There are compelling exegetical, historical, and practical reasons to partake of the Lord’s Supper every Lord’s Day. Now, there is no clear command in Scripture, “Take the Lord’s Supper every Sunday.” There is also no explicit command that we have to sing every Sunday gathering. So why do we sing every week? It’s clear from many verses and from church history that this is what disciples of Jesus, what churches, do. And I believe the Lord’s Supper ought to be seen in the same light.
I know every church has their traditions, rhythms, and habits. One of the wonderful things about a network like Acts 29 is our unity among our many kinds of diversities. I want to gently frame biblical, historical, and practical reasons for weekly communion into four invitations. This meal is from Jesus and with Jesus. He has invited us to dine with him, and he invites us to these four things:
1. The Lord’s Supper is an invitation to enjoy and exalt Jesus.
We “do this” in remembrance of him (Luke 22:19). The meal is meant to redirect our hearts to Jesus’s horrific death and hope-filled resurrection for us sinners. We are to remember him, not like an old photograph to get warm and fuzzy feelings, but to worship him.
We “do this” to exalt him and to proclaim him. In eating at the Lord’s table, we “proclaim his death” (1 Cor. 11:26). We exalt his passion and exalt him amid the congregation and to the world. In eating a scrap of bread and a sip of wine or juice, every member becomes a gospel herald. Every Christian becomes a participant in the proclamation ministry of the glories of his righteousness. Division cannot sit at the table; it buckles under the gentle pressure of God’s love. Click To Tweet
2. The Lord’s Supper is an invitation to be refreshed by Jesus.
Communion is more than a mental acknowledgment, some kind of cognitive realignment to Jesus. At the Lord’s table, we are refreshed, nourished, strengthened, and encouraged by the presence of King Jesus.
Paul tells us, “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation (Greek, koinonia) in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation (Greek, koinonia) in the body of Christ?” (1 Cor. 10:16). Communion is community with Christ. Koinonia with the Lord happens at the Lord’s table. Which makes sense; he invited us to his table, of course he is there. And when we draw near to God, he promises to draw near to us, and the nearness of God is our good (James 4:8, Ps. 73:28).
3. The Lord’s Supper is an invitation to unity.
Paul reminds us that “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor 10:17). The church is reminded at the Lord’s table that we are one in Christ. Division cannot sit at the table; it buckles under the gentle pressure of God’s love. Hurdles to unity, barriers to fellowship, and footholds for the devil are all dealt with before enjoying communion. Oh, how our churches in this cultural moment need more and more unity! And taking the Lord and his supper seriously will get us there.
4. The Lord’s Supper is an invitation to repentance and spiritual warfare.
Paul told the Corinthians to “flee idolatry” (1 Cor. 10:14) and to do this by taking the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 10:16–22). Paul doesn’t say this as though, “A communion a day keeps the Devil away.” Communion is a realignment to Christ, a refreshing of Christ’s glory and his goodness. It’s a way of preaching the gospel to ourselves, which moves us away from idols, helping us kill idolatry by the Spirit (Rom. 8:13). The meal is a reminder to examine our hearts, confess, repent, and follow Christ above all (1 Cor. 11:28).
The Lord’s Supper is a means of renouncing demonic forces and turning from idolatry. When you take the elements, you are telling the elemental spirits, “I’m with Jesus—not you. I’m no longer under your rule. Jesus is mine and I am his. He defeated you and I will proclaim his death until he comes, and he’s bringing your final defeat with him.” Communion is a realignment to Christ, a refreshing of Christ’s glory and his goodness. Click To Tweet
Paul told the Thessalonians, “Stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter” (2 Thess. 2:15). It’s clear from 1 Corinthians 11 that they partook of the Supper when they gathered every Sunday. If weekly communion is the apostolic tradition—shouldn’t we hold to it?
The Didache, a training manual for new churches written around the first century, says, “Every Lord’s Day, gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions.” John Calvin believed the Lord’s table should be a weekly staple of the Christian’s spiritual calories. “We ought always to provide that no meeting of the church is held without the Word, prayer, the dispensation of the Supper, and alms. We may gather from Paul that this was the order observed by the Corinthians, and it is certain that this was the practice many ages after.”
Brothers and sisters—don’t we need to hear these four invitations every week? I know I do. And as gospel-centered, Jesus-proclaiming churches, let’s ask ourselves, “Are we getting our gospel proclamation to the fullest without the bread and the wine?”