Summary: Lord’s Supper message
Communion With Christ
Ogden Baptist Church
April 12, 2009
In 1 Corinthians 10:16, Paul wrote,
Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?
I want you to imagine a scene with me…a scene of beauty and wonder and grace. The King of heaven and earth has prepared a feast in honor of His Son. The table has been prepared, the Son has taken his place at the head, and it is you and I who have been invited to sit and dine and fellowship. As we look around the table we do not see heads of state, no powerful men and women, no pomp or puffed-up looks of self-importance. No, we look around the table and see one another…men and women, boys and girls loved by God, here by invitation. The Son, Jesus Christ, is prepared to receive us as guests and honor us as friends. He has prepared a feast before us.
Can you imagine the scene? To be asked to eat with the King of Glory? Were He a physical king with a physical kingdom and you and I were invited to feast at his table, we would certainly prepare ourselves for the occasion. Our dress and demeanor and language and disposition would all reflect great joy and honor toward the One who has invited us.
God has indeed prepared a feast in honor of His Son, and the Lord’s Supper is symbolic of that feast. I chose to draw your attention to the verses we read in 1 Corinthians for a couple of reasons. First, it is the only place in the Bible where the Lord’s Supper is referred to as a participation. But secondly, and more specifically, because I want you to understand what that word participation means in relation to the Lord’s Supper.
The word participation is the same word that we studied in Philippians the other night where the Philippian church participated with Paul in the advancement of the gospel. It comes from the Greek word koinonia and it means partnership, participation, fellowship, or social intercourse. In other words, it is the joining of two or more into one. That’s why Paul continued in 1 Corinthians 10:17 by saying,
Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
The word partake comes from the same Greek word as participate. Paul’s point was simply this – that in coming to the table, whether it be the Lord’s Table or an idol’s table, we are joining ourselves to that which it represents. We become one with it and with those who partake of it with us. “We, who are many, are one body.” Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life, and in communion we participate, or as the King James puts it we commune: we become one with one another and most importantly, with Him.
Now, while the Lord’s Supper was a new thing for the people of God, the idea of eating and drinking in His presence was not. For example, in Exodus 24 God called the leaders of Israel up to the mountain to meet with Him. And listen to this,
Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel…But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.
You can think back even earlier than that to a time when God enjoyed perfect communion with Adam and Eve in the Garden. God created them for fellowship with Himself and to glorify Himself, so I can imagine Him in their presence as they ate meals and feasted of His goodness in His presence. He created them for that: for oneness with Him.
When this fellowship was broken by sin, God still allowed some meals, such as the sacrificial meals, so the people could symbolically eat in His presence. These meals were a partial restoration of the fellowship with God that Adam and Eve enjoyed before the Fall. They were a picture of the communion God desires. But the fellowship of eating in the presence of the Lord that we find in the Lord’s Supper is far better. The Old Testament sacrificial meals continually pointed to the fact that they were still looking for the Messiah. The Lord’s Supper, however, reminds us that Jesus’ payment for our sins has already been accomplished, so we now eat in the Lord’s presence with great rejoicing because now we can truly commune with God. Now the enmity that stood between us and God has been removed. Now the offense that kept us from being one with Him is gone and all that stands in our way is our own stubbornness.