Tag Archives: Sacrament

A Westminster Divine Opposed Paedo-Communion

Richard Vines was an influential Westminster Divine and he wrote one of the most helpful works on the Lord’s Supper. I hope to supply more quotes from him in the future. But regarding 1 Cor. 11:28, “Let a man examine himself” he had this to say:

Let a man examine himself, which if any one cannot do, as infants, stupid ignorants, men besides themselves, or will not do, because he hates the light which discovers him, or does not do, because worldly employments possess him, or dare not do, lest he create trouble and pain to himself, then he has not performed the proviso, which is, And so let him eat of this Bread, &c.”[1]

The Lord’s Supper requires that the believer exercise his faith as well as examine himself. An infant cannot do that. The Lord’s Supper is not a “medicine” that simply works by itself. The benefits of Christ’s body and blood are truly and spiritually “present to the faith of believers” (WCF 29:7) in the Lord’s Supper. The Larger Catechism states, “spiritually present to the faith of the receiver” (LC 170). An infant cannot exercise faith knowingly during the Lord’s Supper nor can he examine himself.

[1] Richard Vines, A Treatise of the Right Institution, Administration, and Receiving of the Sacrament of the Lords-Supper (London, 1657), 354; cf. 190, 193.

Chapter 4, What is the Lord’s Supper?

We have spent some time explaining what the Lord’s Supper is not. It is now time to show what it is. It is always good to know why we believe what we do as well as why we don’t believe certain things. Sometimes we can best understand certain biblical truths when we see them compared to other things. What then is the Lord’s Supper?

A Sacrament

A sacrament is something Christ commanded the church to do. It is not up to us to decide or create. He commanded His disciples to do this in remembrance of Him. In addition, the early Christians celebrated the Lord’s Supper in obedience to Him. Though it was not done well, the church in Corinth observed it and fell into sin.

We have already seen that the Lord commanded us to do this. He also commanded us to baptize. We also have examples of this in the church. The sacrament of baptism is once again found in the Corinthian church (as well as in other places). Like the Lord’s Supper, baptism also became a “problem” for that church. They were quarreling among themselves about who baptized whom (1 Cor. 1:10-17).

There are only two sacraments. Some have said that we are to observe foot washing (Jn. 13:1ff.). The New Testament church never practiced it as a religious observance. Clearly the passage is teaching us to be servants (Jn. 14:14). Marriage, priesthood, etc. have also been called sacraments by some. But the New Testament does not command such things. Christ gave only two sacraments to the church and they are the Lord’s Supper and Baptism.

Theologians call the Lord’s Supper a sacrament, which means that it is something Christ commanded us to do and by which the benefits of the new covenant are represented and applied to believers (SC #92). This sacrament must be something “physical” (they used to say “sensible,” that is, it can be seen and touched by our “senses”) that represents the benefits Christ assigns to it and can convey what it represents by means of the Holy Spirit.

Something you can see and touch

Since sacraments have to be commanded by Christ, does that mean everything Christ commanded is a sacrament? No. A sacrament is also a physical thing that points to something spiritual. It is like a sign but something more than a sign. It is something you can see and touch. The Lord’s Supper points to Christ’s death, His body, blood, atonement, etc. If they don’t point, then they cannot be sacraments.

Baptism points to something beyond itself as well. Water represents our union with Christ, cleansing, benefits of being connected to Christ, etc. The Lord’s Supper represents Christ’s body and blood: “Take, eat; this is my body…Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mt. 26:26ff.)

So sacraments point to something spiritual and beneficial. They have no power in themselves. It is like (again it is more than this) a simple sign that points you to something. For example, an “exit” sign tells you where to go so that you can get out of the building but it is neither the door nor the exit. It is only a sign pointing to the real exit.

Wouldn’t it be silly if people ran to the sign, read it, and tried to enter into the sign? That would be ridiculous. It would also be a useless sign if it cannot be read. If you cannot understand the sign, then it will not help you. For that reason, our Lord gives us the sign and tells us what it represents.

A Means of Grace

The “special” thing about sacraments is that they are a means of grace. We said it is like a sign but it is also something much more. It can convey what it represents. This means the Lord’s Supper can give the benefits of Christ to each believer who looks in faith to Him.

For example, a car is a means of taking us to the place we wish to go. We often say that a car is a “means of transportation.” It can actually take us to our desired place. The Lord’s Supper is a means of giving us grace.

The Lord’s Supper does not only point to what our Lord has done for us, it can also give us those things. You may wonder how that can be? How does eating bread and drinking wine give anything to our souls? That has been a question over which some of the greatest minds have debated. Sad to say, it should not have been that difficult to answer.

The simple answer (which we will unpack a bit more in our next lesson) is that the Lord’s Supper can affect communion with Christ. Paul teaches us that taking the cup is a means of “participating in the blood of Christ.” The bread that we break and eat is a means of “participating in the body of Christ.” (1 Cor. 10:16) The word “participating” is the word from which we also get “fellowship” or “communion.”

So, when we take the Lord’s Supper, Christ conveys to us by His Spirit His presence and we actually get to fellowship with Him at the Supper. In that way, it is a means of grace, a way of giving to us Christ’s person and benefits. It is a means of fellowshipping with Christ.

For the church

Since the Lord’s Supper is for Christians, it is only for the church. It is not for the world or for unbelievers. It is not something that is automatically given to every person that comes to the church. It is only for the church. Remember, our Lord said, “Drink of it, all of you.” (Mt. 26:27) All of whom? The answer is Jesus’ disciples. Jesus was addressing this to His disciples. He was not saying, “Drink it, it is for everybody.” He did not offer it to the Pharisees or to those who were not connected to Him.

Having said that, we also recognize that not all church members who receive the Lord’s Supper are genuine believers. As a result, unbelieving church members do not receive grace through the Supper. They in fact eat and drink to their own harm.

Represents what Christ did
As the Lord’s Supper is a sign, so it is a sign of what Christ did for us. Regarding the cup, Jesus says, “…for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mt. 16:28) He is saying that the cup with the wine represented his sacrificial death. But the elements also represent Christ Himself. The bread represents his body as the wine in the cup represents his blood.

It does not represent the strength of my faith or the goodness of my heart. Too often, as we have mentioned before, we end up focusing only on ourselves. Because the Supper represents Christ, we by faith receive Christ at the Supper. If we focus on ourselves (and only on ourselves), then we will miss Jesus at the Supper. It is like eating with our heads down oblivious to the good company at the table. People have been known to do that, and similar things can happen at the Lord’s table. The Supper is about Him and we need Him at the Supper.

Represents our relationship to each other
The Supper also represents our relationship to one another. The Corinthians failed to recognize that. They were divided and looking out for their own interests in 1 Cor. 11. Paul says, “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” (1 Cor. 10:17)

What does that mean? There is only one body of Christ. Christ does not have two or three bodies. All of us, Paul is saying, partake of that one body. We participate with one another since we participate with Christ. When we do that, we are, in effect, joined to one another because we have the same body inside of us. That is the imagery. The great John Calvin said this: “Now, since he [i.e. Jesus] has only one body, of which he makes us all partakers, it is necessary that all of us also be made one body by such participation. The bread shown in the Sacrament represents this unity.” (Institutes, 4.17.38)

The Lord’s Supper therefore points to the significance of our relationship to one another because of our relationship to Christ. One cannot have Jesus without His people and His people without Jesus. That is why we require that a person be a member of Christ’s church. Those who truly believe in Jesus and receive Him will receive His people. If the person won’t receive and join His people, then the person does not have Christ.


1. What is a sacrament?

2. What do we mean when we say that something is a means of grace?

3. What do we receive at the Supper? Is it just bread and wine?

4. Why can’t unbelievers or non-members of a church partake of the Lord’s Supper?

5. How does the Lord’s Supper represent our relationship with one another?

Chapter 3, Do we all believe the same thing about the Lord’s Supper?

I certainly wish everyone believed the same thing about the Lord’s Supper. Some have not studied the Bible carefully while other people let tradition control their understanding of the Lord’s Supper. We want to be as clear as possible, while being humble about what we believe the Bible teaches. In the end, the Bible is what we have to accept.

This chapter is going to be very different from all the other chapters because it will focus on some of the wrong views held by various people. We do not wish to speak badly about them. But we also must understand what it is we don’t believe as well as what we do believe. Sometimes we can better understand what we believe by studying this way. This is by no means the best way of learning the Bible’s teaching, but since so many people have been confused on this topic, I thought it best to begin by mentioning some of them.

Old Debates

Jesus said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” (Lk. 22:19) Some people have said, “Ah, see, Jesus said, ‘This bread IS my body.’ Therefore, somehow the bread has really become the body of Jesus.” Many professing believers believed this. Certainly this is wrong. How could the bread be Jesus’ body when he was sitting (lying) right beside of them? Did Jesus eat His own body at the Supper (we read that He ate and drank with the disciples, see Mark 14:22)? No. What Jesus means by “This is my body.” is “This represents my body.” Remember, Jesus also said, “I am the door.” (Jn. 10:9). He is not literally a door but He represents the door in the story.

So, we must not think that somehow, the bread and the wine became Christ’s body and blood. Jesus is in heaven seated at the right hand of God (Col. 3:1). His body does not leave that presence to become bread and wine. Though we will deal with this more fully later on, we must remember that we are not literally (physically) chewing on Christ’s body, nor drinking His blood.


Many godly Christians fear the Lord’s Supper. They fear what they do not know. They understand the Lord’s Supper is serious but do not understand how it could be of benefit to anyone. I have known grown ups who have almost sunk in their pews when they sit down and notice that the table has been prepared for the Lord’s Supper that Sunday morning.

Our Lord did not command us to “do this in remembrance” of Him so that we would fear. Jesus gave thanks and blessed the bread and wine (Mark 14:22-23). These elements were blessed and our Lord gave thanks for them. So, they are not to be occasions of fear but an opportunity for giving thanks. We are called to eat something that is blessed and set apart. To be serious is one thing but to be so scared that it becomes a source of great anxiety is another thing.

I used to be very much afraid of the Lord’s Supper. I thought everyone else really received something wonderful during that time and that I was simply going to be judged. My fear was unnecessary. My fear had to do with my misunderstanding. I did not know enough to gain comfort from the Lord’s Supper.

Little children have been afraid of many things that they outgrew once they understood what they were about. For example, many young boys and girls are afraid of going under water. They are scared to death. They watch other kids laughing and having fun in the pool but they simply sit on the side or wade in the shallow part because they are afraid of the water. Once they understand and experience the thrill of going under water, they quickly forget whatever fears they had. Their fears were fueled by their misunderstanding of what they thought would happen the second they went under. Believers who have lived in fear of the Lord’s Supper look forward to it now because they now understand what it is all about.


Another great misunderstanding plaguing many Christians is one of legalism. Now, we must define what this word means before we use it in this context. Legalism teaches that our good works, behavior, acts, etc. gain and earn God’s approval and acceptance. It teaches that our relationship to God is for the most part dependent on our performance.

Now, we would never want to deny the importance and necessity of “good works.” But we must understand what place they have in a believer’s life. Good works flow from our relationship with God and we have a firm and stable relationship with Him when we humbly believe and receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. Our relationship has been purchased by Christ and our standing and acceptance with God is dependent solely on what Jesus has done for us on the cross. All this is received by faith in Jesus Christ.

Legalism undercuts this. In the area of the Lord’s Supper, legalism teaches that we have to be good enough to come to the Lord’s Supper. The person thinks he or she has done pretty well this week and so feels very confident in coming to the Lord’s Table. At another week or month, the person feels and believes he or she was exceptionally bad that week and feels unworthy to come to the Supper. This is one of the biggest problems in the church when it comes to the Lord’s Supper.

Underneath this view is the mistaken idea that you and I could have a clean slate or a clean enough slate to come to the Lord (on account of my behavior). We are never accepted on account of our performances. Our standing before the Lord is based upon what Jesus has done. If we try to stand on our own before God, we will fall. “You are severed from Christ you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.” (Gal. 5:4)

For some reason, many think that at this time in their Christian walk, before coming to the Lord’s Supper, they must be exceptionally good and clean (spiritually speaking). One lady I know visited a church and was not going to take the Lord’s Supper. It was reported to me after the Supper that she decided to take the Supper when she had not taken it for quite some time. She thought she had to be exceptionally good to take it but when she was reminded at the Supper that sinners in Christ should take it because they need it, she felt encouraged to participate. This kind of thing happens all the time. We do not come to the table because we are exceptionally good but because we are exceptionally weak and need our Savior and His blessings that much more.


For many years, the church was very superstitious about the Lord’s Supper. They thought the wine had magical powers or that the bread was so holy and special that it could never touch the ground. Some feared that a crumb would fall to the ground and that a mouse might eat it.

To this day, we find people still bowing before the bread and wine as if they were really Christ’s body. They believe in holy water, holy wine, etc. There are no such things. The bread and wine never ever change into anything. They remain as they are permanently.

There is no magic in the bread, nor is there any super power in the wine. The two elements are simply bread and wine. They are used to represent something much more, but in and of themselves, they are nothing more than bread and wine.

What this means is that after celebrating the Lord’s Supper, everyone can eat the bread and drink the wine. Strangers, friends, young children, etc. can all eat them because they are nothing more than bread and wine. They are used during the Supper in a holy way but they always remain the same.

I usually have crumbs in my Bible from the Lord’s Supper. They are usually found in 1 Cor. 11. The crumbs are dry and have been there for days. Are they holy? No. Can I eat them? Yes (if I wanted to). Can I throw them away? Yes. There is no magic in them.

Tradition and our experiences

Our experiences influence many of our thoughts and views. Tradition can play an important role in our lives as well and it can be very healthy, wholesome and beneficial. However, our experiences and tradition must not determine what we believe to be the meaning of the Lord’s Supper.

Some people have experienced certain rituals (incense, music, etc.) during the Lord’s Supper and expect to see them every time. They will say something like this: “I really enjoy it when they play such and such music during the Lord’s Supper. Why don’t we do it?” Some pastors put on their robes during this time and the people expect that each time the Lord’s Supper is served. Some want the bread pre-cut; others prefer the “common cup”; a few just want the Supper without the sermon; others expect to hear a bell toll during the words of institution, etc. Many enjoy the experience of kneeling and receiving the bread and wine. We can list many practices in the church that simply exist because they have always done them that way.

We need to be careful about all of these things. We should not (as we mentioned in our first chapter) add anything to this Supper. We should keep with the simple statements and teaching of Scripture and not make it more ritualistic than we need to.


This is becoming a problem. Since the bread and wine do not really become Christ’s body and blood, some therefore think the whole Supper is not all that beneficial and relevant. They simply tolerate the practice and care very little about preparing their hearts or even considering the right things during the Supper.

We must be careful not to make light of the Supper. Though we do not want to be superstitious, we also do not wish to dishonor the Lord at the table. Remember, this practice has been handed down to us from the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 11:23). As we do this until He comes (1 Cor. 11:26), we should proclaim everything about His death (1 Cor. 11:26) at the supper with great reverence. We do not want to be guilty of profaning or dishonoring what His body and blood represents (1 Cor. 11:27) lest we eat and drink judgment upon ourselves (1 Cor. 11:29).


We have given some hints into what the true view of the Lord’s Supper is by stating what we ought not to believe or practice. Our next study will explain the nature of the Lord’s Supper more clearly, but let us not forget what we should also avoid.

When a doctor instructs a diabetic to eat healthy food in right proportions in order to keep his blood sugar up, he also warns him against eating other kinds of food as well. He is to avoid certain foods while making sure he eats healthy food. So, in the Lord’s Supper, we must avoid many of the wrong things above.


1. How do we know that the bread and wine do not really turn into Christ’s body and blood?

2. Should we be afraid of the Lord’s Supper? Why?

3. What do we mean by legalism? How does it show up during the Lord’s Supper? Why should we avoid this?

4. Are there any magical powers in the bread and wine during and after the Supper? Do the bread and wine change into something else? Who can eat the bread and wine after the Supper?

5. Since the bread and wine remain the same, some people take the Supper lightly. Is that appropriate? Why or why not?

Chapter 2, Why couldn’t I take the Lord’s Supper?

Why can’t you take the Lord’s Supper? Is it because you are too young? Is it because you’ve sinned too much? Is it because you don’t know enough? Actually, it’s none of the above. It depends upon the answer to this question, “Are you a Christian?” It is that simple. It is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself. How you answer that question affects the rest of your life.

So, as we begin to answer that question, we also need to understand something about you from God’s point of view. Once we understand what the Bible teaches regarding who you are, then we can finally answer the question, “Why couldn’t I take the Lord’s Supper?”

Who am I?

God placed you in the church. Most of you were raised in Christian homes or born to believing parents. You did not have a choice in this matter. God placed you with the parents that you have and because He saved them, he also blessed them by placing you into their lives. They could not choose what kind of child they would receive nor could you choose what kind of parents you would have.

God, by His choice, placed you into a Christian home. Unless one of your parents was not a Christian, you probably would not be reading this. As it is, you are reading this and trying to learn what the Bible teaches about you. You are reading this because God brought you to this point.

The biblical view of children

In the Old Testament (OT) God promised the following regarding the children of God’s people: “I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.” (Is. 44:3) God promised to work in the children of believers by pouring His Spirit into them. Something like that began to happen in John the Baptist (“you shall call his name John…and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit” — Lk. 1:13-15).

In the OT, God considered all Israelites to be His people, not just the adults. The promises applied to both the adults and all their family members. The children of the OT were considered to be God’s people. The firstborn of Israel were specifically considered God’s (Num. 3:13, “for all the firstborn are mine”). God was very displeased with Israel because they did wicked things to their children. But they were in fact God’s children; He says of their children that they were His, children “they bore to Me [that is, “they bore to God”]” (Ezek. 23:37). God was telling them that their children were actually children born to Him. Also in Ezekiel, God speaks of children “born to Me” (16:20, 21).

King David would speak of his birth in this manner in Ps. 22:9-10: “Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.” God was “seeking godly offspring” (Mal. 2:15). Wow, God cast David upon Himself ever since David was born!

In the New Testament, the children of believers are considered “holy” (1 Cor. 7:14). God’s promises were specifically for those who would believe and their children (Acts 2:39). God calls the children of believers to obey their parents because this pleases the Lord (Col. 3:20).

So the Bible teaches us that you, a child of at least one believing parent, are specially marked out by God. He treats the children of believers differently. You are not with your parents by accident and you are not unrelated to the Lord. You are His and He treats you differently! What does that mean?

I’m different from other children

Each child of a believer is different from his or her neighbor. Because God set you apart for Himself through Christian parents, you are obligated to truly live a life pleasing to Him. So the Bible can say, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” (Eph. 6:1) The Bible addresses you. You have the privilege of being part of God’s people by birth.

With every privilege comes responsibility. You have the responsibility to trust in your Savior Jesus Christ and to please God. Your friends who are not believers run after the world and delight in the things of the world. They do not worship God and Sunday is a day to sleep in for them. They do as they please, but the Bible says you are to obey His commands, because this pleases the Lord (Col. 3:20).

When I came to America, I did not know how to speak English. I did not understand what was expected of me and could not understand what other people were saying. I was quite frightened. After a summer of being in America, I began my first year of school in September. It was very difficult. Now, do you think the teachers were more patient with me when I didn’t follow their directions or with those who could perfectly understand them? Of course, they were very patient with me because I did not understand everything. The other students had no excuse! I, on the other hand, did have an excuse because I could not make sense of everything they said.

You are in a different position than I was. You are like those students who understand perfectly what is required of you. Your neighbors or friends at school might not understand at all. God says in Luke 12:48, “And from everyone who has been given much shall much be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.” If you do not believe, your situation is worse than your friends who have not been raised in Christian homes.

I’m a sinner and am not automatically a Christian

Though we have said you are different, you are still like others, a sinner needing Christ’s forgiveness. The privilege does not necessarily save you or change you. [Yes, something might have already happened in your heart and if that something is new birth in Christ, then you are in a blessed position.]

What this means is that the privilege of being in God’s church and being raised in a Christian home does not automatically mean you have received God’s gift. In Abraham’s family, one of his sons (Esau) rejected God. So, unless you rest upon and receive Christ as He is offered in the Gospel, your privileges will become awful curses.

There are many young children who have assumed everything is O.K. with them because they go to church. They simply believe that they are better than other people because they know some things of the gospel and understand many Bible stories. They are like some college students who think they are smart simply because they go to college when in fact, many college students hardly study and apply themselves. They may go to college but it does not follow that they have studied and received what had been taught.

So the same situation presents itself to you. God has placed you into a Christian home and has made you one of the members of the church. Are you going to be one of those college students who just goes to college but never studies and assumes that he knows all things simply because he heard many lectures? Or, are you going to be one of those students who will seize the responsibilities? Your responsibility is to believe in the Lord Jesus and follow Him!

I need Jesus

You need Jesus just like any other sinner on the face of the earth. You might not remember when it happened but you must be able to say, “I believe in Jesus Christ. I am a miserable sinner who deserves eternal death. But I believe He has died on the cross for sinners like me and I rest on what He has done on the cross. I believe that his death has paid the penalty for all my sins and that I can do nothing to earn salvation. I receive and rest upon Jesus alone for my salvation.”

You must be able to able to really say that! If you don’t sense your need of Him, sense that you are a miserable sinner, sense that without Him you will perish in your sins then saying those things are just words. God knows your heart!

God does not automatically apply what Christ has done on the cross to your account. You must receive it by faith. If you do not presently know that Jesus is your personal Savior and Lord, then you must repent of your sins and look to your Savior Jesus.

Though God has placed you into his church, He did not automatically turn you into a believer. That is His secret work and if He has done that in you, you will know it by your faith in Jesus. Do you believe in Christ (Acts 16:30-31)? Do you love Him? If you do not, you will be cursed (1 Cor. 16:22). If you have truly believed in Him for your salvation, He will be your greatest delight. You will have a new heart and spiritual desires. Jesus will be the subject of your conversation, heavenly things will be the object of your meditation, and God’s word will be the treasure you cherish.

Young Timothy was reared in the faith by his grandmother and mother (2 Tim. 1:5). He was exposed to God’s word ever since he was a child — “from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). Notice, he was “acquainted” with God’s Word. God’s Word makes one wise unto salvation. But the last statement is the most important in this sentence. God’s Word made Timothy wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. He needed to personally exercise his own faith in Jesus Christ for his own salvation. Everything was there to help him but no one could believe for him. One writer (William Gurnall) said, “You must live by your faith, not another’s. Labor to see truth with your own eyes.” Timothy could not live on his mom’s faith nor could he see the truth of Gospel with their eyes. God enabled Timothy to personally believe in Christ.

Am I in Christ?

So the question you must ask yourself is, “Am I a Christian?” Or, “Am I just going along with my family and care very little about these things?” Some like the church, the people, the experience, and many other things but these things are not the same as being a Christian.

Have you ever gone somewhere with your father or mother but didn’t really like it? I remember my dad and mom loved to go to college basketball games when I was a around ten years old. They used to take my brothers and me. My brothers seemed to enjoy it but I personally did not care for it that much. I liked the fun we had, the time with the family, the soda from the concession stand, and many other things. But, I did not much enjoy the game. When I was old enough to stay home by myself, I usually chose to not go, though my brothers usually went. Is this the way you view your life in the church?

If you are going along to church just like the way I went with my family to the basketball games, then you probably are not a Christian. You are a member of the church but you have not personally received and rested on Christ as your great Savior. You need to repent. You need to realize that these privileges demand from you the holy responsibility of seeking the Lord. Will you believe in Him? Will you pray to Him today, tonight, or this evening? Will you say, “Lord, save me! I am a miserable sinner and I look to you and place my complete faith in Jesus to deliver me from the coming wrath! Deliver me from myself; have mercy on me and save me Lord!”

Why couldn’t I take the Lord’s Supper?

When Jesus set up the first Lord’s Supper, it is clear from the Bible that only his disciples partook of the Lord’s Supper. In the Gospels, Jesus was with his twelve disciples. In 1 Corinthians 11, it is certain that only church members partook of the Lord’s Supper. He said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” That means Christ’s disciples, those who believe in Him, must remember Him and recognize the many good things the Lord’s Supper brings to their souls.

Why couldn’t you take the Lord’s Supper? Because the church does not know if you have yet embraced what you have been taught. It is not automatically given to everyone in the church. You must be a disciple of Christ to receive the Lord’s Supper. Now is the time to seriously consider where you stand. Are you His disciple? Are you a believer? Or, Are you just going along for the ride?


1. Are children of believers just like the children of unbelievers? Explain.

2. Isn’t being raised in a Christian home good enough? Does that make you a Christian?

3. How does one know he or she is a Christian?

4. What is the point behind the story about the basketball game? Where do you stand?

5. Isn’t the Lord’s Supper for everyone in the church? Explain.

Chapter 1, An Introduction to the Lord’s Supper

Did you ever ask your parents or elders what the Lord’s Supper was all about? Did you think it was only allowed for big older kids? Maybe you thought it was only for grown ups? But did you know that you too might be able to take the Lord’s Supper?

You might have smelled the bread and the wine some Sundays and wished you could have eaten the bread or drunk the wine because you were hungry. Yet, you knew that it was more than just a snack. Everyone seems so serious and quiet. At times, their seriousness may make you a little uncomfortable. Your mom or dad appeared to be more serious during this time than any other time during the service. Why all this seriousness? What is going on here that is so serious?

What is it called?

The Bible uses several names to describe the Lord’s Supper. Sometimes it is called “communion” from 1 Cor. 10:16 (KJV) — “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” The phrase “Lord’s Supper” comes from 1 Cor. 11:20 — “Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper.” Some call it the “Lord’s Table” from 1 Cor. 10:21 — “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.” It is also called the eucharist from the Greek word for giving thanks in 1 Cor. 11:24. Each term describes an important part of the Lord’s Supper. So, we can use these terms interchangeably (communion, Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist).

Why do we do this?

If you are curious about the meaning of the Lord’s Supper and if you really believe in and love Jesus Christ, then you will want to know what the Bible has to say about the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper is not something your parents or church made up. It came into use because our Lord Jesus told us to do this. He said, “DO THIS in remembrance of me.” (Lk. 22:19) Think about it. Why would we all eat the bread and drink the wine so quietly and seriously during a church service unless this was something our Lord told us to do? We do not want to do anything during church that our Lord did not command us to do.

Now, we might say that we already knew that. But there are several important reasons for pointing that out. First of all, as we mentioned, the church should do only what our Lord commands her to do. We cannot simply do things in the church service because we like them. Some things in the church may not be fun while other things may be easier to enjoy. Yet, when it comes to a Christian worshipping one’s Savior, one must only do what God commands one to do.

Our Lord’s Command

Another important reason relates to you. If Jesus says, DO THIS, then you should want to do it. If you don’t, then it says a lot about you. We hope you want to obey Jesus.

Let us imagine for a minute. Let us imagine that a young girl named Hannah found out that her father was about to die and he requested to see her by his bedside. After encouraging her to seek the Lord, he asked her to do one thing for him. The dying daddy asked her to always remember him on a certain day each year and on that very day he asked her to buy some beautiful flowers for her mother. He wanted his daughter to do something special each year for her mom in his behalf. Now, do you think Hannah will comply? I would think so. Why? Because she loves her daddy and wants to always remember him. She will never forget this one request.

In a similar way, our Lord commanded us to remember Him with the Supper. This was one of His last commands before He offered up His life for our sins. It was not a useless request. We will learn later of the importance of this command and how helpful it is for us. But still, shouldn’t we honor Him in this even if we don’t understand everything?

What about you?

It is true, you may not understand everything about WHY you need to do this, but because Jesus is our Lord and the one who loves us, we should want to obey what He says. A question that you must ask yourself is, “Do I want to obey Jesus?” If you said Yes to that question, then consider another one, “Do I want to obey Jesus in the area of the Lord’s Supper?” For believers, this is not an option. If Jesus commands it, then we must obey Him. So children, this is something that should get you to think and pray. Jesus says, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Right now, you may not be taking the Lord’s Supper but did He not command His disciples to do so? Are you one of His disciples?

When I became a Christian in high school, I was very happy. I began to read the Bible over and over again. I wanted to understand more and more who Jesus was and how I was to live for Him. There were many things I did not understand in the Bible at all. But some things became clear to me. I noticed that all believers were baptized. “I was a already a believer and growing. Why do I need to be baptized? What is that ceremony going to do for me?” But the more I read, the more convicted I became and realized two things. First of all, I did not understand much about baptism and could not see any need for it. Second, the Bible was very clear. All believers had to be baptized. This second point bothered me greatly. I struggled with the issue for some time until I finally decided by God’s grace that I had no excuse. I was baptized and have been thankful for it every since.

I share that story to help us understand one important point. Whether we understand it or not, we are required to obey what God’s Word teaches. We are not given an option to obey some of God’s Word and skip over the rest. Jesus wants His disciples to DO THIS.


1. What are some of the names for the Lord’s Supper?

2. Who came up with the idea of the Lord’s Supper?

3. Should churches create new things to do in worship because they are fun? Explain.

4. What is the point behind the story (about baptism) mentioned in this chapter?

5. What if I don’t want to take the Lord’s Supper?

A Student’s Guide to the Lord’s Supper, Introduction

The following very brief chapters will be uploaded dealing with the Lord’s Supper. We have used this small booklet to instruct our covenant children about the Lord’s Supper. It is written to prepare them to become communicant members. Of course, it does not mean that each child will necessarily become a communicant member since each one is examined after the class. I am presenting a Reformed view of the Lord’s Supper and NOT a Calvinian view (because he is not necessarily the best exponent of the position).

A Student’s Guide to the Lord’s Supper
by Pastor Mark Herzer

Chapter 1
Introduction to the Lord’s Supper

Chapter 2
Why couldn’t I take the Lord’s Supper?

Chapter 3
Do we all believe the same thing about the Lord’s Supper?

Chapter 4
What is the Lord’s Supper?

Chapter 5
What happens during the Lord’s Supper? (1)

Chapter 6
What happens during the Lord’s Supper? (2)

Chapter 7
How do I prepare for the Lord’s Supper?

Chapter 8
What should I do during the Lord’s Supper?

Chapter 9
What should I do after the Lord’s Supper?

Chapter 10
When will we stop eating the Lord’s Supper?

An Introduction for Parents

This is a small booklet for churches that believe children are part of the visible church. Baptists may appreciate some of these chapters but not all of them. But I write as a Presbyterian minister for parents and elders of local congregations. There are many books on the Lord’s Supper and many of them are very useful. Yet, having read several of them, I began to realize that most of them were too difficult to understand for young children. What I mean by “young children” is the group of children up to twelve years old. Those children simply cannot understand or read the “big” books or booklets on the Lord’s Supper. Desirous of seeing something they could use, I have endeavored to write such a manual.

The goal of this booklet is to teach what the Bible teaches regarding the Lord’s Supper. Having researched and labored over this academically for years, I arrived at a position that should be acceptable to most Presbyterians. Without explaining all the positions, there are at least five views, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinian, Zwinglian, and Presbyterian. Most Reformed Christians have misunderstood Calvin and have similarly assumed that their own positions were the same as Calvin’s. Calvin is remarkably closer to Luther than Zwingli. I am convinced that in the end, Calvin and Luther were not as far apart from each other. The biggest difference between the two had to do with the actual presence of Christ’s body; it was not over the actual reception of Christ’s flesh (Calvin believed we received “vivifying flesh”). Zwingli, on the other hand, is closer to the Reformed view. His earlier views were strictly memorialistic but his more mature position before his death suggests that he did not believe in a bare sign. Some statements in his writings are more congenial to the traditional Presbyterian view. I cannot, in this introduction, argue what I have just asserted but wanted to “show my hand” early on lest I be faulted for being less than forthcoming. I write as a Presbyterian. I hope I have not lost the reader. These names, labels, positions, etc. are not the substance of this booklet.

This booklet is designed for young children. If they are advanced enough to read on their own then they should be able to work through this. If they cannot yet read well enough, then this booklet can be read out aloud to them. What they will learn is an explanation of why they could not participate, why they might be able to participate, and what actually “happens” during the Lord’s Supper. Some of the great misunderstandings in this area have brought about much ambivalence, awkwardness, and at times fear for many Christians. It is this apprehension I wish to overcome through this booklet. Since the Lord’s Supper is often viewed too mystically I have written this very plainly. Mysteries may be involved in the Lord’s Supper but it should not be viewed as a mystery.