Summary: Proper Proclamation of the Gospel in thought, word and deed. The Gospel is liberty and freedom, don’t bog down in perfectionism.
Title: Proper Proclamation of Perfect Peace
Text: 1 Corinthians 11.20-22
MP: Proper Proclamation of the Gospel in thought, word and deed.
Sub: The Gospel is liberty and freedom. Our only role is to get the reminders right.
1. Kirghiz Proclamation of Communism
2. The Beauty of our Message
3. Errors in Proclamation
a. In the Meaning of the Message (v22)
i. You should have been eating at home! It means they weren’t doing any proclamation! Each one goes ahead with his own meal
ii. Perfectionism isn’t the message!
1. Bible Drill
2. Dropping The Tray
b. In the Method our Delivery (v21)
i. Actions of selfishness, lack of concern for the poor, and outright debauchery
ii. It is no surprise that people reject Christ, when they see the people of Christ proclaiming the name of Christ, but entering the service of Molech (a false god).
iii. It has been said that we are the only Gospel most people will read. If that’s true, it would be good if our proclamation matched our notion of who God really is.
c. In the Failure to Proclaim (v20)
i. It’s not the Lord’s Supper! – Implication: We should…
ii. It’s like being named the sole beneficiary in Bill Gates’ will, and then being annoyed that you have to go to Redmond to collect.
iii. It is our privilege to participate in this covenant.
If you’re focused on anything else, you’ve missed it. If you’re focused on the details, the answer is obvious – just focus back on Him. If you’re focused on your sin, the answer is even more clear – this covenant was designed to take away your sin. Give it back to Jesus. Let him carry that for you.
4. Let Liberty Ring Out…
Peter Hopkirk tells a great story about the folly of a faulty proclamation. It was 1919, and Russia was in the midst of its own Civil War to establish Communism as its official ideology. While Moscow had been “liberated” two years earlier, farther flung parts of its empire, such as what is now in Kazakhstan, had not yet been taught in its ways.
And so the city of Suziran, a Central Asian sultanate just north of the Caspian Sea was still grappling with what Communism meant. They understood it to mean that it was a new order of things, all the best property was to be divided equally. But Suziran was a backwater sultanate in an obscure part of the world. They didn’t really have a lot of property. Trying to figure out what it truly meant to be a Communist, they thought long and hard about what should be redistributed to the poor.
And then it dawned on them. What was the one thing the rich had that the poor lacked? Women. Good-looking women. A whole harem full of women. The local communists issued a proclamation nationalizing all the women of Suziran. You can imagine the scene: Commissars and peasants alike storming the harem and taking whatever and whomever they chose! Somehow, in trying to give equal rights to all they simply ended up subjecting half the population to the whims of the other half. [Peter Hopkirk, Setting the East Ablaze]
Needless to say, when the big boys back in Moscow found out about this, they weren’t pleased. They quickly sent orders to Suziran that this was not the right way to behave. Not only was the proclamation rescinded, it was illegal to even keep a copy! The proclamation may have had good intentions, but the realization was wrong. This abuse needed to be corrected.
Even back in Paul’s day, the early church had the same problem: What does it mean to participate in the Lord’s Supper? They had a time of celebration called the love feast. That was a ceremony that essentially combines today’s two most cherished sacraments of the Baptist Church: Communion and Potluck. But sometimes they got it wrong too. That happens. But, as a wise man once said, the fool only learns from his own mistakes. The wise can learn from the mistakes of others. In this time before we partake in the Lord’s Supper, I’d like to understand what it means “to proclaim the Lord’s death till he comes.” We can wrestle with it and watch out for some common errors in our own proclamation of the Gospel.
I want to begin by reading a description of what was happening back then. Please turn with me to 1 Corinthians 11:20 – 22 or feel free to look at your bulletin for the Scripture. You can follow along as I read:
<<1 Cor 11:20 - 22>>
Now, as a body that comes together for the Lord’s Supper, I know that you recognize the solemnity of the supper. David starts playing solemn music, and we all get real quiet. We’re thinking about what we don’t want to be: namely loud, rude, and obnoxious. And that’s a good thing, because frankly I wouldn’t want to be written up like the church here in Corinth. But I’d like to look at some principles of what’s going on here to ensure we are remaining faithful to the full proclamation – not just the stuff you see on the surface.