Category Archives: Lord’s Table

Praying and Praising in the Lord’s Table Meeting

  • We must spend time to learn the principles of praying together in the Lord’s table with fresh revelation of who the Lord is as the bread and as the cup to release life and life supply through our prayer. 
  • Our prayers should be full of revelation according to our relationship with the Lord and avoid “preaching prayers” according to doctrine only. 
  • We need to remember the Lord with praise and well speaking concerning His person and work, and worship the Father by addressing praise to Him. 

Principles of Praying in the Lord’s Table Meeting

We must pay attention to a few principles when we pray at a table meeting. First, our prayers must be fitly connected to one another. The entire meeting, including the selection of hymns, prayers, reading of Scriptures, exhortation, or testimony, should be carried out as if we are in a relay race; there should not be another beginning halfway through the meeting. Second, our prayers should move forward; they should not remain in the same place. Immediately after we offer a prayer in relation to a hymn, we must move forward in our spirit. We must not only move further but also move higher. Third, as we move forward in the meeting, we must learn to maintain the feeling of the meeting in our prayers and hymns. This simply means that we cannot proceed independently. As we move forward in selecting a hymn, and especially when we pray, we should bring the brothers and sisters with us. In a three-legged race we must take care of our partner who is bound to us; we cannot simply run as fast as we wish. Fourth, all our prayers should contain utterances of poetic quality. God is full of feeling. A person with much feeling tends to be poetic in utterance, whereas a person with little feeling tends to be rough in his expressions. The more a person touches God, the richer his feeling will be, and consequently, the more poetic his utterances will be. However, do not think that merely being poetic is good enough; the most important thing concerning prayer is that it should touch people’s spirit. The more we are in the spirit, the more feeling we have. Fifth, our prayers should not only move forward and upward, they should also bring the atmosphere of the meeting to the subject of the meeting. For example, the first section of the Lord’s table meeting is for the breaking of the bread. After a few hymns and prayers we should bring the meeting toward the bread and the cup, to the feeling of breaking the bread. Sixth, we should avoid formal prayers at the table meeting; instead, we should use words of revelation and words that convey spiritual facts. Through our prayer both the bread and the cup are unveiled to the universe. After our prayer everyone should have seen the bread and the cup. This kind of revelation is not received instantly. Therefore, we need to spend the time and energy to exercise diligently. If in every locality there are ten saints who know how to select hymns and another ten who know how to pray, the situation of the various meetings will surely be living and full of the life supply.

Praying with Revelation and Avoiding Doctrinal Prayers

We should pray with words of revelation and avoid preaching prayers. What is a preaching prayer? And what is a prayer with revelation? Suppose we talk with two people concerning [one of the meeting halls] of the church in Taipei. We may tell them that the meeting hall on Ren Ai Road is made of wood and has many glass doors and windows that face different directions. This is giving a sermon. However, we may bring them to [the meeting hall] and say, “Look at the doors, the windows, the courtyard, and the inside furnishings.” This is revelation, a seeing.

Many times our prayers are doctrinal prayers, not prayers of revelation. This means that when we pray, we merely recite a message to others concerning the Lord, as if the Lord is not there. We do not give others the feeling that the Lord is right in front of us, and that we are gazing at Him while speaking of His glory. There is a great difference here. We need to have the utterance of revelation when we pray. Let us consider some examples: “O Lord, we praise You that You became flesh”; this is a doctrinal prayer. “Lord, thank You that today You are in glory, yet You still possess human nature. We praise You”; this is still a doctrinal prayer. “O Lord, although we are touching the bread, we sense You in glory. Lord, we praise You”; this is a prayer with revelation. Although these prayers refer to the same thing, they are expressed in two different ways. Whereas one is doctrinal and formal, the other is living and with revelation.

If we stand on our relationship with the Lord and pray according to this relationship, it is easy to pray with revelation. For example, we may pray, “Lord, You are in glory, but we are still here. O Lord, our eyes are still looking to the future. When You come back, we shall be with You in glory.” With these few sentences we can touch something; it is as if glory has entered the meeting. It is not that glory has been transferred to us from eternity future; rather, the eternal glory is now intimately related to us. If we are afraid that the feeling of the saints is not strong enough or that our words are not clear enough, we may add a few sentences, “Lord, it seems that today only You are in glory and that we are not. But even now we know that the day will come when we shall be as You are; we shall be exactly like You.” We need to give the brothers and sisters a feeling that the glory we enjoy today is not objective but subjective. Our prayer should let the saints touch the Lord’s glory. 

Remembering the Lord by Praising the Lord with
Well Speaking concerning His Person and Work

To remember the Lord (1 Cor. 11:24-25) we have to praise Him, not pray to Him. Remembering the Lord at His table is by praising instead of by praying. We do not come to the Lord’s table meeting to ask the Lord to do things for us. At the Lord’s table meeting we should bless the Lord with well speaking concerning His person and work. Well speaking means praising by speaking the good things. It would be helpful to itemize some of the main points concerning His person, such as His divinity, His humanity, and His statuses as the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Savior, the Redeemer, the Sanctifier, the life-giving Spirit, the Lord, etc. We have to try our best to point out the different items of the Lord’s person, so that the saints can be helped in their praising. Then we also have to point out the various aspects of the Lord’s work, such as His redemptive work, His saving work, His sanctifying work, His transforming work, etc. We have to bless the Lord in such a way as to praise Him, to speak well about Him. When our praise has reached a climax, we should bless the bread and the cup. 

In the section of remembering the Lord, all our praises should be addressed directly to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. To address our praises directly to the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, we need to realize the economy of the Divine Trinity. Matthew 28:19b says that we are baptized into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Second Corinthians 13:14 refers to the love of God, the grace of Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. These verses reveal the economy of the Divine Trinity to dispense Himself into His chosen and redeemed people. We need to learn to differentiate the Lord’s names from the Father’s names. In our personal time it would be good to read Hymns, #65 through #80, concerning the names of the Lord. In order to address or praise the Lord Himself directly, we need to know His names.

Worshiping the Father by Addressing Praise to Him

Matthew 26:26-30 shows that we should worship the Father after eating the bread and drinking the cup. Verses 26 through 29 show us that the bread was broken and eaten, and that the cup was drunk. Then in verse 30 there was the singing of a hymn to the Father, showing that the worship to the Father must be after eating the bread and drinking the cup. We worship the Father by praising. This is also based upon Matthew 26:30. This is a unique verse telling us that a hymn was sung. That means to praise. According to the Greek text, we may say that they “hymned a praise” to the Father. To worship the Father at the Lord’s table, we have to sing hymns of praise to Him.

Christ, the Firstborn of God, takes the lead among His brothers to sing hymns of praise to the Father. Hebrews 2:12 says, “I will declare Your name to My brothers; in the midst of the church I will sing hymns of praise to You.” The literal meaning according to the Greek is “I will hymn You.” We, the many sons of God, follow Christ in praising the Father. In Matthew 26:30 it was not only Christ but also His disciples singing a hymn of praise with Him. So He took the lead, and the disciples followed Him. Today it should be the same. Christ, the Firstborn, takes the lead, and we, the many sons, follow Him to praise the Father. In our remembrance of the Lord, we address all the praises to the Lord. Then, when we turn to worship the Father, we have to address all our praises to Him. Thus, we have to call hymns according to the Father’s person, the Father’s being. We also have to call hymns according to the Father’s attributes, such as His love, His kindness, and His glory.

Question: What should we be aware of in beginning the Lord’s table meeting? What should we be aware of as we transition to the worship of the Father? 

It is best to use a hymn, not prayer, at the beginning of a meeting, because at the beginning the spirit is relatively low, and it is difficult to pray. In principle, however, prayer is the best way to begin, because a hymn is not as high as a prayer. But when we are unable to offer suitable prayer, we must use a hymn. Some have asked whether we should first pray or first sing a hymn to begin the worship of the Father after breaking the bread at the table meeting. If we are able to have a good beginning with prayer, it is best to begin with prayer. If the prayer is strong enough to touch the spirit of the meeting, even to touch this particular section of the meeting, then prayer is the best and the sweetest way to begin this section of the meeting.

Fellowship Questions

  1. What principles do we need to pay attention to when we pray at the Lord’s table meeting? 
  2. What does it mean to pray with revelation? Where does this revelation come from? 
  3. Why does our praise turn to address the Father during the second section of the meeting? 
  4. How can we learn to pray and praise together, so there can be more life released in the Lord’s table? What experiences have you had of this? 

Excerpts taken from Basic Lessons on Service, Messages 4-5 and  Guidelines for the Lord’s Table Meeting and the Pursuit in Life, Messages 6-7

Caring for the Lord’s Administration by Enjoying the Lord’s Supper

  • We need to realize that on the one hand, we enjoy the Lord’s table for our enjoyment and satisfaction; on the other hand, we need to also learn to participate in the Lord’s supper for His enjoyment and satisfaction. 
  • The Lord’s physical body was given on the cross to accomplish redemption; the Lord’s mystical Body (His spiritual Body, the Body of Christ) is the means for God to carry out His administration and bring in His kingdom. 
  • God’s administration today is carried out by His kingdom and Body; therefore, we need to prove ourselves to have a living worthy of eating His supper and discern that the bread we partake of is free from division. 
  • In doing so, the church becomes the bridge connecting the Lord’s death to His second coming; “Come, Lord Jesus!”

The Lord’s Table and the Lord’s Supper

Concerning the remembrance of the Lord, Paul uses the terms, “the table of the Lord ” in 1 Corinthians 10:21 and “the Lord’s supper” in 11:20. There is an important difference between the Lord’s table and the Lord’s supper. We should not take these terms for granted. Rather, we should ask why Paul speaks of the Lord’s table in chapter ten and the Lord’s supper in chapter eleven. The Lord’s table refers to the enjoyment of the Lord in fellowship. Hence, the significance of the Lord’s table is enjoyment for participation, enjoyment for fellowship. When we say that we take the Lord’s table, we mean that we enjoy the Lord in the fellowship of Him. This is for our enjoyment and satisfaction. The Lord’s supper, however, is for His satisfaction. It is for the remembrance of Him. Regarding the Lord’s table and the Lord’s supper, there is mutuality. The Lord’s table is for our enjoyment, but the Lord’s supper is for His enjoyment. Sometimes we may say, “Lord, we come to Your table and partake of it.” This indicates that we are enjoying the Lord. At other times we may say, “We thank You that we can have Your supper.” This indicates that we are remembering the Lord for His enjoyment and satisfaction.

The Lord’s Physical Body and His Mystical Body

In 1 Corinthians 11:24 Paul quotes the word of the Lord Jesus: “This is My body, which is for you; this do unto the remembrance of Me.” The body in 11:24 denotes the physical body of Jesus. Paul [later] uses the expression, “not discerning the body”  in verse 29, which denotes the mystical Body. The physical body of Jesus was given on the cross to accomplish redemption for us. But that body has nothing to do with God’s present administration. It is the mystical Body of Christ which is thoroughly and absolutely related to God’s administration today. The church today as the mystical Body is not for us—it is for Christ. When we come to the Lord’s table, our concern is neither redemption nor the divine administration; our concern is for enjoyment. We all come to the Lord’s table to enjoy the Lord in fellowship. The Lord’s supper, however, is related to the Lord’s enjoyment and satisfaction. We should not only care for our enjoyment at the table, but also care for the Lord’s enjoyment at the supper.

If we want the Lord Jesus to be satisfied at the Lord’s supper, we should not only remember Him, but also care for God’s administration carried out by Him. Today what satisfies the Lord the most is the divine administration. If we remember Him without caring for the divine administration, He will not be happy. If we want to make Him happy and satisfy Him, we must be able to say, “Lord, while we are remembering You, we discern Your Body for God’s administration carried out by You. As we remember You, we do not forget what You are doing in the heavens. You are seated in the heavens to carry out God’s administration.”

Until He Comes

In chapter ten Paul does not say anything about participating in the Lord’s table until He comes. But in 11:26 he says, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you declare the Lord’s death until He comes.” The Lord’s coming will bring in God’s kingdom for His administration. His first coming was for our redemption, but His second coming will be for God’s administration. When we take of the Lord’s table, we care for our enjoyment. But when we take of the Lord’s supper, we care for His remembrance and God’s administration. The Lord’s table is for our enjoyment. However, the Lord’s supper is for His enjoyment and satisfaction. Furthermore, His satisfaction is dependent on God’s administration carried out by Him. Do you intend to give the Lord the best remembrance? If you do, then you must take care of the mystical Body, the means for Him to carry out God’s administration on earth. We must remember Him in this way until He comes. We do this to carry out His administration until He comes back and brings His kingdom to earth.

Discerning the Body for God’s Administration

We have emphasized the fact that when we take the Lord’s table we enjoy Him, and when we eat the Lord’s supper we satisfy Him by remembering Him and caring for God’s administration. But in what way do we take care of His administration? It is by discerning the Body. To discern the Body is first to realize that Christ has only one mystical Body, and this unique mystical Body of Christ is the means for God to carry out His administration. But Satan’s subtle device is to cut the Body into pieces. This frustrates God’s administration. As long as we are in a division, we are through with God’s administration. Throughout the years we have been deeply impressed with the significance of the Lord’s table. Therefore, we often pray, “Lord, thank You for Your redeeming blood. Lord, we also thank You that you have given Your body on the cross to bear our sins. Lord, now we are here enjoying Your table. You are on the table for our enjoyment.” Now we must also be impressed that to eat the Lord’s supper is to satisfy Him. It is to give Him our remembrance. This implies that we are here for the carrying out of God’s administration. In order that God’s administration may be carried out, we must care for the oneness of the unique mystical Body of Christ. Having such a concern will preserve us in the Body and keep us from any division. If we have this understanding of the Lord’s supper, we shall not be divided by anything. Rather, we shall remain in the unique mystical Body, the means for Christ to carry out His heavenly ministry for the accomplishment of the divine administration.

Proving and Discerning

Regarding the Lord’s supper, Paul uses two crucial words: prove and discern. First Corinthians 11:28 says, “But let a man prove himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” To prove ourselves is to check whether we are eating the bread and drinking the cup in a way that is worthy or in a way that is unworthy. Verse 29 says, “For he who is eating and drinking, eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the body.” This is the discerning both of the Lord’s physical body and also of the mystical Body for the carrying out of God’s administration. Proving ourselves is for the remembrance of the Lord; discerning the Body is mainly for the carrying out of God’s administration. Whenever we come to the Lord’s table, we should not just enjoy the Lord; we should also remember Him by proving ourselves. We must ask if we are living in a way that is worthy for us to eat the Lord’s supper. This is to remember the Lord. At the same time we must discern whether the bread on the table signifies the unique mystical Body of Christ, or if it signifies a division. If the bread signifies a certain divisive group or denomination, we should not take it, for we discern the Body. We discern the Body in such a way for the carrying out of God’s administration.

Remembrance Being Related to God’s Administration

In 1 Corinthians 11:24-25 we have the phrase “unto the remembrance of Me.” The thought embodied in the word “unto” in these verses is deep and profound. It is, of course, not incorrect to translate the Greek preposition as “for.” However, this does not express the meaning or significance here. Here the word is used with the significance of result, not purpose. What will be the result of your eating of the Lord’s supper? Does your eating of the Lord’s supper result in God’s administration? If not, your partaking of the Lord’s supper is too superficial. The genuine eating of the Lord’s supper must result in the administration of God; it must result in the kingdom. We need to realize that we have been regenerated to become the children of God, to be brought into the kingdom, and to become the members of the Body of Christ. The kingdom and the Body should be the goal of our living. As Christians, we are not here simply to have a good life. Today God’s administration is carried out by the kingdom and the Body. This should be our daily living. Then on the first day of the week we come together purposely to eat the Lord’s supper with the expectation that our life will be a life for the kingdom of God and the Body of Christ. If you understand this, you will know how eating of the Lord’s supper may result in such a satisfaction to the Lord.

Declaring the Lord’s Death

In 1 Corinthians 11:26 Paul says, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you declare the Lord’s death until He comes.” At the Lord’s table, while we are eating and drinking, we are making a declaration. Although we are to remember the Lord, we are not told to remember His death. Rather, in verse 26 we see that we should declare the Lord’s death. Christ’s death is not for us to remember—it is for us to declare, announce, display. In verse 26 we also have the Lord’s coming. In between Christ’s death and His coming there is a gap, a gap which is filled in by the church. We may say that the church is a bridge connecting the Lord’s death to His coming. This bridge is also a highway; without this bridge with the highway, there would be no way to go from one side of the gap, Christ’s death, to the other side, God’s kingdom. This means that the church continues the Lord’s death and brings in His coming back. Thus we must see that to declare the Lord’s death until He comes is equal to declaring the existence of the church for the bringing in of the kingdom. As long as there is a people on earth responding to Christ in His heavenly ministry, there is a way for Him to bring God’s kingdom to earth. 

Fellowship Questions

  1. Why does Paul make the distinction between the “table of the Lord” and the “Lord’s supper” in 1 Corinthians chapters 10 and 11?
  2. How is the Lord’s supper related to the Lord’s enjoyment and satisfaction?
  3. How is the remembrance of the Lord related to God’s administration?
  4. What is the bridge between the Lord’s death and His second coming? 
  5. What does it mean to prove ourselves in relation to eating the table (1 Cor 11:28) and to discern the body (v. 29)? 

Excerpts taken from Life-study of 1 Corinthians, Messages 54-56

The Significance of Eating the Lord’s Table

  • The significance of eating is fellowship, enjoyment, and becoming one with what we eat; this eating is typified by the enjoyment of the good land. 
  • Participating in and enjoying the Lord’s table is a practical way to flee idolatry, which is to enjoy something other than the Lord Himself. 
  • Further, this eating enables us to live the Christian life, establish the kingdom of God, and build up the house of God.
  • Therefore, we need to eat and enjoy the Lord every day as the reality of the table, the feast, and the riches of the good land.

Eating signifying Fellowship, Enjoyment, and Oneness

First Corinthians 10:12-22, is part of a long section which deals with the matter of eating. Eating is related to enjoyment. Whenever you eat something, you enjoy it. Furthermore, what we eat becomes us. On the one hand, eating is for our enjoyment; on the other hand, we become what we eat. These basic concepts should be applied in understanding this portion. To eat idol sacrifices actually means to enjoy idols and eventually to become one with idols. In the same principle, to partake of the Lord’s table is to enjoy this table and to become one with it; that is, to enjoy the Lord and become one with Him.

In 1 Corinthians 1:9 Paul says that we have been called into the fellowship of Christ. This means that Christ is our portion for our enjoyment. In 1 Corinthians 10:16 the fellowship is of Christ’s blood and body. When the Lord Jesus ate with His disciples and established the table, He “took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is My body” (Matt. 26:26). Then taking the cup and giving thanks, “He gave it to them, saying, Drink of it, all of you” (v. 27). Today the Lord invites us to His table and says of the bread and the cup, “This is My body; take and eat…This is My blood; take and drink.” Today the One who presents His body and blood to us is Christ as the life-giving Spirit. This wonderful Christ is everything to us for our enjoyment. All that He is, is for our participation and enjoyment. He gives Himself to us as our food supply so that we may enjoy Him. Oh, may the Lord open our eyes! He, the all-inclusive One, has given His body for us to eat and His blood for us to drink. He has given us Himself so that we may partake of Him and enjoy Him by eating and drinking Him.

The Lord’s Table Being the Reality of the Good Land,
and Eating this Table Enabling us
to Establish the Kingdom and Build Up the Temple

In 1 Corinthians 10:1-13, Paul presents Israel as a type of the believers today. Whenever we come to the Lord’s table to enjoy Christ as the all-inclusive One, in our experience we are in the good land enjoying the riches of the land. This means that the good land has become a table, a feast, for our enjoyment. At this table, this feast, we are satisfied, and God is satisfied also. If we see this, we shall realize that to enter into the good land is to come to the Lord’s table. 

Do you know how the children of Israel established the kingdom of God on earth and how they built the temple of God? They did this through the enjoyment of the riches of the good land. Because the children of Israel enjoyed these riches, they could defeat their enemies. The riches of the land not only enabled the people to live; they also equipped them to fight and bring in the kingdom of God. Furthermore, the riches of the land supplied them with what they needed to build God’s temple. Therefore, both the kingdom of God and the temple come into being through the enjoyment of the riches of the good land. The riches of the land were the source of the living of the children of Israel. These riches were also the supply for them to defeat the enemy, establish the kingdom of God, and build the temple of God. One day the glory of God descended and filled this temple. That was the consummate result of the enjoyment of the riches of the good land.

The experience of the children of Israel in the good land typifies our enjoyment of Christ today. Christ is our good land, and the various aspects of the riches of Christ are typified by the produce of the land. If we enjoy the rich supply of Christ, we shall be able to live Christ. We shall also be empowered to defeat the enemies. The enemies are always defeated when we enjoy Christ. Furthermore, through the enjoyment of the riches of Christ, the kingdom of God is established in the church, and the temple is built for God’s dwelling place. All these matters—living the Christian life, defeating the enemies, establishing the kingdom of God, and building the house of God—issue out from the enjoyment of the riches of Christ.

Eating the Lord’s Table to Flee Idolatry 

In 1 Cor 10:7 Paul says, “Neither become idolaters, as some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.” This is a definition of idolatry. There is a difference between idol worship and idolatry. Idol worship involves bowing down before an idol and worshiping it. Idolatry is wider in scope, for it involves eating, drinking, and playing. In this country people may not worship idols, but they may practice idolatry. On the holidays or on weekends they may give themselves over to various forms of amusement and entertainment. They may eat and drink and rise up to play. This is idolatry. 

Idolatry involves the enjoyment of something other than the Lord Himself. Today people everywhere are practicing idolatry, for they are enjoying many things which are not the Lord Himself. The living of worldly people is a living in idolatry. They sit down to eat and drink, and then they rise up to play. We should neither worship idols nor become involved with idolatry. As we have seen, the meaning of idolatry is much broader than the meaning of idol worship.

In 1 Corinthians 10:14-26, Paul talks about the Lord’s table using idolatry as a background. In verse 14 Paul says, “Wherefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” Here we see that there are two tables: the table of the Lord and the table of demons. To partake of a table is to eat of it. To drink the cup of the Lord and partake of the table of the Lord is to identify ourselves with the Lord. To drink the cup of demons and partake of the table of demons is to make ourselves one with demons. In the same principle, to eat the body of Christ is to have the fellowship of Christ. It is to participate in Christ and to become one with Him. This is not simply a doctrine or principle; it is a reality.

Christ today is the life-giving Spirit. Demons also are spirits. The life-giving Spirit is rich and all-inclusive. The demonic spirits, on the contrary, are evil and unclean. One can be saturated and occupied either by a demon, an evil spirit, or by Christ as the life-giving Spirit. We live according to that with which we are occupied and saturated. If we eat Christ and are saturated with Him as the life-giving Spirit, we shall live Christ. In like manner, if we eat the sacrifices to demons and are saturated with demons, we shall live demons. Ultimately, in the entire universe there are only two tables: the table of demons, which causes people to be one with demons, and the table of the Lord, which causes the believers to be one with the Lord. In either case, we are what we eat.

If we come to the Lord’s table with this understanding, we shall come with a different spirit and a different realization. The cup of blessing which we bless is certainly the fellowship of the blood of Christ, and the bread which we break is the fellowship of the body of Christ. Today when we partake of the Lord’s table, we are fulfilling the type of how the children of Israel were gathered around the altar, enjoying whatever was offered on the altar for God’s satisfaction. As we are feasting, we satisfy the Lord whom we worship. This is the proper dealing with the matter of eating.

Our Daily Eating of Christ Preparing us for the Lord’s Table

The Lord’s table is the true enjoyment of the Lord Himself. The Lord’s table is not only a matter of a meeting on the Lord’s Day; this table should be our enjoyment every day, even continually. Day by day, the Lord is our good land, our feast, our table. 

The proper way to deal with eating is to feast on the Lord. Do not eat anything other than the Lord, and do not enjoy anything in place of Him. We should not have any enjoyment other than Christ. Christ is our table, our feast, our land. As the good land, Christ is a rich feast for our enjoyment. When we feast on Him, we live Him. Then we are able to defeat the enemies, establish the kingdom of God, and build up His temple. This is God’s goal and the fulfillment of His eternal purpose. 

If the saints in a local church have no problems when they come to the Lord’s table, and if everyone fellowships with the Lord and with others in spirit, that is a church, a temple, which has truly been built up. Furthermore, with the temple of God there is the kingdom of God. Those who have become the temple and the kingdom through the enjoyment of Christ are surely those who live Christ.

Fellowship Questions

  1. What is the significance of fellowship when we connect 1 Cor 1:9 and 1 Cor 10:16? How is this related to our partaking of the Lord’s table? 
  2. Why does Paul use idolatry as a background for presenting the significance of the Lord’s table to the Corinthians? In what ways can the Lord’s table help us to flee idolatry? 
  3. How is the type of the children of Israel a picture of our partaking of the Lord’s table? How are the different aspects of the produce of the good land, the defeating of the enemies, the establishing of the kingdom, and the building of the temple related to our enjoyment of the Lord’s table? 
  4. How does our daily eating of Christ enable us to partake of the Lord’s table? 
  5. How can we help one another to exercise our spirit when we come to the Lord’s table?

Excerpts taken from Life-study of 1 Corinthians, Messages 49-51

Serving God by Ministering Christ in the Lord’s Table Meeting

  • As Christians, one main way that we serve is by meeting together.
  • The reason that our meetings are a service is because we minister Christ to God and to man from what we have experienced and enjoyed of Christ.
  • The Lord’s table is the main meeting of the church; we serve in the Lord’s table meeting by focusing on the Lord and remembering Him by breaking the bread, eating the bread, and drinking the cup.
  • We need to be trained to worship in spirit and to bring the surplus of Christ corporately so that God can be fed and satisfied through our worship.

To Meet Together being to Worship God, to Serve Him,
and to Minister Christ to Others

In the New Testament the Greek word for service really means ministry. To minister is to serve people with something. If I serve you without ministering something to you, that is wrong. In the New Testament, the service, or the ministry, is the stewardship (1 Cor. 9:17; Eph. 3:2; Col. 1:25). A steward is always serving people with something. A waiter in a restaurant is a good illustration of one who serves people with something. To serve is not just to come to clean the meeting hall. Service is ministry.

The first thing we need to receive help in concerning service is how to meet. Meeting is a ministry. Meeting is a service. The first time you attended the church meeting was the beginning of your service. This is because in the meetings we render our worship to God, and this is the service. We worship God and we serve God in our meetings, and in our meetings we offer our praises and our thanks to God. 

The crucial thing in the meetings is that we offer Christ to God. At our conversion God gave us His Son as a gift. When we were saved, we became the sons of God. Now we have to serve God, to come to the meetings to offer Christ to God as the unique gift that God the Father has given to us. Our ministry toward God is to minister Christ to God.

In ancient times all the Israelites came together three times a year to worship God (Deut. 16:16). The first thing they did was to bring all the rich surplus of the produce of the good land and offer this surplus to God for God’s satisfaction. That was the top service they rendered to God. That type has to be fulfilled today in the New Testament with us. Our salvation was our passover. Now that we have received God’s salvation with Christ as our Passover, we must offer Christ to God. Offering Christ to God is our service. The more that we stress this, the better. 

Every believer should have something of Christ. Thus, when we come to the meeting, we come to share Christ with others, to minister Christ to others, either by our prayer, by our testimony, or by our speaking. We always have to get ourselves prepared to minister Christ in the meeting. God charged His people not to come to the meeting empty-handed (Deut. 16:16). When you come to the meeting, you must have something to offer. Without anything to offer to God, we can never enter into the tabernacle, so this is a must. If we do not offer something to God, and we try to enter into the presence of God, this is a great deficiency.

The Lord’s Table Meeting 

Acts 2 tells us that the early believers had the Lord’s table, the breaking of bread, every day in their homes (vv. 42, 46). Later, in Acts 20:6b-7a we can see that the saints had a habit of having the Lord’s table on the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week. Verse 6b says that the apostle Paul and his co-workers stayed in Troas for seven days. Then the next verse says that on the first day of the week they had the Lord’s table. This strongly indicates that by that time the Lord’s table was conducted mainly on the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week, the day of resurrection.

To Partake of the Lord’s Table 

The Lord’s table is a feast. First Corinthians 10:21b uses the term the Lord’s table. The table here means the feast. We come to the Lord’s table to enjoy a feast.

To Eat the Lord’s Supper 

First Corinthians 11:20 refers to our eating the Lord’s supper. This is not a breakfast or a lunch but a supper, a dinner. When the Lord established the table, He did it in the evening of the passover, so it was a supper.

Here we must stress that the Lord’s table is not only a feast but also a supper. A feast is mainly a kind of enjoyment, and a supper is a kind of restful eating. After a day’s work, after a day’s labor, people restfully eat their supper. Thus, we come to the Lord’s table not only to enjoy it as a feast but also to take it restfully. After we eat breakfast, we labor, but the Lord’s table is a supper for us to rest because the work is over, and now is the time for rest.

To Remember the Lord 

The Lord told us to do this in remembrance of Him. We remember the person, the Lord Himself. This is the central point of the Lord’s table meeting. Any hymns, testimonies, or messages that distract people from the Lord, the person, are not appropriate. In the Lord’s table meeting, someone may call a hymn on fighting the battle, or in the midst of the Lord’s table, someone may give a testimony of how he was rescued from his suffering. That might be good in another kind of meeting, but it is not fitting at the Lord’s table meeting. The Lord’s table meeting is concentrated on the person of the Lord, so all the hymns, all the praises, and all the speaking should be concentrated on the Lord Himself. 

To Enjoy the Lord as Our Life Supply

In John 6:35a the Lord told us that He is the bread of life, so to eat the bread is to enjoy the Lord as our life supply. Breaking the bread does not imply any enjoyment, but eating the bread surely does.

To Testify That We Live by the Lord 

We also eat the bread to testify that we live by the Lord. In John 6:57b the Lord said, “He who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me.” By eating the bread we indicate that we enjoy the Lord, and we testify that this is our way to live. This is the real remembrance of the Lord.

To Have Fellowship in Christ’s Mystical Body 

The next crucial point concerning our remembrance of the Lord is our eating the bread to enjoy the fellowship in Christ’s mystical Body. The breaking of the bread mainly implies the Lord’s physical body broken for us on the cross. Eating the bread, which is to take in the bread, mainly implies the fellowship in the mystical Body of Christ (1 Cor. 10:16b-17). The same bread, the same loaf on the table, signifies the physical body of Christ and the mystical Body of Christ. The Lord’s physical body was broken on the cross for our redemption, and the Lord’s mystical Body, the Body of Christ, is for our fellowship. Regarding the Lord’s physical body, we break the bread, and regarding His mystical Body, we eat the bread. Eating together means communion, fellowship. A part of the same bread gets into you, a part gets into me, and a part gets into each one of us. This is the oneness in the Body in the fellowship of the Body.

To Worship the Father 

After all this, the Lord will lead us to worship the Father. This is based upon Matthew 26:30, which says that after the Lord finished His supper with His disciples, He and the disciples sang a hymn. That hymn was sung by the Lord with His disciples to the Father. In the Lord’s table the Lord takes the lead to praise the Father, to worship the Father. At the end of the Lord’s table meeting, we need to worship the Father with the Lord. The Lord as the firstborn Son takes the lead to worship the Father (Heb. 2:12), and we as His many brothers follow Him.

Being Trained to Worship and Serve in Spirit 

We all need to be trained to partake of the Lord’s table in a proper way. In the past we may have had the Lord’s table in an untrained way. But now we are receiving help to have the Lord’s table in a civilized way, in a cultured way, in a trained way. In the past we ate wildly, without “table manners.” The table manners at the Lord’s table are not formal things. To have proper table manners at His table means that we exercise our spirit and release our praise to Him in the right way. This is a great thing. The Lord’s table is the best meeting, but it is the most difficult meeting for us to have. No other meeting exposes where we are as much as the Lord’s table meeting does.

How much content the meeting has and how high the meeting is altogether depend upon how much we have experienced Christ. We must come to the meeting not with the objective, doctrinal Christ but with the subjective, experiential Christ. Day by day we should have some experience of Christ. Then something will be accumulated in our being, and we will have something of Christ to minister and impart to others. To get into the name of the Lord, to exercise our spirit, and to offer the Christ whom we have experienced are the basic ways that we should come together.

Fellowship Questions

  1. Why do we consider our meeting together as our service?
  2. Why do we concentrate on the Lord Himself when we function in the Lord’s table meeting?
  3. What is the significance of a “table” and what is the significance of a “supper”? What is the respective emphasis of each? 
  4. What does our breaking and eating of the bread signify?
  5. Why is it helpful to receive some training in the matter of how we meet? How can we receive this training in a way of life and not as formalities or legalities towards ourselves and others? 

Excerpts taken from Basic Lessons on Service, chs. 1-3