We had a great communion service this past Sunday. The usheres rolled out the tables during our praise and worship and Pastor Ray began to exhort on the importance and awesome value of the communion. And we then all partook together with Pastor Sam declaring the blessing of the bread that was broken for us and Pastor Nick declared the blessing over the cup sybolizing our new and better covanent ratified in Christ's own blood which He shed for us all.
According to Websters online dictionary Main Entry
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin communion-, communio mutual participation, from communis
Date: 14th century
1: an act or instance of sharing
2 acapitalized : a: Christian sacrament in which consecrated bread and wine are consumed as memorials of Christ's death or as symbols for the realization of a spiritual union between Christ and communicant
or as the body and blood of Christ b: the act of receiving Communion ccapitalized : the part of a Communion service in which the sacrament is received
4: a body of Christians having a common faith and discipline
Ah, but communion is much more than that. It is an act of intamacy between the individual believer, the corporate body of believers and the Lord Jesus Christ! An act of oneness!
Early Christians observed the agape (Gk.) or love feast prior to the Lord’s Supper. This food was reckoned as a thank offering to God, blessed by the bishop and presented as a thank offering (Gk. eucharist) to God; hence, the meal came to be known as a thanksgiving or offering.
Enns, P. P. (1997, c1989). The Moody handbook of theology (427). Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press.
Communion is often called the Lord's supper. It was His last meal. Even unbelievers know the importance of a man's last meal. Words spoken and gestures made become more important and meaningful as it is the last wishes of a man before his death.
. The Christian duty to love one another has always been expressed in gatherings for fellowship. Such fellowship was realized from early times by participation in a common meal, and love feasts, agapai, are mentioned by Jude (v. 12; cf. 2 Pet. 2:13, rv
). Among the Jews meals for fellowship and brotherhood were common, and similar convivial gatherings took place among the Gentiles. It was natural, therefore, that both Jewish and Gentile Christians should adopt such practices. The name agapē was later given to the fellowship meal. It is an anachronism, however, to apply it in its later sense to the conditions described in Acts and 1 Corinthians. ‘The breaking of bread’ referred to in Acts 2:42, 46
may describe a common meal which included both Agapē and Eucharist (see F. F. Bruce, Acts of the Apostles, 1951). St Paul’s account (in 1 Cor. 11:17-34
) of the administration of the Eucharist shows it set in the context of a fellowship supper. His farewell discourse at Troas which continued till midnight was delivered at a fellowship meal on the first day of the week which included the Eucharist (Acts 20:7ff.
confer (Lat.), comparerv
Revised Version: NT, 1881; OT, 1885ff.
and the following (verses, etc.)
Wood, D. R. W. (1996, c1982, c1962). New Bible Dictionary (702). InterVarsity Press.
Embrace the New Covenant!
Flashes of lightning, claps of thunder, smoke, and fire accompanied the establishment of the old covenant. (See Exodus 19.) A quiet dinner setting was the atmosphere when the new covenant was instituted. God designed the old covenant for the entire nation of Israel. The new covenant is for any individuals whom God is making into “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people” (I Peter 2:9).
God desires that each person would enter into this new covenant with Him by repenting of sin and turning to God. This is made possible through faith by trusting in the finished work of Christ for salvation (see Galatians 3 and II Peter 3:9).
Both covenants were accompanied by promises for obedience and penalties for disobedience (see Deuteronomy 29:1, 9, 19–21 and I Corinthians 11:25–31). The old covenant was dated, while the new covenant is everlasting. “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away” (Hebrews 8:13). The old covenant was based on the blood of animals, but the new covenant is based on the blood of Christ.
If the blood of animals purified the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ “purge your consciences from dead works to serve the living God”? (See Hebrews 9:13–14.)
When Jesus told His disciples to drink of the cup, in essence He was asking them to remember the terms of the new covenant in His blood. Covenants involve certain elements that make them binding. First, there is a statement of terms that must be agreed upon by all parties involved. Second, there is an oath made by each party to observe the terms. Third, a curse is invoked by each party upon himself if the covenant is disregarded. Finally, there is a formal ratification of the covenant by a solemn external act. (See Genesis 26:28–30, 31:44–54; Ezekiel 17; and Deuteronomy 27:15–26.)
That “solemn act” of ratification of the new covenant was the shedding of Jesus’s blood on the cross. Just as the old covenant had penalties for violations, so there are serious consequences for violating the terms of the new covenant, which are these: to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbors as Christ has loved us (see Luke 10:27 and John 15:12).
Jesus instituted the new covenant during the Last Supper, which took place at the precise time that the Jews were celebrating the Passover feast, thus signifying that He was the Passover lamb to be sacrificed for the new covenant (see I Corinthians 5:7). The Passover commemorated the Israelites’ deliverance from the oppression of Egypt. Through His death, Jesus unveiled a far greater deliverance from sin and all of its destructive bondage.
However, in order for that bondage to be broken, each one of us must enter the new covenant through faith in Christ. When Jesus stated, “Take, eat … and … Drink” (Matthew 26:26–27) He was speaking in symbolic terms, affirming our need to receive the sacrificial lamb and feed upon Him for our spiritual growth. (See John 1:12, 6:56–58.)
Just as Jeremiah said, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart …” (Jeremiah 15:16), let’s do the same with the terms and message of the new covenant—particularly the teachings of Christ.
Grace and Peace,