I. Definition & Names
(1) This is the crowing service of the Christian Church, the culmination of Christian worship, the summit of Christian experience where devout believers hold intimate communion with their living Lord. The church through the ages has regarded this sacrament as the supreme act of communal worship.
II. Types in the Old Testament
(1) The offerings which Melchisedec offered. For the first and last time in Old Testament it was said that there were offerings of bread and wine. “And Melchisedec king of Salem brought froth bread and wine: and he was the Priest of the most high God.” (Gen. 14:18) For this reason it was said of our Lord “Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb. 5:6, 10; 7:17)
III. Institution of the Sacrament.
It pleased our Lord to institute this sacrament on a very momentous occasion. The Evangelists told us that He instituted it at the approach of the Passover feast which was considered as the greatest feast of the Jews, and was a type of the sacrifice of Himself. It was also instituted directly before His death, and on the night of His passion when He was about to give Himself for the life of the world. “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, saving. This cup is the New Testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me,” (1 Cor. 11:23-25)
IV. The Visible Sign.
There are two visible signs in this sacrament: (1) the bread & wine (2) the service of mass, especially those prayers through which the Holy Ghost descends upon the bread and wine changing them into the body and blood of the Lord.
VI. The Change of Bread & Wine
We believe that, after prayer, the bread and wine are spiritually changed into the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. For this reason we do not look at mere bread and mere wine on the altar, but we truly look at the body and blood of the Lord under the forms of bread and wine.
(1) To the Bible.
All that is mentioned in the Bible regarding this sacrament supports our doctrine.
(2) To the decisions of the early synods
1. The Council of Nicaea reported: “We should not look at the bread and cup on the holy table as if they were mere bread and cup on the holy table as if they were mere bread and wine, but we must lift up the mind beyond the sense, and perceive by faith that the lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world rests here, slain by the priests, and that they are partaking of the very body of the Lord and His very blood.”
(3) The writings of the early fathers.
Clement, Dionisius and Cyril of Alexandria; Macarius and Cyril of Jerusalem; John Chrysostom, Gregory, Basil and many others all of them affirmed that the bread and wine are spiritually changed after prayer into the very body and the very blood of the Lord.
(4) The writings of the Protestants themselves.
1. Calvin, one of their most prominent leaders, said; “If any one inquire of me respecting the manner, I shall not be ashamed to acknowledge that it is a mystery too sublime for me to be able to express or even to comprehend; and to be still more explicit, I rather experience it than understand it. Here, therefore, without any controversy, I embrace the truth of God, on which I can safely rely; He pronounces His flesh to be the food, and His blood the drink, of my soul. I offer my soul to him to be nourished with such aliment.”
VII. The Holy Communion As a Sacrifice
(1) We believe that this sacrament is a un bloody sacrifice offered for our salvation. This we can prove from the following:
VIII. Who has the Right to celebrate this Sacrament?
Our Lord gave this right to the Apostles when He told them “This do in my remembrance.” (Luke 22: 19) And the Apostles gave it to their successors, the bishops.
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