November 16, 2013 - "Christ, Holy Communion and the Church"
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Christ, Holy Communion,
and the Church

 
“Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11-12).

Those who crucified Jesus Christ of Nazareth did so after He had been declared innocent by the government authorities at least four times (Luke 23:4, 14, 15, 22). Even so, the political pressure was so greatly impressed upon that government authority, Pontius Pilate, that “Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they requested” (Luke 23:24). That great travesty of human injustice set in motion the final scene of Jesus Christ's earthly ministry as His heavenly Father had ordained it before the foundation of the world. Jesus Christ – the only “name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” – knew He had come for the purpose of dying, and nothing would deter Him from fulfilling “the will of the Father who sent [Him]” (John 5:39).
 
This One from Nazareth “is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ As the chief cornerstone, He, and He alone, sets the direction and is the genesis of the foundation and superstructure of His Church (Ephesians 3:19-22). Any deviation from Christ's established starting point and direction serves neither Christ, nor the Church, nor the world, but “the father of lies” (John 8:44). And those who choose to deviate, or who support and defend those who deviate from Christ's established starting point and direction, are endangering their eternal salvation, or at the very least setting themselves up for what St. Paul foresees as being “saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Cor. 3:9-15).
 
When St. Paul passes on to the Corinthians what he had “received from the Lord,” regarding the institution of the Lord's Supper, he writes: “This do, as often as you drink this, in remembrance of Me” (I Cor. 11:23, 25). Holy Communion in the Early Church was a regular action because it was the very thing Christ had given the Church to do in the world for the sake of the world. Namely, “proclaim the Lord's death till He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26).
 
In Holy Baptism, wherein individuals are brought into the Church, the body of Christ, one by one, through water and Word, there is an intimate bond which connects an individual both to Christ and to His Church (Eph. 4:1-6). In Holy Communion, wherein the Baptized who have been properly catechized and examined to show they are of the same confession, there is an even more intimate bond revealed. Herein we are recipients of, and the world is witness to, the mystery of the intimate oneness Christ has with His Bride, the Church, and with each of its members as together 
they receive His very Body and Blood shed for them on the cross for forgiveness. It is this common, intimate sharing of Christ's Body and Blood that translates into a horizontal bond – which is like none other in this life – with those with whom we commune. And not just with those with whom we physically commune on some particular day, but with all the saints yet on earth and those who have gone before us. Here, at the Lord's Table, the Bridegroom and His Bride are at their most intimate moment!
 
Intimacy is a key ingredient for any good marriage, and a defilement of such intimacy is harmful, often leading to the death of the marriage. Think of how much more important this need for an undefiled intimacy is with Christ, the Bridegroom, and His Bride, the Church. As a set-apart people, set apart from the world and made Holy by Baptism, it is duplicitous for the Church to knowingly violate the intimacy of the marriage covenant with the Bridegroom, which is precisely what happens when those of differing confessions commune at the same altar. When God created woman from the rib of man and instituted marriage He speaks of them in this new union as being “one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). He does so because it is a most intimate tie and interconnection of the two. Any third party interjection into that “one flesh” union dishonors that union and defiles the marriage bed.
 
I will leave it to the reader to decide if he or she needs to repent of having knowingly practiced or condoned the practice of communing at the table of our Lord with those of differing confessions. As for The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod – and by this I mean all of its 6,000 member+ congregations and the pastors and teachers who are members of it – it is time to return and hold fast to “Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions [which] teach that full agreement in every article of doctrine must serve as the standard for admission to Holy Communion at the Lord’s altar in evangelical practice of the Lord’s Supper” (ACELC Evidence of Errors Document on Holy Communion). To do anything less is deceitful, hurtful, harmful, and unloving toward the Triune God, fellow members of the Body of Christ, and the one who is harmed by receiving the Body and Blood of the Lord to his judgment (I Corinthians 11:27ff).
 
In the words of St. Paul: “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (I Corinthians 1:10).
 
Pastor Bruce G. Ley
Documents Chairman, ACELC

P.S. Online Registration is now open for the upcoming Fourth Annual ACELC Free Conference. If you would like register for this Conference you can click on this LINK. We now have all the speakers lined up (
Rev. Brian Saunders, Dr. Richard Nuffer, Rev. Roland Ziegler, Dr. Naomichi Masaki, and Rev. Rolf Preus.) and will shortly be posting their individual topics on our website.

One More Thing: If you would like to assist the ACELC in our work, you may encourage your congregation to join as a full Member of the ACELC. As an individual you may join as an Associate Member. You may also support our work by making a donation online. Or, if none of those options work for you, we would like to ask that you remember our efforts in your prayers – that all we do would be pleasing to God and beneficial for the building of up His kingdom of grace
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