breaking of bread, broken bread, collective or corporate remembrance, koinonia or fellowship, living sacrifice, personal remembrance, poured-out wine, refueling, sacramental character, sacramental meal or Lord's Supper, spiritual exhaustion, spiritual nourishment, spiritually exhausted
Let me go over with you again exactly what goes on in the Lord’s Supper and why it is so centrally important. I received my instructions from the Master himself and passed them on to you. The Master, Jesus, on the night of his betrayal, took bread. Having given thanks, he broke it and said, This is my body, broken for you. Do this to remember me. After supper, he did the same thing with the cup: This cup is my blood, my new covenant with you. Each time you drink this cup, remember me. What you must solemnly realize is that every time you eat this bread and every time you drink this cup, you reenact in your words and actions the death of the Master. You will be drawn back to this meal again and again until the Master returns. You must never let familiarity breed contempt. ~ 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, MSG
Since the Lord’s Supper is a sacramental meal the Lord Himself instituted, there probably isn’t any true believer who has not partaken of the Lord’s Supper, which is the breaking and eating of bread and the pouring out and drinking of wine. Besides being a sacramental meal, the Lord’s Supper is a feast of love, because it complemented the early Christian “church’s” love feasts, of which the purpose was to maintain and promote brotherly love (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:17-34; Jude v. 12). In essence, the Lord’s Supper was the meal within a meal!
More important, the Lord’s Supper is to be a feast of participation (the sharing in Christ Jesus’ brokenness or death on the Cross, as well as the sharing in His newness of life resurrection). The Lord’s Supper also is to be a feast of hope (the foretasting of eternal life in Heaven with Him). Thus, taking part in the Lord’s Supper not only is supposed to help every believer to remember the Lord’s death, until His Second Coming, but also the Lord’s Supper is supposed to keep each believer’s mind and heart alive to Him.
Be that as it may, without a doubt, not everyone who takes “communion” today understands that the Lord’s Supper involves two kinds of “remembering.” The first is a believer’s personal remembrance. The second is a believer’s collective remembrance.
It is important to point out here that, as a result of the Lord’s sacrificial death and His glorious resurrection, the Lord’s Supper both symbolizes and confirms that the Holy Spirit has made every believer one with Christ Jesus. In other words, believers’ union with Christ Jesus—their oneness in His suffering, death, burial, and resurrection—is what the Holy Spirit uses to bring believers together as one Body, which is under the Lord who is the Head (cf. Colossians 1:17-19). This oneness is why the Lord’s Supper also symbolizes salvation; additionally, this oneness is why the effects of “communion”—the kinds of “remembering”—are both individual and corporate.
Now, there can be no doubt that during the Lord’s Supper, each participating believer PERSONALLY takes a moment or more to meditate on EVERYTHING the Lord went through to be the ONE who could forgive everybody’s sins, to be the ONE who could redeemed each person who genuinely believes on Him, and to be the ONE who could give eternal life to every believer. Yet, very few believers are like the first-century believers who, while taking “communion” together, not only were personally thankful to receive the Lord’s Supper but also collectively blessed to be taking part in a koinonia—the unity, love, worship, and fellowship with the other present Body of Christ “communion” takers.
It is important to note here that neither those first-century believers nor today’s believers could experience a koinonia, which is one body of loving, worshipping believers who are fellowshipping together and having all things in common, just because they take part in the Lord’s Supper. As earlier stated, because of the Lord’s sacrificial death and resurrection, the Lord’s Supper both symbolizes and confirms that the Holy Spirit has made every believer one with Christ Jesus. Thus, it is this oneness and the sense of having all things in common (cf. Acts 2:44) that create a koinonia experience.
The point here is that because of their koinonia experiences, the Holy Spirit-established oneness with Christ Jesus causes the early first-century believers who are participating in the Lord’s Supper to take their personal remembrance to a higher level—to move to a collective or corporate remembrance. In other words, these believers didn’t just eat the broken bread and drink the poured wine, but also they openly shared with one another what they each felt, knew, and understood about the price Jesus the Christ paid for His Body of believers—for His ekklesia, for His called out ones. In short, they became a true spiritual family or one body in Christ (cf. Acts 2:42, 44, 46). The sad truth is that there can be no doubt that very few of today’s believers who take “communion” really do so as a spiritual family!
Furthermore, there can be no doubt that Christ Jesus was the first-century disciples’ broken-yielded bread and poured-out wine. That is to say, first-century disciples (the Day of Pentecost Holy Spirit-filled believers) understood that the Lord literally had become spiritually exhausted for them—He had allowed His vital forces, life energies, to flow out of Him and into His followers. In other words, before His death on the Cross, the Lord’s sacramental character willingly and obediently allowed God to break Him, the Bread of Life, and pour out of Him the Wine of the Holy Spirit for the benefit of His disciples. In essence, Christ Jesus’ vital forces (Bread and Wine . . . Life of Service) flowed out of Him and into His disciples so that their souls could receive their necessary spiritual nourishment and spiritual power (bread and wine), and this spiritual exhaustion continued until His disciples were able to feed on and drink from Him on their own.
In essence, the Lord’s figurative sacramental character, as symbolized by His physical life of service to others, became the first-century disciples’ literal sacrament (the actual bread and wine), or the means by which they became partakers of His life—the way they became spiritually united to their Lord and Savior (cf. Hebrews 3:14; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17). For this reason, it is clear that the Lord’s Supper takes on more than just the natural aspects of physical nourishment and genuine fellowship between believers, because this meal also involves having a relationship with Father God and Christ Jesus and being in fellowship with them through the Holy Spirit.
That’s why, the early first-century believers’ “breaking of bread” (cf. Acts 2:42, 46) had both a physical and a spiritual purpose. Additionally, that is why every time these early first-century believers took the Lord’s Supper they literally and figuratively were refueling themselves with His spiritual nourishment (His spiritual energy, meaning the Holy Spirit who gives God’s supernatural power and who produces spiritual maturity). Put differently, for the Day of Pentecost’s Holy Spirit-filled disciples, the Lord’s Supper was NOT mere food and drink. Rather, once both the broken and eaten bread and the poured out and imbibed wine were digested, they became these early disciples’ spiritual food and drink that gave their souls power and strength, plus the necessary spiritual growth. Consequently, these disciples became vessels who were broken by Christ Jesus yet refilled with the Holy Spirit so that they could witness for Christ.
Taking the Lord’s Supper, therefore, made them able to go back into the world where they could be that broken-yielded bread and that poured-out wine that spiritually immature individuals must feed off of until these babes in Christ learned how to feed on Christ Jesus for themselves. Furthermore, once these spiritually matured disciples became spiritually exhausted again, they knew that they only had to return to their energy Source, and they would be refilled, which was why DAILY they partook of the Lord’s Supper—the meal within their common meal.
For the above reasons, it is important to note here that the original Lord’s Supper was part of the Jewish Passover meal. It is mentioned in the Scriptures that, while the Lord’s 12 disciples were eating their meal, contextually speaking, their Passover meal, Jesus the Christ shared with them another meal, which they consumed a few hours before He was crucified (cf. Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:17-22). Thus, when it also is mentioned in the Scriptures that the earliest first century Spirit-filled followers of Christ met daily in homes for teaching, praying, witnessing, and socially encouraging fellowship or koinonia, then it stands to reason that these disciples would have incorporated the Lord’s Supper within their daily common meals (cf. Acts 2:41-46), because there can be no doubt that the Lord’s Supper still was fresh on at least His 11 initial disciples’ minds!
More important, what is irrefutable is the fact that these early Christians’ koinonia involved them frequently sharing the Lord’s Supper together. They did so for the purpose of bringing together (uniting) their individual vertical relationship between themselves and their God, and their horizontal relationships between themselves and other brothers and sisters in Christ so that believers in the Lord’s ekklesia, regardless where His ekklesia is located worldwide, absolutely could have EVERYTHING in common (in harmony). The end result would be that believers’ interdependent supporting fellowship would benefit each person in the Lord’s ekklesia (cf. Acts 2:44).
To this end, just like Christ Jesus’ sacramental character and His broken-yielded Bread and pour-out Wine benefit the entire world, but especially every believer, which the taking of the Lord’s Supper causes participating believers to remember, then every ekklesia member’s sacramental character and his or her broken-yielded bread and pour-out wine must benefit, first and foremost, every Household of Faith sibling, and secondly, the world’s lost souls. This benefiting EVERYONE point no doubt is why, where having a sacramental character is concerned, even the apostle Paul believes that God calls every Christian so that He can make each one broken-yielded bread and poured-out wine for His ministry, for the sake of others, and so that he or she would be a servant for Christ—so that every believer would become spiritually exhausted, living sacrifices who are in service for Christ Jesus.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. ~ Romans 12:1, ESV
Then later, near the end of his life, this same apostle writes:
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. ~ 2 Timothy 4:6-8, ESV
In the above verses, Paul metaphorically is saying that his entire life has been a drink offering that has been “…poured out on the sacrifice and service…” (Philippians 2:17) of others’ faith (cf. 2 Timothy 4:6)—that he physically and spiritually has exhausted his life’s energies by way of presenting his body as a living sacrifice (cf. Romans 12:1). In other words, in the hands of Christ Jesus, Paul’s willing and obedient body has become broken-yielded bread, after which the Holy Spirit inwardly has filled (and refilled) him so that he then could be used as broken-yielded bread and poured-out wine for others. For this reason, Paul’s past faithfulness to his God-given calling is what makes his imminent home going that much more appealing and rewarding (cf. 2 Timothy 4:7).
From apostle Paul, contemporary believers learn that they are expected to devote their lives to the same kind of sold out for Christ commitment and willingness to become spiritually exhausted that Paul had given, because he was just modeling Christ Jesus. Thus, today’s believers also must be willing and obedient to the point that they would put their bodies in Christ Jesus’ hands so that they can become broken-yielded bread, while, by the infilling Holy Spirit, they become His poured-out wine (His supernatural power and spiritual fruit). Additionally, these modern-day believers must realize that it is only when they are willing to allow God to use them to minister to (spiritually feed) babes in Christ, to the point that these seasoned believers become spiritually exhausted, that God’s Holy Spirit will give them everything they need to help the souls of the spiritually immature believers learn how to draw their spiritual nourishment directly from their Lord and Savior.
Finally, when today’s believers have a sacramental character, which is a spiritual nature that demonstrates an intimate relationship with God and with Christ Jesus, a commitment to worship, and a calling to be broken-yielded bread and poured-out wine, they then will be like apostle Paul. This last statement means that 21st–century believers would be modeling the same characteristics that Paul, a sold out for Christ Jesus believer, demonstrates. More important, contemporary believers also would be modeling the life in service to others sacramental character that their Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus, demonstrates!
For the above reasons, before modern-day believers ever could hope to have a successful life in service to Christ and others, every contemporary believer first must be a called-out member of Christ Jesus’ ekklesia, and he or she must be participating in both a personal remembrance and a collective remembrance of the Lord’s death—each believer must be someone who is taking part in the sacramental meal the Lord Himself instituted. This meal, of course, is the Lord’s Supper. Secondly, every believer must be able to answer YES to the following questions: Am I willing to become a living sacrifice? Do I really want to be broken-yielded bread and poured-out wine to this world’s carnal, hurting, and lost people? Am I willing to pay the cost of time, willing to humble myself, and willing to love others above myself in spite of what it costs me? Am I willing to have a sacramental character that causes me to become spiritually exhausted?