Can Christians Observe the Lord’s Supper Outside of the Assembly? (Episode 5)

Can Christians Observe the Lord’s Supper Outside of the Assembly? (Episode 5)

 
 
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Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

The question we’ll discuss in this episode was submitted to me by several people this week:

Can Christians observe the Lord’s Supper outside of the assembly?

As of right now, the situation with the global pandemic caused by the Coronavirus has caused many local churches to suspend their assemblies. In their place, many churches have arranged to have “virtual” assemblies. Others have opted to gather in homes with just family members or small groups. In either case, many are continuing to observe the Lord’s Supper even though they are not in the regular assembly of the local church. Is this authorized? We’re going to consider what the New Testament has to say to address that question.

Additional resources:

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Walter Scott: “A Church That Is All Mouth”

Walter Scott: "A Church That Is All Mouth"

George Darsie (1846-1904) from Frankfort, Kentucky wrote a sermon entitled, To Every Man His Work, which was published in a book edited by J. A. Lord – On the Lord’s Day: A Manual for the Regular Observances of the New Testament Ordinances. In the sermon, Darsie illustrated the importance of Christians fulfilling various roles in the work of the church by telling of a visit by Walter Scott (1796-1861) to the Brush Run Church.

“Walter Scott, an associate of Alexander Campbell in the early days of our religious movement, one time went from his home in Pittsburg over to Washington County to visit and spend a Sunday with Campbell at the Brush Run Church. He found the church service quite lengthy, as every male member of the church was called on for a religious address. After long hours had passed and all had spoken, Scott was asked to make the closing address. He did so. But whether he was hungry for his dinner or worn out by the length of the service, his remarks, though quite pointed, were rather testy.

“‘Brethren,’ he said, ‘my Bible tells me that the church is like a human body, of which one member is a foot, another a hand, another an eye, and still another a mouth. That, in fact, it has, or should have, as great variety in its membership as the human body has. But I regret to see that you have reversed all this. You have here a church with but a single member. You have, in fact, a church that is all mouth!’” (On the Lord’s Day, p. 95)

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The Trend of Churches Offering Multiple Services, Sites, and Venues

Map of City

Churches built by men are constantly changing. What a particular church or denomination believes and practices today may not be what they believe and practice by the time the next generation comes along. The reason why these churches change is because they are trying to expand their reach and attract more people. As society changes, these churches must adapt. Too often, these changes are not in harmony with the teachings of Scripture.

Sometimes changes occur among a small minority of churches/denominations. Other times, there are trends that affect a large number of churches regardless of denominational affiliation. One of these trends that I have been hearing about more in the last few years has to do with churches offering multiple services, sites, and venues.

Thom Rainer, former CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, in a blog post titled, Nine Rapid Changes in Church Worship Services (published May 7, 2014), wrote the following:

“‘Multi’ is normative. Most congregants twenty years ago attended a Sunday morning worship service where no other Sunday morning alternatives were available. Today, most congregants attend a service that is part of numerous alternatives: multi-services; multi-campuses; multi-sites; and multi-venues.”

In a more recent post in which he projected what “healthy churches” would look like in ten years, he wrote, “The majority of healthy churches will be multi-site, multi-venue, or multi-day.” He went on to say, “As long as we don’t compromise biblical truths, we need to reach people where they are.”

However, is it true that a church can adopt a multi-service, multi-site, multi-venue model without compromising biblical truth?Continue Reading

Taking the Lord’s Supper Out of the Assembly

Communion Cup

Shortly before His death, Jesus instituted a memorial to help His disciples remember Him and the sacrifice He was about to make on the cross (Matthew 26:26-29). This memorial was later referred to as “the Lord’s Supper” (1 Corinthians 11:20).

In the first century, Christians “gathered together” to observe this memorial “on the first day of the week” (Acts 20:7). This memorial consisted of the bread which represented Jesus’ body and the cup (fruit of the vine) which represented His blood that was shed on the cross (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Paul also emphasized to the brethren in Corinth that when they would “come together to eat” (partake of the Lord’s Supper), they were to “wait for one another” (1 Corinthians 11:33).Continue Reading

Being a Productive Christian

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Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

There are many books, articles, and websites dedicated to the subject of productivity. People want to improve how they use their time and work more efficiently and effectively. While being productive is important in the realm of work and business, we should not limit it to those areas of our lives.

The Scriptures teach that we are to be productive in our spiritual lives. Though the word productivity is not used in the Bible, the concept is certainly discussed. In this article, we are going to see what the Bible says about how to be a productive Christian.Continue Reading

Singing That Glorifies God

Singing

Shout joyfully to God, all the earth; sing the glory of His name; make His praise glorious” (Psalm 66:1-2).

Singing is a way for us to praise and glorify God and is a regular practice in our assemblies. If we are going to glorify God through our singing, it is important that we do it in the right way. This requires certain things from the songs, the singers, and the song leaders. Let us consider some points that will help us sing in a way that glorifies God.Continue Reading

Question About Closed Communion

Communion Cups

In the past, many churches practiced “closed communion” – offering the Lord’s Supper only to members in good standing. Occasionally, questions will arise today about who can be served the Lord’s Supper. Let us consider what the New Testament says that relates to this issue.
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