It’s been stated and wondered; how do believers partake of the Lord’s Supper, among other things, if they are not a member of an institutional church? Do they check ahead every week (since it is assumed they are grazing at different churches)to see if there is open communion? What do they now believe about baptism and do they renounce it because they are not a member of a ‘church’? How do they have fellowship if they aren’t a member of an institutional church? How do they mature and how are they fed and how do they know what doctrines they are to believe? Do they share in one another's trials and pray for them and how can there be discipline in their lives if they aren’t a member of a ‘church’ and have they left the ‘church’ because of anger at God or sin not recognized and repented of? These are interesting and legitimate questions so I’m going to do a series and address those very questions, from my own perspective. I’m sure the questions were stated with preconceived answers but questions are an important part of every avenue of our lives, especially our growth in grace and in knowledge of the Lord Jesus so that we may know what we believe.
The Lord’s Supper
The Apostle Paul gives us in his epistle to the Corinthians what he had received from the Lord Jesus, a clear command! Paul was not one of the disciples at the Last Supper but he received revelation from the Lord. He was taught by the Lord Himself so these are words of instruction from Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 Young’s Literal Translation
“For I-I received from the Lord that which also I did deliver to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was delivered up, took bread, (24) and having given thanks, He broke, and said, “Take you, eat you, this is my body, that is being broken for you; this do you-to the remembrance of me. (25) In like manner also the cup after the supping, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; this do you, as often as you may drink-to the remembrance of me (26) for as often as you may eat this bread, and may drink this cup, you do show forth the death of the Lord-till He may come.
The Lord’s Supper is exactly what is spoken of above; it is a remembrance of the Lord’s death shown forth in our regenerated minds, our new heart. His body was broken and His blood was spilled and we remember that great sacrifice for us, His elect, when we eat the bread and drink the wine. The giving of the wine by Christ is the only material/covenantal sign mentioned in connection with the New Covenant and it is called the cup of blessing.
There are many who believe that the Lord’s Supper is a Sacrament teaching that there is a sacramental communication of grace, an inward conveying of sanctifying grace, when they partake of the elements of bread and wine. Others believe that there is a communication of grace and faith to the experience of the one participating. There is nothing within Scripture that speaks to us in either way. The grace that we have was given to us in eternal election in Christ and is received by faith alone, not with any efficacy in the elements of bread and wine. (2 Ti 1:9 Eph 2:8) The Lord’s Supper was not given to us as a means to ‘get’ something; it was given as a memorial celebration of the Lord Jesus and His death till He come and we come, not to get but to rejoice in what we have already been given.
How do Gospel believers in fellowship who are not members of an institutional church celebrate the Lord’s Supper?
The Scripture is clear that when we come together to fellowship we are to remember the Lord’s death till He come. “Do this in remembrance of me”. We do that out of church membership when, as members of the Body of Christ, we come together as fellow believer’s in the Gospel in our homes. We gather around the table and we commune in prayer and in the Word of God as we partake of the bread and the wine together. The elements are not administered to us, we are not served. Christ alone is our High Priest and each of us are priests in the New Covenant. We read Scriptures that give us a clear picture of Christ and His sacrifice for His body and we give praise to the Lord for His bounty, for His life and His death and we celebrate with joy unspeakable the glories that are ours in the Gospel of Christ Jesus.
We participate together as the Body of Christ and it is a time of close communion with one another in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace and Peace!