Summary: Communion message about how the symbols of the Lord’s supper point to Christ’s redemption.
Communion as a Symbol
December 4, 2005
I mentioned a couple weeks ago that the church board decided to begin having communion, or the Lord’s Supper, on the first Sunday of each month.
I think it’s a great idea, and we’re going to do that today.
Why do this during the Christmas season? We’re supposed to be celebrating Jesus’ birth, not his death, right?
Well, maybe. But I think that it’s important that we reflect on the fact that Baby Jesus had a purpose for coming to earth. He came so you and I could have a home in heaven.
He didn’t stay a baby, you know. He grew up. And he died.
When we come to the Lord’s table, we’re recognizing that fact.
When we took communion a couple weeks ago, I focused on the fact that communion is an act of remembrance. That we take the bread and the juice to remember his sacrifice for us.
Today, I want us to look at this wonderful sacrament as an act rich in symbolism.
I’m going to ask for your participation today as we go through this passage in 1 Corinthians 11. As we go through each section of the message, I’d like you to read aloud that portion from this chapter pertaining to that part of the message, okay?
I’ve got it printed in your note-taking guide, or you can follow along in your Bible if you brought one today, whichever you prefer.
And this first phrase helps to set up our discussion, so let’s read it together, right at the top:
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you...
Paul’s words here are an indication that it was a regular part of the early church’s practice to come together for communion, and that it was right from Jesus, as he shows in the rest of the passage.
So let’s look at three ways communion serves as a symbol.
My hope is that as we go through this, and as we partake of communion in a bit, that you will gain a deeper sense of what goes on. That it’s not just a part of a church service to fill time. But rather that it serves a purpose - to point to Jesus in a very real way.
Let’s dive in, shall we? First...
Communion is a symbol of sacrifice.
Read this aloud with me:
The Lord Jesus, on the night 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."
This is probably pretty obvious, but the word sacrifice implies that it cost someone something. In this case it cost Jesus his life.
And here’s the interesting thing: the Father is the one who initiated this sacrifice:
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
The Bible tells us that on our own, we’re incapable of loving God.
It says that there is no one who seeks God - but instead, we’ve all turned away, so we could go our own way, to try and be the master of our own destiny.
But God loves us so much, he made a way for us to come to him - he sent Jesus. And Jesus became the sacrifice to pay the penalty for your sins and mine.
Communion serves as symbol of sacrifice - the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf.
Communion is a symbol of salvation.
Read this aloud with me:
25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."
There is plenty of stuff out there that suggests that Jesus died for no other reason than that he ticked off the wrong people. That he was a victim of circumstances.
But that’s a bunch of hooey, folks.
Jesus died on purpose. What was the purpose?
For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.
Folks, there is no other way to God than through the death of Jesus. None. If Jesus hadn’t died, then we’d have absolutely no hope of heaven. We would die for our own sins, and rightfully so.
But God didn’t want that. And neither did Jesus. So Jesus came to save us. To save us from the penalty of our sins and to save us from the power of sin in our lives.