Looks like the apostle Paul is instructing the church at Corinth in chapter 11:23 – 26 to take holy communion. We rightly divide, and love your program “Forgotten Truths”. We think that holy communion is a Time Past ordinance. We don’t do it. So what should we make of this? Should we do it, is it mandatory, optional, or non-applicable to us under grace?
As I begin most of my correspondence … Sorry for taking so long to get back to you. I am usually behind, always trying to catch up.
Your question about communion is common among those who have learned to rightly divide the Word of truth and there are many opposing answers. I have heard and read several of the views that think communion (as in taking the bread and fruit of the vine together) is not for the Body of Christ. None of those arguments have persuaded me. I get the fact that churches make it a sacrament or a ritual, a means of getting closer to God, some think of it as a cleansing. All of that makes me want to run from it as well. However, I do believe it was Paul who introduced this practice to the Corinthians who were members of the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:13,27) and therefore something to be done as a time of reflection, in remembrance of Christ.
First of all Communion is not the Jewish Passover, nor is it an ordinance of the church in the sense that other churches teach water baptism and communion are ordinances. Paul does set forth the order, the orderly fashion communion should be practiced. But even in that he says in I Corinthians 11:26 “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” He never said do this the first Sunday of every month, or any particular time. It looks to me that it was part of a church dinner at Corinth. One in which Paul could not praise them in their behavior one toward another. Hence “not discerning the Lord’s body.”
Paul (like in most other chapters in the book of Corinthians) is correcting the manner in which they were eat and communing, yet not correcting the fact that they were having communion. In reading I Corinthians 10:16,17 and 11:23-26, it seems clear that Paul “delivered” this practice and meaning to them as he in I Corinthians 15:3 “delivered” the gospel to them which he “received of the Lord” and as it is said in I Thessalonians 4:15 Paul received and taught the catching up of the Body of Christ.
After correcting the Corinthians, Paul does not say to stop this practice but concludes with instructions on how to proceed (I Corinthians 11:33,34).
We at Grace Bible Church here in Warren try not to make communion a religious thing, but take a Sunday service once every few months and partake of communion reflecting on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and our common union together in Him. In fact we will be doing that this week. Since we live-stream our services on line, starting at about 11:15 EST you are welcome to watch the difference – www.rightlydividing.org. I do realize that is 6:15 AM your time.
I know a lot more could be said. I hope this is enough for now.