Louise C. Kleuser was an Associate Secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association when this outline was written.

Introduction: Memorials With Deep Significance

"Christ was here instituting a religious service" (The Desire of Ages, page 650).

"Christ was standing at the point of transition between two economies and their two great festivals. . . . The national festival of the Jews (Passover) was to pass away forever" (The Desire of Ages, page 652).

"He was now in the shadow of the cross, and the pain was torturing His heart" (The Desire of Ages, page 643).

I. The Preparatory Service

A. Lessons to Be Gained

  1. Attitude of His disciples: James and John had asked for highest places; other disciples were jealous; wounded pride. "He entered into no controversy with them regarding their difficulty" (The Desire of Ages, pages 644, 645).
  2. Lesson of true greatness timely and imperative.
  3. Serving His disciples: Judas deeply touched, served first (The Desire of Ages, page 645). Peter's heart broken at Christ's condescension. Refused the service-"If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me."
  4. Washing the already washed-disciples had been washed (baptism), John 13:10.
  5. "Until brought into a state of humility and love, they were not prepared to partake of the paschal supper" ( The Desire of Ages, page 646).
  6. A change of heart "A change of feeling was brought about. . . . They had become humble and teachable" (The Desire of Ages, page 646). "He had washed the feet of Judas, but the heart had not been yielded to Him" (The Desire of Ages, page 649).

B. Why Ordinance of Preparation Is Important

  1. "Being so infinitely superior, He imparted grace and significance to the service" (The Desire of Ages, page 649).
  2. Jesus appointed the memorial of His humiliation to be first observed" ( The Desire of Ages, page 650).
  3. "The ordinance preceding the Lord's supper, is to clear away these misunderstandings, to bring man out of his selfishness, down from his stilts of self-exaltation, to the humility of heart that will lead him to serve his brother" (The Desire of Ages, page 650).
  4. "A chain of memories is called up, memories of God's great goodness and of the favor and tenderness of earthly friends. . . . The mind is energized to break down every barrier that has caused alienation" (The Desire of Ages, page 651).
  5. "To those who receive the spirit of this service, it can never become a mere ceremonial. Its constant lesson will be, 'By love serve one another.' . . . They covenant that the life shall be given to unselfish ministry" ( The Desire of Ages, page 651).

C. Points on Which to Help New Believers

  1. Jesus commanded this service because of need of personal humility.
  2. Its significance better understood after partaking. John 13:7.
  3. Washing must accompany a heart experience. John 13:11.
  4. Preparatory service for clearing away difficulties.
  5. Holy Spirit energizes the mind to recall points of alienation.
  6. This service is more than a ceremonial service; it is an experience.
  7. We covenant a life of unselfish ministry.
  8. It is important because it is a miniature baptism.
  9. It involves doing, not just being willing to serve. John 13:14, 15.

II. The Lord's Supper

A. Practices and Types

1. Transition from Passover. Study in light of Israel's experience.

2. The sinless Antitype.

a. "The unleavened cakes used at the Passover season are before Him" (The Desire of Ages, page 653).
b. "The Passover wine, untouched by fermentation, is on the table. . ." (The Desire of Ages, page 653).
c. "Nothing corrupted by fermentation, the symbol of sin and death, could represent the 'Lamb without blemish and without spot'" (The Desire of Ages, page 653).

B. As Affecting Character

1. Presence of good and evil angels. "More than human eyes beheld the scene" (The Desire of Ages, page 656).

2. Each personally witnesses to his faith. "None should exclude themselves from the communion because some who are unworthy may be present. Every disciple is called upon to participate publicly, and thus bear witness that he accepts Christ as a personal Saviour" (The Desire of Ages, page 656).

3. An act of the new covenant. "In partaking with His disciples of the bread and wine, Christ pledged Himself to them as their Redeemer. He committed to them the new covenant, by which all who receive Him become children of God, and joint heirs with Christ. . . . This covenant deed was to be ratified with the blood of Christ" (The Desire of Ages, pages 658, 659).

4. Supper a season of rejoicing. "But the communion service was not to be a season of sorrowing. . . . They are not to stand in the shadow of the cross, but in its saving light" ( The Desire of Ages, page 659).

5. Communion service points to Christ's return. "The communion service points to Christ's second coming. It was designed to keep this hope vivid in the minds of the disciples. ... In their tribulation they found comfort in the hope of their Lord's return. ... It is only because of His death that we can look with joy to His second coming" (The Desire of Ages, pages 659, 660).

6. Symbols of God's daily sustaining power. "To the death of Christ we owe even this earthly life. The bread we eat is the purchase of His broken body. The water we drink is bought by His spilled blood. . . . The family board becomes as the table of the Lord, and every meal a sacrament" ( The Desire of Ages, page 660).

7. Sacred emotions awakened. "The plan of salvation is glorified before us, and the thought of Calvary awakens living and sacred emotions in our hearts. . . . For pride and selfworship cannot flourish in the soul that keeps fresh in the memory the scenes of Calvary" (The Desire of Ages, page 661).

8. The service brings spiritual strength. "As faith contemplates our Lord's great sacrifice, the soul assimilates the spiritual life of Christ. That soul will receive spiritual strength from every Communion. The service forms a living connection by which the believer is bound up with Christ, and thus bound up with the Father" (The Desire of Ages, page 661).

C. Lessons for New Believers.

1. The proper emblems of Lord's Supper.

2. Decorum and reverence for the service.

3. Angels as watchers-looking for us individually.

4. Need for service whenever conducted.

5. The joy of communion is our privilege.

6. An important act of the new covenant.

7. Points forward to second coming of Christ.

8. Our witnessing to our faith in these provisions.

9. Definite spiritual strength received from service.

10. Symbols of God's sustaining power (Aaron's rod that budded laid up with commandments).

Further Reading

  • Approach carefully in new communities. Early Writings, page 117.
  • Referred to in vision of Advent path. Ibid., page 15. Why various ordinances required of Israel. Testimonies, vol. 2, page 607. 
  • Administered often. Early Writings, pages 101, 116

Louise C. Kleuser was an Associate Secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association when this outline was written.