Summary: What is communion? A covenant relationship between God and His people.
Communion is a Covenant: Luke 22:14-20
INTRO: Over and over again in the New Testament, Christians are reminded that we are not our own; we have been bought with a price.
• God has come to us ~ redeemed us by His Son ~ entered into our lives thru His Holy Spirit ~ and has voluntarily bound Himself to us with a COVENANT!
• In our modern thinking, a covenant is a formal agreement, between two or more persons to do or not do something specified.
• For the Christian, a covenant a conditional promise God made to His children (the Church), as revealed in Scripture.
• Basically, God has bound Himself, with an oath, to act on our behalf by fulfilling the promises He has given us in His Word.
• Jesus said, in verse 20, “The cup that is poured out for you, is the new covenant in My blood.”
So let’s look at Communion as a Covenant this morning:
I). First Aspect: Communion is a sign of God’s Grace.
A). The first thing I want you to understand this morning is that communion came from God and not man.
• Jesus alone created Communion.
• You can say it came as a result of the Passover, but who created the Passover?
B). In giving us Holy Communion, Jesus used things that are seen (bread & cup) as symbols of things that are unseen and eternal.
• He used the physical to direct our lives to the spiritual.
C). As a result these things are now a “means of grace”. What does that mean?
• The means of grace are the ways in which God works invisibly in His disciples, quickening, strengthening and confirming our faith.
• We use them to open our hearts and lives to God's work in us.
D). In communion, God seals that grace in us, and we are reminded that we are His.
• I want to think about it like this:
• In our nation, we have our flag (visible object) and our pledge of Allegiance (the word).
• In our marriages, we have our rings (visible) and our vows (the words).
• In Holy Communion, we have the bread & cup (visible) and the Bible (Word).
• None of those visible objects have the same meaning without the words!
II). Our Covenant Relationship with God involves a Sacrament of Love.
A). The word “sacrament” comes from the Latin use when a soldier took an oath of service to the emperor.
• The soldier gave his allegiance to serve the emperor to the death if necessary.
B). At communion we take an oath of allegiance (or loyalty) to Jesus Christ.
• It is here we renew our vows of devotion to Him.
C). In our prayer of Thanksgiving (United Methodist Hymnal, page 16) we “offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as a holy and living sacrifice…”
• It’s a sacrament of His love for us ~ and a response of our love for Him.
III). Finally, this covenant is a pledge and Commitment of Loyalty.
A). Communion brings us face to face with Jesus.
• We are reminded of the vows that we have taken at our baptism and our membership into the church.
• We are the people ~ the children ~ of God.
B). In the Old Testament, the sacrifice that saved the people form their sins was a tedious event.
• They had to go out and find that one, perfect lamb that would satisfy God’s demand for a pure and spotless sacrifice.
• Then they had to perform the rituals just the right way and hope that God would accept their choice of the animal and their performance of the rituals.
C). But through Jesus, God changed all that.
• God offered His own Son as that pure and spotless sacrifice, and there was no doubt as to whether or not He would be accepted.
• Jesus said that this covenant was a new covenant given in His blood ~ now no other blood sacrifice is necessary.
D). God gave and we accepted: and now the commitment of loyalty is on Him and us!
• God, committed and loyal to us & we, committed and loyal to Him!
• But hey…that’s what a covenant is!