If you decided to have a formal sit down dinner for your most intimate friends, and carefully laid a menu that was very elaborate; carefully selected the invitations for beauty of color and design, numbered your chairs to invite the right amount of guests, then carefully fit all of this into your budget; your presumption would be that every thing you had prepared for was under your control and guidance. The theme of this dinner was the sacrifice that each friend had made for the sake of each one’s friendship. A distant cousin hears of this dinner prepared for intimate friends and decides they want to come to just be social and decide to invite a few of their friends; what would your reaction be? That action would totally destroy the very purpose, planning and budget of every thing you wanted to do. For that distant relative, their ignorance would be displayed, their narcissism would be exhibited, and their boorishness behavior would be made known to all.
The Lord wants us to do – Luke 6:46 “And why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say.” The Lord desires obedience. He does not need us deciding who to invite to HIS table. Simply follow and do what this lesson points out.
I. VIEWS TAKEN BY DIFFERENT FAITHS ON THE LORD’S SUPPER.
a. TRANS-SUBSTANTIATION (Roman Catholic view) – That the elements of the Lord’s Supper actually become the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
b. CON-SUBSTANTIATION (Lutheran view) – That, while not actually becoming the body and blood of Jesus, in some mysterious way the real body and blood of Jesus, is so connected with the bread and wine as to be actually imparted to those who partake. This differs little with the Roman Catholic view.
c. MYSTICAL PRESENCE (Presbyterian view) – Although they reject the previous views, they believe that in some mystical sense Jesus is spiritually present in the elements; that because of this the Lord’s Supper is a medium through which certain blessings are conferred.
d. FIGURATIVE ONLY (Baptist view) – That nothing is conferred but that it is a symbolic ordinance depicting the death of Jesus; His body broken for us and His blood shed for us.
II. THE BIBLE TEACHING OF THE LORD’S SUPPER.
a. Instituted by the Lord Himself, before His crucifixion (Matt. 26:26-29).
b. Given to an institution, te churches (I Cor. 11:2; Matt. 28:20).
c. Given to show the Lord’s death until He comes again (I Cor. 11:25,26).
III. WHAT BROUGHT ABOUT THE PRACTICE OF OPEN COMMUNION?
Who is responsible for this practice? It is based on division; a recognition of division, and a will to ignore that division so that all can partake together. It pretends a unity that does not exist. God is not the author of confusion or division among Christians (I Cor. 14:33), therefore cannot be its author.
If Baptists are bigots for holding to closed/restricted communion then cannot others be charged likewise when they demand that we accept their views in order to allow them to participate? This restriction is not based on love but upon God’s standard. The decision to allow or not allow is not mine but the Lord’s.
IV. THE BIBLE MAKES CLEAR THE CONCEPT OF COMMUNION WITH CERTAIN RESTRICTIONS UPON THOSE WHO PARTICIPATE.
a. Who can come to the Lord’s table? Acts 2:41,42 gives the order of approach.
1. Receive the Word.
2. Be baptized.
3. Become members of the church.
4. Be faithful to the doctrines.
5. Be in fellowship with the brethren.
b. To be observed by the church as such (I Cor. 11:2,18). The church at Corinth was commanded to correct certain abuses before they could observe the Lord’s Supper properly (I Cor. 11:20).
c. From this we gather that conditions governing participation are those governing church relationship, and that the ordinance is to be guarded by the church as well as presented to partakers (I Cor. 5:12,13).
V. RESTRICTIONS AROUND THE SUPPER AS SET FORTH IN THE BIBLE.
a. Restricted as to purpose or design (I Cor. 11:26).
b. Restricted to baptized believers (Acts 2:41,42).
c. Restricted to the discipline of the church, therefore none but members of the local church can partake (I Cor. 5:11; 11:18-20).
d. Restricted to the fellowship of the church (Acts 2:41,42; I Cor. 11:21,22).
e. Restricted to self-examination (I Cor. 11:28).
f. Restricted to a united church (I Cor. 11:16-20).
g. Restricted to the examination and will of the church (I Cor. 5:11-13). Simply put – if you are not a member of the church that is observing the Lord’s Supper, that church has no authority over you and therefore you have no right to observe the Lord’s Supper with them. By the way, don’t be like one preacher that said to me, “I am not sure this is the Lord’s Supper in verse 11.” This only reveals a persons ignorance because there is only one supper that the Lord observes. If this is not the Lord’s Supper, there are many family and friends that we would not be able to eat with socially.
h. Restricted to the elements used. FRUIT OF THE VINE and unleavened bread (Matt. 26:29; I Cor. 5:6-8). That doesn’t say wine does it.
This privilege is open to all who meet the conditions imposed by God. The Supper is closed only to those who have no scriptural right to eat it. The Lord did not give an ordinance that is impossible to keep, therefore it should be observed.