“Breaking Bread”, The Lord’s Supper, and a Common Meal
Now, concerning Acts 20, verse 11; We’ve already talked about how the phrase “breaking bread” is used in this verse, as well as in verse 7. And we talked about how, in verse 7, that phrase refers to partaking of the Lord’s supper, in a worship assembly, but how in verse 11, it simply refers to sharing a meal. Here’s the point that I want to make concerning that fact;
On the first day of the week, the Christians came together to partake of the Lord’s supper, and the scripture says in verse 8; “And there were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered together.” So then the worship assembly was being held in the upper room of this particular building. Then we’re told about how the young man named Eutychus, fell asleep, and fell out of the window, from this third floor room, and had to be revived by Paul. Then it says in verse 11; “And when he had gone back up, (Paul was now back in that third floor “upper room” where they had just concluded their worship assembly) And so the scripture says; “..and when he had gone back up and had broken the bread and had tasted..”
In the very same upper room, where they had just concluded their worship assembly, they now enjoyed a meal together. So, my question to you is this; Does this verse not give us clear and ample evidence, that it is perfectly fine to have a meal, in the same building in which we hold our worship assemblies? The apostle Paul did it, along with all the other Christians in Troas, who came together on that particular first day of the week.
No one was rebuked for doing it. Does that not constitute undeniable authority, for Christians to eat in the same building as they worship in? I don’t see how anyone could argue otherwise. We do in fact have proof from the very word of God, that it is not only OK, to have a meal in the same building where we worship, but we have the example of an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, doing that very thing.
No Verse of Scripture Can be Ignored
Now, I want to just take a couple minutes here, to talk about something else regarding studying the bible, and coming to an understanding of what it teaches. There’s a lot of people who don’t believe that the bible teaches us to assemble for worship on the first day of the week. And of course, those people are the ones who believe in the old covenant command to “remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” (Exodus 20, verse 8)
But here’s what I want to stress to you. We can’t simply ignore, verses like the ones we’ve been studying, concerning the command, and the examples, of assembling on the first day of the week. If you talk to someone who believes in the Sabbath, and you bring up these verses that we’ve studied, ninety nine times out of a hundred, they will say; Yes, but what about this verse, or that verse, that doesn’t mention anything about a particular day?
And that’s where we need to say; No, what about these verses that DO mention a particular day?
What they’re doing, when they bring up a different verse, and say; What about this verse, they’re simply ignoring the verses at hand.
And this doesn’t only apply to this subject, it applies to all bible subjects. For example; When we teach about the need for baptism, and we cite a verse like Acts 22:16, which says; “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins..”, they’ll say; Well, what about Acts 16:31, which says; “If you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you shall be saved.” That verse doesn’t say anything about baptism. That’s true, but it’s also true that the bible is full of verses that don’t speak about baptism. But just because there might be thousands of bible verses DON’T teach about baptism, that doesn’t mean we can ignore the verses that DO teach about baptism.
It’s the same with assembling on the first day of the week. There are actually 7,954 verses in the new testament; And just because 7,952 of them don’t say anything about assembling on the first day of the week, that doesn’t mean that we’re free to ignore the other two verses that DO say something about assembling on the first day of the week.
If you show someone what the bible teaches in a particular verse, don’t fall for it when they say; Well, what about this verse over here. Insist that they stick with the verse that you brought up first. Get a commitment on what that verse says; Then you can move on to another verse and discuss that one. But if a person is willing to just ignore certain verses, in favor of another verse which by itself may not tell the whole teaching on the subject, then they’ll never understand the truth. And it will be futile to continue.
If someone has a question on a particular verse, then stay with that verse until the question is answered. But get a commitment on each and every verse that talks about the subject at hand.
Back to the subject of examples and patterns. The bible is just literally full of talk about following examples, and so that is without a doubt, one of the ways that God intends for us to obey Him, by following the examples and the patterns of behavior, that are given to us in the bible. Another way of course, for us to obey God, is to follow His commands. But even without a command, it’s clear that we are to follow the examples that God has left for us.
And as to the first day of the week, we have absolutely no other pattern to follow, except the example of Christians coming together on the first day of the week, to “break bread”, and the command of the apostle Paul, to contribute of your money, “as you’ve been prospered” on the first day of the week.
Don’t worry about the other 7,952 verses of the new testament. They teach other things. But these two verses teach us to assemble on the first day of the week. Now, if a person simply doesn’t believe in the bible principle of following examples and patterns, then all this is of no use in teaching them. You’d have to go back and study that principle first, the bible principle of learning from examples, and the principle of following patterns, and get a commitment on that, before you could study anything else.
And it’s the same when we ourselves study the bible together. We’ve got to be willing to commit to ourselves, and to each other, as to exactly what we believe in, and then stick to that commitment. Then we can go ahead and study and learn more and more and more.
Consider These Questions
Let’s consider a couple of other questions about the Lord’s supper, and about our giving.
First, let’s ask ourselves, would it be acceptable to God to NOT do those things on the first day of the week. Are we allowed to simply choose to not do those two things at all, or are we allowed to choose to do them on a different day of the week?
Secondly, let’s ask ourselves, would it be acceptable to God, for us to do those two things on the first day of the week, and then in addition to doing them on that day, to also do them again on another day of the week?
So, let’s deal with the first question; Is it acceptable to God, for us to NOT partake of the Lord’s supper, or to NOT contribute of our means, “as we’ve been prospered”, on the first day of the week? Let’s break it down further. Is it acceptable to NOT give of our means, on the first day of the week? Personally, I can’t imagine that the answer to this question would depend on any more than just two factors. And those two factors are; Were you prospered financially during the previous week, and is there going to be a first day, in the upcoming week?
Think about it; The apostle Paul commanded all congregations to do the very same thing; And that is to “put aside, and store up, as you may prosper..” And he said to do this, “On the first day of the week.” Now, was this just Paul’s idea, about coming together and giving? Is Paul simply giving us some advice here, or is there more to it than that?
Let’s consider 2 Timothy 3, verse 16, which says; “All scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” I would assume that “all scripture” would have to include 1 Corinthians 16, verse 2.
So then, Paul’s instructions to lay beside yourself, and store up as you’ve been prospered, is a “God-breathed” scripture. And I would assume that this very same scripture would be profitable for “teaching” us what pattern to follow. And I assume that this instruction would also be profitable in “correcting” us, if we fail to follow the pattern. And I would assume that this instruction would also be profitable in “training” us to be righteous.
Would I be wrong to assume all of that?
So then there are two factors that must be considered together, in order to determine whether or not you are obligated to give upon the first day of the week.
#1. Have you been prospered during the past week, and #2. Is there a first day, in the week coming up next?
If those two conditions are met, and you still think that any given Christian is exempt from the command to come together with the congregation on the first day of the week, and to give, then you’ll have to show me from the scriptures where that exemption is specified or illustrated. Because I’ve been all through the new testament, many times, and I’ve not come across that exemption.
A lot of people don’t like it when things are made that simple and straightforward. Because a lot of people simply don’t like taking the responsibility that is placed on them, when it IS stated that plain and simple. A lot of people want there to be more variables involved, more factors to consider. But the bible simply doesn’t give us any other factors to consider. We’ve either been prospered, or we haven’t. And there is either a first day coming up, or there isn’t.
The Lord’s Supper
Let’s move on to the next part of the first question; Is it acceptable to God, to NOT partake of the Lord’s supper, on the first day of the week? And we might as well include as part of this question; Is it acceptable to God, to NOT partake of the Lord’s supper, EVERY first day of the week?
You know, these questions are really so simple, and we really shouldn’t even have to ask them. But as I’ve said before; If there is a teaching in the bible, there’s someone who will have twisted and perverted that teaching. And so it is with the teaching about the Lord’s supper.
If we determine from the bible that we indeed should partake of the Lord’s supper on the first day of the week, then the question about whether we have to do it EVERY week, is really just nonsense. I mean, if we can determine from the bible, that we are supposed to partake of the Lord’s supper on the first day of the week, then all we need to do is look at the calendar, and see how many weeks have a first day; And that will tell us if we have to partake of the Lord’s supper that particular week. It’s as simple as that. But once again, people always want there to be more variables, more factors to consider. But God simply doesn’t give us any more factors to consider. If your supposed to do something on the first day of the week, and this week has a first day, well, then you simply do what you’re supposed to do.
So then let’s not even consider whether we need to take the Lord’s supper EVERY week, that’s just childish. You know, the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13, verse 11; “When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, and reason like a child. But when I became a man, I did away with childish things.” So then let’s all be mature, and admit that if we’re supposed to do something on the first day of the week, that obviously means every first day of the week.
Is it acceptable to God, for us to NOT partake of the Lord’s supper on the first day of the week? When Jesus gave His apostles the instructions, and the example of the Lord’s supper, He said in Luke 22:16; “For I say to you; I shall never again eat it (He was referring to the unleavened bread) until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And He said in verse 18; “For I say to you; I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, from now on, until the kingdom of God comes.”
Mathew records the words like this, in Mathew 26:28; “..I will not drink of this cup of the fruit of the vine, from now on, until I drink it new with you, in My Father’s kingdom.”
Well, the kingdom of God came, about 53 three days later, and Jesus has been “drinking it new”, with Christians, as they partake of the unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine, ever since then. It’s obvious that Christ wants us to partake of this “communion”, that’s what it’s called in 1 Corinthians 10, verse 16; “Is not the cup of blessing which we bless, a communion in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break, a communion in the body of Christ?” Christ wants us to “share” in His body and in His blood.
So Christ obviously wants us to partake of this communion.. as a memorial to His death. That’s what it’s called in 1 Corinthians 11, verse 26; “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”
Jesus said in Luke 22:19; “..do this in remembrance of Me.” He wants us to remember Him. He wants us to proclaim His death. And He wants us to do this, “..until He comes.” And we don’t know when that will be, and so we just keep doing it, and we keep remembering Him, and we keep proclaiming Him, on the first day of the week.
Jesus has told us to do it. He’s told us WHY we should do it. He’s told us HOW to do it. And He’s given us the example of WHEN the first century Christians did it. How are we possibly acceptable to God, if we DON’T do it? How are we acceptable to God, if we don’t do it how, and why, and when, He has given us given us example of?
I’m going to leave it right there. Next week, Lord willing, we’ll consider this question; If we do these things, namely, give of our means, and partake of the Lord’s supper, on the first day of the week, as we’re instructed, can we also do them on another day of the week, in addition to the first day of the week?
Would we be showing God that we love Him even more, by doing those things even more often? Or would we simply be adding to the words of God, that which is not authorized?
Be sure to take a look at the next lesson in this series. View lesson #3 by clicking here.