Summary: The message examines the dangers involved with the Lord’s Supper
Much of our news this past week has focused around the death of Anna Nicole Smith. Apparently she died of a drug overdose of some kind and it has caused quite a stir. Even Brittany Spears went to rehab for a day or two for fear she too would be found dead of drug overdose. What I find amazing about Anna Nicole’s death is most people are not "shocked" by the news. Interviews with fellow celebrities indicate that it was her lifestyle and the outcome of that kind of lifestyle is death.
If you look at the real tragedy in her death it is this, a human life with all of its potential has been wasted She will be remembered as a person who had the opportunities afforded by money, fame, and at one time good looks, and a youthful drive to become someone. But, as the writer of Ecclesiastes says it was vanity, meaningless, all meaningless, and why? Her lasting legacy by which she will be remembered as one of waste and abuse and there is absolutely no way to change that perception.
Today, in our church we are going remember a person’s death, the death of Jesus Christ. We are going to remember the legacy that He left behind, a legacy of everlasting life. It is called the Lord’s Supper. In other churches it is called communion. What is important for us today is its meaning.
There are some dangers to having this service this morning. The Corinthians were having difficulty understanding the meaning and intent of the meal. They were sinning during the Lord’s Supper, a meal meant to testify of the life and death of Jesus. We too can miss the meaning if we are not careful. Thus Paul says in 1 Corinthians says,
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. (11:27)
Owen Bourgaise said, "When I was in business it was the accepted practice, for employees to have an annual appraisal. It can be painful, but let’s face it, no-one like to be told that they’re less than perfect! I think believers in Jesus need it more often than once a year, even if it’s only a self-appraisal. The apostle Paul wrote concerning the Lord’s Supper,
“A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup” (1 Corinthians 11:28).
First we need to avoid the ignorance of the Corinthians and know what and why we are participating this morning. Tommy Ellis says "If you give a street drunk a bottle of expensive alcohol, he will appreciate it the same as he would a cheap bottle of booze. Why? He does not know what he has. Likewise, whoever eats and drinks the Lord’s Supper in ignorance, fails to enjoy the true richness of what they are consuming!"
Ordinance and Symbol
It is one of our ordinances. In our church we observe two ordinances. The two are the Lord’s Supper and baptism. Both are found in Scripture and both are commanded. An ordinance is defined as a command or custom. We observe these two because we are commanded to in the New Testament.
So we as believers have been commanded to observe this time. You might ask, is it essential to my salvation? The answer is no. Jesus and Jesus alone redeems us from our sin and shame.
However, the evidence of that redeemed life is you will obey scripture. Jesus said "if you love me, you will obey my commands." It is not a part of our salvation but it is a result of our salvation. When Jesus is received as Lord we begin to do His will as revealed in His word. Therefore we observe the Lord’s Supper and baptism this morning.
The Lord’s Supper is a remembrance of what Jesus did for us on the cross. He died for us and paid the penalty for our sin. Baptism is a symbol of what follows, His burial and resurrection. Thus in these two acts we recognize and give public testimony of what Jesus has done for us by His death burial and resurrection.
For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:27
Feast of Unleavened Bread/Passover
Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?" And He said, "Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ’The Teacher says, "My time is at hand; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples." ’ " And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover. 17-18