Communion is a precious time in the life of a believer when he is focused on remembering and giving thanks for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. This time is also known as the Lord’s Supper. Since Communion is a shared experience with fellow believers the word Communion is a good descriptive word for the activity. In some churches this celebration of the Lord’s Supper is called the Eucharist which means to give thanks for the elements as Christ did at the original Lord’s Supper celebration.
The gospel accounts of the Lords Supper talk about the events surrounding the celebration (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:17-25; Luke 22:7-22; and John 13:21-30). In 1 Corinthians 11 Paul the Apostle gives instructions on preparing for and taking Communion. He starts out by explaining that Communion is a sacred time and that it should not be considered a lighthearted event (vs. 18-22). The focus of Communion is to remember the Lord and thank Him for His sacrifice. It is not a normal meal where the focus is on the food.
1 Corinthians 11:27, 28 “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.”
What Paul says in these verses about not taking the Lord’s Supper unworthily is reason for us to consider taking proper preparations before the celebration of Communion. While this is not a sad event in the life of a believer it is also not a time for frivolity. It should be a serious time in the church.
The actual details of Communion change from church to church since there is very little said in the Bible of exactly how it is to be done. However, what is common is that there is a communal taking of the elements which are typically unleavened bread and grape juice. This information comes from the gospel accounts of the Lord’s Supper mentioned above.
The unleavened bread represents the body of Christ. It is unleavened because in the Bible leaven is a picture of sin. Jesus took the bread, prayed over it, brake it and shared it with His disciples telling them to remember Him when they took Communion with one another.
Though the Bible speaks of wine as the liquid that was consumed during the Lord’s Supper, many churches use grape juice. The word for wine in Greek is the same word that would be used for grape juice. And, as grape juice is a non-fermented (unleavened) version of wine, many churches feel it is more in keeping with the idea of unleavened bread. Jesus too took the juice which represented His blood, blessed it and shared it with His disciples.
Examining Your Heart
The passage which deals with the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians gives a little more insight into what our attitude should be during Communion. Paul mentions that the Lord’s Supper should not be taken unworthily. This is new insight that is not included in the gospel accounts. There are many explanations as to what Paul meant by this, but they all center around taking Communion with a clear conscience before God and remembering the great sacrifice of Christ for our salvation.
Dealing With Sin
When preparing to take the Lord’s Supper we need to confess our sin to the Lord. Take time before the Communion service and examine your life to make sure there is nothing hindering your fellowship with God.
Communion is a celebration for Christians. Therefore, ensure that you are a child of God. Have you accepted Christ as your Savior? If you know you are saved, then participating in the Lord’s Supper is an appropriate activity. If you are not saved, then please take care of that today. Visit our page on coming to the Lord and contact us if you have any questions about salvation.
Though you are saved, you may still have unconfessed sin in your life. You should deal with that before the Communion service. Christians have been forgiven by God from the punishment of their sins. However, not acknowledging your sin and confessing it to God will cause a lack of fellowship between you and the Lord.
Beyond causing you to feel less connected with the Lord, living with unconfessed sin goes against Paul’s warning of taking the Lord’s Supper unworthily. Christ sacrificed His life for your salvation. You acknowledged that when you got saved. It is honoring to Him and His sacrifice when you confess your sin and keep a clean account with God.
Partaking With Thanksgiving
Now that you have confessed your sin, you can participate in the Lord’s Supper with thanksgiving. Jesus thanked God for the elements they were about to receive. At the time the disciples did not seem to understand everything that this special meal with their Lord meant, but they could see that Jesus Himself was thankful to God for the upcoming events. Jesus knew what His death would bring to His followers.
Today we can take Communion with thanksgiving. While it is a serious time of personal reflection, it should also be a time of great joy and thanks to God. Again, that is where the term Eucharist comes from. It is from the New Testament Greek word that means thanksgiving or gratitude. This gratitude should still be a serious time according to Paul in 1 Corinthians but it doesn’t have to be a sad time.
As mentioned are many variations to the details of the Lord’s Supper. Your church may celebrate it very differently from another church while still being biblically appropriate. What should be common though is that Communion is a serious time of reflection and thanksgiving.
King James Version Bible, (KJV)
www.youtube.com “Nothing But The Blood of Jesus’ by Hillsong United