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LESSON 1 – THE LORD’S SUPPER BIBLE STUDY
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I am ever grateful to the following publisher for the permission granted to me to use the following book for email courses lessons. Copyright Walterick Publishing Ministries, Inc. - Kansas City Kansas - Used by Permission. Copyright 1963 Alfred P. Gibbs Author of "Through the Scriptures," "The Preacher and His Preaching," "A Dreamer and His Dream," "The Marvellous City of Man soul," "Worship," "Gospel Hymns and Choruses for Young and Old," Numbers 1, 2, 3,4, 5, 6, and 7; "God s Good News," "Scriptural Principles of Gathering," "The Christian s Guide," "Ye Must Be Born Again," "The Uplifted Christ," etc. With a foreword by AUGUST VAN RYN.
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LESSON 1: THE LORD’ S SUPPER (By ALFRED P. GIBBS)
(The content of the book can be viewed at the end of Lesson 1)
THE LORD'S SUPPER
It is indeed a privilege to write this foreword to the latest volume to come from the pen of my beloved brother and valued friend, Alfred P. Gibbs. His bock on "Worship" covers that so important subject in a truly comprehensive manner, and has been a great blessing to my soul in its unfolding of, and stimulus to, the adoration of Him who is worthy of all glory and praise. This book, on the Lord s supper, is a worthy companion volume of that on "Worship." I have read the manuscript with deepest interest and delight, and am sure this book ought to have a place on every Christian s bookshelf. The subject itself is unique, for I am not aware of another book devoted entirely to this subject. And it is surely a most important theme. There were many forms and ceremonies in Israel; there is only One for the Church the Lord's supper. (Baptism is an individual act). The Lord's supper is the only physical, visible ordinance celebrated by the Church of God in its corporate capacity, when meeting together in Christian fellowship; and therefore it is of the most vital importance. It is the witness to the world a witness men can see of the oneness of the people of God the fact that the Church is His body. It is also, and primarily so, the one physical, visible reminder that Christ died; that He shed His precious blood for the salvation of souls. To the believer its blessed merit lies in the fact that it brings back to his mind, each Lord's day, the infinite cost by which he has been redeemed, and reminds him again of the matchless love that brought his Saviour from the throne to the cross. The chapter devoted to the distinction between the Lord's table and the Lord's supper is especially excellent. I pray that those who do not now remember the Lord Jesus in His precious death by partaking of the Lord's supper every Lord s day may be stirred by this book to do so. And I am sure that those of us who do remember Him thus will find real help and wise advice for its celebration in this book. May the Lord richly use it for His glory and for the refreshment of His dear saints. ----August Van Ryn
Our Lord left but two ordinances to be observed by His disciples: Baptism and the Lord s Supper. Roman Catholicism, without the slightest authority from the word of God, has added five more, namely: Confirmation, Extreme Unction, Matrimony, Penance and Holy Orders. These, together with baptism and the Lord s Supper, are called "Sacraments.” The test of the scriptural validity of a Christian ordinance consists of an affirmative answer to three questions asked concerning it. First, was it commanded by the Lord Jesus, as recorded in the four Gospels? Second, was it practiced in the early Church, as described in the Acts of the Apostles? Third, is its spiritual significance clearly expounded in the Epistles? Only two ordinances meet this three-fold requirement: Baptism and the Lord s Supper. The word, "sacrament,” is not found in the Bible. It is derived from a Latin word, "sacramentum." This word was used in the days of the Roman empire to describe the oath of allegiance which a person took when he joined the army of the Roman empire. In taking this oath, the recruit solemnly vowed that he now renounced his civilian life, with its independence and self pleasing, and from henceforth confessed that he belonged wholly to Caesar, whose every command he promised to obey, cost what it might and lead where it would. In the early days of Christianity the word came to be used of the two ordinances, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, and for a very good reason. Just as the Roman soldier s "sacramentum" was the act by which he publicly renounced his former life as an independent citizen, to that of a life of loyal and sacrificial service to his Emperor; so a Christian, in those days, by submitting to the ordinance of baptism, and his regular observance of the Lord s supper, proclaimed to the world he had renounced his former life of living for sin and self, and now belonged, body, soul and spirit, to Christ, whom he now boldly owned as the supreme Lord of his life and the sole Master of his service. The observance of these two ordinances thus served the purpose of distinguishing the Christian from the world ling, hence they were called "sacraments.” This explains the fact that even today, in the foreign mission field, and particularly in Moslem countries, a person who professes faith in Christ is not subjected to intense persecution until he has been baptized. This, as it were, becomes his "sacramentum," by which he publicly confesses he has forever renounced the religion of Islam, and now acknowledges Christ as his personal Saviour and Lord. Many such, after their baptism, have been martyred for their testimony. The New Testament reveals that baptism, which is observed but once, is by immersion in water, and is only intended for those who have professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the God-given figure, or illustration, of each Christian's s identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. The believer s obedience to this ordinance constitutes his public confession of this fact to others. By submitting to baptism he announces, as it were, to those who witness it: "I hereby confess, in this my baptism, my personal faith in the Person and the substitutionary work of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. I believe that He died for my sins, was buried and rose again for my justification. By my act of obedience to His command, I now show forth, in picture, my identification with the Lord Jesus in His death, burial and resurrection. From henceforth, I shall seek to walk in newness of life, and live to the glory of the One who loved me and gave Himself for me." Read Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 8:26-39; Romans 6:3-6. The New Testament also reveals that the Lord s supper which is to be observed frequently, is only for those who have been saved by the grace of God. This ordinance consists of believers meeting together, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and breaking and partaking of a loaf of bread, picture of the body of Christ, and drinking of a cup containing the fruit of the vine, symbol of the precious blood of Christ, by which their eternal redemption has been secured. Thus the Lord s supper is a simple memorial ordinance which was given by the Saviour on the night of His betrayal. It exists only for the purpose of enabling His disciples to gratefully remember Him as they take the bread and drink the wine, and thus show forth His death until He returns for them. Read Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-26; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:23-34. In spite of the plain directions found in the word of God, Christendom, through the years, by its many additions, subtractions and human inventions, has perverted each of these beautiful ordinances. Instead of baptism being the divinely ordained picture of a work of regeneration already accomplished in the experience of the believer, it is now declared to be the means by which this regeneration is to be accomplished! Thus baptism has-been endowed with a magical and saving quality. Moreover, in many cases, the sprinkling of infants, which the Bible knows nothing about, has been substituted for the immersion of professed believers. In both the Roman Catholic and in many Protestant denominations, it is actually affirmed that a baby, at its christening, is made "A member of Christ, a child of God and an inheritor of the kingdom of God!" Thus, what was originally intended to illustrate the believer's identification with Christ, is now declared to be the means of this identification! The symbol has been allowed to become the substitute for salvation, and the ordinance has been permitted to displace the Saviour Himself. The same has become true of the Lord's supper. From a simple memorial and remembrance feast for regenerated believers, it has been allowed to degenerate into the sacrifice of the Mass. To the accompaniment of a host of prescribed prayers and an ornate ritual, in which gorgeous vestments, burning candles, smoking incense, an altar and many crosses play no small part, the bread and wine is said to be miraculously changed, by the incantations of a so-called "priest,” into the literal body and blood of Christ! What a shameful travesty this is of the original Institution and purpose of the Lord s supper. History, as we all know, has a bad habit of repeating itself. The Lord Jesus found similar conditions obtaining when He became incarnate and lived on earth. The religious leaders of the people of Israel, the Pharisees, had permitted a host of traditions to supercede the authority of the holy Scriptures. The "Feasts of Jehovah," as given by God to Israel had, in a thousand years, degenerated into "feasts of the Jews." See Leviticus 23; John 5:1; John 6:4. Our Lord fearlessly rebuked these religious leaders for this sin of perverting the word of God by their traditions and said: "Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? . . . Ye have made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition . . . . In vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Matthew 15:1-9; Mark 7:1-13) In the pages that follow, we shall seek to deal particularly with the ordinance of the Lord s supper, and endeavour to discover something of its great importance and deep spiritual significance to every true Christian. We are exhorted in the Scriptures to: "Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is within you with meekness and fear." (1 Peter 3:15) Every Christian, therefore, should be prepared, when asked, to turn to the word of God and give a scriptural reason for his observance of the Lord s supper. It is to be feared that many, particularly the children of Christian parents, who are familiar, from childhood, with the scriptural observance of this ordinance, and perhaps partake of the Lord s supper themselves, would be at a loss to give such a scriptural answer. It will be recalled that when God instituted the feast of the Passover, He made allowance for the natural curiosity of children, for we read: "And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons forever. And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as He hath promised, that ye shall keep this service. And it shall come to pass when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, it is the sacrifice of the Lord's Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when He smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. " (Exodus 12:24-26) The same is also true of the instructions given regarding the redemption of the firstling of an ass by means of the death of a lamb, and the memorial stones from the river Jordan. (Exodus 13:13-15; Joshua 4:4-9).Similarly, every Christian who observes the Lord s supper should be prepared to answer any person who asks: “What mean ye by this service?" He should be able to turn to the various passages of Scripture which speak of its institution by the Lord Jesus, the purpose for which it was given, the spiritual significance of the bread and the cup, the condition necessary for partaking of it, and the glorious event to which it points forward. Surely such an ordinance, instituted by the Son of God on the eve of His substitutionary sacrifice, should merit the earnest consideration of all true Christians. Our Saviours words: "This do for a remembrance of Me, “should demand the attention of all who profess to be His disciples, and lead them to take their place, each Lord's day, with the Lord s people, in the way that He appointed. May it be ours, as we search the Scriptures, to come to a better understanding of the spiritual significance of this blessed ordinance, and therefore more deeply appreciate both the privilege and the responsibility of observing it in a scriptural manner, apart from the confusion that obtains in Christendom. If the reading of these pages shall lead to this result, then the effort of writing on this subject will be more than amply repaid. We shall think of our subject under several main divisions as follows:
A detailed analysis will be found following the list of contents, which will enable the reader to grasp the subject as a whole, and also enable him to refer quickly to any particular part in which he is interested. My very good friend and beloved brother in Christ, Mr. August Van Ryn, of Hialeah, Florida, the well-known and highly esteemed teacher of the Word, and author of many excellent books on Scripture subjects, has kindly read the manuscript and written a Foreword to this book, for which I am very grateful. My thanks are also due to Mr. Frank Biffen, of Lake Worth, Florida, for his kindness in correcting the manuscript, and for many valuable suggestions in regard to its composition.
- Some suppers of the New Testament.
- The distinction between the Lord s Table and the Lord s Supper.
- The institution of the Lord s Supper.
- The symbolism of the Lord s Supper
- The purpose of the Lord s Supper
- The participants of the Lord s Supper.
- The procedure of the Lord s Supper.
- The day and frequency of the Lord s Supper
- The Christian s responsibility to the Lord s Supper
- A summary of the Lord s Supper.
SOME SUPPERS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
Many suppers are described in the New Testament, and each one has its own particular spiritual significance to the believer. Let us take a brief look at seven of these.
The supper of the gospel proclamation. (Luke 14:16-24)
From this parable we learn that God has provided a great supper, and has commissioned His servants to issue the invitation: "Come, for all things are now ready." Those who excused themselves from attending were taken at their word and excused. The poor, maimed, halt and blind, together with the friendless and the outcast, were welcomed to the sumptuous repast. Each time the gospel is proclaimed, the invitation is extended to "whosoever will”; and all who respond and believe on the Son of God are pardoned, cleansed and relieved. Happy indeed are those who have owned their guilt as lost, helpless and hopeless sinners, and have rested in the merits of the substitutionary sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, trusted Him as their own personal Saviour and confessed Him as the Lord of their lives. Such can joyously testify: Nought have I gotten, but what I received, Grace hath bestowed it since I have believed; Boasting excluded, pride I abase: I'm only a sinner saved by grace!
The supper of spiritual fellowship. (Revelation 3:20).
This is the supper which the Lord of glory desires to enjoy with each believer who will respond to His gracious invitation, and allow Him to enter into his life as supreme Lord, and thus give Him the place of absolute pre-eminence in every department of his being. Christ will then sup with him and he, in turn, will sup with the Lord, and thus enjoy the sweet communion that only the Son of God can make possible. Christ will then become to him: A living, bright reality, More present to faith s vision keen, Than any earthly object seen; More dear, more intimately nigh, Than even the closest earthly tie. (F. R. Havergal)
The supper of the believer s appreciation. (John 12:1-8)
Out of the love and deep appreciation of their hearts, a few friends of the Lord made him a supper. Though the Lord came as the Guest of honour, in reality He was the Host. What joy these dear friends of His brought to His heart when, "six days before the Passover," they expressed their love for Him by spreading the table in His honour, and ministering to His needs! It will be recalled that it was on this occasion that Mary took the costly perfume and anointed the feet of her Lord, and then wiped His feet with her hair, so that the whole house was filled with the exquisite fragrance of the spikenard. What an unspeakable honour was theirs, that day, in being privileged to entertain the King of kings and the Lord of lords!
The supper of typical consummation. (Luke 22:7-18)
This was the purpose for which the Passover feast had been instituted hundreds of years before. Its real spiritual meaning was now to be explained and fulfilled. The countless lambs, which had been sacrificed upon the altars of Jewry, had all pointed forward to this night of nights. Christ, the eternal Son of God, was about to offer Himself, without spot to God, as a substitutionary sacrifice for our sins, and thus make possible the salvation of all who would rest in His finished work, trust Him as Saviour and own Him as Lord. It was the last Passover supper that had any value in the sight of God, for there was to be no need of anymore. All who now shelter behind the efficacy of the precious blood of Christ have the glad assurance from the God of all grace: "When I see the blood, I will pass over you!" (Exodus 12:1-15) They can therefore sing with glad accord: “No blood, no altar now, The sacrifice is over. No flame, no smoke ascends on high, The lamb is slain no more. But richer blood has flowed from nobler veins, To purge the soul from guilt, And cleanse the reddest stains!" (H. Bonar)
The supper of nuptial celebration. (Revelation 19:9)
The Church, the espoused bride of Christ, is now to become the Bride of the Lamb, and the invitation is ex-tended to attend the marriage supper. No wonder, therefore, that we read: "Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!" He who "loved the Church and gave Himself for it," is now to celebrate the union of Himself with His blood-bought Bride. What a supper this shall be! There will be no denominational distinctions at this supper! No special section reserved for this sect or that party! All the artificial barriers that separate the people of God today will be done away with forever-good riddance to bad rubbish! Our Lord sprayer, as recorded in John 17, will then be fully answered: "That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us." The Church, in that day, shall be presented by the Lord to Himself, "a glorious Church, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish." (Ephesians 5:27)
The supper of just retribution. (Revelation 19:17)
To this supper, the fowls of the air are invited to feed upon the bodies of those slain by the avenging Judge of all the earth. it is called, "the great supper of God. Here the Lord is described as doing His "strange work," the work of just retribution upon the wilfully impenitent. Here the worldly great, in all their majesty pride, pomp and power, are brought down into the dust of death by the omnipotent Son of God, to whom all judgment has been committed. Note the title He has given in this connection: "The Faithful and True the Word of God." (verses 11-13) Happy are they who have bowed the knee to Him in time, and have gladly owned Him as their Lord and Saviour Those who die in their sins will be compelled in this day to bow the knee to Him and confess that "He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:9-11)
The supper of grateful remembrance. (1 Corinthians 11:17-34)
This supper is distinguished from all these other suppers by the title: "The Lord's Supper." It is the supper that Christ Himself instituted for His people in order give them the opportunity of expressing to Him the gratitude, praise, worship and adoration for all that He is, in His divine Person, and all that He has done in sacrifice on their behalf.
MICROSOFT WORD FORMAT OF LESSON AND TEST FOR - LESSON 1 – (Click on the "Microsoft Word" word in blue to choose this option)
TEST LESSON 1: THE LORD'S SUPPER
TRUE OR FALSE
1. Our Lord left three ordinances to be observed - TRUE ................ FALSE .................
2. Baptism is the way to be born again and have your sins washed away - TRUE ................ FALSE .................
3. The Passover Supper was also the Lord's Supper - TRUE ................ FALSE .................
4. The great supper of God is for believers - TRUE ................ FALSE .................
5. Christians should know why the observe the Lord's Supper - TRUE ................ FALSE .................
FILL IN THE BLANKS
6. In the gospel supper there was an invitation, .....................................
7. God said, ..................................... I ..................................... the ..................................... I will ..................................... over ......................................
8. There is a future supper called, the ..................................... supper of the .....................................
. 9. The Lord will present to Himself, "a ..................................... church without ..................................... or ......................................"
10. All will confess that, "He is ..................................... to the ..................................... of God the ......................................"
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Your name: ..............................................
Postal Address: ............................................
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Updated May 2012 by Shelly Allen