Summary: A sermon preached in conjunction with the observance of the Lord’s Supper. Communion with Christ must begin before the observance of the Communion Ordinance.
COMMUNION WITH JESUS CHRIST
Communion - Interaction between two or more people; especially intimate association and interaction implying sympathy and confidence; interchange of thoughts, purposes, etc.; agreement; and fellowship
At the end of this morning’s service we will be observing the Lord’s Supper. This is an ordinance of the Christian church that was set in order by Jesus during the Last Supper in the Upper Room on the night of his crucifixion. Some faiths call it the Lord’s Supper; some call it Communion; and others call it the Eucharist; but no matter what we call it, the symbolism and reason for observing it should be the same.
We do not believe that the bread and juice from the fruit of the vine are converted into the actual flesh and blood of Jesus Christ after it is consumed as some teach as according to the Doctrine of Transubstantiation. Even so, we do believe that the bread and juice represent that flesh and blood of our Lord that was so freely given for our salvation.
While partaking of the Communion is a wonderful way of identifying and recognizing the great price that Jesus paid for our salvation, there is a communion with Christ that must occur before we can be found “worthy” to partake of this ordinance.
1 Corinthians 11:27-30 carries a solemn warning and some clear instructions to everyone who would desire to observe the Lord’s Supper, "Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep."
How can we make ourselves worthy? What can we do to be counted as worthy to observe the Lord’s Supper?
Firstly, there is nothing within ourselves that we can do to make ourselves worthy for anything that God has given to us. We have no power within ourselves to cleanse sin from our hearts. We have no power within ourselves to draw close to God or to begin to understand his ways. We must never forget that it is by the grace and mercy of our loving God that we have the privilege of coming to him and it is by his grace that we have our understanding opened so that we can learn of him.
The power of sin in the heart of man is a blinding force that makes him absolutely incapable of knowing and understanding God, indeed, he does not know nor does he have an inner desire to know anything concerning the spiritual matters because he is dead spiritually and must be “born again” of the Spirit of God before he can begin to learn of spiritual things.
Secondly, the only thing we can do to be counted “worthy” is to surrender our hearts and lives unto the Lord in repentance for our sin. It is the body and blood of Jesus that makes us worthy.
But there is more to this worthiness to observe the Lord’s Supper than being cleansed by his blood and born again by his Spirit.
As Paul was writing to the Christians of the Corinthian Church, he gave some very specific instructions to all who would desire to observe the Lord’s Supper.
If this ordinance is to be observed and we are to partake of it as Jesus intended for us to do, there are some guidelines that we must follow lest we endanger our health, our lives and perhaps our very soul. I think that the first thing we must realize is that this is not just another ordinance or tradition that man has established within the framework of his denominational rules. This is an ordinance established by Jesus himself.
As such, we should be very careful to follow his exact method and purpose for the Communion.
As we discuss this matter of Communion, let me tell you that we are to be in communion with Jesus every moment of our lives and not just at the time of the observance of the Lord’s Supper. If we were in proper communion with him, we would not have to worry about whether we fulfill the requirements of this ordinance or not.
Communion with Jesus is a multi-faceted thing. Let me attempt to explain this to you.
Jesus’ body was broken for you and I. He was beaten with the flagellum, a specially designed whip that would bruise, rip and tear the flesh each time it was lashed and drawn across the body of the victim. His beard was plucked from his face. He was beated with fists, crowned with a crown of long, sharp and painful thorns, huge nails driven into his wrists and his feet, and finally a spear was thrust into his side.