The Sacrament of Communion
The Sacrament of Communion
It is always our endeavor at Promised Land Pentecostal Church that we not only inspire but to educate the saints of God so that no matter what church you may attend you will know the Word of God for yourself. The prophet Hosea wrote “My people perish from a lack of knowledge”. Knowledge truly is power. It is the power to keep you free and saved during the most turbulent times of life. With this in mind I pray that you take the time to read and to mediate upon the Scriptures in this note so you will have a complete understanding of the Sacrament of Communion.
Communion throughout the Bible is also known as the Lord’s Supper, the breaking of bread, and in Old Testament period it was foreshadowed as the Peace Offering. It is one of two sacraments of the New Testament church mentioned in the Bible along with baptism (Acts 2:42-47).
The sacrament of communion is exactly what it means, to commune. To commune is to fellowship, remember, take part, and join together for a common purpose. The Greek word for communion is koinōnia which according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance means to partnership, communicate, participate, and fellowship. Communion was established by Jesus Christ the night before his betrayal to celebrate the Jewish Passover Feast. The four Gospel accounts give us insight to the purpose and protocol of this very special occasion (Mt. 26:26; Mk. 14:22; Lk. 22:19; Jhn. 13:1-7; 1Cor. 11:23).
Upon the 12 disciples arrival into the upper room, where Jesus would serve his friends he would first wash their feet. This was a Jewish tradition before commencing to eat at a house of a host. Typically, the host would have a servant to wash the feet of his guest. However, in this case Jesus was teaching his disciples an important lesson of servitude and showing us a profound spiritual truth.
Before the Lord’s Supper took place, after they had already celebrated the Passover meal, the Lord knelt on his knees taking a water basin and a towel and washed the feet of his disciples. The act of foot washing which Jesus did in the Greek vernacular is known as nipto. Nipto symbolically showed that those who had their feet washed were clean from head to toe so that they may sit at the host table and commune with him (Jhn 13:8-11).
This act lets us know a profound truth in the spiritual. Before an individual can take part in the Lord’s Supper he must first be washed clean. The Apostle Paul in his epistles to the Corinthians lets us know that the sacrament of communion is a holy sacrament that an individual must be washed clean before taking part in. We find in the Scriptures that there is another word that gives reference to washing by water and that is the word bapto.
Bapto means to immerse and to dip in; it is the root word for baptismo which is also known as baptism. Baptism in the name of Jesus Christ as taught by the Apostle Peter is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). The Lord is not concerned about the dirt on your feet but the dirt on your soul. We are taught in the New Testament that those who desire to take part in and remember the Lord’s sacrifice for our sins must first commune with him in his death, burial, and resurrection before communing with him in fellowship (Rom. 6). In other words, we must first take part in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ before we can remember it in the act of communion. This type of protocol fulfilled the regulations of the Peace Offering established under the Levitical Law.
This is why the Apostle Paul says in reference to communion, that we must examine ourselves (1Cor. 11:28). We must first examine our own personal relationship with Jesus Christ and seek full understanding of the requirements of our covenant relationship. Secondly, we must examine our relationship with the body of Christ. The Apostle actually uses the word “discerning the Lord’s body”. At this time of celebration many saints of God desire to take part in communion to remember the Lord’s sacrifice, however, neglect the body of Christ which is made up of all our brothers and sisters in the Lord. I once heard a quote that stated, “Christians are the only army of people that kill their own wounded”. It is unfortunate that there are many who proclaim the name of Jesus Christ yet do not reflect the love and mercy which our Lord showed to the wounded. We judge others by our own familiar laws, customs, traditions, attire, and bias while negating the grace which was extended to us without personal ideals. This is why the Apostle Paul in verse 31 stated that “we should judge ourselves”. It is only by the mercy that the Lord showed us that we are brought into covenant relationship. It is only by the blood and sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ that we have been cleansed from our sns so we can commune with Him.
The sacrament of Communion involves two items mentioned in Scripture, which are the bread and the wine. There are those who would debate the use of grape juice or wine. The Bible says the “fruit of the vine”. The fruit of the vine in Biblical times was fermented grape juice which is wine. However, due to the fact communion is in remembrance of the Lord’s sacrifice it is symbolic. Unquestionably, in this 21st century we would not be able to replicate the ingredients of the bread and the wine that Jesus used during the first communion. We do not know how long the bread was cooked or how long the grapes were fermented. With this in mind we come to the understanding that the items that are used are only symbolic in nature to remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. For this reason our church uses grape juice so that any concerns that believers may have are not a stumbling block from them taking part in communion.
The use of bread in communion is symbolic of the body of the Bread of Life which is Jesus Christ. “And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me” (1Cor. 11:24-25). Afterward, Jesus, in the “same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me”. There are some denominations which promote the belief in transubstantiation which was indoctrinated into Catholic Church during the Council of Trent which lasted from 1545 to 1563. The doctrine of transubstantiation teaches that the bread and wine by miraculous power literally turns into the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
Throughout the ministry of Jesus Christ we find him teaching is parables and in figurative language to give spiritual meaning to earthy elements. The words of Jesus confirm this in John 6:63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life”. This was told to his disciples after his teaching in the synagogue of Capernaum when he spoke of eating his flesh and drinking his blood (Jhn. 6:53-58). The Jewish audience who at that time were spiritual impotent believed Jesus was speaking literally as the doctrine of transubstantiation teaches. As a result, the crowd murmured and scoffed which eventually led them to leave Jesus.
Furthermore, the doctrine of transubstantiation is nonsensical in the fact that the Lord’s Supper occurred before the Crucifixion. With this in mind if the bread and wine literally turned into the body and blood of Christ there was no need for a secondary sacrifice to actual take place. The body has already been broken and the blood already spilt.
Secondly, the doctrine of transubstantiation violates Levitical Law and conforms to occult practices. The Levitical Law was established to separate the Jewish customs and worship practices from that of their pagan counter-parts in the region. The Mosaic Law stated in Leviticus 17:14 that “For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off”. According to Alexander Hislop in his book the The Two Babylons he compares the creeds of the Catholic Church which has been adopted into mainstream Christianity to the practices of the paganism of the Babylonians one of which was the Eucharist and the belief in transubstantiation.
The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthian church to correct, rebuke, and educate on the Sacrament of Communion. The Apostle pointed out and rebuked the abuses he saw when it came to the Lord’s Supper. There were some who would use this solemn occasion to be drunken with wine unto excess. While others within the congregation would gorge themselves on the food which was provided unto the point of gluttony. Then there were others of the aristocratic class that despised the poor and separated themselves from the body of Christ to eat by themselves (1Cor. 11:20-22).
In summation, the Sacrament of Communion is an occasion to commemorate, celebrate, and remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The Lord’s Supper is to be partaken by believers who have come into covenant relationship with Jesus Christ according to the Scriptures being baptized in His name for the remission of sins. We must first commune with the Lord in his death, burial, and resurrection before we can commune with the Lord at the Master’s Table. It is during this time of communion that we should examine ourselves and our relationship with the body of Christ that we have no offense or bitterness to our fellow brothers and sisters. We should purpose in our minds that the same grace and mercy in which we have received by the Lord is given to all in the body of Christ. Therefore, let us not judge but exhort and promote unity among the brethren.