The Lord’s Supper Outline
The purpose of Christ’s institution of the Lord’s Supper
“We believe and confess that our Savior Jesus Christ did ordain and institute the sacrament of the holy supper to nourish and support those whom He has already regenerated and incorporated into His family, which is His Church.” Belgic Confession Article 35
Jesus Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper for the purpose of providing us spiritual and heavenly food, represented through the elements of bread and wine.
The presence of Christ
Roman Catholic position
o Christ is actually sacrificed every time the Supper is celebrated
o Therefore His onetime death on the cross is insufficient
“Now as it is certain and beyond all doubt that Jesus Christ has not enjoined to us the use of His sacraments in vain, so He works in us all that He represents to us by these holy signs, though the manner surpasses our understanding and cannot be comprehended by us, as the operation of the Holy Spirit are hidden and incomprehensible. In the meantime we err not when we say that what is eaten and drunk by us is the proper and natural body and proper blood of Christ. But the manner of partaking of the same is no the mouth, but by the spirit through faith.” Belgic Confession Article 35
o It is a mystical union that cannot be fully rationally explained.
o 1 Corinthians 10:15-22
o In John 6 Jesus describes His body as real food and His blood as real drink, and all who consume this real food and drink in faith have eternal life.
o Christ wants to assure us by the visible signs of bread and wine that we share in His true body and blood as surely as our mouths receive these holy elements in His remembrance.
The elements of bread and wine are signs and seals
Illustration from scripture: Jesus’ baptism and the manner in which He received the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16)
The body and blood of Jesus Christ is so closely identified with the bread and wine, that Jesus can hold up the bread and say, “This is my body,” because the thing signified is so closely identified with the sign.
The Warning and the Benefits
“Further, though the sacraments are connected with the thing signified nevertheless both are not received by all men. The ungodly indeed receives the sacrament to his condemnation, but he does not receive the truth of the sacrament.” Belgic Confession Article 35
This feast is a spiritual table whereby the believer receives the body and blood of Jesus Christ and all the benefits of His life, death and resurrection.
When the believer receives the holy signs in faith, the believer is assured that all the suffering and obedience of Christ are as definitely ours as if we personally had suffered and paid for our sins (HC 79).