Summary: This message is the first in my Easter Series for 2013, and looks at the Lord's Supper; its institution by Christ, and its teaching by Paul. This message was preached in preparation for our monthly communion service.
TAKING TIME TO UNDERSTAND THE LORD’S SUPPER.
PROPOSITION: WE NEED A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THE LORD’S SUPPER!
INTRODUCTION: FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE OBSESSED WITH THE CALENDAR AND HOLIDAYS, MARCH IS THE MONTH OF EASTER. THE LAST SUNDAY OF THIS MONTH IS EASTER SUNDAY. IT COMES EARLY THIS YEAR, ALMOST BY SURPRISE. SO, IN ANTICIPATION OF THIS WONDERFUL HOLIDAY OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH, I WOULD LIKE TO SPEND THESE NEXT FEW WEEKS IN PREPARATION FOR EASTER, AND I CAN NOT THINK OF ANY BETTER PLACE TO START THAN TO MELD TOGETHER OUR CELEBRATION OF THE LORD’S SUPPER WITH OUR SPIRITUAL PREPARATION FOR EASTER.
TRANSITION: A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THE LORD’S SUPPER HELPS US PREPARE OURSELVES
OPENING ILLUSTRATION: COMMUNION IS A MEAL; AN ACT OF REMEMBERING THAT SHOULD HAVE THE EFFECT OF CAUSING US TO PONDER, REMEMBER, AND ACT IN ACCORDANCE WITH ALL THAT GOD HAS DONE FOR US. PRESIDENT LINCOLN WAS ONCE ASKED HOW HE WAS GOING TO TREAT THE REBELLIOUS SOUTHERNERS WHEN THEY HAD FINALLY BEEN DEFEATED AND RETURNED TO THE UNION OF THE UNITED STATES. THE QUESTIONER EXPECTED THAT LINCOLN WOULD TAKE THIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR VENGEANCE. TO THE CONTRARY, LINCOLN REPLIED, “I WILL TREAT THEM AS IF THEY HAD NEVER BEEN AWAY.” SO IT IS WITH COMMUNION. COMMUNION IS THAT SYMBOLIC ACT WHICH REMINDS US THAT GOD, THROUGH THE SHED BLOOD OF CHRIST TREATS US AS IF WE HAD NEVER SINNED!
I. THE INSTITUTION OF COMMUNION
Luke 22:15-20 And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God."
17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." 19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
a. COMMUNION WAS INSTITUTED BY JESUS
b. LITERALLY THE TEXT SAYS, “WITH DESIRE I HAVE DESIRED.”
i. LAST WORDS OF CHRIST TO THOSE WHO BE ENTRUSTED TO CARRY ON AFTER HIS DEATH
ii. HE COMMUNICATES THE FUTURE FULFILLMENT OF WHAT IS HAPPENING WILL COME WITH THE COMING OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD
c. PASSOVER REMEMBERED A PAST EVENT WHEN GOD DELIVERED THE PEOPLE FROM EGYPT AND THE PROTECTION OF THE BLOOD.
d. PASSOVER WAS A FORESHADOW OF WHAT WAS TO COME THROUGH THE WORK OF CHRIST
i. JESUS WAS THE SPOTLESS LAMB
ii. THE BLOOD OF CHRIST WOULD BE SPILT FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE THOSE LOST IN SIN AND SEPARATED FROM GOD.
iii. THE APPLICATION OF THAT BLOOD WOULD BE THE PROTECTION – THEN AND NOW!
e. JESUS WILL SIT DOWN AT THIS MEAL AGAIN WHEN THE PLAN OF GOD IS COMPLETE
Revelation 19:7-9 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. 8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) 9 Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'" And he added, "These are the true words of God."
II. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF COMMUNION WAS TAUGHT BY PAUL
1 Corinthians 11:17-34 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God's approval. 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, 21 for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. 22 Don't you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not! 23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. 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. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world. 33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. 34 If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment. And when I come I will give further directions.