In Remembrance of Me
Please stand as we read our newest memory Scripture together …
“To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy –
“To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”
And our memory refresher verse(s) for today is(are) …
2 Timothy 2:15
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of Truth.”
Please open your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 11:23-34
Today we will be observing the “Lord’s Supper” or communion.
In the church in Corinth, during the time of the apostles, they were having problems with observing the Lord’s Supper.
- There were extreme differences in the social standing of the congregants
o Very wealthy to very poor
- People brought their own meals to the meetings
o Kind of like our monthly covered dish dinners
o But no one shared
o Some went hungry
o Others stuffed themselves and became drunk
o Some were filled with pride and others were humiliated
- Paul had a remedy for this ….
So, let’s look at: 1 Corinthians 11:23-34
(Prayer for help)
Last supper found in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
Jesus only speaks of the bread and the wine in Matthew, Mark and Luke.
Now let’s turn to John 6:51-58 (and read)
Over the centuries some people joined the accounts of the Last Supper in Matthew, Mark and Luke with this Scripture from John.
Out of this came a dogma called transubstantiation where the bread and the wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus.
If we take John 6:51-58 to be literal and NOT figurative then this MUST be true. Then we MUST eat the body of Jesus and drink His blood!
A literal interpretation of this Scripture means that there is NO salvation without participation in eating the flesh of Jesus and drinking His blood.
So, what do we do when we come up against a teaching that seems so adamant in what it says and yet is found in only one place in the Bible and then is only shadowed in three parallel recordings of the Last Supper?
What do we do? We do what we always do!
We search the Scriptures, right?
Let’s just scan through a few of our Memory Scriptures, OK?
John 3:16-18 (recite)
What is the basis of salvation here?
- Belief in Jesus.
- Belief in Jesus AND the ritual of communion?
- No. Just belief in Jesus.
According to the Scriptures, what is the purpose of communion or the Lord’s Supper?
- To remember Jesus’ body which was broken for us and to remember the new covenant that was brought about by the shedding of His blood.
Romans 10:9-10 (recite)
What is the basis of salvation here? Confessing that Jesus is Lord or the Messiah and believing in your heart that He was raised from the dead!
Was it confession and belief in the literal eating of Jesus’ flesh and the drinking of His blood? No, just confession that comes from belief in Jesus’ resurrection.
But, still, we love to observe communion to remember Jesus because we love and honor Him so.
Ephesians 2:8-10 (recite)
What is the basis of salvation here?
- By works? By observing the ritual of the Lord’s supper? No.
- By the grace of God extended to us
- By placing our faith in God, in Jesus
Then what about communion?
Jesus merely said, “Do this in remembrance of Me.”
Over and over and over we see that salvation comes by the grace of God calling us and us responding to Him in faith! That’s all!
When I was researching this issue I was once again drawn into several discussions from various view points; from the Church of Rome to our Baptist brothers.
And, do you know what I was not thinking about all that time?
I was NOT thinking about Jesus and His sacrifice for my salvation!
I was thinking about how they were looking at different aspects of the original language and how the texts were tied together.
What was I missing?
I was missing the BIG PICTURE. I was missing JESUS!!!
It was another case where it seemed that no one could see the trees because of the forest!
It was another case of getting so lost in the minutia and details that the vast scope of God’s great salvation through the sacrifice of His one and only Son was hidden from view!
Let’s look at this from another perspective.
There is a church that teaches that the Eucharist (that is what they call the Lord’s supper) is absolutely, 100 percent, necessary for salvation and that it can only be observed in a church.
Let’s just tuck that thought away in the back of our minds.
On the other hand, church in Iran is held in secret. There are no church buildings. There is no organizational structure. There are just hundreds of thousands of believers who meet secretly to worship for hours. They will never be able to openly go into one of those churches to receive communion. Are they all headed to hell because they cannot observe the Lord’s Supper?
Absolutely, positively NOT!
And then, what about the availability of the Scriptures?
Suppose the hidden church in China or North Korea or Afghanistan only had the Gospel of John? You know, those little pocket Testaments we have on the welcome center that are to be distributed to those who need Jesus?
They contain the Gospel of John.
The Gospel of John does NOT contain the passing of the bread and the cup during the Lord’s Supper but it does have Jesus’ teaching that we must eat Jesus’ flesh and drink His blood for eternal life.
If such a thing was truly necessary for salvation, how would those Christians know how to do that?
They wouldn’t and they wouldn’t have to.
But, in the Gospel of John there is certainly enough teaching about Jesus and salvation by faith in His name to bring them to saving faith.
When we come together …
- Why do we sing songs about Jesus – to remember and honor Him
- Why do we pray in His name – to remember and honor Him
- Why do we speak of His life, His death and His resurrection so often? To remember and honor Him
- Why do devote our lives to Him – to remember and honor Him
- Why do we observe communion or the Lord’s Supper? To remember the great salvation that came through His great sacrifice.
He does not need to suffer for us again.
He does not need to be sacrificed for us again.
We don’t need to physically consume Him.
We DO need to do is to spiritually consume Him as He consumes us.
That is why we remember Him in communion or the Lord’s Supper