The Lord’s Supper of Communion
Baptism —a sign of the beginning of [a Christian's] life.
The Lord"s Supper —observed repeatedly throughout our Christian lives, as a sign of continuing in fellowship with Christ.
COMMUNION IS A FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD - THAT HE HAS ALWAYS SOUGHT FROM US: From Genesis to Revelation, then, God’s aim has been to bring his people into fellowship with himself, and one of the great joys of experiencing that fellowship is the fact that we can eat and drink in the presence of the Lord. Since there was no sin in that situation, and since God had created them for fellowship with himself and to glorify himself, then every meal that Adam and Eve ate would have been a meal of feasting in the presence of the Lord. It would be healthy for the church today to recapture a more vivid sense of God’s presence at the table of the Lord.
Genesis 3:8-9 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?”
Exodus 24:10-11 and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity. 11 But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hand. So they saw God, and they ate and drank.
Deuteronomy 14:23-26 And you shall eat before the Lord your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always. 24 But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where the Lord your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, when the Lord your God has blessed you, 25 then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the Lord your God chooses. 26 And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household.
COMMUNION IS AN AFFIRMATION THAT CHRIST'S SACRIFICE WAS SUFFICIENT FOR ALL OUR SINS: The Old Testament sacrificial meals continually pointed to the fact that sins were not yet paid for, because the sacrifices in them were repeated year after year, and because they looked forward to the Messiah who was to come and take away sin. The Lord’s Supper, however, reminds us that Jesus’ payment for our sins has already been accomplished, so we now eat in the Lord’s presence with great rejoicing.
Hebrews 10:10-14 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
Hebrews 13:8-13 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them. 10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.
COMMUNION IS A FORETASTE OF HEAVEN’S GLORIES FOREVER: The Lord’s Supper looks forward to a more wonderful fellowship meal in God’s presence in the future because those who eat in God’s presence will be forgiven sinners now confirmed in righteousness, never able to sin again.
Matthew 26:26-29 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 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.”
Revelation 19:1-9 After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! 2 For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.” 3 Again they said, “Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!” 4 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, “Amen! Alleluia!” 5 Then a voice came from the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!” 6 And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! 7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” 8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. 9 Then he said to me, “Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”
The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper
The meaning of the Lord’s Supper is complex, rich, and full. There are several things symbolized and affirmed in the Lord’s Supper.
AT COMMUNION WE EACH AFFIRM CHRIST’S DEATH. When we participate in the Lord’s Supper we symbolize the death of Christ because our actions give a picture of his death for us. When the bread is broken it symbolizes the breaking of Christ’s body, and when the cup is poured out it symbolizes the pouring out of Christ’s blood for us. This is why participating in the Lord’s Supper is also a kind of proclamation:
“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor. 11:26).
AT COMMUNION WE EACH DECLARE OUR PARTICIPATION IN THE BENEFITS OF CHRIST’S DEATH. As we individually reach out and take the cup for ourselves, each one of us is by that action proclaiming, “I am taking the benefits of Christ’s death to myself.”
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and [He] gave Himself for me.
We are receiving Spiritual Nourishment. …picture the fact that there is spiritual nourishment and refreshment that Christ is giving to our souls……This spiritual nourishment, so necessary for our souls, is both symbolized and experienced in our participation in the Lord’s Supper.
John 6:35, 51, 63 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
WE ARE UNITED WITH OUR LOCAL BODY OF BELIEVERS. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.
When we put these four things together we begin to realize some of the rich meaning of the Lord’s Supper:
· …I am coming into the presence of Christ
· …I am remembering that he died for me
· …I am participating in the benefits of his death
· …I am receiving spiritual nourishment
· …I am uniting with all other believers who participate in this Supper
· …we should be reminded again and again of the following affirmations that Christ is making to us:
Christ Affirms His Love for Me. …visual reassurance that Jesus Christ loves me, individually and personally.
Christ Affirms That All the Blessings of Salvation Are Reserved for Me. When I come at Christ’s invitation to the Lord’s Supper, the fact that he has invited me into his presence assures me that he has abundant blessings for me. …I am actually eating and drinking at a foretaste of the great banquet table of the King. I come to his table as a member of his eternal family. …he assures me that he will welcome me to all the other blessings of earth and heaven…and especially to the great marriage Supper of the Lamb, at which a place has been reserved for me.
I Affirm My Faith in Christ. I am proclaiming:
“I need you and trust you, Lord Jesus, to forgive my sins and give life and health to my soul, for only by your broken body and shed blood can I be saved.”
I proclaim again and again: “My sins were part of the cause of Your suffering and death Dear Jesus.”
Who Should Participate in the Lord’s Supper?
GENUINE BORN AGAIN BELIEVERS: …only those who believe in Christ
OBEDIENT BELIEVERS: …only those who have been baptized… This is because baptism is so clearly a symbol of beginning the Christian life, while the Lord’s Supper is clearly a symbol of continuing the Christian life. [Therefore if someone is taking the Lord’s Supper and thereby giving public proclamation that he or she is continuing in the Christian life, then that person should be asked, “Wouldn’t it be good to be baptized now and thereby give a symbol that you are beginning the Christian life?”] Therefore churches may think it best to allow non-baptized believers to participate in the Lord’s Supper but to urge them to be baptized as soon as possible. …no reason why they should not be willing to participate in the other, a symbol that appropriately comes first. . …can all be avoided if new Christians are regularly baptized shortly after coming to faith.
CLEANSED BELIEVERS: ....self-examination: They were not understanding or “discerning” the true nature of the church as one body. …“not understanding the unity and interdependence of people in the church, which is the body of Christ.” It means not taking thought for our brothers and sisters when we come to the Lord’s Supper……are we acting in ways that vividly portray not the unity of the one bread and one body, but disunity? …not the self-giving sacrifice of our Lord, but enmity and selfishness? …“Let a man examine himself” means that we ought to ask whether our relationships in the body of Christ are in fact reflecting the character of the Lord whom we meet there and whom we represent. So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Matt. 5:23-24). Jesus here tells us that whenever we come to worship we should be sure that our relationships with others are right, and if they are not, we should act quickly to make them right and then come to worship God.
This sermon will be continued tomorrow August 18th.
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