What is Communion and Why Does God Command It? 0813

What is Communion and Why Does God Command It?


View 1: Transubstantiation

(Catholic) The bread becomes the actual body of Christ and the wine becomes the actual blood of Christ, so that Christ can be sacrificed over and over and over again. As hard as it is to accept, Catholics are told that it is the body and blood of Jesus even-though it still tastes like bread and wine. Some try to make a distinction between substance and outward perceivable qualities. Also, typically only the priests drink the wine but both can eat the bread. Over a lifetime, Jesus is re-sacrificed thousand of times.

View 2: Symbolic only
(Baptist and Congregationalist) The bread and wine are just symbols to remember what Jesus did. For these people, Baptism and Communion are not necessary for or part of salvation. So God commands bogus things?

View 3: Real presence spiritually (Lutheran, Calvin, and the first century church) Jesus is spiritually present in, under and with the communion. The bread is broken and the wine is drunk to not only remember the work of Christ on our behalf, but also to remember that actually spiritually we are the body of Christ covered in, sanctified by and empowered with the Blood of Christ.

Lets look at the Bible passages that explain Communion.

Point 1: Jesus is the Bread of (Spiritual) Life

The first New Testament passage occurs in John 6, the day after the feeding of the 5000 when many came looking for Jesus.

Jesus said:

“Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. ”

Out of context, this passage supports transubstantiation. Literally taken, it is Cannibalism. It doesn’t say Jesus’ flesh becomes bread, or visa versa. To learn the context, we need the read all of John 6:26-70.

“Jesus answered them and said, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.’ Then they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?’ ”

They were looking for Jesus to satisfy their physical hunger, not for spiritual nourishment. They wanted to do what only God could do. They wanted to be justified by their works. Jesus answered that belief (faith) is the work of God, alone!

“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.’ Therefore they said to Him, ‘What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ”

They recalled what happened in the wilderness when they were lead by Moses and received manna. Again, their perspective is physical, not spiritual. And they think a man Moses gave them the manna.

“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.’ ”

Manna, is also known as the bread of God. Jesus explains that Jesus, not manna, is the true spiritual bread of God.

” ‘For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ Then they said to Him, ‘Lord, give us this bread always.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. ‘ ”

Jesus made a spiritual, not a physical promise. He further explains what “comes to Me” mean, and what it doesn’t mean.

” But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. ”

Jesus tells us that “comes to Me” actually means spiritually regenerated and saved by Him. Merely seeing Jesus or hearing His words does not qualify. In fact, only the elect selected by God the Father before the foundations of time can truly believe. Further, every one who God elected will come to Him and remain in Him through eternity. The words of Jesus are received spiritually with power and purpose. Only the saved elect shall never hunger and shall never thirst, spiritually speaking.

“The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’ ? ‘Jesus therefore answered and said to them, ‘Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

Here Jesus equates the bread of life with His flesh, to be given ( not taken) on the cross. Without the shedding of blood, there cannot be remission of sin. Either our blood at our death or our Savior’s blood shed specifically for the Elect on the cross will propitiate God’s just wrath over our sinful disobedience. Jesus is the Word, the light of the world, the Bread of Life. Only the saved elect can accept God’s Word, see God’s Light, and spiritually digest God’s Bread of Life by becoming one with Christ, becoming His spiritual Body.

The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”

Clearly the Jews didn’t understand, which likely means they are still spiritually dead. Now that we understand the context, lets look again at this passage.

“Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.”

So communion is for the truly saved only. Unfortunately, the Bible also reveals that in the visible churches, true and false believers, wheat and tares, exist.

” ‘This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.’ ‘Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can understand it?’ When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, ‘Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, ‘Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.’ From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.”

The Gospel is foolishness to the lost. Some people join churches, for the wrong reasons. These people will not last. They remain spiritually dead!

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12, 13 NKJV)

“Not of blood” means because their parents were saved.
“Not of the will of the flesh” means because they wanted to with sinful motives.
“Not of the will of man” means because someone else wanted them saved.
“But of God” means God elected them to salvation not based on our merit, but in spite of our sinfulness, God intervened and saved us based solely on His Soverign will.

“Then Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you also want to go away?’ But Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?’ (John 6:26-38, 41-58, 60-70 NKJV)

Point 2: Jesus is the Elect’s Passover lamb

Jesus and the 12 disciples observed the Jewish celebration of Passover, just before He was crucified. Passover was an annual remembrance of when God spared the Hebrews from the final plague of God’s judgement of Egypt. Since the Pharaoh wouldn’t free the Hebrews, God sent the angel of death to kill every first born of Egypt. To spare the Hebrews, God instructed Moses to have every household mark their threshold with the blood of a lamb. The Angel of death was commanded to Passover judgement of every household marked with lamb’s blood. In this way, God freed His people from their slavery to Egypt. In a symbolic, but spiritually real manner, every person marked with Jesus’ blood ( Ie someone for whom Jesus died – the elect), God promised and actually does Passover the judgement due everyone born with original sin. Jesus’ blood propitiates (paid for, redeemed, justified) God’s just wrath and sanctifies ( washed, washes, and will purify) those saved, redeemed.

Our communion, commanded whenever we meet the rest of the church, replaces Passover as a frequent reminder of what God did for us, what price He paid for us, and who we now belong to.

“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:26-29 NKJV)
(Mark 14:22-26 NKJV)

When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table. And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” (Luke 22:14-22 NKJV)

When Jesus took bread, gave thanks, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, He symbolically but still actually spiritually broke His body into pieces and gave each disciple a piece of His body. When we are called the Body of Christ, spiritually, we are truly and absolutely part of the Body of Christ.

When Jesus said “this is My body which is given for you ; do this in remembrance of Me”, He wanted us to know His word, consume His Word ( make it part of us, study it, wrestle with it, obey it, live it, love it, and witness to it).

When Jesus took the cup after supper and said “This cup is the new covenant of my blood, which is shed for you.” He symbolically but still actually spiritually shed His blood to pay for and remove our sins. Just like the cup held the wine spirit, the New covenant sealed by water Baptism holds the blood that fulfills the promise of water Baptism that is poured and drank by us. The Bible says there is power and life in the Blood of Christ. The wine symbolizes this blood, but still actually spiritually finishes the work that Christ started through faith in the Gospel and sanctification of the actual spiritual Holy Spirit. When God the father looks at us or the Holy Spirit works in us, the Perfect blood of Christ is all they see, spiritually. Just like the Hebrews covered the mercy seat of the temple ark of the covenant with the blood of the lamb, God would not see the broken law transgressions. Spiritually God would only see the perfect and righteous blood of Jesus our savior. In communion, we are symbolically and actually spiritually covered with our head, Jesus our Christ!

This is significantly different from what transubstantiation or Transignification claim. Both are false and seek to deny the work of Christ on our behalf and the command of Jesus. Jesus died once and only once for the elect, all of the elect, including those who lived and died before Jesus died on the cross and those who lived and died after Jesus did. Jesus doesn’t return to earth thousands of times in order to be re-sacrificed on Catholic alters. Neither did Jesus command the visible church (with its wheat, tares, false prophets and false teacher, any of which have not been sealed with Water Baptism, the sign of the new covenant) to take communion when convenient if at all. Communion is only for the true church of which every one previously obeyed God’s great commission and were baptized and discipled.

Point 3: Baptism and Communion can be means of God’s Grace

Many within churches holding to Symbol only, fear that some will view Baptism and Communion as works righteousness, so they downplay or ignore its importance. But, nowhere does the Bible claim that our choice to be baptized or take communion saves us in and of itself, apart from God’s Election or the Gospel.

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.” (I Peter 3:18-22 NKJV)

So what about the false believers or the saved who don’t act at all redeemed?

Paul writes:

“Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God. But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God. For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. (I Corinthians 11:1-3, 7, 11, 12, 16, 18, 19, 23-32 NKJV)

While Baptism is the sign of the new covenant, signaling our death to the world’s slavery to sin and our spiritual rebirth in Christ, Communion is our spiritual and physical connection to God and others who by faith are also in the body of Christ, who share the spiritual life blood, identity, protection, and forgiveness that exists only in Christ.

Via communion, we are reminded that we are connected and directed by Jesus, and work with other who are also eternally adopted by Jesus, to be the light, salt, and blessings to a dark, corrupt, and dying world. Those who knowingly disobey God, in thought, word, or deed, are commanded to not take communion until they reconcile with others or with God in repentance and forgiveness. “Whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. ”
” For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” The tares who pretend to follow Christ but willfully disobey God remain in their condemnation. To them, Baptism and Communion is just an empty ritual and accomplishes nothing. To the true believer, Baptism and Communion mean everything. If their conscience reveals something, anything, or everything unGodly, they will be compelled to refrain from communion and seek to remedy or reconcile the issue with God and others. And should God choose to save someone young or old via Baptism, Communion, or Bible study, praise God!

Point 4: Baptism and Communion remind us and connect us with Christ and our brothers and sisters in Christ symbolically and actually Spiritually!

In Baptism in repentance, we throw ourselves on the mercies of God. We know we deserve condemnation but faithfully believe the promises of God. We die to the world and are reborn spiritually in Christ. We are free not to sin and we joyfully accept our slavery to righteousness!

In communion, we remember, commit, and rededicate our obedience to God, service to others, and live to Glorify God! Jesus is our actual spiritual head. We are actually spiritually His body. Our physical body belongs solely to God and we live in such a way that gives God all the Glory, all of the time. We care about what God does. We care about His body, the church and seek to keep it holy! We seek to know and be known by Him. We go where God sends us knowing that God leads us there. Without God’s Word honored in Communion, it becomes an empty ritual.

Point 5: theChurch must be Holy as God is Holy.

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘ I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.’ ” (II Corinthians 6:14-16 NKJV)

We are yoked to our brothers and sisters in communion. We are members of the body of Christ. Jesus our Head and the Holy Spirit, our councilor, promise to make us Holy. First, Holy by justification as we confess in faith and truth that Jesus died for us. Weekly, Holy by sanctification of the Holy Spirit. While we are called to witness to a lost and dying world, we are selves are commanded to seek Holiness and Glorify God by it. When we take communion with our church, we have a come to Jesus experience, searching our thoughts, words, and deeds. Our sins are revealed to us, and we repent and pray for God’s power to remove these sins from our walk. By this process, God sanctifies us as we walk with Him and others who likewise have been adopted by Jesus. Corporately, we are called to keep the church holy and disciple others who are willing and able, and discipline those who are not.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. (John 14:12, 13, 15-17,19-24 NKJV)

So in closing, transubstantiation (Catholic) violates scripture, since Jesus died once for the elect and the communion elements do not become Christ’s flesh and blood. Symbol only violates scripture by ignoring the means of God’s grace and God’s spiritual presence and action in the communion of the church. Communion in and of itself saves no one. Only the elect are saved and God alone chooses who will be save, when they will be saved and by which saint or donkey shall carry the gospel to those who are saved!

Jesus’ real presence in Communion is Biblical.
God does not command empty symbolism or rituals. Jesus used parables to explain spiritual fact. Likewise, symbolism is used to help us understand the will and word of God. God is not mocked. He commands Baptism and Communion. If you truly follow Christ, obey Him! If you haven’t been Baptized, you better not take Communion! If you believe or even participate in mass, you are idolatrous and blaspheming God. Those who don’t gather, scatter!

One in Christ!



~ by az4christ on August 8, 2013.

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