WHAT IS COMMUNION?
Communion is an ordinance of the church, which was instituted by Christ, and is a blessing to those who participate worthily. In Communion, we follow the example Christ gave us in Mark 14 when he broke bread with the disciples during the last supper. Christ gave his disciples a morsel of bread and a sip of wine from a cup. These, he taught them, represented his body and blood as a remembrance of his sacrifice for them.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF COMMUNION?
Communion reminds us of our need for a sacrifice, declares to us the gospel, and distinguishes believers from unbelievers. It is a mysteriously wonderful and powerfully symbolic display of Christ’s love for his church.
HOW FREQUENTLY SHOULD COMMUNION BE OBSERVED?
There is no explicit command in the New Testament regarding how often Communion should be observed. It seems that the first church in Acts 2 devoted themselves to the breaking of bread, which seems to indicate that Communion was a regular part of their gatherings. We don’t see this as a command, but we do view that as helpful to keep Communion a common, consistent practice in our church gatherings.
HOW IS WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT COMMUNION DIFFERENT FROM OTHER VIEWS?
What FFC believes about Communion: The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby believers, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming. The four most common views on Communion:
Transubstantiation: The official teaching of Roman Catholicism. Trans means “change,” and substantiation means “substance.” The idea is that when the bread and wine are blessed by the priest during the Mass, the bread and the wine are transformed into the actual physical body and blood of Jesus Christ.
Consubstantiation: Con meaning “together,” and substantiation still meaning “substance.” Rather than changing completely, the substance of the bread and wine coexists with the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist. Jesus Christ is present in, with, and under the bread and the wine whenever the Lord’s Supper is celebrated. The analogy people sometimes use is a sponge full of water. The sponge isn’t the water, the water isn’t the sponge, but the two are there together with each other.
The Memorial View: This view says Christ commanded us to “do this in remembrance of Him,” and that is all it is: an act of remembrance. The bread and wine are merely symbols, reminding us that Christ’s body was broken for us, and His blood was shed for us.
The Spiritual Presence or Real Presence: The elements are symbolic, but the symbols do more than merely represent—they bring us the presence of Jesus Christ and His benefits.
WHO CAN PARTICIPATE IN COMMUNION?
Those who have believed in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for their sins. Communion doesn’t save anyone; it reminds them of the gospel they have already believed in.
WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS OF COMMUNION?
The bread represents the body of Christ. Just as we break or tear the bread apart to be shared, so Christ’s body was ripped and torn during his suffering. The cup represents the blood of Christ. Just as we pour the juice into individual cups, so Christ’s blood was willingly poured out for the sins of many.
HOW SHOULD BELIEVERS PREPARE FOR AND PARTAKE OF COMMUNION?
1 Corinthians 11 tells us that “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.”
Early in the life of FFC, these four words were used to help people process the Communion time: Review, Repent, Receive, Rejoice.
SHOULD CHILDREN PARTAKE OF COMMUNION?
Parents, we desire that those who take Communion are believers who fully understand its purpose and meaning. This is why we are comfortable practicing communion while the children are in their children’s ministry program. But, we believe that ultimately this is your decision. You are more than welcome any week to have your children participate in Communion with you, but please take time before to make sure your child understands the significance of what they are doing.
WHAT HAPPENS TO US DURING COMMUNION? DOES IT REMOVE SINS?
We believe that Communion is an act of obedience, but not merely an act of obedience. It is also a means of grace, which means that Christ uses Communion in our lives to sanctify us. In Communion he convicts us of sin, reminds us of our need for a Savior, and points us to our Savior, Jesus Christ. Taking Communion does not remove sin; our sins were removed the day we believed in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins.
IS COMMUNION ONLY TO BE PRACTICED INSIDE A CHURCH SERVICE?
Scripture describes the church partaking in Communion together, but the local church looked a lot different in the 1st century than it does today. FFC desires that Communion primarily take place during our worship services, but Scripture doesn’t prohibit the taking of Communion by small groups of saints. Small groups, ministry teams, and families are welcome to take Communion together, but this shouldn’t be the norm.