John Gill

Communion is a standing ordinance in the church of Christ. It was not just kept the first night it was instituted and observed, but later, after the death and resurrection of Christ, it was observed by the first church at Jerusalem, the members of which are commended for continuing in fellowship, and in "breaking of bread," meaning, the communion. The disciples at Troas met together on the first day of the week "to break bread." And though there were disorders in the church at Corinth, yet they did not neglect communion itself - though they were disorderly in their practice of it. Justin Martyr gives us a very particular account of the celebration of it in his time, which was in the second century, and so it has been continued in the churches of Christ ever since to this day (Acts 2:42, 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:20, 21).

Communion is to continue to the end of the world. It is one of those ordinances that cannot be removed, but will remain and is among those "all things" Christ ordered his apostles, and succeeding ministers, to teach his followers to observe, promising to be with them "to the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20). This is plainly suggested by the apostle Paul when he says, "As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you show the Lord’s death till he comes" (1 Corinthians 11:26). This cannot be understood of his coming by the effusion of his Spirit, as on the day of Pentecost, for in this sense he had already come when this instruction was given.

It is not an objection of any force that types, figures, shadows, and ceremonies are now ceased. Although the shadows of the ceremonial law in the Old Testament, which were figures of good things to come, are ceased, Christ, the body and substance, has come. And there are figures and representations of him still with us to remind us of him and of the good things come by him. Baptism is said to be a "figure," that is, of the burial and resurrection of Christ (1 Peter 3:21), and so the Lord’s Supper is a "figure" of his broken body and bloodshed, as will be seen hereafter.

Adapted from A Body of Practical Divinity, Book 3, Chapter 2, by John Gill.