Vol. 7, No. 11
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The churches of Christ belong to Jesus Christ, and consequently, they are obligated to conduct themselves according to what Jesus authorizes (Romans 16:16; Colossians 3:17). People living in the Gospel Age must heed the words of Jesus Christ rather than Moses or the Old Testament prophets (Matthew 17:1-5; John 12:48). Further, Jesus Christ is the Lawgiver and Mediator of the New Testament, to which people living today must turn for religious instruction (James 4:12; Hebrews 9:15), and Jesus Christ condemns alteration of the Gospel with "the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:9). Likewise, the inspired apostle Paul repudiated false Gospels (Galatians 1:6-9) and the human will (versus the revealed will of God) on how to worship God (Colossians 2:23). One must turn exclusively to the New Testament to learn what God has authorized respecting worship.
Contrariwise, uninspired, contemporary mankind observes the Lord's Supper at various intervals and on various occasions. For instance, Catholics observe a corrupted form of the Lord's Supper or Communion everyday, including the first day of every week. Among deviations from the way the primitive church observed communion, the Catholic Church reserves the fruit of the vine for its priesthood. Catholics observance the Communion daily, including on the first day of the week, in accordance with the purported authority of the Catholic Church, rather than by appealing to biblical authority.
Various denominations observe the Lord's Supper on the first day of the week monthly, semiannually, once a year on Easter Sunday or at some other interval on which they arbitrarily decide. Sometimes the reason for the infrequent observance of the Lord's Supper is explained that so weekly observance of the Lord's Supper won't make its observance mundane or commonplace. Such an explanation and practice presumes that either God has not given instruction respecting the frequency of its observance, or that irrespective of his instruction that God does not care if that instruction is ignored.
Sometimes contemporary people remove the observance of the Lord's Supper from a worship assembly and observe it at other occasions, such as a wedding. Try as one might, one cannot find in the New Testament where the Lord's Supper was observed on any other occasion by the primitive church than in its worship on the first day of the week. If the New Testament is to be taken seriously as revelation from God, people living in the Christian Age must discern and practice what it authorizes.
The New Testament authorizes weekly observance of the Lord's Supper on the first day of the week in Lord's Day worship of the local church. The Bible authorizes practices in one or more of only three ways. The Bible authorizes through direct statements, such as commands or statement of information, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature," Mark 16:16. The Bible authorizes through implication, from which mankind is obligated to correctly infer (Mark 16:16, i.e. mode of travel and manner of communication). The Bible authorizes by approved example, or what our legal system calls "precedent," Acts 20:7. "2 a : something done or said that may serve as an example or rule to authorize or justify a subsequent act of the same or an analogous kind" (Merriam-Webster). Direct statements, implication and approved example are the tools of successful communication irrespective of the setting (e.g. between children, adults and God).
A single verse of Scripture settles the frequency and the occasion God intended for observance of the Lord's Supper (Acts 20:7). Acts 20:7 records an apostolic approved example of observing the Lord's Supper on the first day of the week by a local church. Since no other passage addresses the frequency of or occasion for observing the Lord's Supper, Acts 20:7 decisively settles those questions: first day of the week in the assembly of the local church for worship.
The observance of the Lord's Supper on the first day of the week in the assembly of the local church for worship corresponds to the other four acts of worship characteristic of Lord's Day worship. Preaching also occurs on the occasion of observing the Lord's Supper (Acts 20:7). The collection occurs on the first day of the week, too (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). Singing and prayer also occur during assemblies of a local church, including the first day of the week (1 Corinthians 14:15).
The reason for observing the Lord's Supper does not correspond to other occasions, reasons or days for its observance. The Lord's Supper is observed to remember Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:24-25). The Lord's Supper was never intended to be observed apart from other acts of worship and outside of the assembly of the local church on the first day of the week. The Lord's Supper was never intended to make a wedding more special than it should already be.
Anyone unconcerned about biblical authority or pleasing God can do anything or nothing at all in religion. However, everyone who respects biblical authority and wants to please God will render to the Almighty worship that he has authorized. In the case of the Lord's Supper, that means that it will be observed weekly on the first day of the week, along with other biblically authorized acts of worship, by the local church.
Likewise, anyone unconcerned about biblical authority or pleasing God can do anything or nothing at all regarding human salvation; such a person will remain lost. However, everyone who respects biblical authority and wants to please God will implement God's divine plan of salvation in his or her life (Mark 16:16 for unbaptized believers; 1 John 1:9 for erring Christians).
Merriam-Webster, I. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. 10th ed. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 1993. CD-ROM. Bellingham: Logos, 1996.