Summary: The 13th Sermon discussing our confessional statement (i.e. The Baptist Faith and Message)
The Lord’s Supper (BFM #13)
Text: 1st Corinthians 11:23-34
By: Ken McKinley
We are continuing on with our study of the BFM and we are still on article 6 – the Church, but like I said last time, article 7 also includes the two ordinances of the Church so we are covering them as well in this study.
And what we’re doing today is looking at the second ordinance of the Church, but we’re looking at it in the scope of the four ministries every Biblical Church should be performing. And I’ll go over them again, just so you can get them down. They are:
1. The proper preaching of God’s Word.
2. The administration of the ordinances given to the Church.
3. The exercising of the gifts of each member in the Church.
4. Proper church discipline.
And we’re going over these ministries from the last one to the first, so we’ve already looked at #4 and #3, and half of #2. And today we come to the 2nd half of the 2nd point – the administration of the ordinances given to the Church. Last Sunday we looked at Baptism, and today we’re going to be looking at the Lord’s Supper, and actually taking Communion after the service. So if you will turn with me to 1st Corinthians 11:23-34 and lets look at our text (Read Text)
So when we look at the subject of Communion in the Bible, we actually don’t find a lot of references to it. In the Gospels we see where it was instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper, there are a few references of breaking of bread in the Book of Acts, and then we have our text here in 1st Corinthians.
When we look at our text here, the first thing we see is that Paul dates the institution of this ordinance for us. He says it happened on the “same night in which the Lord was betrayed.” In that same verse (vs. 23) Paul tells us that he received his understanding of this doctrine directly from the Lord. Paul also tells his readers in Corinth, that he didn’t just keep what the Lord had taught him, but that he also passed it on to them. As Christians we should be eager to share what we’ve learned of the Lord. But that’s a sermon in and of itself. And so, the Church did what Jesus told them to do in Luke 22 – He said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” They regularly began to… I guess you could say, “Re-enact” the supper in remembrance of Jesus and His death.
And so; what the Lord’s Supper is, or Communion as we sometimes call it, is an act done by believers, and we do this in order to remember the Lord, His death on the cross for our sins, and by doing this we also proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes – that’s what verse 26 tells us. But it also goes beyond this, because as we read in our text, Paul gives the Corinthians a pretty strong warning about partaking of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner. His warning is so strong that Paul even says that some of the members of the Corinthian Church had lost their lives because of unworthy participation. Others were sick because of the same thing. And so I want us to take a good look at this and in order to do that, we have to go back in time a little.
In the Gospels, we see Jesus and His disciples eating the Passover meal. Historically the Jews celebrated the Passover and the meal was a special occasion designed by God to remind them of the deliverance He brought to the Israelites, when He brought them out of Egypt.
Israel had been slaves in Egypt for more than 400 years, but then God had grace upon them and delivered them. And His deliverance started with a series of plagues. We read about it in Exodus; and with every one of the plagues, Pharaoh refused the let the Israelites go, then finally; the last plague came – the killing of the first born son. And the Lord commanded the Israelites to take a lamb, kill it, and to smear the blood of the lamb on the door posts of their homes, and they ate the lamb along with some unleavened bread, and that was the Passover meal. That night, every door that had the blood of the lamb smeared on it, the angel passed over, but every door that didn’t have the blood of the lamb on it, the angel entered the home and took the life of the first born, and the result was that Israel was freed from slavery to Egypt. This is what Jesus and His disciples were doing that night, but then Jesus made a change. He said, “This cup is MY blood and this bread is MY body… do this in remembrance of me.”