Abuse of the Lord’s Supper

by Leslie Diestelkamp

It is quite obvious that many Christians who may be quite devoted in other ways, do indeed "miss the mark" with regard to the Lord's Supper. Consider the following:

  1. The attitude and practice of some brethren indicate that they expect forgiveness of their sins of the past week because they have had the supper on Sunday. But the Lord's Supper is not at all intended to bring pardon of sins. The body and blood which we remember in the supper were given for our forgiveness, but when we eat and drink at the Lord's table, we do that as a memorial: "this do in remembrance of me" (I Corinthians 11:25).
  2. As a consequence of this attitude, some seem to feel that if they cannot have the Lord's Supper on a given Sunday, they will not be forgiven and will be in jeopardy until the next opportunity. Of course, if we cannot assemble with the disciples, we do indeed miss an opportunity to "show the Lord's death till he come." The Lord knows when we can't do it, and he knows why, but he does not expect the impossible.
  3. The New Testament pattern for the supper portrays the disciples coming together for this purpose – to remember – and show forth our remembrance – together. For instance, we never read of Paul (or any other disciples) having the Lord's Supper privately or in any other circumstances while they traveled, except when they were able to meet with the assembled brethren.

Now let us briefly summarize: There is certainly great benefit in regular observance of the Lord's Supper, for every remembrance means never forgetfulness. Deliberate absence from the supper means, not only loss of benefit, but disobedience regarding the Lord's directive. Besides the preciousness of this significant memorial of the death of Christ, we have the additional benefit of fellowship in togetherness with those of like precious faith. Obviously the Lord intended for the supper to bring us together:

  • "that ye come together..." (I Corinthians 11:17);
  • "when ye come together in the church..." (I Corinthians 11:18);
  • "When ye come together therefore in one place..." (I Corinthians 11:20);
  • "when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another..." (I Corinthians 11:33).