Communion Series Introduction

One of the distinctive features of our church here, given our best efforts to be stringently and comprehensively biblically based, is that we do not have ‘communion services’ in the usually accepted manner.

In fact, we don’t have ‘services’ in any shape or form at all. When we meet as a church we rather share a full meal together, this being what the Bible refers to as the Lord’s Supper, the Lord’s Table or love-feast. And this we do not out of some desire merely to be different, but because of our firm belief that this is what the Bible actually teaches. It is that teaching from God’s Word which we present to you in this series.

The Lord’s Supper CS 1

This first talk is concerned with demonstrating just one truth: that communion, the breaking of bread, the Lord’s Table or Supper, call it what you will, should be a full meal shared and eaten together when the church meets. Once placed in the context of three other feasts in the Bible – the Passover, the Last Supper and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb – a proper understanding of this comes quite naturally into focus. Quoting from top ranking evangelical biblical scholars, Beresford shows that this isn’t just a matter of how one interprets various scriptural passages, but is actually what God’s Word quite undeniably teaches.

The Setting of the Lord’s Supper CS 2

Having shown the Lord’s Supper to be a full meal, it now becomes necessary to show where the church should be on the Lord’s Day in order to eat it – and what emerges goes right to the heart of the very nature of the church! Beresford shows from the New Testament that the churches at the time of the apostles were based in people’s homes, and therefore greatly limited regarding to how large numerically each one could actually be. This was firstly because each church was an extended family of God, and secondly, because they worshipped and mutually edified each other when they came together in such a way as could only happen in such a setting. This talk reveals just how far we have moved away from scriptures teaching about being a church, and top ranking evangelical scholarship is once again quoted in order to establish that this is not just a question of variations in biblical interpretation.

The Significance of the Lord’s Supper – Part 1 It’s Individual Aspect! CS 3

This talk shows how the Lord’s Supper is tied in with the idea of there being covenants between God and His people. Beresford explains the various types of covenants in the Bible and how they worked, carefully distinguishing between conditional and unconditional ones. The difference between a covenant and a testament is highlighted, and the way in which Jesus closed the old covenant of law, and established the new testament of grace is outlined. The love-feast is duly shown to be the covenant meal celebrating what the Lord has done regarding salvation.

The Significance of the Lord’s Supper – Part 2 It’s Corporate Aspect! CS 4

We are called to follow Jesus as individuals in order to become part of a corporate body of other believers who are doing likewise, and this is the aspect of the Lord’s Supper explored here. Our individual relationship with the Lord is actually gauged by our relationship with others, and Beresford shows how this principal is even written into the Ten Commandments, and can be found all over the Bible. Right relationship with, and reconciliation to, each other is at the heart of discipleship, and therefore at the heart of church life. No-one can go it alone in following the Lord, and only in fellowship with others can He do His work of refining us and making us into those who live holy lives. The shared church meal expresses this fellowship together perfectly, a fellowship which, as Beresford reveals, finds its ultimate origin in the very Trinitarian nature of God Himself.

Some Last Points and a Summary! CS 5

Beresford puts a last few pieces of the jigsaw puzzle in place now in order to fully complete the picture. One is to do with the forward looking aspect of the Lord’s Supper and how the Bible seems to suggest that the eating of the meal somehow comprises a cry for His return – a putting Him in remembrance – and of the day when the whole church throughout time will be together eating with Him at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Another is a look at the actual cup and loaf that Paul talks about, and the mechanics of what one actually does at the meal in regards to them. This actually highlights something tremendously important concerning unity amongst believers in a church which really does need to be understood. Other bits and pieces are dealt with by way of a general summary, the whole subject being yet another example of how the Christian Church has based much of its teaching and practice on post-biblical tradition, originating from the Early Church Fathers, rather than solely on the Word of God itself.