Increasing The Frequency Of Communion
We all have certain foods we especially enjoy. To go a month without them would leave us feeling malnourished. But there is a meal that satisfies us more than any other. That meal is the Lord’s Supper—Communion—simple bread and wine; yet it has rightly been called “the richest feast on earth.”
J.C. Ryle wrote back in the 1800s, “I boldly say this: you will rarely find a true believer who will not say that he believes the Lord’s Supper is one of his best helps and highest privileges. He will tell you that if he were deprived of the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis he would find the loss of it a great detriment to his soul. There are some things of which we never know the value till they are taken from us. So I believe it is with the Lord’s Supper. The weakest and humblest of God’s children gets a blessing from this ordinance, to an extent of which he is not aware.”
Imagine having the Lord’s Supper taken from you. What would be missing if you were deprived of it on a regular basis?
The elders of New Covenant have recently decided to increase the frequency of Communion in our worship services. Beginning this month, our normal pattern will be to worship around the Lord’s Table on the first and third Sunday mornings, and in the evening service at the end of the month. This will provide us the opportunity to commune together more often. My aim in this article is to remind us why the Lord’s Supper is such a precious means of grace, and why we should cherish every opportunity to practice this ordinance together.
First, the Lord’s Supper signifies and safeguards our unity in Christ. In 1 Cor. 10:16, the Apostle Paul says literally, “the cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a fellowship of the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a fellowship of the body of Christ?”
He’s not saying that these elements contain the body and blood of Christ. We are not swallowing Christ’s literal body and blood. When I hold up a picture of Kate, I may say, “This is my wife.” But no one understands me to mean that I am married to this picture! Likewise, when Jesus said, “This is my body,” he was saying that there is a real, spiritual symbolism at work here.
As we partake of these elements, we signify that we are the fellowship of the body and blood of Christ. We are the people who share together in the benefits of his perfect life, atoning death, and victorious resurrection. We belong to him. We live in him and he lives in us. This act of Communion at the Lord’s Table defines us as the one body of Christ. It signifies our unity. And it helps to seal our unity too.
A regular, robust observance of the Lord’s Table prompts us to keep short accounts with one another. It has the potential to intensify our love for the local church and deepen our affection for our brothers and sisters, because when we take the bread and the cup with them, we realize afresh that just as our Savior loves us, so he also loves them.
Second, a regular observance of the Lord’s Supper keeps us close to the blazing center of our faith: the death, resurrection, and promised return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Do this in remembrance of me.” It’s commanded. It’s tangible, visible—bread, wine. It’s personal—remember ME. Remember me in my perfect life; remember me, being betrayed; remember me, tried as a guilty criminal in your place; remember me, dying for you. Remembering is not a mere mental act. It involves the renewal of our covenant with him.
Practically speaking, what does this tell us about ourselves? We are prone to forget him! We confess this when we sing, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it; prone to leave the God I love.”
And Jesus knew it. On the night when he would cry out in Gethsemane, the night of his betrayal, his trial, the night before he would go to the Cross and drink the cup of God’s wrath for our sins—Jesus knew before he ever even entered into his sufferings that he would be doing all this for a people who would continually be tempted to forget his dying love for them. And so he establishes this Feast and commands us to observe it regularly, and whenever we partake of it together, we should hear the voice of Jesus saying to us, “Forget me not. This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
We need this, don’t we? Isn’t it troubling how easily we can drift away from the blazing center of Christ and his Cross? We can become preoccupied with so many other things in the church that we forget about Christ. Even in our Bible studies and sermons, strangely we can fail to see Christ in all the Scriptures. But the Lord’s Supper has a magnetic pull, drawing us back to the blazing center. It reminds us that Christ is our life—and in him we have all that we need.
Thirdly, the Lord’s Supper has evangelistic power. We are proclaiming his death. I like how Robert Rayburn describes it: “The Lord’s Supper has never been a solemn wake held in sorrowful remembrance of a dead person." It’s a joyful proclamation of a risen, triumphant, coming king!
The Lord’s Supper turns us all into preachers—which means that if you are ashamed to confess Christ before men, you should not partake of the Lord’s Supper. It also means that care should be given every time the Lord’s Supper is observed to clearly proclaim from the Scriptures what this service means. How powerful this can be—to hear the gospel expounded, with a call to repent and believe. And then to see the gospel enacted in the Lord’s Supper.
Finally, the Lord’s Supper is a dress rehearsal for the wedding supper of the Lamb—and it whets our appetite for his return. "For as often as we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes."
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!