The Principle of Unity: One Bread – One Body

Romans 15:17
      Receive ye one another, as Christ hath also received us to the glory of God.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): There is one more thing that is represented by the bread and the wine, and it is this: the union of believers with one another. They are not only joined to Christ, they are all joined to one another. Now the Apostle Paul has taught this…He writes, 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? Then notice this: For we being many are one bread, and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread, I Corinthians 10:16,17. Now you see what Paul is teaching there? He says that as we partake of Christ, we become one; we become, if you like, one loaf. There are some who say that verse 17 should be translated: “For we being many are one loaf—not bread—and one body.” So as we come to the Communion Service, and as the bread is broken, we are reminded at one and the same time of the parts, and of the whole.

C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): The Lord’s Supper demands that the body be fully recognized: if the one body be not recognized, it is but sectarianism: the Lord Himself has lost His place. If the table be spread upon any narrower principle than that which would embrace the whole body of Christ, it is become a sectarian table…The celebration of the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper should be the distinct expression of the unity of all believers, and not merely of the unity of a certain number gathered on certain principles, which distinguish them from others. If there be any term of communion proposed, save the all-important one of faith in the atonement of Christ, and a walk consistent with that faith, the table becomes the table of a sect, and possesses no claims upon the hearts of the faithful.

ROWLAND HILL (1744-1833): What sort of evil is sectarianism? It is the cruel iron wedge of the devil’s own forging, to separate Christians from each other.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): There should be a happy medium between sectarian narrowness and the world’s ‘broadmindedness,’ between deliberately compromising the truth and turning away from some of the Lord’s people because they differ from us on non-essentials. Shall I refuse to partake of a meal because some of the dishes are not cooked as I like them? Then why decline fellowship with a brother in the Lord because he is unable to pronounce correctly my favourite shibboleth? It is not without reason that endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace is immediately preceded by forbearing one another in love, Ephesians 4:2,3.

ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE (1813-1843): The early Reformers held the same view. Calvin wrote to Cranmer that he would cross ten seas to bring it about. Baxter, Owen, and Howe, in a later generation, pleaded for it; and the Westminster Divines laid down the same principle: “Saints, by profession, are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God—which communion, as God offereth opportunity, is to be extended unto all those who in every place call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.”

C. H. MACKINTOSH: The Lord’s Supper, then, was instituted for the Church of God—the family of the redeemed. All the members of that family should be there.

ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE: I have no doubt from Scripture that, where we have good reason for regarding a man as a child of God, we are permitted and commanded to treat him as a brother; and, as the most sacred pledge of heavenly friendship, to sit down freely at the table of our common Lord, to eat bread and drink wine together in remembrance of Christ. The reason of this rule is plain. If we have solid ground to believe that a fellow-sinner has been, by the Holy Spirit, grafted into the true vine, then we have ground to believe that we are vitally united to one another for eternity.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): If a man be a child of God, I do not care what I may think about him—if he be a child of God I do commune with him and I must.

MARY B. PETERS (1813-1856): Around Thy table, holy Lord, In fellowship we meet,
                                                                 Obedient to Thy gracious word, This feast of love to eat.
                                                         Here ev’ry one that loves Thy name, Our willing hearts embrace;
                                                             Our source of life and hope the same, all debtors to Thy grace.

R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): With Jesus in the midst, we gather round the board,
                                                               Tho’ many, we are one in Christ, one body in the Lord.


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