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The Lord's Supper - Open or Closed?
The Lord's Supper was instituted by Jesus Christ on the eve leading up to His death on the cross. The
Lord's Supper is presented in scripture as
the distinctive observance by a local
organized assembly of Christians with a
purposeful focus on the Lord's death with
joyful anticipation of the Lord's return.
The two symbolic elements committed in
this observance are the bread,
representing the broken body of the
crucified Christ, and the cup, representing the Lord's shed blood.
Should the observance of the Lord's Supper be open to all Christians or exclusive to certain Believers from a particular church or denomination? When we rightly divide the Word of truth... it seems clear that the Lord's Supper is open to ALL Born-Again Believers. This was certainly the case when Jesus observed His final supper... even permitting Judas (who would betray Christ). There is no admonition by the apostles to exclude other Believers. The rule to partaking of the Lord's Supper is not to exclude others... but examination of one's self (1 Cor 11:28).
Often, the chief sin among Christians is self-deception and is usually left unchecked. This is why we must examine ourselves regularly. Not to do so will certainly result in a believer's stunted in their spiritual growth that always leaves one at a disadvantage to the grossness of one's own personal ambitions and worldly influences that determine to corrupt and destroy.
Three conditions to partake of the Lord's Supper.
I. You must be a Born-Again Believer. (1 Corinthians 11:23,33). This is strongly implied in context with verse 31 where Paul uses the personal pro-noun "we" and then again refers to the believers as "brethren" in verse 33.
II. A Believer must be associated with Born-Again Believers beginning with identification through baptism. Water baptism is biblically represented as the very first act of obedience to the will of God. Believers who willfully neglect the opportunity of water baptism by immersion should NOT partake of the Lord's supper. Water baptism is a wonderful and powerful testimony of one's dedication and determination to publicly identify with the Lord Jesus Christ and follow Him.
III. A Believer who partakes of the Lord's Supper should be in the will of God with their life and living (1 Corinthians 11:28). This is where the pastor should encourage all in attendance to examine and judge themselves. If the Believer concludes they are not in willful disobedience to God... then they should gladly partake of the Lord's supper.
Observing the Lord's Supper is a wonderful occasion for Believers to examine their spiritual growth or lack thereof. It is also a very serious matter that demands an awareness of God's purpose with our life.
Sincerely, Dr. Arthur Belanger