The Lord's Supper

by Dr. Norman H. Wells


"For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us." (I Corinthians 5:7.)

Scriptural References: Exodus 12:1-51, Exodus 13:3-10, Exodus 23:14-19, Exodus 34:1826, Leviticus 23:4-14, Numbers 9:1-14, Numbers 28:16-25, Deuteronomy 16:1-6.

To have a proper understanding and appreciation of the Lord's Supper we must know something of its origin. The Lord's Supper was instituted by Jesus on the night before His crucifixion. It was at the time of the Passover. The disciples asked Jesus where they were to observe the Passover. The Lord instructed them to go to Jerusalem. to a certain man, with this message: "The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at thy house with my disciples." The disciples carried out His instructions and got the place in readiness, and on the last night before His crucifixion they gathered in the Upper Room for the final observance of the Passover. There Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper, thus turning the shadow of the Old Testament into the substance of the New, the type to the antitype, the paschal lamb to the Lamb of God,

Thus we see the relationship between the Passover and the Lord's Supper in the time when the Lord's Supper was nstituted. Jesus, by first eating the Passover according to the law of the fathers, and then instituting the Lord's Supper, evidently meant to show the disciples that one was to take the place of the other, that one was the fulfillment of the symbols of the other. In the light of this we need to examine the record concerning the Passover in order to have a clear understanding of the Lord's Supper.

The institution and first celebration of the Passover is recorded in the twelfth chapter of Exodus. The Bible student will remember how Joseph had been sold into slavery by his brethren and taken to Egypt. In Egypt he rose to be one of the rulers of the land, Jacob and his family followed Joseph into Egypt because of the great famine. The Bible tells us, "the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them. Now there arose a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph." The new king feared the growing strength of Israel and set about to stop their growth. The children of Israel were reduced to the level of slaves. The king ordered all the male children of Israel slain. Amidst this terrible oppression Moses was born. God called Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt into the Promised Land. Pharaoh refused to let them go and God sent many plagues upon Egypt the final one being the death of all the first born. This brings us to the institution of the Passover.


When the children of Israel were to be brought out of Egypt the Lord commanded them to prepare for this departure by a solemn religious ordinance. On the tenth day of the month of Abib, the head of each family was to select from the flock either a lamb or a kid, a male of the first year, without blemish. If the family were too small to eat the whole of the lamb, the father was permitted to invite the nearest neighbor to join them. On the fourteenth day of the month he was to kill the lamb while the sun was setting. He was then to take the blood of the lamb in a basin, and with a sprig of hyssop to sprinkle it on the two side-posts and the lintel of the door of the house. The lamb was then thoroughly roasted, whole, and not a bone was to be broken. It was to be served with unleavened bread and bitter herbs and those who partook were to eat in haste and in a condition of full readiness for an immediate journey Nothing was to be left until the morning; anything that did remain was to be burned. No male who was uncircumcised was to participate. The people had been informed of God's purpose to smite the first born throughout Egypt. The lambs were selected, on the fourteenth day they were slain and the blood sprinkled. At midnight the first born of the Egyptians were slain. The king of Egypt urged the Israelites to leave and Moses led them out.


It is easily seen how that the Passover is a type of the Cross.

The Passover was to the Jews-their day of independence even as the cross of Christ means to the Christian his freedom from the bondage of sin. "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." John 8:36.

The Passover provided salvation for the Jewish household, even as Christ provides salvation for the family of the believer.

"And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." Acts 16:31.

The Passover lamb was to be a male of the first year, without blemish, and was to be kept from the tenth to the fourteenth day before it was slain; and Jesus was the fulfillment of all this.

The Passover lamb was killed the same time of day as Jesus was put to death by crucifixion.

The sprinkling of the blood of the Passover lamb is a type of the application of the blood of Jesus to the heart of the believer.

We begin to see the relation between the Passover and the Lord's Supper. The eating of the Passover is a symbol of the Lord's Supper. The Passover was to be a memorial. "And this day shall be unto you a memorial: and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast for an ordinance forever." Exodus 12:14.

The Jews were to observe the Passover as an ordinance in memorial of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage. Likewise the Lord's Supper is a memorial. "... this do In remembrance of me." 11 Corinthians 11:24. It is an ordinance in memorial of Christ who delivered the believer from bondage of sin by His blood.


"... take, eat: this is my body ..." (I Corinthians 11: 24.)

Scriptural References: Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22, Luke 22:19, I Corinthians 11:24.

In the symbols of the Lord's Supper the bread represents the broken body of the Lord Jesus Christ. When the believer raises the bread to his Ups he is to remember the broken body of Jesus.

The precious body of Jesus!! In our meditations upon the broken body our thoughts first turn to that wonderful miracle of the Virgin Birth. Isaiah wrote, over 700 years before Christ, "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel! God with us!!

God tabernacled in flesh!!!

This thought inspired John to write: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth." Paul called him the "image of the invisible God." Again in Philippians Paul writes "But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."

This is my body, Jesus said!! The tabernacle of God!!


Why was it necessary for Jesus to be "made flesh?" What was the purpose of God tabernacling himself in flesh? Many things come to mind. He assumed a nature like unto our own and thus took on our sorrows and our griefs. Isaiah calls Him "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." Paul says in Hebrews "For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted." And again, "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."

What a wonderful Saviour! Immanuel "He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows," victoriously, without defeat. We have a Saviour who knows our infirmities!! In our sorrow we look to one who conquered sorrow, in our grief to one who was victorious over grief. Jesus said, "This is my body!!" A body like unto ours that conquered sin, sorrow, weariness, pain, hunger, etc. In Him we have victory!! "This is my body which is broken for you." In our weakness and failure we are triumphant in Him!! "He was made to be sin for us."

Jesus was born that He might die!! He became incarnate in order that, in assuming a nature like unto our own, I might offer up His life as a sacrifice for the sins of men. "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree ..." "For he hath made him to be sin for us ..." Christ voluntarily placed Himself in the situation of fallen man as a violator of God's holy law. He holds Himself responsible for our guilt and takes upon Himself the full penalty of our sins. Jesus said, "This is my body which is broken for you."


When we partake of the bread that represents His broken body we are to remember that Christ dwells in the believer. Christ has made the believer His abiding place. Christ said, "Abide in me and I in you." Paul expressed this glorious truth in this manner: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me ..." Again in Colossians Paul wrote "... Christ in you, the hope of glory." The tremendous importance of this can only be realized in the light of I John 4:4: "... greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." Christ liveth in each believer!! Christ, in the flesh, conquered every temptation, every sorrow, every heartache, etc.!! This is the victory, Christ in the believer, the hope of glory!


The body of our Lord was three days and three nights the grave but the grave could not hold the body of Jesus. "He is not here: for he has risen." What does this mean, this bodily resurrection? Oh, wonderful truth!! In Him we too shall rise!! "Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you."

Listen again to God's word, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." We shall be like Him!! Shout it over every sorrow, heartache, pain and grief. This is the victory.

One last thought concerning the body of Jesus and that is, we shall see Him as He is. This same Jesus is coming again, bodily and visibly. Oh. wonderful day.


"This is my blood ... which is shed for many for the remission of sins." (Matthew 26:28.)

Scriptural References: Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, I Corinthians 11:25.

When the believer raises the cup to his lips to partake of the fruit of the vine, he is to remember the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." I Peter 1:18-19.

"Redeemed --- with the precious blood of Christ" !!

Where did the idea of blood atonement originate? The answer is very plain. When Adam and Eve sinned God told them of a Saviour who would redeem them. He portrayed this to them by shedding the blood of an animal to secure a covering for their naked condition. Here we have the beginning of the "blood line" that runs through the entire Bible! Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all worshiped God by means of blood sacrifices. God incorporated it into the law!! Small wonder the writer of Hebrews exclaims: "... and without shedding of blood is no remission." What God said in Exodus to the children of Israel is equally true today, "When I see the blood I will pass over you."


What made the shedding of the blood of Christ a necessity? First, there is the fact of sin. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23. "The wages of sin is death." Romans 6:23. Everyone is under this indictment! All are guilty!! This sin brings a knowledge of guilt, it brings bondage and places a barrier between the sinner and God.

Second, we must consider, God punishes sin. All sin must be punished. "...they which commit such things are worthy of death."

Third, God's law is immutable, it cannot change! The law of God knows no favorites nor exceptions and can never be suspended.

Fourth, no atonement is possible by a violator of the law. A single violation of the law makes the sinner guilty of all. No man, being himself a sinner, can satisfy the demands of God's holy law either for himself or for others.

The need is for a divinely accepted substitute! This substitute is provided in the Lord Jesus Christ!! "... whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood." "In whom we have redemption through his blood."


"The life of the flesh is in the blood." Leviticus 17:11. The blood is the life! To give blood is to give life!! Inasmuch as "the life of the flesh is in the blood" there was no other way for Christ to give his life in payment for sin except through the shedding of His precious blood. It was necessary for Him to die! He did die!! He did shed His blood!!! He died in our place and stead.

"Redeemed --- with the precious blood of Christ." Believers are saved by the blood of the Lamb. The blood saves by substitution, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8. "My blood ... shed for many for the remission of sins." Matthew 26:28. The blood saves by its voluntary surrender. Christ said, "I lay down my life ... no man taketh it from me." The blood can save because of its purity and holiness, totally free from sin. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin." II Corinthians 5:21.

"The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." I John 1:7. Jesus Christ paid the full demand of the law against the sinner and thus is able to present the believer faultless before the throne of God.


There is no other hope for the sinner except through the blood. Let us glory in it! The precious blood!! It is the center of our life, our hope, our peace. The blood has loosed us from our sins and saved us from judgment! Let us rejoice and tell the blessings of the blood!!

"This is my blood!" Who can measure the deep significance of this precious statement? At the Lord's table the believer is to remember the blood, the precious blood that was shed for our redemption.


"This do ... in remembrance of me." (I Corinthians 11:25.)

Scriptural References: I Corinthians 11:24.

The believer is to partake of the Lord's Supper in remembrance of Christ.

We love to recall our first meeting with loved ones!! What pleasant things are enjoyed in reminiscing! The believer cherishes the many times he found Christ to be all sufficient, the many times in life that he met Christ in the manifold ways that Christ is entwined in the believer's life.

The believer first meets Christ in conviction. Who can fail to remember the time when the realization of sin and guilt first began to break upon the heart and conscience? As a sinner, guilty and lost, Christ seemed so far away!! The gulf of sin that separates the sinner from God seems impassable. The helplessness, the loneliness, the guilt, the fears of conviction seem unbearable.

Remember meeting Christ in repentance? With conviction came the recognition of sin!! Hideous sin!! Sin that wrecks the life, blasts the future, and condemns the soul. Sin that separates from God! The first impression received when the believer, in repentance, recognizes sin is generally the one remembered. Hating sin, not only for what it has done personally but also for what it has done to Christ!!

The believer will remember the deep regret that came because of sin! Godly sorrow!! Shame!! Not only, however, recognizing sin and regretting but also rejecting sin. That holy urge that God gives to turn from sin, to be forever free from sin!! When things once loved become repulsive! Sin becomes a despised, loathsome thing!! Remember? ? At the table of the Lord, the believer should remember! Do we still hate sin? Is it still repulsive and loathsome? Or perhaps there has been a mellowing, a toning down, a compromise!

Who can describe the glory of when the sinner first meets Christ in faith?? The experience is possibly never the same with any two but it is always the mountain peak of any life!

Christ wants us to remember! The time of conviction and repentance when the sinner is in the depths of despair. All hope is gone! He is utterly helpless!! Pride and self-righteousness have fallen! Alone, sinful and lost!! David said, "In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God, and he did hear." Remember? Oh, the sweetness and joy of calling upon the Lord from the depths of repentance. The overwhelming relief to know, "he did hear!" The repentant sinner meeting Christ at the cross and accepting Him as a personal Saviour.

"At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away, It was there by faith I received my sight And now I am happy all the day."

Remember? The most magnificent moment occurs when the light of the gospel shines forth in the blackness of sin and another child of God is born again. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

The glorious truth of the gospel expands even further; not only is the believer saved by faith but also lives by faith. Christ will lead in a happy, victorious, overcoming life all those who trust Him.

Remember the thrill of meeting Christ in service? The believer can be led out into fields of service as an ambassador for Christ!! This is the "labour of love," to be a servant of God. With the exception of the believer's own salvation nothing can compare with the joy of pointing someone else to the Lamb of God.

Sometimes we meet Christ in sorrow, in pain, and in heartbreak. It may be in the valley of the shadow of death. The song writer expressed it this way.

"What a Friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear; What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer.

"Oh what peace we often forfeit, Oh what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer."

The comfort and strength that Christ gives in time of distress is beyond words to portray.

Remember the Word! One day we shall see Him as He is! We will be like Him!! Redeemed and glorified!!

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."

Chapter 5 GIVE THANKS!

"When he had given thanks ... after the same manner, also he took the cup." (I Corinthians 11:24-25.)

Participation at the Lord's Table should be a time of thanksgiving. "... he took the cup and gave thanks." To give thanks is to express gratitude. It is to acknowledge that He is our all in all, that we are nothing!! At the Table let us come humbly before Him and give thanks!

"Now when the even was come he sat down with the twelve." This was just a few hours before the crucifixion. It was the final assembly of this select group before the cross! Jesus and the twelve disciples!! In looking at them we can see ourselves.

It is at this gathering that Jesus makes the prediction concerning Peter. "I tell thee Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me." Listen to Peter as he proudly answers these words of Christ, "Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee." In the Garden it was Peter who drew his sword in defense Christ. Proud, boastful Peter had many lessons yet to learn. In a short while he trembles at the words of a damsel saying, "Thou wast with Jesus." Three times with cursing he denied he knew the Lord and he warmed by the enemy fire.

So many times we see the reflection of Peter in ourselves. Worshiping Christ in the church and denying Him in our home, in our work, in our play, has become a standard practice. So often we are afraid to lift a word of testimony in the face of a sinful world. Christians who cannot stand alone!!

Judas was present!! The one who betrayed the Lord for thirty pieces of silver. Judas sold out the Lord for money! Money meant more to him than Jesus! This seems unbelievable, yet how many today are worshiping the Almighty Dollar instead of the Almighty God. How many Christians are putting money and the pursuit of money ahead of Jesus. The Lord's Day is so often used to make a dollar rather than worship.

"And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest." So many have inherited this trait and are proud glory-seekers desiring to have the pre-eminence. So much of the worship of Christ is for the purpose of receiving the plaudits of men. Look at the envy and jealousy that manifests itself among church members. Notice the strife and divisions that come to churches because of this. Is it not easy to see ourselves mirrored in the lives of this group?

From the Upper Room Jesus went to the garden to pray. This was Gethsemane, the hour of agony. He took with Him Peter, James and John. He asked them to pray while He went a little farther. Three times He returned to them from His prayer and three times He found them asleep! Asleep at the cross!!! This is the picture today! May God help us! The world is on fire, sin is raging, souls are dying and Christians are asleep at the cross!!! Comfortable, complacent and content is the lot of Mr. Average Christian.

Thomas was there!! Thomas, the doubter, the one who found it hard to accept the reality of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Sometimes it is difficult to accept our theology as real. We have a head knowledge but not a heart experience. We are going head first instead of heart first!!

This is the picture and so far it's not very pretty. This group was proud, boastful, doubting, sleeping and even betraying. Yet listen to God's word. "... having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end." They were weak and sinful but Christ loved them with an unwavering love! This love made the difference! With the exception of Judas these men went forth as blazing evangelists and shook the world for Jesus.

Give thanks! We may be weak and unworthy but the Christ of the cross loves us and will use us!! We can do all things through Christ.


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

The dictionary tells us that "examine" means, "to inspect or scrutinize with care; investigate critically. To test by questions or exercises as to qualifications, fitness, etc., as a pupil." Our text says, "Let a man examine himself." Observance of the Lord's Supper is to be a time of self-examination. We are to scrutinize with care and to investigate critically!!

We are to examine ourselves in the light of God's Word and will!! It is not an easy thing to submit to the full brilliance of this light. It reveals our flaws, mistakes, shortcomings, sins, envies, etc. Generally an examination in this light does not present a very pretty picture. We are reminded of the fact that we are only "sinners saved by grace." A true examination destroys pride, conceit and haughtiness and brings us in humble repentance before God. We are brought again to the realization of the goodness of God and it brings us to repentance.


Participation at the Lord's Table is a time of reflection! It is a time to remember! However, it is also a time of inspection, a deep soul-searching examination for sin and involves confession and repentance unto God. There is one other step! It is also a time of correction!! It is one thing to have our sins revealed by our examination and it is another to do something about them. We need to correct the sins and go forth, in God's power, to abandon those sins. Remember how clean and guiltless you felt those first precious hours after your salvation? In a great measure this should be duplicated each time you partake of the Lord's Supper!!

One part of our definition of the word "examine" states "to test by questioning or exercises as to qualifications, fitness, etc. as a pupil." All are possibly familiar with this usage of the word. The youngster in school knows that success or failure in his studies is proven by the examinations or tests that the teachers administer. The grade he receives in his work depends largely upon these examinations. Most of us can recall "final exams" and the last minute "cramming." Certainly there is something of this nature implied in our text, "Let a man examine himself." The Lord's Supper is examination time!

First, it would be well to examine ourselves as Christians. It is always well to review our own personal salvation, to go back in memory to the time and place of salvation. Of all the things in the world we need to be certain about, salvation should head the list!! A great host of folks who are deceived would be enlightened if they examined their salvation!!

Many times it would be discovered that a decision to live better, to join the church or something of this nature had been mistaken for salvation!!

We certainly need to examine our lives as Christians! Are we living a close, separated life, dedicated unto God? Maybe a close examination will reveal we have become casual and compromising in our living!! Can it be we have cooled in our love of God? Perhaps we are tolerating, yea, even participating in questionable sin!! Does our life and conduct bring honor and glory to God or --- reproach?

There is always the need to examine ourselves as church members!! Scriptural baptism is the first requisite of a Christian life! How many need to examine their baptism and see if it fulfills scripture's demands.


How many times it is true that a Christian life is never quite successful because of a failure to observe the requirements of scriptural baptism. As a member of a church are we striving for its advancement, attending all the services, helping sustain its ordinances and discipline, supporting its program with our tithes and offerings and doing everything we can to spread the gospel? Let a man examine himself!!!

We need to examine ourself as to our relationship to others!! Are we walking together in Christian love with our Christian brothers and sisters? Are we doing what we can to win the lost? Do we avoid all tattling, backbiting, gossiping, etc.? Do we watch over one another in brotherly love and remember one another in prayer? Are we quick to give aid in time of want, sickness and distress?

We are admonished to take the examination! What is your grade?


In our last chapter we studied the responsibility of each individual participant at the Lord's Supper. Each one is to "examine himself." Most of us are quick to see this truth! The individual is to acknowledge his sins unto God and ask for forgiveness and this is his responsibility and his alone! Each must stand before God!! There is, however, another truth that is not so readily grasped and it would be well to meditate upon it!

God not only holds each individual responsible for his actions but He also holds the individual church responsible for its actions as a church. It is not only true that each individual must "examine himself " but also that each church must examine itself !! There are "church sins" that need to be judged. These are sins of which the church, as a church, is guilty!! Paul says, "I hear that there be divisions among you." Again he writes, "... there must be also heresies among you ..." These were church sins and God was holding the church responsible!!

God calls upon each individual to judge himself (I Corinthians 11:31) and confess before God in order to receive forgiveness and blessing and to avoid chastisement. Each is responsible for obeying God. So it is with the, individual church. Each individual church is responsible before God of maintaining a high Christian standard and each has the authority of judgment and discipline. "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God." I Peter 4:17. The authority to judge and correct sin was placed in the church by Christ Himself. (Matthew 18:17.) We find this discipline carried out in the New Testament (II Thess. 3:6, Titus 3:10 and I Corinthians 5:9-13),

Each church, as a church, is to examine itself before participation at the Lord's Supper.


"Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." Ephesians 3:21. The main purpose of each church should be to bring glory unto God. Too often we glorify man, organizations, plans, etc. Every activity of the church should be so conducted that God would be glorified.

Christ established the church to go forth preaching the gospel and winning lost souls, Let each church examine itself! Has your church lost its purpose? Has it changed its course? Every church should be preaching the old gospel and seeing souls saved. Not to do so is sin, grievous sin, which needs to be judged and repented!

Christ said for each church to go into all the world with the gospel. We need to check our missionary programs! Are they alive and growing? Are we sending out missionaries who are flaming evangelists for Christ?

Each church is responsible before God for maintaining a pure doctrine; there is no room for heresy!! Away with compromise and the condoning of error and false doctrines! Let each church march under the banner of truth untainted by heresy. God grant that each church would assume its God-given duty of teaching God's Holy Word, plus nothing and minus nothing!!

God expects each church to maintain a standard of clean, Christian living among its members! For a church to tolerate sin among any of its members is to involve the entire church!! It's examination time!!


A church is to provide an assembly of love and fellowship for each member. There is no room for bickering, fighting and divisions. Fighting and feuding in a church is akin to blasphemy!!

Nothing will provide an anchor for the church like a proper observance of the Lord's Supper. It holds the church true to its purpose, maintains unity and love and glorifies God.


"I hear there be divisions among you ... therefore ... ye cannot eat the Lord's Supper." (I Corinthians 11:17-20.)

We are living in an age that is characterized by a neglect of the local church. The Lord's Supper should be observed when God's people "come together in the church." A proper observance of the Lord's Supper emphasizes the importance of the local church.

Baptists have always been the recipients of much abuse and unjust criticism because of their position concerning the Lord's Supper. Their position concerning the Lord's Supper needs to be stated again and again.

Baptists believe--that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer; in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, with the authority of the local church, to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our faith in the crucified, buried and risen Saviour, with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life: that it is pre-requisite to the privilege of a church relation and to the Lord's Supper, in which the members of the church, by the sacred use of bread and wine are to commemorate the dying love of Christ, preceded always by a solemn self-examination.


God placed the two ordinances, baptism and the Lord's Supper in the church, and the church alone has the authority to administer these ordinances.

In Matthew 16:18 we have the record of Christ establishing the first model church.

"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."


In Matthew 18:15-17 the power of judgment and discipline are placed in the local church.

"Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

"But if he will not hear, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

"And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church; but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."

In Matthew 26:26-28 the authority to observe the Lord's Supper was placed in the church.

"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."

In Matthew 28:19, 20 we have the Great Commission given to the church.

"Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

"Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

The church and the church alone has the authority to go forth "baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Also the authority to teach them to observe the Lord's Supper is in the church.

Christ Himself located the Lord's Supper in the church.

The practice in the New Testament was to observe the Lord's Supper in the church. In I Corinthians 11:17-34 we have Paul's discourse on the disorders at the Lord's Table in the church at Corinth. The whole discourse reveals that the Corinthians were observing the meal in the church. Read it and notice the language.

"... that ye come together not for the better but for the worse." (Vs. 17.)

To observe the Lord's Supper they came together as an assembly---the church.

"... when ye come together in the church." (Vs. 18.)

An honest inquirer cannot mistake language such as this.

"... when ye come together in one place." (Vs. 20.)

The established practice and accepted doctrine in these New Testament churches was that of observing the Lord's Supper in the church.

Paul states in verse 23 that the ordinances had been delivered unto the churches.

"For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you ..."

In I Corinthians 1:2 we find that Paul had addressed himself unto "The church of God which is at Corinth" and unto this local church he had delivered the ordinances.

"... when ye come together to eat." (Vs. 33.)

The proper place to eat the Lord's Supper was when they came together as a church.


In this entire passage the church, as a church, was censured for a wrong observance of the meal. Surely if the church was admonished, as a church, for the wrong observance of the Lord's Supper the responsibility for a right observance rested with the church.

In this passage also, the church, as a church, received praise for faithfully keeping the ordinances.


The responsibility for a proper observance of the Lord's Supper rested with the church. The Lord has placed certain restrictions and qualifications upon participants of the Lord's Supper. He has placed the responsibility of carrying these restrictions and requiring these qualifications upon the individual church.


God teaches in His Word that baptism is a pre~requisite to partaking of the Lord's Supper. All denominations teach that baptism must precede communion. It is an accepted truth for many reasons.

First, baptism was instituted and practiced before the Lord's Supper. John the Baptist never observed the Lord's Supper. Jesus was baptized before He instituted the Lord's Supper.

Second, baptism was given first in the commission to the church in Matthew 28:20. The order here is (a) make disciples, (b) baptize them (c) teach them to observe the Lord's Supper.

Third, the apostles practiced this order. On the day of Pentecost, recorded in Acts 2:41-42, we find this order of events.

"Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayers."

Notice the order: (a) received His Word (b) were baptized (c) breaking of bread.

Fourth, the apostles so instructed the churches. The people Paul was writing to in I Corinthians 11 were those spoken of in Acts 18:1-11, "... and many of the Corinthians hearing, believed and were baptized."

Fifth, the scriptures make baptism the initiatory ordinance. It is the emblem of the beginning of spiritual life. Communion is the emblem of the nutrition of that life.


It must be agreed then that baptism is a pre-requisite to the Lord's Supper. True Baptists will require scriptural baptism for all participants of the Lord's Supper. Baptism, to be scriptural, must meet the following requirements.

1. There must be a proper candidate. Only born again believers can be candidates for baptism.

2. There must be a proper mode. The only baptism in the Bible is by immersion.

3. There must be a proper administrator. As the responsibility for a proper observance of the ordinances was placed in the New Testament church, that church, and that church alone, has the authority to baptize.

This is the Baptist position concerning baptism. This scriptural baptism must precede the Lord's Supper. All who have not been scripturally baptized are restricted from participation. This is God's restriction and the responsibility for carrying it out rests with the local church.

The scriptural observance of the Lord's Supper is inseparably connected with efficient church discipline. There is none who would deny that the authority to judge and administer discipline was placed in the local church. Every organization which proposes to work smoothly, and yet efficiently, must have certain rules and regulations to be followed; certain laws for the individual members to obey. God has set these rules, regulations and standards in the church and given unto the church the authority to enforce them. That churches have a right to exercise a watchful supervision over their members, to reprove them when erring, and withdraw fellowship from them when incorrigible, is a necessity arising from the very constitution of their organization. This right was recognized by Christ and Ms apostles and was exercised by the first churches.

"And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican." (Matthew 18:17.)

Christ established the model church in the 16th chapter of Matthew and in this church was placed the authority to exercise discipline. It is needless to emphasize that this could only have been a local church. How foolish it is to think of a universal, invisible church exercising discipline.

We find this discipline carried out in all the New Testament churches.

"Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. (II Thess. 3:6.)

"A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject." (Titus 3:10.)

"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God." (I Peter 4:17.)

"I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:

"Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

"But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner: with such an one no not to eat.

"For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within?

"But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person." (I Corinthians 5:9-13.)


God set the standards for membership in the local church and gave unto the church the command to maintain these standards. Those who refuse to abide by these standards were to be subject to discipline. Note these phrases from scriptures given above.

"... withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly."

"... an heretick after the first and second admonition reject."

"... not to company with fornicators."

"... judge them that are within."

... put away from among yourselves that wicked person."

Can anything be more clear than this?

Church members who would not live according to God's standard were to be excluded from the membership of the church. Those who walked disorderly, hereticks, fornicators, covetous, idolaters, drunkards, extortioners, etc., were to be excluded. The identity and privileges of church membership were to be withdrawn! This would include the Lord's Supper. The scripture describes these from whom the church was to withdraw and then states, "WITH SUCH AN ONE, NO NOT TO EAT." This is God's Word! To invite those to the table that God does not invite is to break the command of God! Has any church the right to tempt a man "To eat and drink damnation to himself"? I Corinthians 11:29.

I Corinthians 5:12 plainly states that the church is to "judge them that are within." A church that refuses this responsibility rejects God's way.

Each individual local church is responsible for the discipline of its own members. One church doer, not discipline the members of another church. Each church is independent. The members of one church do not have a voice and vote in another church. Likewise, each church is only responsible for serving the meal to its own members over whom it has the authority of discipline.

Chapter 9 AS OFTEN!

"For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come." (I Corinthians 11: 26.)

Nowhere in Scripture does it tell the church when or how often the Lord's Supper should be observed. I Corinthians 11:26 is as close as the Scriptures come to instruction on this matter. The words "as often" would certainly lead us to believe that it was to be regular and often!! There is a great need for Christians to be consistent in all their relationships with the church and the Lord's Supper teaches this great truth. Every Christian should regularly find himself a participant at the Lord's Table.

Church members no longer think it important to be regular in their church attendance. The highways, picnic grounds, amusement parks, ball parks, show houses, night clubs, etc., all do their biggest business on Sundays!! A great percentage of those in attendance will be church members!


The least excuse is used by some church members to skip attending church. These folks skip church if it is raining or if it even looks like rain. They never come if it is snowing or if there is snow on the ground. If it is too hot they do not come! They stay home when it is cold. When friends or relatives visit them on Sunday they miss church. When they go visiting it is always on Sunday and so they miss church. These folks figure babies under three years are too small to bring to church. Children from four to five years are too much trouble in church to bring them. From seven years to twelve the child doesn't want to come and after 12 won't come!! Little Johnny sneezes on Friday so the whole family stays home on Sunday! If the children are sick they stay home and if they aren't sick they stay home for fear they will catch something at church.

In this area it is estimated that it will rain about ten Sundays out of the year and snow on at least three Sundays. It figures to be hot for 12 Sundays and cold for at least nine. This makes 34 Sundays these folks cannot come to church. They will have company for eight Sundays and will go visiting another eight. This makes 50 Sundays a year these folks cannot attend church. It leaves two Sundays a year they can attend-Easter and Christmas!!!


A true, born-again believer will attend church regularly --- 52 Sundays a year, unless sick or otherwise hindered. This church member will be present Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. He is saved and loves the Lord.


There is a need to emphasize again the importance of regular church attendance. We would like to discuss the Seven-fold Sin of Missing a Church Service. We have in mind, of course, those folks who miss a church service without any real reason for doing so.

"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Hebrews 10:25.

God's direct commandment is given here!! We are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together! We are not to miss a church service. To do so is to disobey God! Church attendance is a matter of obedience unto God, not merely convenience to self!!

"He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." I John 2:4.

To assemble together in God's house is a commandment of God.

The next sin that is committed when a church service is missed is revealed in I Corinthians 16:2.

"Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."

Here we have one of the New Testament affirmations of tithing. Upon every Sunday each Christian is to bring his tithes and offerings to God's house. An individual church member who neglects attending the local church will also neglect supporting it!! He becomes guilty of robbing God! If it depended upon these church members the church would be closed, the missionaries called home, the voice of the gospel would be stilled and the world would go to hell!!!

This is love that we walk after His commandments." II John 6.

Let us look at the third great sin committed each time a church member deliberately misses a church service.

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." II Timothy 2:15.

The church member that neglects church attendance will invariably neglect God's Word. The true church is a place of Spirit-filled teaching! This is God's way! The church, in one sense, is the school we attend to study God's Word and to train to be a workman for Him. A careless church member is generally an ignoramus as far as God's Word is concerned! His ignorance is a shame to the cause of Christ.

In Ephesians 6:4 we see another of these sins.

"And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."

What a black, hideous sin!! Parents, by their neglect of the service at God's house, implant in their children a disregard for God, the church and the Bible! The awful sin of being guilty of neglecting our children by neglecting the church. What a tragedy for a church member to realize, too late, that his children are grown and lost!!! Children on their way to hell because of the carelessness of the parents! May God help us to understand that the parents' attitude toward Christ and His church is reflected in their children. How can parents expect their children to be concerned about that which they treated so lightly.

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6.


Let us consider the next great sin that is committed when a church member neglects the services of the church.

"Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Exodus 20:3.

Whatever keeps the church member from the worship of God is preferred before God. Whatever is preferred before God becomes the object of our affections and a god before the God. This can be pleasure, comfort, money, etc. For instance:

"The love of money is the root of all evil: ..." I Timothy 6: 10.

"For they loved the praises of men ..." John 12:43.

"... loved this present world." II Timothy 4:10.

"... lovers of their own selves." II Timothy 3:2.

"... lovers of pleasure." II Timothy 3:4.

Whatever keeps a church member from God's house is preferred before God. How many prefer the luxury of lying in bed on a Sunday morning to worshiping God? How many seek recreation and amusement on Sunday instead of being in attendance at God's house.

"Set your affections on things above, not on things of the earth." Colossians 3:2.

In Mark 12:31 we find the next great sin that is committed when a church member deliberately misses church.

"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

Every Christian has a responsibility to all of lost mankind. To win others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ is the God-given responsibility of every Christian. This is God's way. We are to love the lost and give ourselves to win them to Jesus.

To neglect the church service is to refuse to help win the lost. As far as the willfully absent are concerned every lost person in attendance at the church service can go to hell!!! Can this be an expression of love to our neighbor? God expects and requires every Christian to be present at every service. Can a saved person be so calloused as not to care if the lost are saved?

May we speak of one more sin that is committed each time a church member deliberately misses a church service?

"Saying, I will declare thy name unto thy brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee." Hebrews 2:12.

Jesus speaks of singing praise unto God in the church. To miss church is to rob God of this kind of praise. The church gathers to praise God. To refuse to come for this purpose is to refuse to praise God!!


"I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord." Psalms 122:1.

A true, born-again Christian will echo these words of the Psalmist! The true Christian is thrilled to be able to assemble with God's people. He cheerfully brings his tithe and offering to God's house. His heart's desire is to read and study God's Word. He praises God for the opportunity the church provides him to bring his children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. He loves the Lord and wants the lost to know Him as he does.

The church-going Christian is a happy Christian.

The need is for a revival that will put the church member back in the church.

Chapter 10 TILL HE COMES!

"For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come." (I Corinthians 11:26.)

Another great truth taught in the Lord's Supper is the second coming of Jesus Christ!! The believer is to remember Christ, His broken body and shed blood! He is to remember his own salvation and examine himself. He is to look forward to the return of Jesus Christ.

Job expressed this hope in Job 19:25-26.

"For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

"And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God."

This is a sure hope! Job said "I know!" What a wonderful thing it is to have this kind of assurance!

"Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil." Hebrews 6:19.

Paul said, "I know whom I have believed ..." John tells us, concerning the scriptures, "These things are written that ye may know ..."

The old timers talked of a "know-so" salvation! This would apply also to the second coming of Jesus Christ. The Lord's Supper reminds us of this glorious truth. We look forward with certainty to the return of our Lord!

This is also a living hope!! Job said "my Redeemer liveth."

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." I Peter 1:3.


At the Supper we are to remember our crucified Lord, His broken body and shed blood but this is not all! He died ---- but He lives!! We serve a living Saviour. Our Christ is not lying in a tomb! He arose! He lives! He's coming again!

He walks with us and gives us power over sin, Satan and death!

This is indeed a blessed hope! Job put it this way, "... and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth."

"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Titus 2:13.

"Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." Acts 1:11.


"This same Jesus!" The babe of Bethlehem's manger, born of a virgin. The one who went about doing good and working miracles! The man the world rejected and hung on a cross. The one the trembling, repentant sinners have trusted in down through the ages! "This same Jesus" is coming again!

What stirring of emotions comes to the believer's heart as he remembers Calvary! It was there that he first saw the light' It was here that he first met the Saviour and now, oh joy upon joy, he looks forward to standing in the presence of "this same Jesus!"

It is a glorious hope! Job said, "And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God."

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

"And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." I John 3:2-3.

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

"Then we which are alive, and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." I Thess. 4:16-17.

At the Table of the Lord the cares, burdens, heartaches and pains of this life should be lighter! We are the sons of God redeemed for an eternity! One day, oh glorious hope, we shall see Him and be like Him!

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Rev. 21:4,

The tears, sorrow, pain and death of this life will be forgotten.

God means for us to meditate on these things at the Lord's Supper.

Chapter 11 THIS DO!

"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." (I Corinthians 11:25.)

This do!! In these words we have a summation of all that we have considered up to this point. We must not be hearers only, but also doers!! To participate in the Lord's Supper is a direct commandment from Christ! To be an obedient Christian one must regularly partake of this meal!!

Let us review the things God would have us to do as we partake of the Lord's Supper.


We are to remember His Broken Body! "The word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who "took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men." Jesus Christ, born of a virgin and living among men! He was tempted in every way! He suffered! He "bare our sins in his own body on the tree." He was buried and He arose! Remember His Broken Body! This do!!

We are to remember His Shed Blood! "The life of the flesh is in the blood." Believers are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." There is no other hope for the lost sinner.

At the Lord's Supper we are to remember His blood whereby we are redeemed! This do!

We are to remember His death! God means for each believer to live close to the cross. At the table the believer is to return to Calvary and look up into the blood-stained face of Jesus.

"When I survey the wondrous cross, On which the Prince of glory died, My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride.

"See, from His head, His hands, His feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down; Did e'er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown." -----Isaac Watts

We are to continually look to the cross! This do!!

We are to remember our salvation! At the Table as we remember the Body, the Blood and the death of Jesus an overwhelming sense of unworthiness will grip each believer! Who are we that God should love us so! Sinful, rebellious, and lost, each sinner would ultimately stumble into the hell so richly deserved if it were not for Jesus. "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

What a spiritual refreshening comes when the believer recalls the moment of salvation!! Praise His Name!! The moment above all moments in all eternity for every believer is when as a poor repentant sinner they looked to Jesus and trusted Him for salvation.

"At the cross, at the cross, Where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away, It was there by faith I received my sight. And now I am happy all the day."


We are to remember our salvation and to continually rejoice! This do!!

The Bible tells us we are to examine ourselves! Each believer is to search his heart for sin. This sin is to be repented of and confessed!! The Lord's Supper is a time of soul-searching and cleansing. Believers are so prone to become careless about sin! God wants us to come continually to the brilliance of the holiness of Christ and there examine ourselves! God wants clean, separated Christians! This do!!

Believers are to examine themselves as a church. Is the church what it should be before God? Does it stand united proclaiming God's Word to a lost and dying world? Each believer needs to ask continually himself this question:

"If every member were just like me, what kind of church would my church be?" This do!!

Lastly, we are to anticipate the second coming of Jesus! He came to earth and stayed for 33 years. He was crucified and buried! Praise God this is not all ---He lives and is coming again! Are you ready?

We are to watch for His return! This do!!

Chapter 12 THEY WENT OUT!

"And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives." (Matthew 26:30.)

To the disciples the memory of this gathering with Christ at the table must have been among their most prized possessions. What a tender scene! This was the quiet before the storm! The hour of the crucifixion was just ahead. In love and fellowship they gathered this last time! In later years how often their thoughts must have returned to this sacred scene.


As wonderful as it was, however, this gathering had to end! It came time for departure. The scripture says they "sung an hymn." The very preciousness of this hour, possibly, cannot be put into words! Christ, standing in the midst, blending His voice with those of the disciples singing praises unto God.

Possibly, with great sorrow, the meeting closed! The scripture says "they went out." How wonderful it would have been to have remained in the upper room, praying, singing and rejoicing!! What a temptation it must have been to linger there, but, they must go out! This was only part of the task, the other part lay beyond the upper room.


Jesus left the tipper room to go to Gethsemane and then to the cross. He went out to die!! Our salvation was made possible because He "went out." He left the upper room to lay down His life that we might live! He faced the cross with satisfaction, knowing, that by His death sinners would be made whole.

"They went out!" This was hardly a noteworthy group. Judas had already gone out to betray him. There was strife among them as to who should be greatest. Thomas went out to doubt Him! Peter went out to deny Him. We look and we see their sin, their faults and their failings. We look and we see ourselves!! Not a very pretty sight, but remember, these were the men who went out and shook the world for Jesus Christ.

It was wonderful in the upper room but they couldn't linger there! They must go out!!! They were to carry the gospel of salvation to a lost and dying world. They went out to serve Jesus.

Oh, that we today could be like them. Too often we rejoice in sitting In heavenly places with Christ but we fail in going out with the message to the world. We gather to pray and sing but we forget that this is only a part! We, too, are to go out as servants of Jesus Christ.


The disciples "went out" and God used them to glorify His name and to win the lost. We need a revival that not only "brings them in," but "sends them out." It is of great significance that they "went out" after the participation at the Lord's Supper. What a great lesson there is here!!

At the Lord's Supper we are to remember His broken body, His shed blood, and our salvation. We are to examine ourselves for sin and repent! We are to be looking forward to the second coming! Then, we are to go forth to serve Him and to witness for Him.

What tremendous revivals would be experienced if God's pattern were followed! Who can imagine what would happen if God's people were all drawn back to the cross and would relive their salvation. What if the cross would become real and salvation vibrant in each believer's heart! What if each believer would repent of sin and give himself to lead a clean, separated life? What if each believer were looking forward with great anticipation to the second coming of Christ?

Now, consider, what would happen if such a group "went out" into the world to bear witness for Jesus!

It shook the world when the disciples thus went forth!! it will accomplish the same thing --- N0W!!

Louis A. Turk, B.A., M.Div., Ph.D.


The website dedicated to the study of eternal life.