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House Church Workshop – Session 4

Posted by on Feb 9, 2008 in gathering, ordinances/sacraments, unity | Comments Off

This weekend, my son Jeremy and I are attending a House Church Workshop put on by New Testament Restoration Fellowship. The notes below are from the third session called “The Lord’s Supper” which was led by Tim Melvin. These thoughts are primarily Tim’s, and not my own. I’ll be glad to interact with any of the information below in the comments.


Session 4 – The Lord’s Supper
(Tim Melvin)

Also called the Lord’s Table, the Agape. This is one of the irreducible minimums in our understanding of the NT church. It was practiced as a full meal through the fourth century AD. In every denomination: symbolic, regular, fundamental belief.

The NT practice as three aspects: past, present, future. Yet the modern church emphasizes only one of the three aspects of the Supper: past.

The Lord’s Supper
1) Looks back to the sacrifice and covenant
2) Celebrates the present reality
3) Looks forward to the ultimate fulfillment in the marriage supper of the Lamb

OT background – Covenants: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, New Covenant – included sacrifices and meals
Passover – Exodus 12:1-14 – covenant, sacrifice, meal
Mt. Sinai – Exodus 24:1-11 – covenant, sacrifice, meal

Looking back to the sacrifice
Luke 22:19-20; Matt 26:26, 28; 1 Cor 11:26
“This cup poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”
“… you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

Celebrating the present reality
Purposes and results of the Supper
- Breaking bread together – Acts 2:42, 46
- Reason for meeting – Acts 20:7 (“in order to eat”), 1 Cor 11:33 (“in order to eat”)
- A Cause of Unity – 1 Cor 10:14-17 (“one cup”, “one loaf”)
Portion of the meeting
- Passover was a full meal
- Celebration of the feast in 1 Cor 5:6-8
- From the Greek for “supper”/“dinner” (deipnon)
- Abuses in Corinth prove the Lord’s Supper was a full meal – hungry and drunk
- The Lord’s Table
- The Agape

Looking to the Future Hope
1 Cor 11:26b – “until he comes”
- The objective of this proclamation of His death through eating and drinking the meal is to bring about his return.
- “Do this in remembrance of me” – can be a past remembrance, memorial, or reminder. This is a reminder similar to how the rainbow is a reminder to God about his covenant with Noah. The reminder can belong to Jesus, or it can be about Jesus. The pronoun is not “mou” but “emos” which means the reminder is Jesus’ reminder, not a reminder about Jesus.
- Joachim Jeremias said that Jesus used anamnesis (“remembrance, reminder”) in the sense of a reminder for God: “The Lord’s Supper would thus be an enacted prayer.” (from NIDNTT, Vol III, p. 244)
- Luke 22:30 – the disciples are promised a place at his table
- Rev 19:9 – the ultimate reality is the marriage supper of the lamb

Practical aspects
- Wine or juice?
- Leavened or unleavened bread?
- Unbelievers/children?
- Incorporating loaf and cup?
- Planned or unplanned menus?
- Other mechanics: bring plenty, view it as a ministry, plastic and paper, single table is impractical for large group

House Church Workshop
Session 1 – Apostolic Traditions
Session 2 – Participatory Church Meetings
Session 3 – Elder-Led Congregational Consensus
Session 4 – The Lord’s Supper
Summary Remarks