Summary: Sermon details the proper way Christians should approach Communion--by remembering what Jesus did, thanking Him, and by humbling ourselves through confession of sins.
REMEMBERING, THANKING, HUMBLING
What happens when you give a street drunk a bottle of expensive wine? He drinks it as if it were the cheap stuff he is used to. Likewise, if we hurry, or we partake of Holy Communion ignorantly, we will miss the treasure of it.
The taking of Holy Communion is a sacred, powerful act, if we approach it knowingly and reverently. So, how can I know about Holy Communion, and how can I approach the meal reverently? You must understand the meaning of Communion if you would take it knowingly.
What does Holy Communion mean? It is a New Testament Passover. The Last Supper was, after all, a Passover meal. Passover celebrates the deliverance of the Jews from the Egyptians. The last of the 10 plagues was the killing of all first-born sons in Egypt. God told the Jews that if they would place the blood of a lamb on their doorposts, then when the angel of death came by, he would “Passover” their home–sparing them from the judgement.
EXODUS 12:13 THE BLOOD WILL BE A SIGN FOR YOU ON THE HOUSES WHERE YOU ARE; AND WHEN I SEE THE BLOOD, I WILL PASS OVER YOU. NO DESTRUCTIVE PLAGUE WILL TOUCH YOU WHEN I STRIKE EGYPT.
Jesus became our Passover Lamb. All have sinned and deserve death. Jesus brings the gift of eternal life. How?
ROMANS 3:23 FOR ALL HAVE SINNED AND FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD.
ROMANS 6:23 FOR THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH, BUT THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD.
Our Savior is the Lamb of God–the New Testament Passover Lamb.
JOHN 1:29 THE NEXT DAY JOHN SAW JESUS COMING TOWARD HIM AND SAID, "LOOK, THE LAMB OF GOD, WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD! 30THIS IS THE ONE I MEANT WHEN I SAID, ’A MAN WHO COMES AFTER ME HAS SURPASSED ME BECAUSE HE WAS BEFORE ME.’ 31I MYSELF DID NOT KNOW HIM, BUT THE REASON I CAME BAPTIZING WITH WATER WAS THAT HE MIGHT BE REVEALED TO ISRAEL."
Jesus is paid our bond–even secured our acquital from the guilt of our sin–by dying for us–shedding his blood on Calvary’s tree. Thus, we Christians speak of being covered by the blood of Jesus.
If Jesus is the Passover Lamb, then the Last Supper initiated a new Passover covenant.
MATTHEW 26:26 WHILE THEY WERE EATING, JESUS TOOK BREAD, GAVE THANKS AND BROKE IT, AND GAVE IT TO HIS DISCIPLES, SAYING, "TAKE AND EAT; THIS IS MY BODY." 27THEN HE TOOK THE CUP, GAVE THANKS AND OFFERED IT TO THEM, SAYING, "DRINK FROM IT, ALL OF YOU. 28THIS IS MY BLOOD OF THE COVENANT, WHICH IS POURED OUT FOR MANY FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS.
Jesus offers the bread, saying it is his body.
ISAIAH 53:5 BUT HE WAS PIERCED FOR OUR TRANSGRESSIONS,
HE WAS CRUSHED FOR OUR INIQUITIES;
THE PUNISHMENT THAT BROUGHT US PEACE WAS UPON HIM,
AND BY HIS WOUNDS WE ARE HEALED.
Because of his broken body our transgressions and iniquities (wrongdoings) can be forgiven. This is spiritual healing. Because of his broken body we can have peace. This is emotional healing. Because of his broken body our wounds can be made well. This is physical healing. Thus, the bread reminds of the healing Jesus offers us.
Jesus offers the cup, saying it is his blood. In the Old Testament, the blood of animals was offered as sacrifice to seek forgiveness of sins. Jesus says his blood is offered to forgive the sins of many. Thus, the cup reminds us that Jesus forgives our sins.
If the meaning of Holy Communion is that Jesus offers us healing and forgiveness, how can I be sure to approach the meal reverently? I must come Holy Communion with a clean heart and spirit.
1 CORINTHIANS 11:27 THEREFORE, WHOEVER EATS THE BREAD OR DRINKS THE CUP OF THE LORD IN AN UNWORTHY MANNER WILL BE GUILTY OF SINNING AGAINST THE BODY AND BLOOD OF THE LORD. 28A MAN OUGHT TO EXAMINE HIMSELF BEFORE HE EATS OF THE BREAD AND DRINKS OF THE CUP. 29FOR ANYONE WHO EATS AND DRINKS WITHOUT RECOGNIZING THE BODY OF THE LORD EATS AND DRINKS JUDGMENT ON HIMSELF. 30THAT IS WHY MANY AMONG YOU ARE WEAK AND SICK, AND A NUMBER OF YOU HAVE FALLEN ASLEEP. 31BUT IF WE JUDGED OURSELVES, WE WOULD NOT COME UNDER JUDGMENT. 32WHEN WE ARE JUDGED BY THE LORD, WE ARE BEING DISCIPLINED SO THAT WE WILL NOT BE CONDEMNED WITH THE WORLD.
We approach Holy Communion, understanding that it is a serious spiritual act.
If we are casual towards this meal we have sinned against the sacrifices of Jesus. If we are casual towards God’s standards of righteousness in our lives, and approach this meal with sin in our lives, we have sinned against the sacrifices of Jesus. Therefore, we should examine ourselves, and confess our sins before we take Holy Communion.