Summary: The Lord's Supper reminds us that we participate with God through Jesus in our Christian walk but also with our fellow Christians.
1. Justin Martyr (early 2C) recorded the actions of the early community of God when they came together:
“On the day called “Sun Day” believers gathered in one place; writings of apostles or prophets are read; then when reader has ceased, the President instructs to imitation of these good things; he prays; bread and wine and water are brought; President in like manner gives prayers and thanksgiving; people say amen and distribution is made to each; to those absent a portion is sent by deacons; each gives according to what they see fit; President gives to those in need – widows, orphans, sick, in bonds, strangers, etc.; but Sun Day is when we hold common assembly because it is the day when God changed darkness to create world; Yeshua rose from dead.”
a. We are most likely not taking the Lord’s Supper today in the same manner as the early disciples – the elements are mere tokens to us.
b. Earlier believers likely ate the Lord’s Supper in a meal or in conjunction with a meal – “Love Feast” or the Havdalah, which separated the Sabbath from the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).
2. Today, let’s focus on the function of the Lord’s Supper over the form.
4. Today we are going to slow down and focus on the Lord’s Supper in a special way.
I. The Lord’s Supper Looks Back to the Death of Jesus
A. The Memorial’s Foundation was Passover – Exodus/Deliverance/Freedom
1. It involved Consuming the Lamb (John 6:53)
2. Never be satisfied with less – “Consuming Jesus is addictive”
B. The Bread – The Body of Jesus – 1 Corinthians 11:23-24
23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 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.”
1. Not literally the body – a picture/reminder of it
2. Unleavened = sinless body of Jesus (1 Peter 2:22)
3. [Pic of Matzah Isaiah 53:4-7
C. The Fruit of the Vine – the Blood of Jesus – 1 Corinthians 11:25
25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
1. Not literally the blood – a picture of it
2. Reminder of the necessity of bloodshed – Hebrews 9:22 b without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
II. Lesson 2: The Lord’s Supper Looks Forward to the Return of Jesus – 1 Corinthians 11.26
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
B. To Return He Must Live!
1. Few dispute his death and burial; many his resurrection
2. The only way he could defeat death was by dying and being raised – 1 Corinthians 15:56-57
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
III. Lesson 3: The Lord’s Supper Look Around to the Body of Jesus
A. We Participate with Someone/Something – 1 Corinthians 10.20-21
20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.
1. Demons or the LORD? Pagans or Believers?
2. OT Priests ate certain Sacrifices with God
3. As NT Priests we eat Lord’s Supper with God (and one another)
B. Admonition: Be Sure the Meal is Done Appropriately (1 Corinthians 11:17-27)
1. In Unity, Not division – vv. 17-20
2. With concern for others, not just self – vv. 21-22
3. To Remember and Proclaim – vv. 23-26
4. In a Worthy Manner – vv. 27-29
a. Considering others in the Fellowship Meal
b. “Discerning the body” = assessing the needs of the “body of Christ,” i.e., the church/congregation in celebrating the Lord’s Supper
2. “Am I considering others ahead of myself or only myself (Philippians 2:3)?
3. “Am I practicing the ‘Golden Rule’ (Matthew 7:12) or trying to rule?”