Communion Service Outline

This outline may be followed when administering the Lord’s Supper.

1.  The Lord’s Supper is an Ordinance of Christ that He instituted:

  1. before his death as a sacred supper, NT covenant meal
  2. to supersede Passover as the cross does exodus
  3. we look back: commemorate His death
  4. we look inside & up: reaffirm our covenant privileges & responsibilities
  5. we look around: affirm the “communion of the saints”
  6. we look ahead: anticipate His future return

2.   Who may partake: PAUSE

  1. not only a Presbyterian table, but the Lord’s Table for those who:
  2. are Accountable as members in good standing of an evangelical church
  3. Understand the way to Christ is by repentance and faith alone
  4. Sincere, walking in obedience and not rebellion
  5. Examine themselves as Paul cautions in I Cor. 11:27-30        Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
  6. Invite non-believers & unrepentant to remain in attendance, ask God to deal with their hearts, and give them light and understanding.

3.  Meaning

  1. Neither mere memorial nor transubstantiation.
  2. Christ is spiritually present in bread & cup when set apart by prayer and received by faith
  3. Receive grace in a unique way unlike any other:
    •      Christ & his benefits are applied, sealed up
    •      Grace & blessing are as real as troubles if taken unworthily

4.  Important as it:

  1. displays Christ’s death until he comes and shows its inestimable worth
  2. strengthens His people against sin and supports them under trials
  3. encourages and quickens them to fulfill present duties
  4. inspires them w/ love & zeal and increases faith & holy resolution
  5. brings peace of conscience and comforting hope of eternal life

5.  The words of institution.

Having read the commandments of God (earlier in service), written to convict us of sin (Rms. 3:20; 7:7) and lead us to Christ (Gal. 3:24), and having heard (earlier) the assurance of pardon for those truly repentant of sin and resting on Christ alone, let us hear now the words of institution from Paul in I Cor. 11:23-26 (see also Mtt. 26:26-30; Mk 14:22-26; Lk 22:13-20):

      For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

6.  Prayer of humility & consecration (sursum corda):

  1. We come
    1. not trusting in our righteousness
      1. not worthy of crumbs from your table
      2. worthy of death & banishment
      3. confessing our sins & wickedness
    2. confessing Christ’s perfect
      1. righteousness & majesty
      2. sacrifice
      3. satisfaction for our sins
  2. You are forever merciful to your children
  3. Grant
    1. Us to eat of your Son’s flesh and drink His cup that
      • we may be made clean by His body and
      • our souls be washed with His precious blood
      • we may evermore dwell in Him and He in us
    2. Your presence with us
      • for your Spirit’s effectual working in us
      • to sanctify this common bread & cup to holy use
      • to bless this holy ordinance
    3. We may receive by faith the body & blood of Christ
      • to feed on Him
      • to be one with Him and He with us
      • to live
        • in Him and He in us
        • for Him who loved and gave Himself for us
  4. Lift our spirits & hearts
    1. from the signs, the common elements
    2. to the One they signify, Jesus Christ in His glory

7.  Distribution of the Elements

Note: It is important here to follow the pattern set in Scripture and not another one made up by man, such as “Intinction” or “Walking” Communion.  Intinction – dipping the bread in the cup before eating – is an affront to Christ’s sacrifice in which His body and blood were separated; integral to the ceremony is feeding on each separately.  “Walking” communion violates the biblical pattern as those participating in the Lord’s Supper did not walk forward to receive it.  It was a ceremonial meal, not a processional.  In addition, Christ’s pattern –  speaking of the body, feeding on the body, speaking of the blood, feeding on the blood – is often disregarded to accommodate logistics and shorten the time of the service.

  1. Custom to hold elements and partake together
  2. Displaying bread, recount: “That the Lord Jesus Christ on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it, gave it to His disciples, as I, ministering in His name, give this bread to you, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’”
    1.   Distribute plates to Elders, quoting applicable Scriptures
    2.   Elders serve congregation.
    3.   Serve bread to Elders upon their return.
    4.   Displaying bread, invite congregation to partake saying: “Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ?” (I Cor. 10:16) Take, eat, this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
  3. Displaying cup, recount: “In the same manner, He also took the cup, and having given thanks as has been done in His name, He gave it to His disciples, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Drink from it, all of you.’”
    1.   Distribute plates to Elders, quoting applicable Scriptures
    2.   Elders serve congregation.
    3.   Serve cup to Elders upon their return.
    4.   Displaying cup, invite congregation to partake: “Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ?” (I Cor. 10:16) Drink from it, all of you.

8.  Prayer of Thanksgiving & Dedication: Minister is to pray:

  1. Giving thanks for:
    1. rich mercy of God
    2. shed blood of Christ, redemption
    3. invaluable goodness of God promised in sacred communion
  2. Seeking pardon for any defect in service and acceptance of their persons & performances in Christ
  3. For godly living through assistance of Holy Spirit to:
    1. enable them, as they received Christ, so to walk in Him
    2. hold fast that which they received, that no man take their crown
    3. have a conversation or manner of life as becomes the Gospel
    4. bear about them continually the dying of the Lord Jesus
    5. manifest the life of Jesus in their moral bodies
    6. make their light so shine before men, that others, seeing their good works, glorify Father in heaven
    7. present himself and people as living & holy sacrifices
    8. reaffirm the covenant and recommit himself & people
    9. that the gifts of bread & cup be effectual to edify & strengthen them

9.  Closing Psalm or Hymn

10.  Benediction

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Hebrew 13:20-21