Fred wrote and ask me... "Bro. Paul, I have noticed that different churches observe communion in different ways. Which way is right? Also, what is the correct way to observe it? I won't tell you what church I go to so you will have to just give me the Biblical truth. Thanks in advance"
Well Fred, first off, I will always give you the Biblical answer. I would much rather offend man then to distort God's Word and upset Him. Secondly, I am encouraged that you want the Biblical truth and not just simply looking for an answer to fit what you believe. Now, lets get to your question.
Depending upon which Church you go to, you may find the act of partaking of juice (or wine) and bread (or wafers) called different things. It could be called Passover, Communion, Lord's Supper, the breaking of bread, or even Eucharist. The origin of each term being used in regards to the commemoration of our Lord's death can be traced back a long ways. I Cor. 11:20 is pointed to by many why they use the term "the Lord's Supper" while at the same time others will go to 1 Corinthians 5:7 to justify why they call it "passover". 1 Corinthians 10:16 is where many will go to justify their usage of the word "communion", while to justify partaking of " Eucharist" people will turn to 1 Cor. 11:24 . For this application you have to know a little Greek. "Eucharist" simply means "thanksgiving" or "to give thanks", and in 1 Cor. 11:24 is translated "And when he had given thanks (Greek: eucharistésas or “eucharisted”), he
broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in
remembrance of me”. So, all the different terminologies can find a Biblical base, and could all be used correctly...howbeit, since we are not Greek, I would have a little trouble calling it the Eucharist, and since this commemorative act is not to remember the Biblical passover (although it did happen on passover, and Jesus became our passover lamb), I personally would not care to call it the Passover meal either. But at the same time, I could find no Biblical fault for a person calling it any of the above mentioned names.
As for how often a person is to partake of this commemorative meal.... and what significant it has in a persons life.... well that is a different story. In regards to "how often" a person should eat this meal, some churches say you must partake of it every time you meet. Others will only observe it during passover, or maybe Christmas, while others will partake of this meal at varied times throughout the year. And then there is the issue as to what significant it plays in a persons life. There are those who literally believe that you actually receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ into your body when you partake of the bread and juice. Some will go as far as to say that, after partaking of the bread and juice, your sins are now forgiven. Other Church groups believe it is simply a commemorator act and nothing more. Then there is the problem as to "who" should be allowed to partake of this meal. Some will give it to anyone while others will only give it to professing believers who go to that specific church building. Who is right? Lets look to Scripture for the answer.
Luk 22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
Luk 22:20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
1Co 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
1Co 10:17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
The cup: 1Co_10:21, 1Co_11:23-29; Mat_26:26-28; Mar_14:22-25; Luk_22:19-20
The communion of the blood: 1Co_10:20, 1Co_1:9, 1Co_12:13; Joh_6:53-58; Heb_3:14; 1Jo_1:3, 1Jo_1:7
The bread: 1Co_11:23-24; Act_2:42, Act_2:46, Act_20:7, Act_20:11
When you read all these verses in regards to this last meal Jesus had with His disciples you will notice several things.
(1) This meal is ALWAYS associated with those who believe in, and have trusted Jesus as their Saviour
(2) It is always "in rememberance" of Jesus' shed blood and broke body (His death) for our sins
(3) It is always to be done "as oft as ye do it"
(4) It is to be done until Jesus returns.
So, regardless of what a Church may teach, partaking of this meal involves the breaking of bread and drinking of juice. The bread is a picture of Jesus' body and it being broke is a picture of Jesus' body being broke for us. The juice is a picture of Jesus' blood which was shed for us. This meal is to be taken as often as you feel you should, and it is to be done to "REMEMBER" that His body was broke and His blood was shed for us. What Jesus did for us was a blessing (Greek Eucharist)... for believers we are part of His death (communion, to partake)....When He died and shed His blood for us, Jesus became our "passover", and it was the last supper (Lords supper) that He had with His disciples. With this in mind, the meal should only be taken by those who truly believe that Jesus Christ is God our Saviour, and who have accepted Him into their heart. And, since all true believers are part of the body of Christ, it can, and should, be shared with any other true believer that is part of your group when this meal is being observed.
What this meal is NOT: It is not a saving act. You can not be saved by partaking of this meal...You should already be a child of God BEFORE even thinking about partaking of it. It does not get Jesus into your body. The moment you trust Jesus as your Saviour He comes and lives within you, and will never leave or forsake you. You do not need to eat bread or drink juice to get Him back in you. It does not make you a member of any church or a believer. Again, these things should come before partaking of this meal. And lastly, partaking of this meal does not bring forgiveness of your sins. When Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood, He paid the price for all sins, for all mankind, for all eternity. You do not need to eat bread and drink juice regularly to have your sins forgiven...THEY ARE ALREADY FORGIVE. Nobody will ever be cast into hell for their sins, Jesus has already paid the price for them. The reason people will be cast into hell will be for rejecting God's salvation through Jesus' death and shed blood on the cross.
So, in conclusion Fred, call it what you want, partake of it as often as you want, or as few times as you feel the need, but when you do do it, do it to remind you anew of what Jesus did for you, and do it knowing that through Jesus' broke body, and shed blood you already have forgiveness of your sins, and that you are a child of God, forgiven, saved, redeemed, and on your way to heaven.