Can I worship and have communion at home by myself?
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 He 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)
In order to answer your question, 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 celebrate His death.
Next, note that Acts 2:42 does not teach that the early church gathered together and celebrated communion.
They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42 (NASB)
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.
Yet, 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)
1 Corinthians 11:20-22 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 that 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. The same idea also applies to fellowship, breaking of bread or communion and prayer.
Earlier in 1 Corinthians, Paul makes two separate statements about communion or the breaking of bread,
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 follower is expected to gather with other followers 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.
Unfortunately, there is an increasing practice of men and women who claim to be Christians to “worship” at home for reasons other than physical infirmities. 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 the church. They are spectators who have no real idea of what occurs in that “wonderful” church they watch on television every week. What is worse, 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? Those who stay home also violate the clear command of Hebrews 10:23-25 where God rebukes Christians who did not gather together with other Christians.
Admittedly, there are times when a believer cannot go to church such as when they are hospitalized, sick at home, physically incapable of moving, in hospice or they have some other serious physical constraint. In such cases, communion should be given by an elder or a pastor in a home or residence.
Therefore, we conclude that communion should not occur at home alone, unless there is no other option. Otherwise, it is a violation of several New Testament principles.
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