|By: Lorri MacGregor; ©June 2003|
|In a previous article Lorri MacGregor explained how Jehovah’s Witnesses are discouraged from participating in their organization’s “Lord’s Evening Meal”. This time she answers the question, “How can one become a true believer in Jesus Christ, one who can partake of the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper with a clear conscience?”|
In our last article we dealt with “What's wrong with the Lord’s Evening Meal” where we pointed out that Jehovah’s Witnesses deny communion with Christ to all but a select few. We pointed out how wrong this view is. Now we want to know how we can become believers who can truly partake of the bread and the wine, with a clear conscience and firm biblical reasons for doing so.
We become Christ’s by being “born from above,” or being “born again.” True communion with Christ begins with the new birth. How important is this “new birth”? Let’s consider John 3:1-7:
Bear in mind that Nicodemus was a powerful man, a ruler of the Jews. He was also well versed in scripture, being a Pharisee. His knowledge of scripture could not save him; something else was needed. His good works could not save him; something else was needed!
Verse 3 says unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom. Verse 5 says unless one is born again he cannot “enter into” the kingdom of God. Verse 7 says “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You MUST be born again.’”
How then, are we born again? This is done by receiving Jesus Christ (the right one!) as our Lord and Savior. Notice that the Bible does not set the number being “born again” at 144,000 as the Jehovah’s Witnesses do, but opens the invitation to all who would receive Christ. Consider John 1:12, 13: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
We all have one physical birth, and we all need one spiritual birth—born of God, born from above, born again. Romans 8:16 puts it this way: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.”
What a wonderful promise—no organizations between us and our God! Communion means an outward display that God’s spirit has borne witness with our spirit, and we know that we know that we know, we are His. If this has never happened to you, right now would be a wonderful time to receive the true Jesus Christ as your Savior, inviting Him into your heart, and entering into the New Covenant. Why not say “Yes!” to Him right now and later partake of Communion joyfully, perhaps for the first time understanding what it really means!
Salvation is wonderful but it doesn’t stop there—we need to grow in grace. Some have fallen into error by not heeding the warning in 2 Peter 3:17, 18: “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in grace, and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity.”
At the moment of conversion we become a member of the body of Christ, and can legally be partakers of the communion elements, but ours is a partnership, a marriage—we are the bride and Christ is the groom. We don’t want to be like the foolish virgins of Matthew 25 who missed the coming of the Bridegroom. We want to be like the wise virgins who were ready to meet the Bridegroom! What a beautiful, intimate, description is the marriage feast of the relationship we can all have with our Savior.
What kind of a marriage arrangement would it be, if we never grew into a deeper relationship with our beloved? Married folks need to be compatible, growing ever closer to each other until the two are truly one over the years. We all need to grow up, not just physically, but spiritually.
When a young bride is first joined to her husband, it is a time of extreme closeness as the two become one flesh. But it’s only the beginning; we need to keep getting closer to our marriage mate and to Christ. It’s wonderful if both things go on at the same time! Both growing closer to God and to each other.
But even if earthly circumstances, in marriage or out of marriage are not so great, it does not prevent each of us from having a beautiful marriage with our bridegroom, Jesus Christ. He embraces each of us individually as His beloved Bride. Nothing can touch that relationship.
So, we each need to ask ourselves how close are we to Christ today? Do we feel like a bride eager to be in intimate fellowship with her husband? We should, for Christ is very interested in a close communion, a close communication, with his bride. That’s what partaking of the elements is all about, an outward expression of our closeness with Christ, our belonging to Him.
Ephesians 5:25-27 says, “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of the water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and blameless.” Verse 30 says “We are members of His body.”
So, how are we cleansed? How often do we wash? Once a week on Sunday during the brief sermon? There are about 112 hours a week that we are awake. Simple math will tell you that an hour on Sunday is not enough time to establish a good relationship with our Savior. That’s not a sufficient time to establish intimacy with our bridegroom. We all need a good washing with God’s word. As the word of God comes in, it flushes out uncleanness and false doctrine.
Just as we would not be comfortable embracing an unwashed mate, we should have enough respect for our groom to be well washed when we come to him in the intimacy of communion. That means having spent quality time with Him in His word, the Bible, and in prayer and meditation, filling our lives with the things of God. Not an easy task in our busy, activity-filled world we live in! Certainly not easy for Jehovah’s Witnesses, who are kept so busy with the things of the organization, they cannot help but neglect a relationship with Christ, which is discouraged anyway! Jehovah’s Witnesses need to turn from the Organization directly to Jesus Christ and spend their time wisely with Christ, getting to know and appreciate Him.
We all might feel that we are not worthy to partake of the bread and wine, we are not good enough, —and we would be right! We all are not worthy to partake, but Christ, in His great love for us, allows us to share in His worthiness.
Worthy the Lamb that was slain! Worthy the Lamb who bore our sins in his own body on the tree! Worthy the Lamb who is ready to forgive us, even as we repent.
Remember the earnest prayer of the Lord’s servant David, who had sinned? He prayed, this way in Psalms 51:10-12: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Thy presence, and do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit.”
This is a wonderful prayer to pray at the time of communion, our time of intimacy with Jesus Christ. If our marriage arrangement with our Lord has gotten a little complacent, let’s remedy that! If we haven’t been allowed a relationship with Christ, let’s remedy that by becoming “born again” as He invites us to.
Partaking of the emblems, the bread and the wine, is an act of intimacy, not just an empty ritual tacked on to the end of a service. It is also not a once-a-year “supper” where no one can partake! Everyone leaves hungry from that arrangement! Remember, Jesus held the first communion service with his disciples. It’s recorded in Matthew 26:26-28:
And while they were eating Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and give it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And He took a cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is to be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.”
When the elements are being passed around it is a good time to reflect on what the shed blood of Christ has done for us. We can ask forgiveness for our failures and the covering of the shed blood. Perhaps we can remember David’s prayer.
As members of Christ’s body, we can all appreciate 1 Corinthians 10:16, 17: “Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many, are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses, please do not believe the lie that you cannot have a close relationship with Jesus Christ, becoming members of His body, and partaking of the elements of the bread and wine. This is a false view. Jesus Christ welcomes you to be partakers of His divine grace and love, and really belong to Him. Why not forsake the cold tyrant, the Watchtower Organization, repent, and join the loving family of God, and become the true bride of Christ.