Demonstrating Unity

by J. Randal Matheny
“Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all share the one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:17 NET).
Because of what Paul said about the Supper in 1 Corinthians 11 and its abuse in Corinth, some writers wonder why communion is not included in the list of the seven ones in Ephesians 4.
But the Lord’s supper does not produce unity, as do the other elements listed; it demonstrates the unity that already exists in God’s family. In Corinth, the abuse of the Supper was a symptom of the problem and not its cause. That is probably why Paul deals with the cause first (exalting the servants of God), in chapters 1-4, rather than the symptom (the supper becoming a common meal and unequal sharing), in chapter 11.
Some denominations see baptism and the Lord’s supper as two sacraments. While their language and teaching about them are wrong, they are right to see a link between the two. It is baptism as the new birth that gives one the right to eat at the Lord’s table.
So those who say that communion is for those who have been baptized into Christ are correct in their affirmation.
Many people discussed open and closed communion in the past. It is not man who bars or permits. It is the Lord’s table, and he determines that those who have, in faith and repentance, been immersed for the forgiveness of their sins, with confidence in the blood of Christ and the grace of God, may come and eat.
As we eat, we share in the Lord’s presence among us, in the memory of his sacrifice, in the celebration of his victory, in the unity of his body, as the church of God.

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