Can I worship and take communion at home by myself? If so, how can I take communion at home?
The Lord’s Supper or Communion was instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ in the Upper Room on the night He was betrayed by one of His disciples, Judas. The communion service occurred during a meal known as the Passover. We believe that Jesus did this just before the third Passover cup. The gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke record the event. Here is Luke’s account,
And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Luke 22:17–19 (NASB)
The purpose of this question is to understand if the Bible allows us to have communion at home and, if we can, how to take communion at home or away from the church. That is, can we have communion at home.
Do This In Remembrance of Me
It is important to notice Jesus’ words in the last phrase. He said, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” The English word “do” is in the plural in the Greek. That implies that Jesus assumed that all of them would commemorate or celebrate His death. It is obvious that Jesus commanded the disciples to regularly take communion or the Lord’s Supper
It is commonly believed Acts 2:42, 46-47 teaches the early believers would take communion together at the temple and in their homes.
They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42 (NASB)
Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47 (NASB)
But the phrase “breaking of bread” just refers to having a meal together. If we compare Luke 24:30 and 35 we discover that the phrase just refers to sharing bread or a meal. Therefore, we cannot use these verses to support taking communion at home. This does not mean that believers cannot take communion at home.
Scripture does reveal that the early church celebrated communion together as a group and not individually. For example, in 1 Corinthians 11:20-22 the apostle Paul states the early church gathered together for the Lord’s Supper or communion. However, the passage also reveals that those who celebrated the time of remembrance had serious spiritual issues.
Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper, for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you. 1 Corinthians 11:20-22 (NASB)
Acts 2:42 states that the purpose for the early church gathering together was to listen to the teaching of the apostles, to fellowship together, participate in communion, prayer and worship. It is obvious they had to gather to hear the apostles’ teaching, unless one expected the apostles to visit individual Christians in their homes and repeat their messages.
Earlier in 1 Corinthians, Paul makes two separate statements about communion or the breaking of bread that are important.
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. 1 Corinthians 10:16–17 (NASB)
Paul clearly assumed that all the believers would gather together. Paul echoes this principle again in the next chapter.
Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper . . . 1 Corinthians 11:20 (NASB)
The message is that every believer is expected to gather with other believers of Jesus Christ. The clear teaching of the New Testament is that believers gathered together for teaching of the Word of God, fellowship, prayer and participating in communion together as a group and not individually. Throughout the New Testament, believers are referred to as the body of Christ. We are called to unity in Ephesians 4:1-6. The clear assumption is that they met together and interacted with each other. They functioned as a group and not as individuals at home.
Believers Can Take Communion At Home
Unfortunately, there is an increasing practice of men and women who claim to be believers to “worship” at home because they do not want to attend church. It is convenient to stay home and have their own “worship service.” It is common to hear that they have a problem with churches or they are too tired to go to church. A wide range of reasons exist as to why they cannot or do not want to attend. The ease of turning on the television and watching some preacher is too easy. Sadly, the viewer is just that – a viewer. They do not participate in the life of a church. They are spectators who have no real idea of what occurs in that “wonderful” church they watch on television every week. They do not know the issues that the members of that church experience and they never have to struggle with their own unloving response to the person sitting next to them. They are not fellowshipping together. 1 John 4:21 is an indictment to every person claiming to be a Christian who stays at home when they are physically able to attend.
And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. 1 John 4:21 (NASB)
How can one claim to love their brethren if they have no desire to fellowship together?
It is important to realize that Scripture does not condemn believers for staying home from church for serious or legitimate reasons. Yet, those who stay home for convenience or to enjoy a day home violate the clear command of Hebrews 10:23-25 where God rebukes Christians who did not gather together with other Christians. Christians should not do anything that displeases the Lord. Christians are not to be ashamed. It is wrong to have no desire to attend church.
. . . let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25 (NASB)
But there are times when a believer cannot or should not attend church such as when they are hospitalized, sick at home, in hospice, have some serious physical constraint or during a national disaster. Senior citizens who are feeble and have serious medical conditions may not be able to go to church. In such cases, communion should be taken to them by an elder, pastor or a family member at their home or place of residence. Under these circumstances we show love to others and it is okay to take communion at home.
How To Take Communion At Home
Jesus teaches us how to take communion. Matthew 26:26-30 is a good example. Other passages that provide additional information are Mark 14:22-26 and Luke 22:19-20.
Take Eat, This Is My Body
Near the end of the Passover meal, Matthew 26:26 tells us that Jesus took some bread and distributed it to the disciples.
While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Matthew 26:26 (NASB)
It is recommended to have a time of worship, praise and glorifying God. Therefore, start with prayer, read Scripture and sing one or more hymns or worship songs before taking communion at home. Then encourage everyone to take a few minutes to confess any sins that they know about, because God warns us in 1 Corinthians 11:27 to not take of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner.
Next, the first step in taking communion or taking the Lord’s Supper is to distribute pieces of bread to the believers in the home. Then read Matthew 26:26 and say, “Jesus told us to ‘Take, eat; this is My body.'” Then whoever is leading the communion service should and pray over the bread and eat it. The prayer should be one that at least thanks God the Father for Christ dying on the cross so that we can have our sins forgiven.
Drink From It, All of You
The second step in taking communion at home is to distribute grape juice, wine or just some water, if nothing else is available. Jesus used wine to symbolize His blood. Grape juice and water is okay, if necessary. Communion is a symbolic act and not an efficacious act.
And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” Matthew 26:27-29 (NASB)
Then read Matthew 26:27-29 and say, “Jesus said, ‘Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant.'” Then pray over the drink. The prayer could be one of thanking God for both the death and resurrection of Christ. Thank the Father for saving believers and that one day you and any believers with you will see Him face-to-face.
They Sang A Song
Finally, both Matthew and Mark tell us that they sang a song afterwards. Therefore, sing a song of praise.
After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Matthew 26:30 (NASB)
Then conclude the communion service.
Therefore, we conclude that communion can occur at home. Multiple New Testament principles demonstrate that should only occur when there is no other option such as physical illness, a serious life threatening situation, a national crisis or some other situation that justifies staying home.
Suggested Links:Christians Are Not To Be Ashamed
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What does Jesus mean by “This is the blood of my covenant”?