On the night before Jesus was arrested and crucified, he ate the Passover meal with his disciples. This meal is what we now refer to as “The Last Supper.” During the meal, Jesus instituted the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper when he told his followers to “do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
We commemorate the death and sacrifice of Jesus Christ through the partaking of the Lord’s Supper. While the ordinance is solemn, it is not a funeral! Instead, it is a celebration of the fact that death could not hold Jesus, a representation of our need to share in Christ’s death just as we share in his life, and a reminder that he will return again. Like baptism, it is a symbolic act. It is also an ordinance that should be taken only by those who are scripturally baptized believers. Just as baptism is the entrance sign into the local church, The Lord’s Supper is the renewal sign of those who are committed to Christ and his people. As believers participate in The Lord’s Supper, we remember Christ’s sacrifice for us and we remember our proper response to him.
At Lakeland, there are four prerequisites to participate in taking the Lord’s Supper. We do not list these to be burdensome; instead, we list them to stay true to what Scripture teaches and ensure that the Lord’s Supper is taken properly.
1. Believer in Jesus Christ
Only those who have repented of sin and trusted in Jesus Christ alone for salvation are to participate in the Lord’s Supper.
2. Baptized Believer
Only those who have been biblically baptized by immersion are to participate in the Lord’s Supper.
3. Church Member in Good Standing at Lakeland or a Church of Like Faith and Practice
Because the Lord’s Supper is an ordinance given to the church, church members are the only ones called to participate in it. Therefore, in order to participate in the Lord’s Supper, you must be a church member at Lakeland, or a member of a church that holds to and practices the same convictions of Lakeland. To be in good standing means that you are not under church discipline due to unrepentant sin.
The Lord’s Supper is a time of self-examination and self-reflection. Is there unconfessed sin in my life? Is there someone I need to reconcile with? All participants in the Lord’s Supper are called to examine their spiritual lives before participating.