What Is the Lord’s Supper? (1 Corinthians 11:17-34)November 14, 2021 | Kyle Bjerga
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You can go ahead and grab your Bibles and turn to First Corinthians, chapter 11. We’re reading verses 17 through 34. Today in the Lord’s Supper, as I look out this morning, I’m going to make an assumption that you are dressed a little bit nicer than you probably were yesterday, maybe working around the house doing some errands, meeting with family, and friends. Now you’re sitting in rows, Bibles open, trying to be attentive. After the service, chances are things are gonna look a little bit different for you, you may be changing in some different clothes may be getting a little bit louder, may be lounging a little bit more as you turn on Sunday afternoon football. And that’s okay, because that’s a different setting a different context. And what I’m trying to get at is that there’s this unconscious thing we we do. And we know that when we go to certain places, we act a certain way. We do certain things, we don’t do other things, the ways we behave the way we carry ourselves. Depending on where we are in what we’re doing, we approach a library, a hospital and a movie theater in a different way than we do a mall, or a sports event or an amusement park. You probably approach a fancy restaurant differently than you would McDonald’s. How do we know this? Well, because when you see somebody acting a certain way that you don’t agree with in that context, what happens, you get frustrated, you may say something, you certainly think something or say something to the person next to you. But that’s because they’re not meeting the expectations in that place. This is incredibly clear when you have kids. Because you show up to many places. And you’re like you can’t act like that here. Keep it down. This isn’t the place for that. And it’s this unconscious thing we do. What we have today in our text is in the Corinthian church, people are approaching the Lord’s Supper in a way that does not match its meaning they are doing things they ought not do. The practice of the Lord’s Supper was not being followed the way that the Lord had laid it out, their hearts are in the wrong place. The meaning behind the supper did not match how they came how they approached this meal. Now before we dive in the text, we need to say some things upfront, I need to teach a little bit and make some kind of general statements to kind of pull some things together from the last couple of weeks. And going forward. So the first thing if you remember back a couple of weeks ago and Brandon sermon, what do we do when we gather, we talk through two kind of important words, we have elements. And we have forms, okay, that make up our church service, and use the greatest illustration he’s ever used in a service because it was about pitchers in baseball. It’s the only one that’s ever made sense to me. But so you have pitchers who are on a mound and they have to be in a certain place, their feet have to be touching the pitching rubber in a certain way. They can’t just decide to move up, they can’t move back, they can’t do a lot of things within the rules of the game. And that’s the form. Or sorry, that’s the element. Within that elements, though there are many different forms. This is what makes pitchers unique. So they have different ways of doing things. They’re still following the rules, the elements, but they’re doing it in a different way. And when we come to the service, that’s the same thing. We have elements, things we are called to do commanded to do in Scripture. And then we have forms that kind of help us to get there. But different churches are going to do that in different ways. And so we’re gonna look at two of the elements of services this week and next week that are given to us as commands in Scripture. These are the ordinances that Jesus gave, in his final words before his death, and before His ascension. These two ordinances are called the Lord’s Supper, and baptism. And so those are elements, okay. Those are elements, things we are commanded to do. Now, what are the ordinances? What what does this mean? I love the way David Mathis defines them in his book habits of grace. He says, These are Jesus’s two specially instituting ordinances, ordinances for the signifying, sealing and strengthening of His new covenant people. In other words, these are means of grace to form and shape the life of the church. If we don’t have them, we are missing something.
And so we’re going to focus on the Lord’s Supper today, and baptism will be next week. So this elements of the Lord’s Supper, there are, of course, different forms. There are many churches receiving Communion today, because they would point to the same text as us that the Lord commanded us to do this, but they will do things differently. So there may be wine versus juice. There may be one loaf of bread or one cup, as opposed to many, maybe not and COVID. I don’t know. We do things differently here. But those are some of the forms. So what are the forms that we use here at this church? Because I’m convinced that some of you may think this is just an element because we’ve always done them. But there are different forms in different ways of doing this, that still take the Lord’s Supper seriously. So we do this once a month. So anybody know why? I have no clue. Okay, I don’t know why maybe it’s because we’ve always done this way. I don’t know what the conversations were like when this first started. I don’t know how long it’s been happening. But that’s what we do. We take it once a month. We could take it every week. Some churches do that. Some churches do it quarterly. We have grape juice, and bread and a single cup. Why COVID? We do things differently now. All right, we used to have a plate that passed with bread plate that passed with a tarp and now it’s all in one. And that’s the reason why it’s a form. Right? It’s a form. Who can take communion? Well, we say anybody who was here this morning, who has received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, who’s repented of their sin, following him, can take communion with us. That is an open table. There are other churches that have a closed table, you cannot take the Lord’s Supper unless you are a member of that church. It is a form. Now what happens when we actually take communion? Well, this is the most debated subject on the Lord’s Supper in church history. What happens with the bread and the cup. And so there are four major views, I’m going to whip through them quickly, because that’s not the point of the text. But I think it is important for us to have in our mind this morning, the first kind of view is Transubstantiation. So this is held by the Roman Catholic Church primarily, but some others as well. And this says that the essence of the bread and the cup when it is consecrated changes the essence of it, the nature of it changes into the actual body and blood of Jesus while retaining its physical form of bread, and juice. Con substantiation, this was held by Luther the great reformer. And he said in this is held mostly by the Lutheran church and against some others as well today, he said, there’s no change in the substance, the bread and the wine, but Christ is present in with an under the elements.
And then you have the spiritual presence view, here crisis, spiritually present in what we’re doing in the Lord’s Supper, in a spiritual way, but not physically present. So it’s a spiritual communion participation fellowship with Christ. This was held by John Calvin, and many in the reformed tradition today. And then you have the memorial view. And this was held by the Swiss reformer Zwingli. That’s kind of where we are tradition is passed as a Baptist view. And this is where we remember what Christ did on the cross. Right? We remember that, but there’s nothing happened. There’s nothing that happens in that moment. It’s just remembering it’s a memorial. Christ presence is presence isn’t more in that moment. Right? Christ presence is always with us. And so those are the four major views, the chances are here in this congregation, majority of us would probably hold to a spiritual presence or memorial view, when we come to the Lord’s table. Now whole books, lectures, debates have been talked about in this. So this is that as a very, very quick run through of these, but that’s not essential to what we are talking about this morning in this text. This is an ordinance. This is something that Christ commanded us, then the all important question for us today is, how do we approach this meal? How do we approach the table, and that is what Paul is after in our passage. This morning, he’s addressing this element as it is participated in the Corinthian church, and he’s going to call them out on how they’re practicing it, even the form that they’re using is wrong. And basically, he’s questioning whether they’re practicing the element at all. Whether they’re practicing it at all, are they coming in the right way, the right approach? This section is in a much larger section in First Corinthians where Paul’s walking through some worship, kind of gathering questions and things that are happening in the church. So we’re kind of jumping right into that conversation about the Lord’s Supper. So you’ll see in your notes, the outline, we’re going to look at what the problem is. We are going to look at what the solution is. And we’re going to look at what the response should be. So let’s start off with what the problem is division and disunity in verses 17 through 22.
It says in the following directives, I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent, I believe it no doubt, no doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. So then when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat. For when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suffers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the Church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter. So the problem in Corinth is division and disunity. And Paul doesn’t mince words here he doesn’t normally do that the right practice of the Lord’s Supper is questioned to the point where Paul says, it’s not even been practiced. In fact, a call causes more harm than good. And what’s interesting is he says he hears about this, this is a report that he is receiving. Now, it seems like the majority, the church doesn’t see a big problem with this, but maybe some member or somebody that Paul had sent to the church in Corinth is coming back and saying, This is an issue. This is happening. And he believes it. Because he just spent some time in the first chapter of this book talking about the fact that he knows there are divisions in the Corinthian church. And this is another place where it’s coming out in their worship gathering. Now he’s gonna continue to rebuke them for their disunity. But he says something interesting here, when he says in verse 20, verse 19, no doubt, there has to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. So there’s almost as normal restraint, okay, even in this, even in this situation, there’s division, there’s this unity, there’s something good coming out of this, the Lord is showing who are truly His glory is showing who are truly His. So even Paul can look at a difficult situation, see God working in it. Now, the division in the church is one that exists in the culture as well. So Corinth, when they get the gospel, there are divisions in their culture between the social elites and the poor, the haves and have nots. And that’s something that happens. And so when the Gospel comes in, we would hope that the gospel transforms us so much that those divisions are gone. But that’s not what happens here. They instead of following Christ, and not having these haves and have nots, they are just kind of bringing that right into the church. The culture is influencing what’s happening in the church, and the church is not influencing culture. So when they come to the church of Satan, seeing the same divisions that they see outside in culture, now the home where this church would have been meaning would have had kind of this inner court and center area where kind of the social elites would eat, and then everybody else would eat outside in the courtyard. And so that’s what’s happening here. All these social leads, the haves are enjoying all this food and drink while the poor, those who had little are out in the courtyard without food. Think of a good Baptist Church potluck. Okay, it’s been a while I know. But think back to those moments where you have that big potluck after church, and people are sharing a meal together. Now, what’s happening here is they’re having the Lord’s Supper, well, we’re gonna participate in it just a little bit, they’re having that as a part of a much larger meal. Okay, so that’s kind of what’s happening here. So we think about this potluck, and instead of putting, you know, your, your, your dish that you bring on the sharing table for everyone, you have your name as a family written on it, not to get it back at the end. But instead to have your family huddled around and just eat what you brought, without anybody else getting to have any of it. That’s what’s happening. They’re huddling together, enjoying their meals, and their food and their drink. This is not a picture of the gospel. This is anti gospel. In the church, we are haves, your have nots, maybe we have Christ. But we have all this food and this drink, and we want to have that and you’re on your own. Instead of sharing it with those who have a need, it goes further because the haves also get drunk in the very wine that will be used to remember the Lord’s Supper. And the people in the courtyard are left without enough. If you ever showed up to a meeting a little bit early, but for some reason everybody else is there already. And you walk in, it seems like people have been there for like a while. They’re kind of comfortable and all that. And you start to realize this was the meeting before the meeting. You know what that is? And who was the topic of conversation? Probably you. Right? In a moment like that you’re probably feeling like a little bit of an outcast. Now imagine these people coming in to worship this Savior, and see the gospel in action. And they walk in and everybody’s already drinking, everybody’s already eating. And they’re standing there without anything in their hands. Not one person comes up to them and says, Here’s a meal.
You see in the courtyard, we brought our own stuff. And you fend for yourself. You feel like an outsider, isolated, when the church is supposed to welcome and bring you in. Instead, they leave them on the outside. They’re uncomfortable, they feel different. They feel like an outcast in the body. And Paul sees this division and disunity and he knows how devastating this is to the church. If this is true of a church you are going to be ineffective in your mission. So if you are ineffective in your mission, you need to start looking at this. Is there division and is there disunity in the church body? This is instructive for us. This is supposed to be corrective. It is a rebuke for us now, is God honored if we come to this table with division and disunity? No, he’s not honored in that at all. We see something similar in the Book of Amos. Okay, the Israelite people are persisting in sin. They’re perverting worship, there’s no justice or righteousness in the people. And they’re following the religious festivals, though. They’re following the religious ritual. They’re doing all the stuff they’re supposed to be doing. But they’re doing it with this backdrop of doing their own thing, come to the Lord in sin. And this is how God responds. And Amos chapter five should see it on the screen. I hate, I despise your religious festivals, your assemblies are a stench to me. Even though you bring the burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. You see, that’s what’s happening here. You can continue to do this. But it’s anti gospel, it’s not the gospel. You can continue to do all the things we’re supposed to do bring all the offerings you want, but your heart is far from me. This is the concern of Paul, he cannot praise them, he says for their practice is not matching the meaning of what they are doing. In that moment. It’s better to not practice it at all. So the question for us is where do we see divisions in our own church? Where are we individually tempted? Where am I tempted to have divisions and disunity in my heart? We need to deal with those. Because those are counter to the very Gospel we proclaim. What walls are you building up against others? And who are they? Is it socio economic differences? Is it political affiliation? Is it racial? Is it language? What is it that is keeping these walls up between us? And if we need to know about these, because we have to destroy them. Or we will be ineffective in our mission? Because that is what is going to hurt us more than anything else is division and disunity in the body of Christ. So people are going to be different than us. And they’re going to be very hard to love. And guess what so are you. So am I. But that’s what we’re called to do. To open up our homes to everyone to open up our church to everyone. As we said in the call the worship this gallery welcomes you in, no matter where you are in life, no matter if you’re mourning, no matter if you’re having, you’re filled with joy, we welcome you in to worship the Lord. We must fight division and disunity as quickly as possible. So Paul has no praise for the Corinthians in this matter, because what they’re doing is counter to the gospel. So what is the solution? It’s pretty simple. It is, remember, and proclaim, remember and proclaim, let’s read verses 23 through 26. For I received from the Lord, but I also pass on to you, the Lord Jesus, and the night he was betrayed, took bread. And when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, This is my body, which is for you do this in remembrance of me. In the same way after supper, he took the cup Seine, This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me. For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
So Paul is bringing everyone in Corinth in this moment into the upper room. Now Paul wasn’t there. Paul says this has been passed on to him. Maybe it was by Jesus Himself, revealing this to Paul telling him this, or more, more than likely was the apostles passing this on to Paul. But the chances are, this is the first record of the Lord’s Supper and what Jesus said, because the gospels were probably written a little bit after this letter. So what we have here is extremely important. And so we have Paul saying, come into the upper room and hear from Jesus. You guys have all heard those words before we say them, every time we take communion, we’ll say them again. Today. We know these words. And this is the solution to the problem in Corinth. It’s a solution to the problem in our own hearts to remember and proclaim the gospel message. Because the very thing we do in communion, is we see division and disunity demolished. That’s what happens when we take this meal. That’s what happens in the Gospel, the Body and Blood of Jesus, his sacrificial death on the cross brings everything to a level playing field. This is where we all are. We in before we remember the Lord’s Supper, we must be reminded of the significance of when Jesus was instituting the Lord’s Supper. There is a huge back background to this meal. This wasn’t just any meal that Jesus was having with the disciples. What was the big event? This is participation time. Passover, they are eating the Passover meal together and the Passover meal was the climactic redemptive act of God in the Old Testament with his people of good In and out of slavery from Egypt, in the Exodus story, and that first Passover meal was eaten that evening of that final plague, where the Angel of Death would pass through. And every firstborn child would be killed. Unless, unless a family took the lamb and took its blood and put it over the doorframe, of the house. If they did, that, the Angel of Death would pass over. And so that night, they’re eating these meals with the blood over their doors. And the angel would come pass over unlike any other event before, and it was to be remembered. So right after God tells Moses, this is what you are to do, he immediately goes into, and this is something you’re going to need to remember for the future. So here’s Exodus 1224, through 27. It says, obey these instructions, as a last seen ordinance for you and your descendants, when you enter the land that the Lord will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. And when your children asked you, what does this ceremony mean to you? Then tell them it is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians. Then the people bowed down and worshiped. He’s saying, I’m going to do this, and you’re going to need to remember it. So Passover was unlike any other event that came before in their history, and any event that came after, until this evening with Jesus that night with Okay, so you’re thinking, the Exodus story, the big production, lots of stuff going on, millions of people involved, lots of plagues, all this kind of stuff. And here we have this separate been instituted in an upper room with a few men. That changes the course of history. That’s what Paul is trying to do here. He’s saying, You need to come in to that meal and hear from Jesus. Because when Jesus took that Passover meal, he showed the disciple that time, everything that happened then was pointing to this very moment. That blood that was sprinkled over the doorpost, that was gonna be his blood, once and for all, once and for all, that’s what was happening. The Lamb of God took away the sins of the world, the moment and that’s what he wants his disciples to know. So how do we fight the division? How do we fight the disunity? How do we live out the Gospel on the Lord’s table in an appropriate way, we remember, we remember the bread, right? We remember the bread, the bread is representing the body of Jesus Christ, it would have reminded the disciples of the time of Jesus talking to them and the crowds in John chapter six, when he stands up and says, I and the bread of life, Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, will never go thirsty. In just a few hours after this, his body would be lifted up in front of them. He knew what he was doing that moment, that he took the cup. They said the cup, this is a new covenant in my blood. And he’s referring back to Jeremiah 31. When God said, the New Covenant, in this New Covenant, he would put his law on their minds, right it on their hearts, he would be our God, and we would be His people. And then verse 34, he says, right will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins, no more.
No more. In that upper room. When the disciples experienced this moment, they saw Jesus in the flesh with a piece of bread, they took it and ate it. Then they took this cup that he passed around, and they took a sip of it. And they were struck with the significance of this moment, and yet they still did had no clue what was going to happen. They know what Jesus is saying they know what connection he’s trying to make, but they don’t actually know what’s going to happen in a few hours. They just probably think back to the Exodus story. But shortly after this, they will know exactly what Jesus was talking about. When they see him hung on that cross. Now, I don’t know when the next time the disciples got together to actually practice these instructions that Jesus left, right to practice the Lord’s Supper. I don’t know when that was. We know by the time Paul’s writing in roughly 55 ad that this is happening to churches, the Lord’s Supper is, is happening, but with these disciples from that moment, when did they gather together again, after the resurrection of Jesus, maybe after His ascension, maybe after Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came on the church? What must it have been like to take that first Lord’s Supper? Just think about that for a moment. I think of Peter getting up in front of everyone. See, remember back to that night. They just, like overflowed with what they what they saw what Jesus went through. They said, Remember when you have a pet bread and that cup? I don’t think they thought back to Passover. In that moment, I think they thought back to the cross. They thought back to what Jesus had said. They thought of Jeremiah Anyone sins are forgiven. And in that moment, when they took that bread and that cup, the very first time, there was people taking that remembering the beaten and battered Jesus on the cross. But guess what, that’s what we do every single time we take this. That’s what we’re remembering. That’s what we’re experiencing. Because it matters. Now, just like it matters, then it has the same effect now as it had, then it changes lives. So we remember and the second thing is we proclaim, this is not a somber occasion. Okay, this is not this is a this is a victory meal. This is a celebratory meal. Because Jesus said it is finished on the cross. And then he showed that by rising from the dead. To say everything that I’ve said is coming true. It is not a funeral meal. It should not be somber, it should be taken seriously, which we’ll talk about in a second. But it is a victory meal. He rose from the dead, he’s alive, and he is glorified. And he is with us. Every time we take his supper is a time to worship him and thank him for all he’s done. This is a meal where we take it and we say we are messed up, yet redeemed, we are broken, yet healed. And we are sinners, rebellious sinners, yet forgiven. That’s what we do when we take that bread. And we take that cup. All of this is meant to remind us that we were unified around the person and work of Jesus Christ. So how could there be divisions? How can there be disunity? When this is what Jesus did? This is what Jesus offers. So how would they in church in Corinth or us today live out the implications of this gospel unity? The last section, what is the response we examine and we discern? Look at verse 27, through 34.
So then whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before the eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ, eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way, by the Lord, we are being disciplined, so that we will not be finally condemned with the world. So that my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. Anyone who was hungry should eat something at home, so that when we meet you meet together, it may or may not result in judgment. And when I come, I will give further instructions. So you can take this meal in an unworthy manner. What does that mean? Well, here, it simply means that you’re taking the Lord’s Supper in a way that doesn’t match the meaning of the Lord’s Supper. So therefore, you are guilty of sinning against the body and the blood of Jesus Christ. In context here, it means that you are out of step with the unity that the Gospel speaks about the unity that the gospel brings, you are causing division and disunity, therefore, you take it in an unworthy manner. So in order to not take it in an unworthy manner, we need to examine and discern and to examine is to take one’s life, mind and heart and make sure that you are taking it in a worthy manner. You are not contributing to the division and the disunity in the body. And it means you are not walking in unrepentant sin, to sit there knowing there’s something that you are doing, rebelling against the Lord and to take the cup to take the bread. And to do that not confess your sin, you are taking it in an unworthy manner. If you are part of the problem, and you continue to take the Lord’s Supper week after week, you eat and drink judgment on yourself. That’s what’s happening. That’s what Paul is saying here. So the Lord’s Supper is serious. It’s not somber, it is serious. It’s not to be taken lightly. This is very clear in this passage. Hopefully you didn’t miss it. Paul says that some in the Corinthian church were sick, and some had died as a result of white poor singing voices. Now taking the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner. If I was causing division and disunity in the church, and this letter was read to me that morning, I’m like, I’m out of here. Like I’m not taking the Lord’s Supper. Because if I’m harboring some division and disunity, I’m going to be kind of nervous in that moment. There’s some missionaries that actually say when they do when they do communion on the mission field. Some people get up and leave during communion, because they’re terrified of what can happen in that moment. But that’s not the Right Attitude have the right attitude to have is like, that’s why I need the table. Like, I’m going to come, I’m going to repent, and I’m going to come and face and take that cup. I’m going to take that bread. And I’m going to participate in this because I need it and that is coming in a worthy manner. And this is difficult passage at first glance, does God really bring sickness and death when people take the Lord’s Supper in a unworthy manner? Yes. Paul is sure of that. Now, it’s not everyone. And it isn’t every time. It doesn’t mean that every person who died in that church has a direct connection to this. So we can’t draw that line. But Paul is inspired by the Holy Spirit to write down into this book, that this is the reason why it has happened to some. So we need to take that seriously. But what I love here is Paul, instead of trying to soften the blow, or question God or defend God, what does he do? He instead makes sure the emphasis on the right thing. Look at verse 31. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. It’s On Us. It’s ownership. Are you examining and discerning what has happened in your life? Are you coming to the table in a worthy manner? Because God is not unrighteous? He is righteous, and he is just and he is good. And so when you come, are you coming in the right way? So Paul’s not worried about trying to deal with all these tough questions. He’s saying, this is the fact this can happen. So we need to make sure we come in a worthy manner, the ownership is on us. So we need to be honest with our sin. We need to repent of our sin, and we need to trust and rest in the work of Christ. If that is how we approach this meal, we have no need to worry
if that if we discern and we examine ourselves, and we come, and we lay everything before the Lord, there’s no reason we should worry about taking this. But if we know that there’s something that we’re just holding on to that we won’t let go of that we won’t confess. Then the Lord’s discipline will come. And Paul wants to make sure that he brings comfort to the people look at verse 32. When the sickness and death come, it was discipline, not condemnation. God’s discipline is meant to correct sinful behavior. So better to be sick, or even lose your life. And this is hard, there to be sick or to lose your life and still be saved, than to continue to take the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner over and over and over again, just to see you never actually truly believed. And that’s what he’s saying, this is the Lord’s discipline, he is saving you. He is trying to correct the sinful behavior. How we approach the Lord’s Supper matters. It is serious. We need to understand it discern Christ’s sacrificial death and the importance of that in our life, and in this local church. So the question is, are we contributing to the division and disunity are we harboring sin, we lead in that in our life unconfessed. If so you will eat and drink in an unworthy manner. And this is why we fence the table. And it’s a term you’ve heard it before, maybe you haven’t. But when we get up here, we try our very best to make sure those who know Jesus Christ is Lord, and who are coming in a worthy manner, confessing sin, reconciling with those that need to be reconciled with seeking forgiveness, receiving forgiveness, you can come to the table. So we want to fence the table from anyone who’s coming in an unworthy manner. So we say it every time. If you’re not in the Lord, let the plate pass. And if any of these things are true of you, you can let it pass and still be a Christian. Okay, so it makes sense. You can still know the Lord, but no, there’s something that you have to deal with in your life. And so deal with that first before you come. Because you’re just eating and drinking judgment on yourself. The Lord is patient. The Lord is good, the Lord is kind. So we need to deal with that first. So we want to fence a table because we don’t want anybody taking the bread or the cup in an unworthy manner. That is our responsibility to make sure you know that before you participate, and parents, word of encouragement to you. This is why we need to have continuous conversations with our kids about their faith and taking the Lord’s Supper. They need to know what this means they need to take it seriously. It’s not a cool thing that happens in the service with some you know having a snack time. It needs to be taken seriously. We need to talk to them about it because we don’t want our kids to drink and eat judgment on themselves. Because they’re taken in an unworthy manner. We need to take it seriously. So how do we approach the table last three things we need to look back. We need to look around and we need to look forward. So first, we need to look back back, we clearly need to look back on the cross. That’s what this is saying. We are celebrating remembering Jesus’s work on the cross and in the empty tomb, that he has provided salvation for us. When we take the bravi, take the cup, we are not only remembering Jesus body and blood, we also remember that it isn’t our body and blood. That we’re not the ones on the cross. We’re not the ones receiving that judgment and wrath of God. In that moment, he took our place. And at the same time, we realized we were on that cross because we are in Him. That’s the union with Christ, we are hidden with Christ in God. And so we have died to sin. We’ve been raised to newness of life, which we will celebrate even more. So next week. This is why we celebrate our bodies and our blood will never go through what Jesus had to go through. And so now when we come to this table, this is a vow renewal ceremony, where we reaffirm our commitment to the Lord every single time.
And yet we remember that he is the faithful husband, who doesn’t need to reaffirm his commitment. His word is his word. And he is faithful he is with us. So we are coming to recommit ourselves to him and to his church. I love the way one author read this week put it he said the Lord’s Supper like a nightly dinner I have with my wife are the occasional special days we observe together, they provide an ongoing means of grace and fellowship between the Lord Jesus and His bride, the Church. That’s what we’re doing when we come to this table. The second thing is we need to look around, we take the Lord’s supper together, I’ve intentionally left this out until this time, five different times Paul uses the verb to come together. In his passage, it’s translated as meaning it’s translated as come together and gather. We don’t do this separately, we don’t do this individually. We do this as a body. And so we need to look around at other men and women who have been saved by the grace of God. So I’m going to ask us to do something here in a little bit when we actually participate. I don’t know if this has been done in the history of the church. And it may be extremely awkward, and that is fine. We’re gonna lean into it. But I’m going to actually have you guys turn the side to the side, and face each other when we take the Lord’s Supper today. Because we need to see each other rehearsing the gospel, we need to see each other as broken sinners saved by God. You guys all look at me. We need to look at each other. Right, this is what we’re doing. This is the meal, they would have been sitting around seeing each other taking this meal together, Jesus disciples would have seen each other. We need to see each other we need to look around. We need to see the brokenness in somebody else’s life that we know across the aisle from us, and then see how God’s grace save them. And what God has done in their life, we need to see that as we take the cup, and the bread. This is a visual of the Gospel for all of us. Dr. Carson says this about the gathering. And I want this running through our minds as we take communion this morning. He says the church is made up of natural enemies. What binds us together is not common education, common race, common income levels, common politics, common nationality, common accents, common jobs or anything else of that sort. Christians come together because they’ve all been saved by Jesus Christ in owe him a common allegiance. They are a band of natural enemies who love one another for Jesus’s sake. First 33 So then my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. That’s all Paul’s been doing this whole time is to get to this point, to say you should be doing this together. Stop thinking of yourself. Stop living an anti gospel, live out the Gospel in unity here, gather around the table and show everybody what the gospel looks like. And then finally, we look forward Matthew’s account of the Lord’s Supper. He quotes Jesus’s words. Matthew 2629, I tell you, I will not drink from the fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it with you in My Father’s Kingdom. That’s what Jesus said. This is a small, yet significant meal. John frame says we eat only little bits of bread and drink little cups of wine for we know that our fellowship with Christ in this life cannot begin to compare with the glory that awaits us in Him. And before we move into communion, listen to Revelation 19 six through nine because this is how we need to look forward. Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder shouting hallelujah. For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory. For the wedding of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. fine linen, bright and clean was given her to wear. fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people than an angel said to me right this blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb And he added, these are the true words of God, we are preparing for the wedding feast, the supper with the lamb. That’s what we are preparing for. When we are there, there are no longer any have nots. We are invited to the table, we sit down, and we have everything in Christ, everything, namely, sitting in his presence, surrounded by his people, realizing that he gave it all for us to be sitting at that table.
This I’m gonna invite the worship team to come up as we transition to the Lord’s Supper. I started off this morning saying that there are different ways to approach different situations, different things in life. And we want to make sure we are approaching this meal at this time in the right way, in a way that lines up with what we are participating in. We want to come to Lord’s supper and a worthy manner. So what does that look like this morning, if you are a believer, Jesus Christ, and you are welcome to receive the bread and the cup. However, if you know there is that unrepentant sin in your life, if you know, there are things that are creating division and disunity in your life, then you need to take care of those first and let the plate pass. There is no judgment here. For that what you’re doing in that moment is saying I understand the gospel, and understand the holiness of God. So I’m gonna take care of this first, before I come and eat and drink judgment on myself. There will be rejoicing in the recognition that you need forgiveness, because that’s all of us. That’s all of us. If you know that you need to reconcile with somebody in this room, then take this time to do that. Don’t worry about what everybody else thinks. Do that first and then come to the Lord’s table. If you are here, and you know you’ve never received Jesus, you still have questions. We encourage you to let the plate pass, and to reflect on the words of First Corinthians 11. And wrestle with what Jesus Christ has done for you. And so the bread and the cup will be pastor in this next song. This is the time to examine and discern. Feel free to sit and reflect, feel free to stand and sing. Use these words as a Song of Prayer. But let’s pray now before we turn to Lord’s Supper. During the Father, we thank You. We thank you for the cross. We thank you that the work Jesus Christ accomplished is finished. That we come before you now taking this little meal. This significant meal, and remembering what you did for us the cost of your life, to reconcile broken centers. To see us now be called sons and daughters of God. Help us to reflect, to examine our own hearts and lives to make sure we take this meal in a worthy manner. Lord, heal us, restore us through the body and blood of Jesus Christ. We love you. And it’s in your name we pray. Amen. Amen.
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