Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Devotion or Duty?

 

Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 11:24-25 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."

 

Making Disciples

The evangelist is asked to make disciples in Matthew 28.  A disciple is a follower or student of the Lord.  (Students in those days “followed” their masters to learn all that they could from him.)  Evangelists are to make disciples by preaching the Gospel since faith in the surficial death of Christ is of course necessary to be a disciple.  But a true disciple has been baptized, and in the Bible, that was always after believing in the Lord; and it was always an immersion.  That is what the word “baptize” really means.  But a true disciple has also been taught all things.  Of course that includes the truths connected with a holy life and the Lord’s coming again.  But it also includes the command, “This do in remembrance of me.”

 

This Do

In the upper room, the disciples kept the Passover with the Lord before He suffered.  During that ceremony, the Lord does something new.  He has the disciples take bread and wine in remembrance of Him.  The Passover was a ceremony reminding the Jews of their deliverance from Egypt.  The Passover continued until the Lord came and fulfilled the prophetic implications of the ceremony.  Now they no longer needed the Passover since they had the Lord Himself Who was going to become the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).”  Instead of the Passover believers now have the Lord’s Supper as explained in 1 Corinthians 11.  In the Bible, it is always associated with a gathering of a local church (See 1 Corinthians 11:18, 20).  And it is something believers are asked to do.  It does not save, it is a memorial. 

 

Many people emphasize that the “do” in this request is in the imperative mood and believers have to do this.  I confess that I have never remembered the Lord because I have to.  There is a difference between devotion and duty.  If we do what we do out of devotion to the Lord, it is liberating and joyful.  If we do it out of duty, it becomes religion, and it becomes a burden. 

 

How Often should the Church do this?

The passage in 1 Corinthians 11 tells us to do it often.  Nowhere are we told how often to do it.  We know from Acts 20 that the Christians at Troas came together on the first day of the week to “break bread.”  However, we are not told that they did this every week even though that probably was their practice.  The context seems to imply that “breaking bread” in this passage was the Lord’s Supper.  We know from 1 Corinthians 16 that the Corinthians were to lay aside something for the Saints in Jerusalem on the first day of the week.  It appears that the Corinthian church was meeting on the first day of the week. I believe the first day of the week to be the Lord’s day.   But nothing is said in that passage about the Lord’s supper. 

 

I have always been associated with groups of Christians that remember the Lord every Lord’s day.  While remembering the Lord every Lord’s day is not directly commanded or even clearly given to us by example in the Bible, why would we do it every Lord’s day?  I can’t speak for others, I can only speak for myself.  I do it because I can.  I don’t worship the breaking of bread; I worship the Lord at the breaking of bread.  There are a lot of things that I do where I am not sure that I am actually in the will of the Lord, but when I break bread I know I doing something that pleases Him.  I personally believe that the early church did not compartmentalize their meetings like we do.  I suspect that when they came together, they prayed , they preached, and they broke bread.  They may even have preached the Gospel so that unbelievers present could be saved.  I think that because the early church continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayers (Acts 2:42).  But while I think that is what they did, I can’t prove that every time they came together they did every one of these things.  However, arguing about how often we HAVE to break bread, defeats the whole purpose of what we do.  The question is how often CAN we break bread, not how often MUST we break bread?

 

Conclusion

The Lord’s Supper is like a grave stone marker.  That maker is a memorial that reminds us of the person who is buried there.  The Lord’s Supper is the memorial to the Lord who died, was buried and who rose again.  The Lord’s Supper will continue until the Lord returns for the church.  It is my purpose to always start my week by giving the Lord the honor of being remembered.  The Lord gave Himself for me so that my sins could be forgiven and I could have a home in heaven.  The least I can do is start my week by remembering Him. 

 

Bruce Collins

 

Meditation for the week of March 26, 2017

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