Illustration results for holy communion
To again quote Charles Spurgeon:
"It is joy to all nations that Christ is born, the Prince of Peace, the King who rules in righteousness...Beloved, the greatest joy is to those who know Christ as a Saviour...The further you submit yourself to Christ the Lord, the more completely you know Him, the fuller will your happiness become. Surface joy is to those who live where the Saviour is preached; but the great deeps, the great fathomless deeps of solemn joy which glisten and sparkle with delight, are for such as know the Saviour, obey the Anointed One, and have communion with the Lord Himself...you will never know the fullness of the joy which Jesus brings to the soul, unless under the power of the Holy Spirit you take the Lord your Master to be your All in all, and make Him the fountain of your intensest delight."
(From a sermon by Todd Leupold "Joy To The World" 12/21/2008)
In Eastern lands, people used public baths and got dressed again; as they walked in the dusty streets, their feet became dirty. On arriving home, they did not need another bath; they needed only to wash their feet. When the Jewish priests were ordained, they were washed all over (Ex. 29:4), which pictures our once-for-all cleansing; but God also provided the laver (Ex. 30:17–21) for them to use in the daily washing of their hands and feet.
Application: So it is with the believer. When we are saved, we are washed all over. Paul put it this way, “[God] saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5–6). At Baptism, we were thoroughly washed and robed in Christ’s righteousness. When we confess our daily sins to the Lord, we have our feet washed and our “walk” is cleansed. Christ’s Spirit washes His church with Baptismal water through the Word (Eph. 5:25–26). As we daily read the Word and confess our sins, the Spirit cleanses our souls and guides us. It is this daily cleansing of the Spirit that keeps the believer in communion with Christ.
Gregory of Nanzianzus captured the mystery of triune life using the image of dance (perichoresis)… The metaphor suggests moving around, making room, relating to one another without losing identity. The divine unity lies in the relationality of Persons, and the relationality is the nature of the unity. At the heart of this ontology is the mutuality and reciprocity among the Persons. Trinity means that shared life is basic to the nature of God. God is perfect sociality, mutuality, reciprocity and peace. As a circle of loving relationships, God is dynamically alive. There is only one God, but this one God is not solitary but a loving communion that is distinguished by overflowing life.
Faith honors God and God honors faith! A story from the life of missionaries Robert and Mary Moffat illustrates this truth. For 10 years this couple labored faithfully in Bechuanaland (now called Botswana) without one ray of encouragement to brighten their way. They could not report a single convert. Finally the directors of their mission board began to question the wisdom of continuing the work. The thought of leaving their post, however, brought great grief to this devoted couple, for they felt sure that God was in their labors, and that they would see people turn to Christ in due season. They stayed; and for a year or two longer, darkness reigned. Then one day a friend in England sent word to the Moffats that she wanted to mail them a gift and asked what they would like. Trusting that in time the Lord would bless their work, Mrs. Moffat replied, "Send us a communion set; I am sure it will soon be needed." God honored that dear woman’s faith. The Holy Spirit mo...
Sermon Central Staff
THE CONVERSION OF GEORGE WHITEFIELD
In the 1730's in England, a young man named George Whitefield desperately wanted to be right before God. As a student at Oxford, he was part of the Holy Club, along with John and Charles Wesley. The members of that club rose early every day for lengthy devotions. They disciplined themselves so as not to waste a minute of the day. They wrote a diary every night in which they examined and condemned themselves for any fault during that day. They fasted each Wednesday and Friday and set aside Saturday as a Sabbath to prepare for the Lord's Day. They took communion each Sunday. They tried to persuade others to attend church and to refrain from evil. They visited the prisons and gave money to help the inmates and to provide for the education of their children.
Whitefield nearly ruined his health by going out in cold weather and lying prostrate before God for hours, crying out for deliverance from sin and Satan. For seven weeks he was sick in bed, confessing his sins and spending hours praying and reading his Greek New Testament. Yet, by his own admission, he was not saved, because he was trusting in all these things to save him.
Finally, "in a sense of utter desperation, in rejection of all self-trust, he cast his soul on the mercy of God through Jesus Christ, and a ray of faith, granted him from above, assured him he would not be cast out" (Arnold Dallimore, George Whitefield). The burden of his sins was lifted, he was filled with joy, and he went on to become the great evangelist used of God in the First Great Awakening.
(From a sermon by Glenn Durham, A Biblical Balance Sheet, 8/17/2010)
D. Marie Hamilton
LORD HAVE MERCY ME
I am a huge fan of the Christian band Mercy Me. They are my favorite band of all time! My favorite CD is Almost There. Those worship and praise songs inspire me to stay in the race even when I want to quit because working for the Lord can be overwhelming. I'm strengthen by those songs.
So, when it was posted on Facebook that they were coming to Little Rock, ya'll already know that I was there front row center! Not only that, but I got meet the band! I was beyond excited. When I finally met them, I screamed, "I can't believe that I am looking at you!" Of course they laughed at me when I said that, but the members of the band were gracious and took pictures with me.
The experience was wonderful, and the lead singer, Bart Mallard gave a compelling testimony. He said, "Churches may be full, but the world is not changing." As Mr. Mallard continued with his soliloquy, I got awkward looks by other spectators around me as I shouted "Preach!" and "That's right! Amen!" He continued to tell us that when things are lousy in our lives that God is still Holy, and that if we truly had Christ in our lives that our worship would be unconditional and life changing even when our circumstances don't.
But what I wish I could have told Mr. Mallard is that the world is changing. You just have to look a little deeper and see that God's people aren't just sitting and watching the days of their lives pass them by, but people are using the power and authority of the Holy Spirit to make the world different.
As I left the concert, I thought of what my friends in the mission group at Lakewood United Methodist Church. This compassionate group of people is changing the world one person at a time. They faithful participate in the Broadway Bridge Project every month. This is a collaborative effort of several churches started by Elizabeth Dowell to fill a physical and spiritual void in the lives of the homeless.
I was invited to go with my friends at Lakewood one Thursday, and the experience was inspiring. It was something that touched my heart because everyone joyful prepared food, gathered clothes to pass out, and was ready to offer the love of God with acts of kindness and compassion. They offered words of encouragement and communion to people who wouldn't normally feel welcomed in church because God loves everyone everywhere.
One of the mission coordinators, Sue Winkley said, "This is a great ministry, but it's not for the faint of heart. Everyone who participates in this needs to understand that this is a mission to spread the word of God. We can't expect these people to change what they are doing because some are addicts or mental ill and they don't want to change. We let them know that there are people who care about them and bring God's word to them."
In the 21st chapter of John, Peter was upset that Christ asked for the third time, "Do you love me?" so he answered, "Master, you know everything there is to know. You've got to know that I love you." Christ answer to that was for Peter to feed his sheep. Times may change, but the mission is the same. We are still struggling with the challenge to do what Christ commissioned us to do.
If we truly love God the way we profess, we must show it in our actions. That can lead to that life changing, unconditional, and soul saving worship that changes the world. It's in God's mercy that we do what do to advance the kingdom. Even though there are congregations that have answered the call, we still have failed to be an obedient church. We admit that when we reiterate our communion concentration.
I've preached over the years that God does not expect perfection, but He does expect an excellent effort. All we have to do is put forth the effort and trust God. It's in His mercy that we can change the world, not just make a difference.
HATE THE POLITICS, NOT THE PERSON
In his book, The Life God Blesses, Gordon MacDonald describes his encounter with a black South African, a high-ranking member of the African National Congress.
He was profoundly impressed by the man's understanding of African history and politics and his insight into the challenges facing his nation, and so he asked, "Where did you get your training?"
He expected to hear the name of some famous university, and was amazed at the reply: "I trained on Robben Island."
This was the notorious offshore prison where the apartheid regime sent its most troublesome opponents.
"Every few years the government would search out and jail all the young black leaders. They would sweep them out of sight and eventually dump them on Robben Island. But for us it was a profitable strategy, because that was where we got our education. From Mandela and the others... You see, all of us who came to Robben Island came straight from school.
We were angry; we were ready to kill the white man, any white man.
"In prison we lost our names; we were only numbers to the guards. And they kept their guns pointed at us all the time.
Each morning we marched to the rock quarry, and in the evening we marched back. The days always belonged to the guards.
But the nights were different. The nights belonged to us.
During the evening, we who were young sat with the old men.
And we listened while they told us their histories, their tribal languages, their dreams for the black person in South Africa.
"But most important, Mandela taught us that you can never accomplish anything as long as you hate your enemy. Hate his politics; hate the evil behind those politics; hate the policies that put you in prison. But never hate the person.
It takes your strength away."
"You stopped hating?" MacDonald asked.
"Not right away. It took me almost five years to forgive... five years of learning with the old men. But when I did forgive, I was a different person. I knew I had forgiven when I could go to Holy Communion on Friday and invite the guard to lay down his gun, come and receive the sacrament with me. So that's the answer to your question. That's where I got my training."
GIVING IT ALL AWAY-- Communion Mediation
"In Ernest Gordon’s true account of life in a World War II Japanese prison camp, "Through the Valley of the Kwai," there is a story that never fails to move me. It is about a man who through giving it all away literally transformed a whole camp of soldiers. The man’s name was Angus McGillivray.
Angus was a Scottish prisoner in one of the camps filled with Americans, Australians, and Britons who had helped build the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai. The camp had become an ugly situation. A dog-eat-dog mentality had set in. Allies would literally steal from each other and cheat each other; men would sleep on their packs and yet have them stolen from under their heads. Survival was everything. The law of the jungle prevailed...until the news of Angus McGillivray’s death spread throughout the camp.
Rumors spread in the wake of his death.
No one could believe big Angus had succumbed. He was strong, one of those whom they had expected to be the last to die. Actually, it wasn’t the fact of his death that shocked the men, but the reason he died. Finally they pieced together the true story.
The Argylls (Scottish soldiers) took their buddy system very seriously. Their buddy was called their 'mucker,' and these Argylls believed that is was literally up to each of them to make sure their 'mucker' survived. Angus’s mucker, though, was dying, and everyone had given up on him; everyone, of course, but Angus. He had made up his mind that his friend would not die.
Someone had stolen his mucker’s blanket. So Angus gave him his own, telling his mucker that he had 'just come across an extra one.' Likewise, every mealtime, Angus would get his rations and take them to his friend, stand over him and force him to eat them, again stating that he was able to get 'extra food.' Angus was going to do anything and everything to see that his buddy got what he needed to recover.
But as Angus’s mucker began to recover, Angus collapsed, slumped over, and died. The doctors discovered that he had died of starvation complicated by exhaustion. He had been giving of his own food and shelter. He had given everything he had—even his very life.
The ramifications of his acts of love and unselfishness had a startling impact on the compound. 'Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends' (John 15:12). As word circulated of the reason for Angus McGillivray’s death, the feel of the camp began to change. Suddenly, men began to focus on their mates, their friends, and humanity-- of living beyond survival, of giving oneself away. They began to pool their talents...
A lady visiting the Holy Land came upon a sheepfold located high on a hilltop. Her attention was drawn to one poor sheep lying by the side of the road bleating in pain. Looking more closely, she discovered that its leg was injured. She asked the shepherd how it happened.
"I had to break it myself," he answered sadly. "It was the only way I could keep that wayward creature from straying into unsafe places. From past experience I have found that a sheep will follow me once I have nursed it back to health. Because of the loving relationship that will be established as I care for her, in the future she will come instantly at my beck and call."
The woman replied thoughtfully, "Sometimes we poor human sheep also want our stubborn ways and, as a result, stray into dangerous paths until the Good Shepherd sends sorrow and pain to arrest us. Coming then into a sweeter and closer communion with our Savior, we at last are conditioned to hear His voice and follow His leading."
"Meditation is the activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God."