The Lord’s Supper In Biblical Perspective Sermon Series


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The Administration of the Lord’s Supper

From The Book of Church Order:


The Administration of the Lord’s Supper

58-1. The Communion, or Supper of the Lord, is to be observed frequently; the stated times to be determined by the Session of each congregation, as it may judge most for edification.

58-2. The ignorant and scandalous are not to be admitted to the Lord’s Supper.

58-3. It is proper that public notice should be given to the congregation, at least the Sabbath before the administration of this ordinance, and that, either then, or on some day of the week, the people be instructed in its nature, and a due preparation for it, that all may come in a suitable manner to this holy feast.

58-4. On the day of the observance of the Lord’s Supper, when the sermon is ended, the minister shall show:

a. That this is an ordinance of Christ; by reading the words of institution, either from one of the Evangelists, or from 1 Corinthians 11, which, as to him may appear expedient, he may explain and apply;

b. That it is to be observed in remembrance of Christ, to show forth His death till He come; that it is of inestimable benefit, to strengthen His people against sin; to support them under troubles; to encourage and quicken them in duty; to inspire them with love and zeal; to increase their faith, and holy resolution; and to beget peace of conscience, and comfortable hopes of eternal life. Since, by our Lord’s appointment, this Sacrament sets forth the Communion of Saints, the minister, at the discretion of the Session, before the observance begins, may either invite all those who profess the true religion, and are communicants in good standing in any evangelical church, to participate in the ordinance; or may invite those who have been approved by the Session, after having given indication of their desire to participate. It is proper also to give a special invitation to non-communicants to remain during the service.

58-5. The table, on which the elements are placed, being decently covered, and furnished with bread and wine, and the communicants orderly and gravely sitting around it (or in their seats before it), the elders in a convenient place together, the minister should then set the elements apart by prayer and thanksgiving. The bread and wine being thus set apart by prayer and thanksgiving, the minister is to take the bread, and break it, in the view of the people, saying: That the Lord Jesus Christ on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it, gave it to His disciples, as I, ministering in His name, give this bread to you, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (Some other biblical account of the institution of this part of the Supper may be substituted here.) Here the bread is to be distributed. After having given the bread, he shall take the cup, and say: In the same manner, He also took the cup, and having given thanks as has been done in His name, He gave it to the disciples, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Drink from it, all of you.” While the minister is repeating these words, let him give the cup.

58-6. Since believers are to act personally in all their covenanting with the Lord, it is proper that a part of the time occupied in the distribution of the elements should be spent by all in silent communion, thanksgiving, intercession and prayer.

58-7. The minister may, in a few words, put the communicants in mind: Of the grace of God, in Jesus Christ, held forth in this sacrament; and of their obligation to be the Lord’s; and may exhort them to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they are called; and, as they have professedly received Christ Jesus the Lord, that they be careful so to walk in him, and to maintain good works. It may not be improper for the minister to give a word of exhortation also to those who have been only spectators, reminding them: Of their duty, stating their sin and danger, by living in disobedience to Christ, in neglecting this holy ordinance; and calling upon them to be earnest in making preparation for attending upon it at the next time of its celebration. Then the minister is to pray and give thanks to God, For His rich mercy, and invaluable goodness, vouchsafed to them in that Sacred Communion; to implore pardon for the defects of the whole service; and to pray for the acceptance of their persons and performances; for the gracious assistance of the Holy Spirit to enable them, as they have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so to walk in Him; that they may hold fast that which they have received, that no man take their crown; that their conversation may be as becomes the Gospel; that they may bear about with them, continually, the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in their mortal body; that their light may so shine before men, that others, seeing their good works, may glorify their Father who is in heaven. An offering for the poor or other sacred purpose is appropriate in connection with this service, and may be made at such time as shall be ordered by the Session. Now let a psalm or hymn be sung, and the congregation dismissed, with the following or some other Gospel benediction: Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

58-8. As past custom has been found in many parts of the Presbyterian Church, our congregations are urged to have a service of spiritual preparation for the Lord’s Supper during the week previous to the celebration of the Sacrament.