The Lord’s Supper Observance

We believe and teach that the Lord’s Supper may not be scripturally observed on any day other than the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).

There are five acts of worship specified; by approved example, explicit statement and necessary inference; in the New Testament. They are:

  • Singing (Heb. 2:12).
  • Prayer (Acts 2:42).
  • Teaching (Acts 2:42).
  • Giving (1 Cor. 16:1, 2).
  • The Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:42).

Of these five acts of authorized worship, three of them are seen as part of the Christian’s daily lifestyle. For example, Paul and Silas were singing and praying to God at midnight in prison (Acts 16:25). The noble Bareans searched the Scriptures daily to learn God’s will (Acts 17:11). As Christians, we sing and pray and study God’s word as a part of our daily devotions to God.

Unlike singing and praying and studying, giving and taking the Lord’s Supper are only acts of worship in a specified place and time, i.e. on the first day of the week (Sunday) in the assembly of the saints.

Where we find passages showing the New Testament saints singing and praying and studying the Bible in many different settings, we never see the contribution or the Lord’s Supper being observed outside of the Sunday assembly. All of the verses regarding the observance of the Lord’s Supper refer to it being done on Sunday.

Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

This statement is made in reference to the worship of the first church, established on the day of Pentecost ca. AD 30. We know that this was Sunday because it was the day of Pentecost. “Pentecost” means “fiftieth.” In the Old Testament this is what is called the Feast of Weeks (Ex. 34:22). Notice how the time of observance for the Feast of Weeks was determined.

Lev. 23:15 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: 16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.

“The morrow” after any sabbath would be a Sunday! So the day of Pentecost always fell on Sunday. The first reference to the church taking the Lord’s Supper is given in connection to the events of Pentecost and shows that, from the very beginning, the Lord’s church observed that memorial in the assembly on Sunday.

Acts 20:7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

There’s not a lot of explanation needed on that verse, is there. It’s pretty clear that the disciples assembled on Sunday for the purpose of taking the Lord’s Supper.

1 Cor. 11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

In the context of this verse Paul is rebuking the Corinthians for their abuse of the Lord’s Supper. When did this abuse take place? The Greek text more literally says, “when you congregate together.” It certainly is not taking about being in a building that people mistakenly refer to as “the church.” Being in a building is not the same thing as being “in the church.” It is referring to the congregating of the Lord’s people for the purpose of fellowship (Acts 2:42) and worship (Acts 20:7). Paul continues to address various aspects of conduct in the assembly of the church through the rest of the letter. Notice, in giving instruction regarding another aspect of the worship assembly, instead of saying “when you come together in the church,” he says, “on the first day of the week” (1 Cor. 16:1, 2).

The New Testament church assembled on the first day of the week, Sunday, for the purpose of worshipping God. One part of that worship was the observance of the Lord’s Supper. There is no passage anywhere in Scripture showing the church, or any member of the church individually, observing the Lord’s Supper on any other day of the week in any other setting. Just as we said in our last article regarding our singing, if we cannot show from Scripture why we do what we do, then we should not – MUST not – do it.

The same thing applies to the contribution. Scripture authorizes the contribution to be collected on the first day of the week, and only on the first day of the week (1 Cor. 16:1, 2). One of the things that is so characteristic of denominational assemblies is taking up a collection, no matter the day or even the type of assembly. I have seen collections taken up at their midweek Bible classes, their “Revivals,” and every other kind of meeting you could think of. I have asked the question, where does the Bible say that collections should be taken up on Wednesday? They can’t show it! That means they are doing it according to the commandments of men, not God. Remember Matthew 15:9?

Matt. 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

The Lord’s Supper is not something to use as a “spiritual token” at “special occasions.” It is not something to be done to give a wedding a “spiritual aspect.” Or, something to be done once a year in the observance of Easter. Or, something to give our private devotions “more meaning.” When people claim to take the Lord’s Supper or take up a collection on a day and in a way that differs from what the Bible says then they are not worshipping God. They are perverting the worship of God and it is vain.

The Lord’s Supper is one aspect of the most “special occasion” in the Christian’s life – the Sunday assembly of the saints to worship God. When we observe the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice for us (1 Cor. 11:23-29), in the assembly of the saints on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7), in connection with the other acts of worship (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1, 2; Heb. 2:12), it is an act of worship to God with which he is well pleased. Let us worship God in spirit and in truth and be the kind of people he is seeking to be his worshippers (Jn. 4:23, 24).

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