Summary: The Lord’s Supper is about remembering Jesus’ death, but It’s also a chance to remember that His great sacrifice was made for us personally.
1. This morning’s sermon is a bit different. You may notice, that for a change this morning, there are no sermon notes in your bulletin. This is a sermon where later you will be able to participate. The Lord’s Supper will be a part of this sermon. I hope you will discover as we share in this special communion service together a special and refreshing connection to the Lord Himself.
2. I want to begin the message this morning by sharing a story that illustrates one of the challenges that always confronts us when we take the Lord’s Supper. In upstate New York a small church had a dearly loved pastor who served them for over 35 years. After he retired, he was replaced by a young pastor. It was his first church & he had a great desire to do well. He had been at the church several weeks when he began to get the feeling that the people were upset at him. He didn’t know what to do but he eventually called one of the lay leaders of the church and asked, "Have I done something wrong?" The man said, "Well, Pastor, I hate to say it, but it’s the way you do the Communion service." In that denomination they took the Lord’s Supper each week. They would come up front & receive the elements from the pastor. The young man had been trained & he was sure that he knew what he was doing. So he asked, "The way I do the Communion service? What do you mean?" "Well, it’s not so much what you do as what you leave out," said the layman. "What do I leave out?" asked the young pastor. "Well, just before our previous pastor gave us the cup he would always go over and touch the radiator. The young pastor was mystified. So he called the former pastor and asked about touching the radiator. The older pastor chuckled, "I touched the radiator to discharge the static electricity so I wouldn’t shock them." For over 35 years, the congregation thought it was a part of the Lord’s Supper.
3. Friends, the Lord’s Supper isn’t about the precise way we distribute the bread & juice. We’re not planning to change the way we do the Lord’s Supper & have you start coming to the front to receive it like they do in many other churches, but please hear me. The key issue when it comes to the Lord’s Supper is to have a fresh encounter with Jesus that leaves us awestruck at the magnitude of His great sacrifice for us. Frankly it’s possible to celebrate the Communion service, & never really understand what it’s all about. Let’s begin by reading our text this morning...
17 But now when I mention this next issue, I cannot praise you. For it sounds as if more harm than good is done when you meet together.
18 First of all, I hear that there are divisions among you when you meet as a church, and to some extent I believe it.
19 But, of course, there must be divisions among you so that those of you who are right will be recognized!
20 It’s not the Lord’s Supper you are concerned about when you come together.
21 For I am told that some of you hurry to eat your own meal without sharing with others. As a result, some go hungry while others get drunk.
22 What? Is this really true? Don’t you have your own homes for eating and drinking? Or do you really want to disgrace the church of God & shame the poor? What am I supposed to say about these things? Do you want me to praise you? Well, I certainly do not!
23 For this is what the Lord himself said, and I pass it on to you just as I received it. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took a loaf of bread,
24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."
25 In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant between God and you, sealed by the shedding of my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it."
26 For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.
27 So if anyone eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily, that person is guilty of sinning against the body and the blood of the Lord.
28 That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking from the cup.