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Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:17-22
The Lord's Supper in a Second Assembly on the Lord's Day
1. Issue is not:
a. Whether Christians must eat the Lord’s Supper on the 1st day of the week in the worship assembly; they must, 1 Cor. 11:18, 20. (Matt. 18:18-20 is not approving individual worship services apart from the assembly of saints; the authority of the apostles to bind and loose what heaven has bound or loosed.)
b. Whether the church “serves” the Lord’s Supper; it does not “serve” it, each Christian eats it. The local church does not perform a ceremony called the Lord’s Supper, it provides the occasion for the disciples to eat and drink in memory of the Lord’s death. Christians “drink the cup of the Lord” and “partake of the Lord’s table” when they eat the Lord’s Supper, thus having communion with the blood and body of Christ (1 Cor. 10:21, 16-17; 11:20). It is only incidentally “served” when eaten.
2. Issue is:
a. Does the church have scriptural authority to provide an opportunity for saints to eat the Lord’s Supper at a second assembly on the first day of the week when some or most of the saints have eaten the Lord’s Supper in a previous Lord’s day assembly? (Col. 3:17; 1 Cor. 4:17)
b. Put another way: Does the church have Bible authority to prevent a Christian from eating the Lord’s Supper during a Lord’s Day assembly? 1 Cor. 11:28
I. THINGS WHICH MUST EXIST TO PROPERLY EAT THE LORD’S SUPPER.
A. Correct Realm: The Kingdom, Luke 22:18.
B. Correct Arrangement: Assembly of the Church, 1 Cor. 11:18, 20.
C. Correct Time: First Day of the Week, Acts 20:7.
D. Correct Elements: Unleavened bread and fruit of the vine, 1 Cor. 11:23-25; Lk. 22:18-20; Matt. 26:26-29.
E. Correct Participants: Christians who have not yet eaten the Lord’s Supper that Lord's day.
1. One purpose of the assembly is to eat the Lord’s Supper,
1 Cor. 11:20. (There are additional
purposes to our assemblies, 1 Cor. 14:15, 23, 26;
Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 5:4-5.)
2. This necessarily implies that those assembling who have not eaten the Lord’s Supper bear the responsibility to do so.
3. Although eaten in the assembly, the Lord’s Supper is an individual matter that each Christian is commanded to obey, 1 Cor. 11:27-29.
4. The opportunity to eat at a second assembly gives them the ability to obey the Lord's command to eat (also His command to give, to sing, to pray and to be edified by preaching the word).
F. Correct Conduct of Participants, 1 Cor. 11:23-29.
II. I CORINTHIANS 11:17-34: TWO PROBLEMS, TWO SOLUTIONS.
A. Two Problems:
1. Problem # 1: Abuse of the Lord’s Supper: Was being associated with a common meal, 11:18-21.
2. Problem #2: Class divisions arose as they abused the purpose of the Lord’s Supper, 11:20-22.
B. Two Solutions:
1. Properly distinguish between THE Practice and purpose of the Lord’s Supper and a common meal, 11:22-32, 34.
a. 11:22: The public assembly is to be an occasion to offer worship to God (not satisfy one’s hunger).
b. Paul reminds them of the nature and design of the Lord’s Supper when Christ instituted it.
c. 11:23-27: Proper elements, proper purpose and proper manner of eating (follow the Lord’s example, memorial, proclamation, communion).
d. 11:28-32: Proper heart (examine oneself, discern the body).
2. Be united in eating of the Lord’s Supper:
a. Do not despise one another, 11:22.
b. Wait for one another, 11:33.
C. Individual Responsibility Fulfilled when the Church comes Together, 1 Cor. 11:27-28 (18, 20, 33).
1. Same is true of praying, singing, giving and hearing the word preached.
2. Who has the right to forbid an individual in an assembly not to obey the Lord’s commands (to pray, sing, give, hear the gospel, eat the supper)?
D. Notes on 1 Corinthians 11:21-34:
1. 11:21: “ahead” (before, ASV, prolambanō): “To take…to take beforehand, to do something before the usual time.”
2. 11:22: Despise (“to disparage, to regard in an unseemly fashion”):
a. It existed toward the church of God, and…
b. It existed toward the poor (acting in a way that shamed the poor).
3. 11:28: Let a man examine himself:
a. To avoid committing the sin of verse 27.
b. Every person is to conduct his own self-examination.
c. No one is to examine his brother and exclude him from the Lord’s Supper.
(1) Either by attempting to read his heart, or
(2) Withholding from him the opportunity to eat the Lord’s Supper.
4. 11:33: “Wait for one another”- ekdechomai (wait, tarry): “1) to receive, accept 2) to look for, expect, wait for, await” (Thayer, 193).
a. Part of the remedy for the division which existed there (11:21-22).
b. Look for, expect, cf. 1 Cor. 16:11; Heb. 11:10.
c. When you assemble, receive or accept each other so that your coming together is for the better rather than the worse (11:17).
d. That is, so that you will be able to decently and with order “eat the Lord’s Supper” (11:20-21).
e. This is a UNITY argument, not a TIME argument; cf. 11:18-21.
f. This is commanded of all who are PRESENT in the assembly (not to those who are PRESENT about waiting for some who are ABSENT to arrive).
g. That is, when you “come together to eat” wait for one another (have an orderly arrangement that remedies division).
5. Then, be sure you properly eat the Lord’s Supper; it is not a common meal, 11:34.
a. A memorial, 1 Cor. 11:23-25 (Matt. 26:26-28).
b. A proclamation of the Lord’s death, 1 Cor. 11:26.
c. A communion with the Lord (and secondarily with all other saints who “partake of that one bread”, 1 Cor. 10:17), Matt. 26:29; Lk. 22:18; 1 Cor. 10:16, 21.
III. IF THE LORD’S SUPPER CANNOT BE AVAILABLE FOR CHRISTIANS TO EAT DURING A SECOND ASSEMBLY ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, THEN:
A. The Christian’s Eating of the Supper is Valid only when All the Saints are Present and All Properly Eat the Supper.
1. But, 1 Cor. 11:27-30 shows that one Christian may eat in a worthy manner while another eats in an unworthy manner.
2. The validity of one’s eating of the supper does not hinge on another person.
IV. THE OBJECTION: NO NT PATTERN FOR OFFERING THE SUPPER MORE THAN ONCE ON THE LORD’S DAY. (We are told there is no “example” of it in the NT.)
A. Consistency of the Argument Demands only One Assembly on the Lord’s Day, Period.
1. For the sake of peace a number of churches have eliminated second assembly to accommodate this doctrine (those who think it is a sin to provide the supper at a second assembly).
2. Some have done so because they believe it is sinful to do provide it at a second assembly.
3. Some have second assemblies but identify them as “singings” or “classes”, then conclude it is not a worship assembly and therefore the LS will not be eaten.
B. Defense of No Second Assembly Supper: “You Can’t Give an Example” of the Supper being Eaten in a Second Assembly.
1. Cannot produce an example of accepting contribution, praying, singing or preaching at a second assembly.
2. Why can these be done by the person who was absent from the first assembly, but they cannot eat the Supper? Where is this pattern?
3. There is a pattern for all who are present in the assembly to receive or “wait for one another”.
C. Truth: There is a NT Pattern for the Practice of Multiple Lord’s Day Assemblies and for making the Lord’s Supper Available to Christians at each Assembly.
1. Authority is established either by command, approved example or necessary inference.
2. The New Testament pattern for this practice exists in necessary inferences:
a. 1 Cor. 11:18: Necessarily implies the right and the ability of the church to “come together” more than once on the Lord’s Day. If it has 2 or 20 assemblies, it has followed the NT pattern.
b. 1 Cor. 11:20, 33: Necessarily implies the church can make an orderly arrangement that allows Christians to eat the supper; this is “waiting” on one another.
1. The Lord’s Supper is an individual responsibility that is fulfilled when the church comes together, 1 Cor. 11:28 (18, 20, 33).
2. Instead of preventing Christians from remembering the Lord’s death by eating the supper, churches have the authority to provide this occasion for communion with the Lord.