Presentation on theme: "The Signs and Seals of the Covenant of Grace The Materials of the Lord’s Supper."— Presentation transcript:
The Signs and Seals of the Covenant of Grace The Materials of the Lord’s Supper
The History of the Discussion Signs & Seals Class, 2006 Leadership Retreat, 2008 Sessional discussion, 2011
We want to be clear: The elders do not think we are “correcting past mistakes”. The elders are not trying to follow any “fads”. Strategy in the discussion: – Take the principle to a thorough conclusion – & then examine our circumstances and adjust accordingly
The Reformed Principle of Worship – the Regulative Principle Elements of worship Circumstances of worship
The Reformed Principle of Worship – the Regulative Principle Elements of worship – what the Lord prescribes The light of nature showeth that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all, is good, and doth good unto all, …. [T]he acceptable way of worshiping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshiped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scripture. (WCF, 21.1)
What are the elements? The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear, the sound preaching and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God, with understanding, faith, and reverence, singing of psalms with grace in the heart; as also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ, are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God: (WCF, 21.5)
Elements – what the Lord prescribes Circumstances – what man must determine
The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word: and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed. (WCF 1.6)
Examples of such Circumstances Congregating on the Lord’s Day Practicing the Sacraments in general – Baptism – Lord’s Supper
Circumstances of the Lord’s Supper Bread Wine Participation Question: May we choose to use leavened bread in the Lord’s Supper? Fermentation
Bread – Unleavened Passover Bread Then He said to them, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; "for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves; "for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." (Luke 22:15-19 NKJV)
Origin of the Passover bread First Passover Meal (rf. Ex. 12:8) – The prepared lamb Perpetual Feast to follow – 7 days of unleavened bread – (Ex. 12:14-20; cf. Lev. 23:5-6) The bread was “bread of affliction” (Dt. 16:3) – “poverty”, “pain”, or “misery” – also “haste” (Ex. 12:34, 39)
God’s Instruction Through Moses: Annual observance – Of Passover To remember the haste of departure And the exodus itself – Of the Feast of Unleavened Bread To celebrate the freedom Command: “no leaven” or be cut off! – Feast at the end of the week
Meaning of leaven What did the leaven signify? – Poverty or holiness? – Affliction or sin? – Enslavement by Egypt or the influence of Egypt?
Meaning of leaven The evil of sin in their midst? – No direct OT instruction to this effect – If so, why seasonally? – Other ceremonial offerings call for & utilize leaven Lev. 7:11-13; 23:17; Amos 4:5 – Nothing in God’s creation is, in and of itself, evil
Meaning of leaven in the NT Not symbolic of “evil” or “sin” But “leaven” speaks of “influence” (Gal. 5:7-9) – it is used positively (Mt. 13:33; Lk. 13:20-21) – and negatively (Mt. 16:6, 12; 1 Cor. 5:8)
Implications for the Lord’s Supper Apparently, the apostles weren’t too concerned. – No written instructions toward the early church practice in Acts – Paul’s specific instructions regarding the Lord’s Supper in 1 Cor. 11 do not mention it. – Admittedly, it is an argument from silence.
Implications Robert Rayburn: No real consideration by the church until the 9 th c. when unleavened bread was prescribed out of a desire to have something “different” than what is commonly used.
Implications The Greek Orthodox Church objected to this practice as lingering “judaising” and did reject it. The Western Church followed along.
Implications Charles Hodge: Reformed tradition is mixed/indifferent as long as the R.C. wafers are not used - which are not real bread and which are made to cater to their doctrine of “transubstantiation”.
Conclusion The bread represents our union with Christ. – The unity of the loaf seems more important than the type of bread used. – The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? (1 Cor. 10:16, NKJV)
Conclusion: While the Passover celebrated what the Israelites were freed from, The Lord’s Supper celebrates what we are promised: – the meat of the Passover lamb is replaced with the bread of life – and with it, we anticipate the Marriage Supper.
New Covenant Presbyterian Church Preaching God’s Sovereign Grace to a World of Need 128 St. Mary’s Church Rd. Abingdon, MD www.ncpres.orgwww.ncpres.org