“They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers.” Acts 2:42 NKJ
Prior to the Reformation, the focus of church worship was on the mass and its liturgy. Then the Reformers rediscovered justification by grace through faith and proclaimed Scripture as the sole authority of the Church. These men proceeded to cut through the accretion of centuries of superstition concerning the mass with its teaching of transubstantiation. Instead, they elevated the preaching of the Word. The spotlight shifted from the altar to the pulpit. The Word had been long neglected. Let it now, they declared, be proclaimed with power and authority.
Thus the Lord’s Supper took a back seat. The preaching and teaching of God’s Word became all-important. This is still true in most Protestant churches. The Lord’s Supper, as a brief ritual, became appended to the preaching service. This lack of importance is evidenced too by the infrequent observance in many churches.
In the early 1800’s there was a revival of interest in the simplicity of the early church and a desire to follow that pattern. These Christians came to believe that the Lord’s Supper was a vital part of the weekly church meetings (Acts 20:7). The priesthood of all believers was also rediscovered with joy. Many determined to practice this (1 Peter 2:5). As these Christians met for the Lord’s Supper, they believed it should function as a spontaneous, open meeting of worship to the Lord (1 Cor. 14:26). Various men might pray, open God’s Word or select a hymn. Rich times of praise and worship were experienced.
Today there are thousands of assemblies circling the earth which rejoice to worship the Lord in this way. The teaching of the Word is complemented by worship in the Breaking of Bread. But there are moves to change this.
In a culture that is entertainment-oriented, there is a desire to reach people with entertainment. The focus is on the 11:00 A.M. hour on Sunday. The goal is to make the time appealing to the “now” generation with an emphasis on contemporary music, drama, and a brief message. And the Lord’s Supper is being shifted to the “back burner.” It has become a second-class meeting to many and is frequently missed, often viewed as not very important.
Let elders once again affirm this time of worship. It was commanded by our Lord Jesus and became an important part of the weekly meetings of the early church.
This time of worship will deepen one’s love for the Lord and will bring joy to Christ’s heart. There is no greater motivation for Christian service and witness than a deep love for our Lord. Feast weekly upon God’s love with His people in the Breaking of Bread.