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The New Testament Church

We demand book, chapter and verse for all our doctrines and practices and rightly so. Hearing our Restoration Pleas, how does a young Christian respond when he sees many practices he may never before have seen in his life? He is not used to weekly communion, and certainly not to sacrificial contributing. And what about the strange custom of "going forward"? This study provides scriptural explanation for these three practices in the New Testament Church.

1. Communion (Lord's Supper, Eucharist)

  • Matthew 26:26-29
    26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."
    27 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you.
    28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
    29 I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom."

    Passover supper (Jewish background).Bread is the body of Christ, wine is blood.
  • 1 Corinthians 11:23-29
    23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,
    24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."
    25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."
    26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
    27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.
    28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.
    29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.

    Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper. It is a proclamation of the Lord's death until he comes. Examine yourself before eating.
  • Acts 20:7
    On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.

    Christians came together in order to break bread.
  • It appears from the evidence of the NT and that of early church history that the Christians broke bread together at least once a week.
  • Suggested

    a. Exodus 12 (Historical background)

    b. Mark 12:12-26
    12 Then they looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away.
    13 Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words.
    14 They came to him and said, "Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?
    15 Should we pay or shouldn't we?" But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. "Why are you trying to trap me?" he asked. "Bring me a denarius and let me look at it."
    16 They brought the coin, and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?" "Caesar's," they replied.
    17 Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." And they were amazed at him.
    18 Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question.
    19 "Teacher," they said, "Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and have children for his brother.
    20 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children.
    21 The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third.
    22 In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too.
    23 At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?"
    24 Jesus replied, "Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?
    25 When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.
    26 Now about the dead rising--have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account of the bush, how God said to him, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'?

    c. Luke 22:7-20
    7 NIV) Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.
    8 NIV) Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover."
    9 NIV) "Where do you want us to prepare for it?" they asked.
    10 NIV) He replied, "As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters,
    11 NIV) and say to the owner of the house, 'The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?'
    12 NIV) He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there."
    13 NIV) They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
    14 NIV) When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.
    15 NIV) And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.
    16 NIV) For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God."
    17 NIV) After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you.
    18 NIV) For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."
    19 NIV) And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."
    20 NIV) In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

    d. John 6:48-58
    48 I am the bread of life.
    49 Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died.
    50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.
    51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
    52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
    53 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
    54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
    55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.
    56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.
    57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.
    58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever."

    Acts 2:42
    They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
2. Contribution (for needs of the church)
  • Matthew 6:21
    For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

    Your treasure is where your heart is.
  • Matthew 6:24
    "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

    Cannot serve both God and money, so make sure that God is first.
  • Proverbs 3:9-10
    9 Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;
    10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

    Are you honoring God with your money? Give him "firstfruits" of your income. Be responsible when you are away; leave your contribution behind (church needs it)
  • 1 Corinthians 16:1-2
    1 Now about the collection for God's people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do.
    2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.

    Taking up a collection to meet the needs of the poor is biblical.
  • 2 Corinthians 8:1-15
    1 And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.
    2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
    3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own,
    4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.
    5 And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will.
    6 So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part.
    7 But just as you excel in everything--in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us --see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
    8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others.
    9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
    10 And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so.
    11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.
    12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.
    13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality.
    14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality,
    15 as it is written: "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little."

    Advance planning.
  • 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
    6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
    7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
    8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
    9 As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever."
    10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
    11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
    12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.
    13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.
    14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you.
    15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

    Good material on sacrificial giving…
  • Suggested

    a. Exodus 36:6-7
    6 Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: "No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary." And so the people were restrained from bringing more,
    7 because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.

    b. Mark 12:41-44
    41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.
    42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.
    43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.
    44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on."

    c. Luke 6:38
    Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

    d. 1 Timothy 6:5-10,17
    5 and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
    6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
    7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
    8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
    9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.
    10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

    17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
3. Confession of sin (e.g. coming forward)
  • James 5:16
    Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

    Public confession. No private "confessional" in the Bible. Ask spiritual people to pray for you. Their prayers will be effective.
  • Proverbs 28:13
    He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

    You will not prosper if you keep sins inside…