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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Acts 2:42 - The Lord's Supper in church life

Luke mentions that the early Christians in Jerusalem took part in the breaking of bread or the Lord’s Supper. It is quite clear from the Book of Acts that the early church took part in the Lord’s Supper every Lord’s Day. Indeed, it was by this particular function that Paul defined the regular Sunday service in Troas, although other features such as preaching and sharing also took place: ‘On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight’ (Acts 20:7) .

Right away we can see that we do not follow the practice of the early church in this regard. John Calvin noticed this in his day as well and said in a sermon on this passage: ‘One of our great faults is that we do not celebrate the Lord’s Supper with the zeal of the primitive church.’ It cannot but weaken our faith and love to have the Supper so infrequently. Of course, some people suggest that more frequent celebrations would cause us to be too familiar regarding it. That is a silly argument. If that is the danger, then we should apply it also to Bible reading and to prayer.

There are many uses of the Lord’s Supper, but I will mention two briefly. First, it is a reminder that we are pilgrims on a journey. At the Supper, we not only look back to what Jesus did on the cross, we also look forward to the return of Jesus in the future. At the Lord’s Table, we express our grateful love to Jesus for taking our place on the cross, and we increase our longing for the better world that is yet to be. And since these emotional responses are strengthened each time we sit at the Table, I cannot understand why the church in some places has it so infrequently.

Second, the Lord’s Supper is a visible picture of the common bond that believers have with one another. It is a family meal in which the children of God meet under the loving eye of their heavenly Father, recall the activities of their Elder Brother, look ahead to their enjoyment of the family inheritance, and do so under the guidance of the Spirit of adoption.

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