PART 4 ASPIRING TO BE A WITNESS FOR CHRIST
PART 4 ASPIRING TO BE A WITNESS FOR CHRIST
BEING A WITNESS OF THE BREAKING OF BREAD
What does it mean to be a witness to the breaking of bread? It’s hard to believe that the partaking of the elements of the Lord’s Supper could have a different meaning from church to church. As a Christian, being a witness of its’ purpose to other believers could have a significant impact on their spiritual growth. Believe it or not, there are two distinct views as to the meaning of the Lord’s Supper.
VIEW #1 – THE LITERAL VIEW
John 6:56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
Mark 14:22-24 And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.
This view, known as transubstantiation, says that when a believer partakes of the elements of communion, the bread becomes the literal body of Christ, and the wine becomes the literal blood of Christ. The result of participating in such is that the more frequently someone receives these elements, the more he/she will experience an increase in spiritual growth (i.e., a lessening of racial and national prejudices or neighborhood resentments, and an increase in neighborliness, compassion, patience, and forbearance towards others). In other words, Christ-likeness will be developed within and manifest without toward others.
VIEW #2 – THE FIGURATIVE VIEW
Luke 22:19-20 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
This alternative view says that the bread is figurative of Christ’s flesh, His body that will suffer both physically and spiritually on the cross. The wine, likewise, is representative of His blood, the pouring out of His life, i.e., His physical death by which a new covenant would be established during the age to come, the Church Age. During this age, each person, whether Jew or Gentile, will have an opportunity to be saved. And for those who repent of their sins to God the Father and believe in Christ will receive the indwelling Spirit and subsequent blessings.
The continuance of breaking bread and drinking wine is to be done in remembrance of Him. In what way? This means to recall what He accomplished for us on the cross, i.e., redemption (to no longer be a prisoner to the debt of sin; to let one go free) through His blood (the payment to divine justice for our sin) and the forgiveness (the wiping away; the erasing the record of the debt; to cancel a debt) of sins.
As you can see, there is quite a difference as to what the partaking of the elements of the bread and wine mean. Which one is correct? That’s pretty simple. If one of these views has a perspective that can be supported by other Scriptures that don’t mention bread and wine, then this view is the one that should be accepted.
The first view, the literal one, says that the changing of the bread into Christ’s literal body and the wine into His literal blood brings about spiritual growth. What do the Scriptures have to say about how a Christian grows spiritually?
Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Ephesians 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
The goal of the Christian life should be to be conformed to the image of Christ. This conformity relates to a process known as sanctification, whereby the saint is transformed in his inner heart life to resemble the Lord Jesus, which inner change results in a change of outward expression that reflects the beauty of the Lord Jesus.5 What is the protocol that will bring about a transformation in a believer’s heart?
A part of this process has to do with the believer learning about the various doctrines of the faith (e.g., redemption, forgiveness, the atonement, the gifts of the Spirit, etc.). At some point, there will be teaching on what constitutes sin (mental, verbal, and overt). This will allow the believer to recognize any known sin a lot easier and confess it to God the Father. What should follow is further teaching as to the thoughts that a believer should be entertaining in their mind that provide a heavenly perspective in these areas. As the believer appropriates these thoughts and reflects upon them, this activates the filling or ministry of the Holy Spirit whereby His fruit (graces; influences; elements of character) become operational in our heart and evidenced to others. This is called spiritual growth, i.e., thinking differently about ourselves and operating in the spiritual qualities of the Holy Spirit. As we can determine, this has nothing to do with partaking of the elements of communion. Therefore, the partaking of the features of communion is to be taken figuratively.
It’s unfortunate that we have teachings where we are told that we can eat or drink something, and it can cause us to grow spiritually. Should we be surprised that something like this has been introduced as sound church dogma? Human nature, as it comes to worshipping God, always seems to try to have a shortcut that inhibits a believer from truly getting to know God in a personal way.
What else should we aspire to that will help us to become a witness for Christ/ Another way to be a witness for Christ is in prayer. How so? Please go to the next chapter.
5Weust’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 7 Nov 2017 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
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