Not Taking Part in the Lords Supper

This evening while I was on Facebook someone shared a story that was written by someone who is part of the LDS Chuch since she is LDS(Mormon). Since I live in Utah, I know many that are LDS even though I have never been to the LDS Chuch. But, I found the article interesting. I did post a comment on the article she posted, but I wanted to write a bit more about taking the Lords Supper- Communion or Sacrament. The LDS call it Sacrament, the Catholic Church calls it Communion and at my church which is non-denominational we call it the Lords Supper.

The-Lords-Supper-1

This is the link to the article that I was reading in LDS Living

Here is the comment that I posted on her page. 

I had someone sitting in my pew at church when my Pastor handed the plates to the ushers. I always take part in the Lords Supper. The person that was in my pew didn’t take it and I asked why they didn’t. He told me that he was taking what the Bible said seriously and that he needed to examine his heart and to truly have a repentive heart and he didn’t feel like it was just a part of the service, it was important to him. He was searching his heart in preparation for the Lords Supper.

When we take part in the Lords Supper, we are united in Christ and we are fellow-shipping with Him. He was a place in his life where he was searching for answers. He could have easily sat there and taken the juice and the bread, but he was doing what we all should be doing. Our pastor that we had then would always make sure that people understand what the meaning is and that we are to examine our hearts before taking part.

Lord's Supper 2I wanted to go into why it is important to examine our hearts and that we are believers in Christ. Well, this is from my understanding. Hopefully my pastor will make a comment that would go into things from a pastors perspective. Since Pastor Ray is pretty awesome in my views when it comes to interpreting the Bible, I hope he will share. Since he reads my blogs, this is a pretty direct hint lol.

In the comment that I left on my friends Facebook page, I shared that we need to examine our hearts. I haven’t really had a pastor before Pastor Dean that would talk about the importance of 1 Corinthians 11:26-29

  • 1 Cor. 11:26-29, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. 27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly.”

I don’t know about you, but I have friends that goes to all kinds of churches. There are also a gazillion different translations of the Bible. So, naturally you are going to get a variety of answers when it comes to what the Bible says about taking part in the Lords Supper, Communion or Sacrament.  I’m pretty sure my answers to what the Bible says may not be accurate. But, I will try my best to explain what I think.  So, first, what does it mean to be taking the bread and the cup in an “unworthy manner?”

  • When we are told that we need to examine our hearts and to ask for forgiveness in a sincere manner, that we would have to really mean it when we ask for forgiveness. I know that I don’t remember every sin I have commented. I will ask God to put my sins on my heart so I can repent for them for reals, not just for the moment. If I am asking God to forgive me for something like wanting to deck someone just so I can take part in the Lords Supper and then right after church I go ahead and deck the person, that is not sincere. When you take part in the Lords supper in a willful and with an un-confessed sin, I would think that would be a problem.
  • I would like to add one thing for the above reasons and that would be about asking God to put your sins on your heart. I did that before and God took me literally. It made for a very long week for myself. The reason why it did is because all of a sudden the things I have done to hurt others came flooding in. I was emotionally spent after a while. But, at the same time, I felt a sense of freedom that I haven’t had in a long time. While God put these things on my heart, I needed to know them. I needed that forgiveness. I was a broken person who didn’t think I did any really bad things. Things like killing someone or ruining someones life. The things that were pent-up and buried deep in my heart came to surface. When everything came to light, I was able to sleep and live my life in a way that I haven’t for many years. This was about 15 or so years ago and it was amazing.
  •  Actually I think the number one thing should be that you are a believer in Christ. If you don’t believe in Christ and you don’t have an understanding of what it means to  take part, then you might want to pass the plate to the next person. Some have even said that you must be baptized in order to partake of it. Our church has it where any believer in Christ can take part and they don’t have to be a member of our church.

One of the thoughts that came to mind in the article is that the usher was looking at the person who didn’t take the meal instead of the person. I think in general people do that. When I was a deaconess at my church and I had to prepare and help pass out the juice and bread, I would know who didn’t talk part and who did. It would be on the back of my mind off and on during the week. We are fast to judge others when it comes to sin and such, but we have a hard time examining our own lives and sins. That can be a dangerous thing to do. It’s not up to us to determine if someone is worthy. That is between them and God.

 Luke 6:52 NIV: How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

There are many Christians who don’t feel like they are worthy of taking the Lords Supper, Communion or Sacrament.  There were times when I didn’t partake of it because I had some anger issues when it came to God and I was feeling like my middle name was Job.  I didn’t feel like I should be taking part because I knew at that time I wasn’t ready or willing to ask for forgiveness. I had to work things out and God gave me the time and space to do that. He knew I would come around since He knows me better than anyone ever.

Dealing-with-anger-at-GodEveryone is a sinner and everyone has to deal with their stuff and I had a lot of STUFF. None of us are exempt from sinning unless we are Jesus Christ. If you think you are Jesus Christ, you have a whole other set of problems.  If you have sincerly repented of the sins you have committed and you are trying, it is OK to take part in the Lords Supper. I know that even when I am struggling with sin and I am waging this war on my sins, that I have depend upon Jesus Christ and His grace. I find it extremely important to take part because I need to and I depend upon Jesus Christs grace and mercy.

A number of churches and my church is one of them that practices open communion. When we first moved to Southern Utah, our church was where you had to be a church member and baptized in order to take part of the Lords Supper.  The church I went to in Arizona was this way also. I don’t know if the Nazarene Church has changed or not, but at that time you had to be a member and baptized. The problem I have when we start saying who can or can’t take part in the Lord’s Supper is that we were then judging them.

The way I see it is that you can go to church all day long, but that doesn’t make you a Christian. One person I know goes to church all the time. But, I also know that while he believes in Jesus, there are a number of things that he doesn’t believe. For example he says he doesn’t believe there is anything after this life. I am very close to this person and many things he says doesn’t make any sense when it comes to being a believer in Christ. I have noticed lately by some of his comments that his views must be changing. He will make comments like, “when they die, they may be in for a surprise since they have been doing evil things and they may be shocked about where they will spend eternity.” I have to say I about fell off my chair lol. I didn’t expect that and I didn’t reply. I was in shock, but in a good way.

Heaven_and_Hell1In my opinion and I am hoping I got this right, a person MUST be a true believer in Christ. Not just a person who believes when they feel like it. Or someone who believes when it is convenient.  Which, basically means that they are OK with believing as long as they can keep doing what they want and they don’t have to be accountable. Sorry to say, it doesn’t work that way.  You can partake of the Lords Supper if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and have accepted that He is the Son of God and that He died for your sins.

Ephesians 1:6-7(NIV): to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

Do This in Rememberence of Me- What Are We Remembering? 

  1. The Lord’s Supper is to help us remember what the Lord did for us.
  2. We remember that Jesus Christ came to live here on Earth for 33 yrs and He died for us.
  3. He was beaten, mocked and had nails hammered into his hands and feet. After that He was hung on the cross and then put into a tomb. All of this with his earthly parents, loved ones, beleivers and non beleivers watching and gawking. He was dying not only for their sins but the sins of all mankind.
  4. 1 Peter 2:24,“Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness, by whose stripes you were healed.”
  5.  We remember that even though He was going through horrible pain, the kind we would never experience, he said in  Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” We remember our Lord’s loud cry of loneliness in Matthew 27:46, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?”

 

9 thoughts on “Not Taking Part in the Lords Supper

  1. I can still remember the first time I ever took part in the Lords Supper. We didn’t have communion every week or every month. The first time I ever partook it was in the Church of the Nazarene in Phoenix, AZ. It was on Easter Sunday. I was so overcome with emotion when I walked into the church and at the front of the church there was long tables set up with white linen table cloths. At the table, there was bread that was literally broken as we came forward to partake. We had the same little cups that we use at church for the grape juice.

    But, the lights were dimmed in the church. The only lights on were candles on the tables in front. The tables reached across the sanctuary. So, I would say about 4 tables. My emotions took over and I was sobbing as I came forward. I wish we would do it that way sometime. But, we came forward to break off a piece of bread and bring the juice back to my seat. As I listened to the words that the pastor shared, I took it all in and emotionally I was having a hard time. I think sometimes when we do it so often that something is lost. Atleast for me it is.

    I have seen it where other churches do it the way ours does. Where it is on the first Sunday of the month. But, there was just something special with the way that pastor set it up. I was in my teens I am sure. To this day, that memory of being able to take part in communion has lasted. I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember the smell of the Easter Lillies and we had a evangelist and a music group come and sing. They were an occapella group. The church had pancake breakfast with orange juice and milk. But, the moment I walked out of the room where we at breakfast at and entered the sanctuary impacted my life in many ways and it still does.

  2. My reply is based, mainly, on a particular understanding of the phrase in verse 29 of 1 Corinthians 11 which you have quoted as “…if he does not judge the body rightly.” Other translations say “…not discerning the Lord’s body” or “…not recognizing the body.” Certainly it means recognizing that Christ gave his body and shed His blood to save us from sin. But it also reminds us that the church is the body of Christ and we are members one of another (1 Cor. 12:12-31). When we partake of the Lord’s supper we are to remember and recognize that we are part of Christ’s body, the church, and that we are to care for one another. Certainly we are all sinners needing forgiveness and no one is righteous. But we aren’t to call undue attention to ourselves and our own sinfulness but we are to be reminded we are members of each other in Christ and that we need each other and are needed by each other.
    God gave his only Son on the cross, and the Lord’s Supper or Communion is a way in which we remember this great sacrifice and by which we offer our thanks. As we partake of the elements of bread and wine, we are joined to Christ and He to us and to one another by and through the Holy Spirit in faith. Through the Lord’s Supper we remember Christ’s self-giving love, and we are renewed by his spiritual presence with us in the gathered congregation of worshipers. In celebrating the Lord’s Supper we not only experience Christ’s sustaining presence, but our hearts are turned to the needs of our fellow men and women. In this sacrament we are renewed and empowered for love. Further, the symbolism of the common loaf and cup shared by many encourages us to reach out in simple acts of love and care, knowing that we are one body in Christ.
    The power of the Lord’s Supper to revive love in the church is best expressed by Martin Luther: “The blessing of this sacrament is fellowship and love, by which we are strengthened against death and all evil. This fellowship is twofold: on the one hand we partake of Christ and all saints; on the other hand we permit all Christians to be partakers of us, in whatever way they and we are able. Thus by means of this sacrament, all self-seeking love is rooted out and given place to that which seeks the common good of all; and through the change wrought by love there is one bread, one drink, one body, one community. This is the true unity of Christian brethren.” So when we take the Lord’s Supper we remember and recognize the church, Christ’s body, which we are to love and serve. If we forget that then we “eat and drink in an unworthy manner and drink judgment to ourselves.”

    1. Thanks for your comment Pastor Ray. Today I was thinking about what it must have felt like to be one of the apostles sitting there with Jesus Christ. What a humbling experience that would have been.

  3. GOOD ARTICLE.
    COMMENT. I KNOW THE BIBLE SAYS GAMBLING IS A SIN. BUT..I LOVE TO GO TO MESQUITE AND PLAY THE SLOTS. MY TITHES ARE ALWAYS PAID THE FIRST OF THE MONTH AND MY BILLS AND EXTRAS LIKE I GAVE MONEY TO THE SALVATION ARMY FOR THE FLOODS IN TEXAS. I MET SOME VERY IMPORTANT PEOPLE FROM MY CHURCH HAVING FUN AT THEIR SLOTS, TOO. I MYSELF CONSIDER THAT MONEY MY RUN AND PLAY MONEY. I DON’Y DRINK, SMOKE, OR CHEW AND DON’T GO WITH THEM THAT DO. I HAVE SO MUCH FUN, GOOD FOOD, GOOD FELLOWSHIP COMING, AND GONG. FRIENDS ALWAYS DRIVE ME IN MY VAN AS I USE MY SCOOTER AND WALKER. I DO ASK THE LORD TO FORGIVE ME IF THIS IS NOT RIGHT AND ALWAYS ASK FOR TRAVEL MERCIES TOO. GOD IS SOOOO GOOD TO ME. LOVE, GINNY

  4. I also read your Blog, but almost never leave a comment. You described “Communion” pretty well. I have posted several articles in reference to “Home Communion” & how often one should partake of it. The following I posted once is pretty well aligned with yours but felt like posting as well.
    ————————————————————————————————————————————

    The Lord’s Supper is a soul-stirring experience because of the depth of meaning it contains. It was during the age-old celebration of the Passover on the eve of His death that Jesus instituted a significant new fellowship meal that we observe to this day. It is an integral part of Christian worship. It causes us to remember our Lord’s death and resurrection and to look for His glorious return in the future.

    The Passover was the most sacred feast of the Jewish religious year. It commemorated the final plague on Egypt when the firstborn of the Egyptians died and the Israelites were spared because of the blood of a lamb that was sprinkled on their doorposts. The lamb was then roasted and eaten with unleavened bread. God’s command was that throughout the generations to come the feast would be celebrated. The story is recorded in Exodus 12.

    During the Last Supper—a Passover celebration—Jesus took a loaf of bread and gave thanks to God. As He broke it and gave it to His disciples, He said, “’This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you’” (Luke 22:19-21). He concluded the feast by singing a hymn (Matthew 26:30), and they went out into the night to the Mount of Olives. It was there that Jesus was betrayed, as predicted, by Judas. The following day He was crucified.

    The accounts of the Lord’s Supper are found in the Gospels (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:17-25; Luke 22:7-22; and John 13:21-30). The apostle Paul wrote concerning the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:23-29. Paul includes a statement not found in the Gospels: “Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1 Corinthians 11:27-29). We may ask what it means to partake of the bread and the cup “in an unworthy manner.” It may mean to disregard the true meaning of the bread and cup and to forget the tremendous price our Savior paid for our salvation. Or it may mean to allow the ceremony to become a dead and formal ritual or to come to the Lord’s Supper with unconfessed sin. In keeping with Paul’s instruction, we should examine ourselves before eating the bread and drinking the cup.

    Another statement Paul made that is not included in the gospel accounts is “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). This places a time limit on the ceremony—until our Lord’s return. From these brief accounts we learn how Jesus used two of the frailest of elements as symbols of His body and blood and initiated them to be a monument to His death. It was not a monument of carved marble or molded brass, but of bread and wine.

    He declared that the bread spoke of His body which would be broken. There was not a broken bone, but His body was so badly tortured that it was hardly recognizable (Psalm 22:12-17; Isaiah 53:4-7). The wine spoke of His blood, indicating the terrible death He would soon experience. He, the perfect Son of God, became the fulfillment of the countless Old Testament prophecies concerning a Redeemer (Genesis 3:15; Psalm 22; Isaiah 53). When He said, “Do this in remembrance of me,” He indicated this was a ceremony that must be continued in the future. It indicated also that the Passover, which required the death of a lamb and looked forward to the coming of the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world, was fulfilled in the Lord’s Supper. The New Covenant replaced the Old Covenant when Christ, the Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), was sacrificed (Hebrews 8:8-13). The sacrificial system was no longer needed (Hebrews 9:25-28). The Lord’s Supper/Christian Communion is a remembrance of what Christ did for us and a celebration of what we receive as a result of His sacrifice.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I know I read other peoples blogs and posts on Facebook and such and most times I don’t comment. I did a study some time ago about the covenants in the Bible. I never really thought about the importance of the covenants that were between God and those of this world. Our church use to do a service called Maunday Thursday. Some churches call it the Sader. I wish we still did this service during Holy Week.

      Maundy Thursday – is during Holy Week and three days prior to Easter. When we moved to St. George and started going to our church, I never heard of it. For me, it is one of the most important observances for Christians. It’s a time of remembering and taking part in the last supper, the crucifixion and the death of Jesus, and the Resurrection to new life.

      The name ‘Maundy’ is derived from the Latin word “mandatum”, meaning a commandment. Jesus Christ, at the Last Supper, commanded:

      ‘And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.’ John 13:34.
      I would go to a Seventh Day Adventist Church off and on. Mostly when they had special seminars. During one of the seminars that was about the Signs of the End times, it was one of the best seminars I ever attended. It was a 6 week course. When I attended that seminar, that’s when I really learned how to study the Bible and cross reference things. But, the reason I bring them up is that they have a part of their Holy week where they would do the washing of the feet. I have never done that in my life and it was awkward, but awesome at the same time. The washing of feet They would do this on Maunday Thursday. It was a totally humbling experience.

      During the Last Supper, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. This act has sometimes been followed literally in history as a good way of reminding rulers that they are here to serve their subjects. I think it originated with the Catholic Church.

  5. There is a verse of scripture in the Book of Mormon that we take seriously. It is Mormon 9:29 and reads:

    29 “See that ye are not baptized unworthily; see that ye partake not of the sacrament of Christ unworthily; but see that ye do all things in worthiness, and do it in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God; and if ye do this, and endure to the end, ye will in nowise be cast out.”

    For the most part we believe that the partaking of the Sacrament is sacred, but the determination as to worthiness is left up to the participant. It is not up to others to shame someone into taking the Sacrament just “because it is what we do.” Rather we should be looking to someone who is not partaking and considering that he/she does not think himself/herself worthy. It is not up to the public to try to figure out what sin this person has committed, but rather it is up to us to be supportive and let him/her finish the repentance process at his/her own pace. At the same time occasionally there are the habitual non-participants. We consider participation in the Sacrament as an inward covenant to continue improving. We do not wait for “perfection” before we partake because none of us is perfect.

    1. Great message Jim. I believe the same thing. When I partake of the Lords Supper, it is very personal to me. There were times when I was struggling a great deal with anger towards God. I talked to my then Pastor and his wife about my feelings and built up anger towards God. I was blaming God for everything. During that time, I didn’t partake. I would actually miss the first Sunday when we do the Lords Supper. The reason why is because I didn’t want those who were passing the plate looking at me or giving me a hard time.

      I knew that I wasn’t right with God during that time. I did a lot of praying and seeked counseling from Pastor Dean. Once I got past that part of my life and I was reconciled with God, I then began partaking once again. I see partaking as a very serious thing. I have often wondered if others struggled the way I did. It was when I was in and out of the hospital. I would like to do a study on the importance of the Lords Supper, communion or Sacrament.

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