember and declare what He has done for us through the use of symbols.

When the bread (a symbol of His body) was chewed it symbolized the abused and mistreatment that the body of Christ suffered.  His beatings, plucking His beard, being spat upon, the spear piercing His side, the nails being driven in His hands and feet; all of this abuse is pictured by the biting, chewing and tearing apart of the unleavened bread.

When the fruit of the vine (a symbol of His shed blood) was poured from the cup and running over the lips, gums and throat, it symbolized the blood pouring from His body and running down His body, and the cross.

This entire process of His physical abuse and His shed blood resulted in His physical death.  In this way, the supper declared and symbolized His death.  This is what Christ and the Apostle Paul were speaking of.

When Christ described the elements of the Supper as “my body” and “my blood”, He was referring to their symbolic significance, not any literal transformation that took place.

Paul continues in 1 Cor 11:27-34 – Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink [this] cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup.  For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many [are] weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.  For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.  Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.  And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

 These verses help us to understand the need to understand and prepare ourselves properly for the observance of the supper.  Paul makes it plain that the proper observance of the supper is A BIG DEAL.  Paul explained that if an individual, or the church as a whole, observed the supper in an unworthy fashion they could suffer sickness or even death.  Contextually, observing the supper unworthily involved not recognizing the proper symbolism of the supper by “not discerning the Lord’s body”.  The word for “discerning” carries with it the meaning of “to discriminate, understand, or separate thoroughly”.

In other words, if those partaking of the supper fail to understand it’s symbolism or purpose, they are abusing the supper and therefore, symbolically, guilty of “the body and blood of Christ”.

In Hebrews 10:10-13, Paul emphasizes that the sacrifice of Christ’s body was a one time event. It was not only unneeded, but actually, heretical, to speak of a need to be continually sacrificing His body for the forgiveness of sins.  This is another reason why we know that the bread does not mystically become His body, nor is it offered continually for the forgiveness of sin… Heb 10:10-13 – By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once [for all]. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

 In John 6:32-51 we find Christ as the Bread of Life being discussed.  In verses 53-58  we read… Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.  Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.  For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.  He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.  As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.  This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

Is this teaching us that we must literally partake of His body and blood for salvation? If so, then the obvious reference must be understood of the partaking of the Lord’s Supper and the mystical transformation of the bread and fruit of the vine into His literal body and blood.

 To fully understand these verses, we must see the context in which Christ was speaking… John 6:28-31 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.  They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

 Contextually, Jesus is answering the question “What shall we do to work the works of God?”  He then clearly explains that the work of God that is man’s responsibility is to “believe on Him, whom He hath sent”.  In other words, it is to believe on the Messiah, the Lord, Jesus Christ.

The hearers then desired proof that Christ was the One they were to believe upon… they point out to Christ that God was able to perform miracles in the desert, assuring the Israelites He was with them.  One of those miracles was the miracle of manna from heaven.  If Christ was truly the Messiah, surely He could do miracles as well and prove His claims.

Christ then uses the picture of the manna and the partaking of it to symbolically help them to see the need to BELIEVE in Him for spiritual life.  He was the bread sent from God.  They were to turn to Him, in faith, and receive Him into their life, just as the Israelites of old, had turned to the bread and received it as their source of physical life from God.   We see this teaching summarized in vs 57 –  As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.  This is why Christ used the symbols of bread and eating to describe securing salvation through belief in Him.  It was a continuation of a subject brought up by the HEARERS who was seeking authentication of His person and message.

Before the subject of eating manna was brought up to Him, He described the act as “believing”, however, once the hearers brought up the subject of the OT manna from heaven, Christ simply turned the OT account of the manna into a wonderful lesson of our need to receive Him (the wonderful manna from God) into their life, and in doing so, secure their spiritual life.

Finally, we will take a quick look at 1Cor 10:15-17 – I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.  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? For we [being] many are one bread, [and] one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

Here, we are told that partaking of the Lord’s Supper is an act of communion with Christ and His work on the cross.  The word communion carries with it the idea of “fellowship, association, and relationship”.  In other words, when we observe the Lord’s Supper we are associating ourselves with Christ and His work.  We are saying that we have a relationship to Christ and His work on our behalf.   It is much like the public declaration of faith that we make when we are baptized.

SUMMARY

In this blog entry we have seen the clear Scriptural declaration that the Lord’s Supper is a very important way to remember Christ’s work on our behalf and make a public profession of our faith in Christ.  However, the Lord’s Supper is not necessary for the receipt of salvation.  The Lord’s Supper should always follow salvation.

In the following blog entries we will continue to study, in detail, the answer to the question “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

If you have any questions about your condition or the salvation that the Lord so graciously offers,  you can look to several sources for further information:  A local Bible-teaching church in your area, or you are welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com, or you can refer to my blog page entitled “How to have a relationship with God” for more teachings on the subject of salvation.

 May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

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May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

I’m Saved! In Church I Walked Down The Aisle and Said A Prayer…

SIH STSTA ICONAs a Pastor of 15 years, I used to ask the question, “Have you ever been saved from your sins?”.  I have received many different responses to this question.  Here are a few of them…

“Of course, I was baptized as a baby in (church name)”;

“Yes, I am saved, I am a member of (church name)”;

“Yes, I have kept all the sacraments of my church”;

“Yes, I was born into a Christian family, we’ve been Christians for at least four generations”;

“Why yes, thank you for asking, I walked down the aisle of (church name) and said the sinners prayer back in September of 2001”;

and many, many more.

It has broken my heart to hear responses like this coming from those for whom I care.  If you notice, in every case, the above responses imply that our salvation is based on something we have done.  The Bible makes it plain that our salvation does not lie in what we have done, but what the Lord has done in us.  (John 6:44-45, 6:63-66, Eph 2:8-10, Php 2:12-13, Col 1:25-29, Titus 3:4-5)

So where did we get the idea that salvation is based on something that we have done?  Sad to say, in many cases, the churches of today must take responsibility for fostering this false belief.  Since I am a Baptist pastor, I will use Baptist churches for my example… my heart aches when I see other Baptist pastors, at the close of the service, beg and plead for people to “come down the aisle and be saved” or “repeat the sinners prayer after me and be saved”.

In many cases, this is done by well-meaning pastors who are trying to encourage those in attendance to make a commitment to Christ.   But, instead of bringing about commitment, they are encouraging others to trust in a work for their salvation.

Please remember, a person can be saved just as easily standing in the pew, or sitting in a chair, or lying in a bed etc etc.  The Lord can work in the heart at anytime and any place, not just at the altar in the front of the church.  Likewise, salvation comes through Christ creating faith into the heart of the faithless, not by us saying any prayer.

Whenever the gospel message is given out in the Bible, it is never accompanied with the instructions to walk an aisle, or say a “sinner’s prayer” (the same can be said for baptism, church membership, keeping the sacraments, or being born into a Christian family).   The gospel message, when given in the Bible, is accompanied with the instructions to trust in Christ and His work. (Acts 16:30-31, John 3:15-16 etc etc)

The only way we can be certain we are saved is by knowing the Lord has worked in our lives.  How can we know this for sure?  The Bible makes it plain….

THE SCRIPTURE:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. … For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2Co 5:17-21)

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.  (Jas 2:14-26)

THE STUDY:

In the Bible, a true salvation experience brings about change in the life of the believer.  When God intervenes in the life of a sinner and brings him to salvation, the newly saved person becomes a new creation in Christ. (2 Cor 5:17-21)  This “new creation” involves a new attitude about the Lord and sin.  (Eph  4:22-24)  The newly saved now sees Christ as their Lord and despises the sin in their life.  This new attitude then motivates the Christian to begin a life of service to their Lord and Savior.  This service is described as fruit bearing. (John 15:1-5, Gals 5:19-26)  This changed life is one of the reasons why God has saved us (Eph 2:8-10).

Also, this changed life is what gives us the ultimate assurance that the Lord has worked a work of saving grace in our lives. James clearly presented this principle in James chapter 2.  In verses 14-26, James refers to “dead” faith as opposed to a Godly saving faith.  How can we tell the difference?  James tells us the works that we perform will reveal the true nature of the faith we have within us.   The lack of a changed life shows us that the faith we possess is not of God but simply a work that we performed in and of ourselves (a dead faith).  A changed life brought about by our faith, shows us that our faith is a work of God in our heart. (Please read James 2:14-26 in it’s entirety to come to a full understanding of James’ teachings.)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

So let me rephrase my original question, “Have you ever exercised faith in Christ?  If so, has this faith produced a changed life within you?  Do you now love the Lord and seek to please Him with your life.  Do you now hate sin and strive to rid it from your life?”  These questions get to the heart of our spiritual condition.

If you can say, “yes” to all three, you can be assured that you have been forgiven of your sins and are a part of God’s family.  If you must say “no” to any, or all, of these then you must come to the realization you are yet in your sins.  If you are yet in your sins, please follow the dictates of God’s Word….

“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”(1Jn 5:11-13)

If you would like more information about salvation, please refer to my blog page entitled “forgiveness”.

Also, if you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace”  “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike”http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word. Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”