Summary: This is a Communion message that I've attempted to tie in with St. Patrick's Day. It is focused on The Lord's Supper, but ties in how the missionary to Ireland was Christ focused, and how we should be as well.
Communion March 2020 / St. Pats Day
Text: 1 Corinthians 11:23-30
As you can tell by this table that’s been set here, we are taking communion this morning, but I want, if I’m able, to try and tie it in with St. Patrick’s Day… Because I think that sometimes there can be some confusion about both of those things. So let me just start by saying that Communion is all about Jesus. It’s about looking back at what He has done. It’s about looking forward to His Second Coming, and it’s about looking at what Christ is presently doing in our lives today, and in His Church.
And you guys know; I’m kind of a history nerd. Looking back at history is kind of my thing, and those of you who come to the evening services know I’m a big proponent of looking back at Christian history. We’ve had evening lessons on the heroes of the Reformation, and heroes of the faith, and we’ve done three lessons in our evening services on Patrick of Ireland over the last 8 years or so… And I tend to do that I guess. I tend to look at those men and women of Christian history, who took uncompromising stands on the truth of God’s Word, or who boldly went out to share the Gospel through danger, and hardship, and persecution. And Saint Patrick is one of those guys.
Now when it comes to the story of Patrick, the truth is even more exciting than the myth. You’ve maybe heard, that he’s known for driving all the snakes out of Ireland… but the thing is, there were no snakes native to Ireland. Some people want to make the upcoming holiday all about green beer, and leprechauns and pots of gold, and shamrocks… and the color green. But the reality is, the holiday isn’t about ANY of those things. Here’s the truth about Patrick. He was born in 385 A.D. in what is now modern day Scotland. Here’s how he opened his autobiography Confessions: “My name is Patrick, I am a sinner, a simple country person, and the least of all believers. I am looked down upon by many. My father was Calpornius. He was a deacon; his father was Potitus, a priest, who lived at Bannavem Taburniae. His home was near there, and that is where I was taken prisoner. I was almost sixteen at the time.” So that’s how his story began, at almost the age of 16 he was kidnapped by Irish pirates, they took him to Ireland and sold him as a slave to a Celtic tribal leader. He was held in slavery for 6 years, until he finally escaped. But it was during that time of slavery that he was called to faith by Christ, and born again. So after he returned to Scotland, he went back to school, went to seminary, and became a missionary and returned to Ireland, and brought the Gospel to that country. He planted over 200 churches in Ireland, and was in constant danger, faced constant persecution, but ultimately God rewarded his faithfulness, and brought a “Great Awakening” to Ireland. Patrick remained in Ireland, preaching and planting churches for the next 54 years until he died around 461 A.D.
There’s a lot more we could say about Patrick the missionary to Ireland, but ultimately, what made him the man of God that he was, and what made him able to do and accomplish all that he did, was God Himself. It was Jesus… Jesus was his source, his strength, his motivation. So St. Patrick’s isn’t about wearing green and pinching people. It’s not about singing “O Danny Boy” and saying “Top o’ the mornin’ to ya’”. It’s not about green beer. It’s about God using a simple sinner to bring salvation to an entire culture of people.
So it’s good to look back at these kinds of examples, and pray that God would use us in a similar way. And like I said a little while ago, Communion is also about looking back.
Go ahead and take your Bibles and open them up to 1 Corinthians 11:23-30 (READ).
Those first 3 verses from our text (vss. 23, 24, & 25) are telling us to look back. To remember. And specifically to remember Jesus, and what He has done. And so this is a great thing that God has given us to remind us of the cost of our salvation. It cost you and me nothing, but that didn’t mean it didn’t cost anything at all. Jesus was beaten beyond recognition, He was whipped, and scourged. He was spit upon and mocked. He was hung upon the cross.
He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities, and that’s what this bread represents. The pain and suffering and torture, that He endured on our behalf.