Communion Service; It’s Biblical Basis and Practice
God instructed the church and Christians to practice two ordinances, specifically “Believers Baptism” and the “Lord’s Supper”.
Southdale Bible Chapel recognizes the importance and centrality of the “Lord’s Supper”. We have a weekly Sunday service at 9:30 a.m., called the Communion Service, where we obey this ordinance. We believe that this time of remembrance is critical to the spiritual well being of every believer and of the church fellowship in its totality. We encourage each person in fellowship to attend often.
Biblical Teaching on Communion
The Lord knows our weakness and wants us to never forget His sacrifice and its eternal benefits to us. The Lord Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper just prior to going to the cross to give His life. We see from the accounts in the gospels (Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, Luke 22:13-23) and Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians (1 Cor 10:16-17, 1 Cor 11:23-34) that, in its essence, communion is meant to be a simple memorial around the common elements of bread and wine. Additionally, we see:
– It is an act of obedience (1 Cor 11:23)
– It is to be done regularly and frequently (1 Cor 11:26, Acts 20:7)
– It is meant to keep our lives pure (1 Cor 11:27-28)
– It is fellowship with God, and each other (1 Cor 10:16-17)
– It is to be focused on His sacrifice for our sins (1 Cor 11:26, Luke 22:17-22)
– It is a remembrance (1 Cor 11:24)
– It is a proclamation to all (1 Cor 11:26)
– It is a time of thanksgiving (1 Cor 11:24)
– It is in anticipation of His coming (1 Cor 11:26, Luke 22:16)
Practically, the time of remembrance can be short. It is focused on the breaking of the bread and sharing the cup in thankfulness. By doing this, we fulfill God’s expectation of us. The additional elements of the Communion service have developed through many years of tradition. Traditions are important and helpful (1 Cor 11:2), but should never be held up as the only way. We encourage an openness in the context of the Communion service.
Typical Elements of the Communion Service at Southdale Bible Chapel
If you attend a Communion Service, you will notice most, if not all, of the following elements of worship in the service. Most elements are not pre-planned, but are open to the leading of the Holy Spirit as He points us to the Lord Jesus Christ and His sacrifice.
Christian men, in healthy fellowship with God and fellow believers, can participate audibly in the service.
– Short opening and welcome
– Scripture reading focused on Christ
– Sharing of a passage in Scripture
– Singing of hymns and choruses of praise and remembrance
– Prayers of thanksgiving
– Prayer for the bread followed by partaking of the bread
– Prayer for the cup followed by partaking of the cup
– Taking of the offering
– Closing and Dismissal
Guidance for Attendance and Participation in the Lord’s Supper
The following are guidelines for attendance and participation:
– Be there. If you are a Christian, follow the Lord’s command and attend on a regular basis. Jesus said to His followers “Do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19.
– Be right. Remembering the Lord requires that we examine ourselves before we take part and confess any sin (1 Cor 11:27-28). If there is anything between you and another Christian, it should be settled before coming (Matthew 5:24).
– Be prepared. Not necessarily to share audibly, but to worship and remember Him.
– Be brief. If you do share, be mindful of the time and share succinctly. If you are opening the service, be brief (no longer than 10 minutes).
– Be heard. Speak loudly and clearly enough to benefit all in attendance.
– Be focused. Be focused on Christ, the cross and our glorious hope. 1 Cor 11:26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
– Be open. As mentioned, there are few actual constraints in the service, so be open to the Spirit’s leading. There is nothing wrong with remembering the Lord early in the service and having a time of sharing or worship later. Differing perspectives and styles are welcome providing they point us to Christ.
– Be aware. Be aware of the time, and help to ensure we close the service by 10:30 am. This will allow us time for fellowship and setup for the Family Bible Hour that follows.
Additional Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do I have to be baptised to participate? The only requirement for participation is that you must be a born again Christian. We encourage all Christians to be baptised as soon as possible after receiving Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Can children take the emblems? Yes, young children can take the emblems, providing they are Christians and understand the importance of the remembrance. We rely on parents to use their discretion in this.
Do I have to be in fellowship at Southdale Bible Chapel to participate? No, the only requirement is that a person is a Christian, walking in fellowship with the Lord (1 Corinthians 11:28).
Why are men only permitted to share audibly? We acknowledge the significant role that women play in many areas in the church. Scripture is specific however, that in certain cases men are expected to lead, often when the entire local church meets together. We believe that the Communion Service is such a gathering and therefore 1 Corinthians 14:34 and 1 Timothy 2:12 apply. Therefore, only men can lead audibly in worship and remembrance.
Why do you use grape juice and not wine? We are sensitive to people that may have a problem with alcohol and therefore have chosen to use grape juice (still the fruit of the vine) in the service.