Summary: Communion pictured as a living sermon proclaiming I. Christ’s Death, II. Christ’s Church, III. Christ’s Coming
Intro: A woman in the church once shared with me a humorous story about her son. Once after a church service he had complained to her that the adults had all been given a snack, but none had been given to the little children. At first Candy was unsure of what he was thinking, but when she asked she discovered that he had seen the adults being taking bread and grape juice and simply assumed it was a snack.
Background on I Cor. 11:17-22. The Corinthians had allowed the other festivities of the day to crowd out the meaning and purpose of the Lord’s Supper. Are we ever guilty of the same thing? Do we understand the power of the Lord’s Supper? Can you answer the question, why do we do this? Is it anything more than obeying the teaching of Christ without knowing the reason?
Prop.: An analysis of the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper in I Corinthians will clarify the meaning behind this tradition.
I. The Proclamation of Christ’s Death (v. 23-26)
1. The Lord’s supper is first and foremost a remembrance of Christ. Jesus on the night that he was betrayed, and even as he knew his betrayer was slithering through the night streets of Jerusalem took the bread and the cup and left us with an image and picture of what he was about to do.
- He showed us that just as Isaiah had prophesied his body would be broken.
- He showed us that just as the Passover lamb was slaughtered in innocence to temporarily cover sin, he would pour out his blood to cover sin once and for all.
- He left us this supper as a visual reminder that the body of the Son of God was broken and His blood was poured out so that our sin would be forgiven.
2. Remembrance - In the OT and into the NT the idea of remembrance carries with it more than the English idea of a mental activity. Indeed remembrance often included activities and re-enactments to draw to mind what the people were to remember. This is the intention of Jesus when he tells his disciples to remember him when they break bread and take the cup.
3. Illus.: Remembrance Day, we stop our work and gather at the cenotaph as the veterans march by - in this way we visually remember what our political freedom cost.
5. Appl.: When we take the bread and the cup, we state by our action that we believe and remember the great pain and anguish the Lord paid for our spiritual redemption. We enact a powerful sermon that we believe not only that Christ died, but that he lives and that his life has significance for all time.
II. The Proclamation of Christ’s Church (v. 18-22)
1. This teaching of Paul has come about because there is an abuse that is taking place - the abuse that Paul writes about is the division within the church, that when they gather for the Lord’s supper the poor are neglected and humiliated. Paul is chastising them because the Lord’s supper is something that was given to the church.
3. Illus.: There are things which can’t be explained, only known - like the fellowship of the Lord’s Table. There is something wonderful about breaking bread with other believers.
4. Appl.: When we take the bread and the cup we proclaim that we have been made part of God’s family, the Holy Spirit has come to live in us and that God is our heavenly father. Christ’s death created a new covenant - a new way that humans could come into relationship with God. And since I am united to God through faith in Christ and you if you have placed faith in Christ are also part of the family of God, them we have the same thing in common, and so in the Lord’s supper we proclaim our unity in Christ
III. The Proclamation of Christ’s Coming (v. 26)
1. In verse 26 we are reminded of the promise of Christ. We remember his death until he comes.
2. Matthew 26:29 - Christ’s Promise
3. Illus.: The return of the Lord - describe it, VIVIDLY!
4. Appl.: When we celebrate the Lord’s Supper we are to remember that there is still something more to come, and so as we look back we also look forward to his glorious appearing.
Concl: Let us not miss the warning that Paul includes to the Corinthians as he encourages them to examine themselves before they partake - with the realization that on our own we will never be worthy, but through Christ we have been made worthy, let us come humbly and with thanks.