Do this in remembrance of me
The apostle Paul exhorted the church to 'keep the ordinances.'
I Corinthians 11:2 - Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
New Testament ordinances are special observances having three distinct features.
1. They were commanded to be observed by Jesus Christ, the head of the church.
2. Jesus Christ himself partook of these ordinances as an example unto us.
3. They are literal ceremonies having deep spiritual significance.
Partaking of these ordinances does not save the soul but if a man is really saved he will desire to obey Christ and partake of these things.
John 14:15 - If ye love me, keep my commandments.
The Lord's Supper is a New Testament ordinance.
I Corinthians 11:23-26 - For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That 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, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
It is called the Lord's Supper because Christ instituted it.
I Corinthians 11:20 - When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.
It has also been referred to as the 'communion' because of the common communion or fellowship the brethren enjoy while partaking of this together.
I Corinthians 10:16, 17 - 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? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
What is the scriptural purpose and design of this ordinance?
It is not a regular meal or feast.
I Corinthians 11:20-22 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.
Christ said, "Do this in remembrance of me."
Therefore the Lord's Supper is a memorial whereby we remember the sacrificial suffering and death of Christ experienced for us at Calvary.
I Corinthians 11:26 - For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
The bread symbolizes the body of our Lord Jesus Christ which suffered for us.
Isaiah 53:4, 5 - Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
The wine or unfermented fruit of the vine symbolizes the precious blood of Christ shed in atonement of sin.
I Peter 1:18, 19 - Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
In partaking of this ordinance together we appreciate our unity in the body of Christ - the church.
Who is qualified to partake of this ordinance?
One must be saved from sin, born again, in true fellowship with God and the children of God.
I Corinthians 11:27-29 - Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drinkthis cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.