Some Principles for Breaking of Bread Assemblies                     


ˇ§Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.ˇ¨ (Acts 2:41-42) After the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost to the early church, Peter was filled with the power of the Spirit and proclaimed the Gospel. Jews who listened to the Word were illuminated by the Holy Spirit, and about three thousand of them repented, turned to Christ and were baptized that day. From then on, they stayed together and lived the life of the church. The word ˇ§devotedˇ¨ used by Luke has the meaning of patiently awaiting and single-mindedly engaging. It refers to believers continuing to focus on four church activities, that is, obeying the apostlesˇ¦ teaching, mutual sharing and fellowship, the breaking of bread in remembrance of the Lord, and praying to God with one heart. These were the prime activities of the early church.


Because the early church fervently loved the Lord, so ˇ§every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.ˇ¨ (Acts 2:46) The assemblies to break bread in remembrance of the Lord were conducted daily in many homes, and they joined together to share food and meals as well. People later called these gatherings love feasts (1 Corinthians 11:20-34, Jude 1:12). It was a common practice in the early church. Although having frequent congregational love feasts in our church is not feasible, it is still an admirable affair for some members to dine and have fellowship at home. Our church though does have weekly assemblies to break bread in remembrance of the Lord. On the one hand, we observe the instruction of the Lord. On the other, it is our wish to provide more opportunities for the brothers and sisters to think of our Lord.


It is because believers in the Corinthian church formed divisions and cliques and did not share equally at their love feasts, so some remained hungry while others got drunk, that they messed up the solemn meeting in remembrance of the Lord. Paul wrote a letter to remind them of rules to observe at the Lordˇ¦s Table. The writer wants to draw out some principles from his epistle to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 11:23-34) that apply when gathering to break bread:


1.      ˇ§Do this in remembrance of me.ˇ¨ (v. 24) The church must follow the instruction of the Lord and partake of the unleavened bread and the juice of the grape together, in remembrance of the Lord dying for our sins and fulfilling the redemption. The gathering should have our Lord as the focus, not we ourselves as the focus. So the hymns and Bible passages we share should concentrate on Jesus Christ Himself, and glorify God through Him.


2.      ˇ§For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.ˇ¨ (v. 26) The main course at a Passover Feast should be roasted lamb, yet Christ did not use the eating of mutton to signify His death. He used the torn-up bread and the cup decanted of grape juice to depict His death for us. The bread and the cup are symbols, and emblems of a covenant. It is not as Catholic dogma alleges, that after blessings by the priest, they automatically turn into the real flesh and blood of Christ.


3.      ˇ§Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.ˇ¨ (v. 27) Eating the bread and drinking the cup of the Lord in a worthy manner naturally means that we should remember Him as per His will, so that we do not offend Him. For whoever does not follow the conduct of repentance, the conduct of separation from sin, the conduct of trusting in the Son of God, the conduct of baptism into the Lord, and the conduct of remembrance of the Lordˇ¦s covenant, and yet eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord, he will bring on himself the judgment of God.


4.      ˇ§A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.ˇ¨ (v. 28) Whenever we remember the Lord, we should self-examine, recognizing that this is not a common feast. For this is a banquet that satisfies our stomachs, a gathering that gives satisfaction to the Lord through our thanksgiving and exaltation, and through it we can enjoy the pleasure of worship. Therefore, before we attend any assembly to break bread in remembrance of the Lord, we should distinguish and examine own our spiritual life, so that we do not come under Godˇ¦s judgment.


To learn the breaking of bread assemblyˇ¦s significance to our church and the right attitude towards remembering and worshipping the Lord, refer to the second last page of our ˇ§Peace Hymnalˇ¨.


By: Daniel To

Peace Evangelical Church of Richmond Vancouver

June 4, 2006