Summary: Discusses the symbolism behind the communion service and how participating in the Lord’s Supper impacts the believers day to day life.

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Church 101: A Beginners Guide to Church

Part 5 - Communion and Church

Tonight we are in part 5 of our series Church 101: A Beginners Guide to Church

We have been looking at various aspects of “church” in an effort to understand how the different ways we practice our faith impacts our daily lives beyond Sunday morning and into Tuesday afternoon

After beginning with an introductory session we looked at…

Music 101

We saw music as an instrument of corporate worship

We saw how it not only binds believers together but how it can be a tool for evangelism

Giving 101

Where we looked at the giving of our finances as a loosening of our grip on the tangible

And replaced it with an understanding that we are mere stewards of God’s resources

Baptism 101

We saw how baptism is an identification of the believer with Christ’s death and resurrection

We sought to understand that baptism is a symbol of what Christ went through on our behalf

And how enjoy eternal life because of it

Tonight we come to the rite of communion

This particular rite is also known as

- The Eucharist or

- The Lord’s Supper or

- The Last Supper

And while baptism is something of an initiatory rite of the individual believer into the family of God

Communion is a continuing rite of the entire body

I want to begin with a brief look at the historical context of communion

Luke 22:14-15

“14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer’”

When Jesus instituted what we call communion he noted that it was part of the celebration of the Passover

History of Passover

- Israel was in slavery in Egypt

- God brought 10 plagues on Egypt because of their treatment of Israel

- Pharaoh wouldn’t listen

- The last plague was the death angel that killed all the first born in Egypt

- God told Moses to put blood on the door posts of all Israelite houses to keep the death angel away

- That night they were to have this feast in celebration of their deliverance the next day from Egypt

Exodus 12:17 - “Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.

The Passover feast was to be an ongoing celebration of God’s delivering his people

It was also a revival of the covenant God had Made with Abraham that probably looked to the people like it was all but forgotten at the time

So Israel celebrated Passover every year and it is still the biggest celebration of the year for the Jews

So the historical setting of the communion rite is one of remembering the deliverance of the people from slavery

And along comes Jesus and says that this new and improved Passover, communion, is also a remembrance of deliverance from slavery.

Only this time it is deliverance on an eternal scale

It is deliverance from death and sin

And the reason we regularly celebrate communion is because Jesus commanded us to do it “As a remembrance”

For the Jew of Jesus day, to remember something was to go back in one’s mind and recapture as much of the reality of the event as possible

To truly remember the sacrifice of Christ we relive his birth, life, agony, suffering, death, as much as humanly possible

Without offering a sacrifice again we remember his once for all sacrifice for us and rededicate ourselves to his obedient service.

So then lets briefly look at the symbols of communion,

- The bread

- The wine


- Bread is a very common item

- It is often a staple item

- That is, without bread people would die

- It can be made out of just about any grain in the world but is most commonly made of wheat

- It can be made with or without yeast

- It is extremely versatile

- It is easily shared with others, you just cut it or tear it

- In the Passover meal it was unleavened to symbolize a lack worldly influences

- It is important in the communion service for several other reasons

- Jesus was born in Bethlehem, House of Bread

- In John 6:35 Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry”

- Some churches will use crackers

- Some will use flour wafers

- Some will use an actual loaf

- It doesn’t really matter because the meaning doesn’t change

- The bread is a symbol of Christ Body that he gave so that we could have life

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