Summary: The meaning of the communion service is seen in the four Biblical names by which it is called.
The Communion Service: What is it? I Cor. 11:23-28
INTRO.: When our two sons were little, they went to visit my Grandfather. He was very old and his memory was failing. When they knocked on the door and asked to come in, he sent them away because he didn’t remember who they were. They had been to his house lots of times, but he didn’t recognize them. They were deeply hurt and it took a lot of explaining to help them understand his problem.
Imagine what it would be like to be forgotten by your grand parents, parents, or children! It would certainly be a very painful experience. We want to be remembered.
Jesus also wants desperately to be remembered by His children. He wants us never to forget what He did for us. Sometimes Christians do forget and Jesus is hurt. He does not want to be forgotten or taken for granted.
For that reason He gave us a special way to remember Him and especially to remember He died on the cross for us. Each time we come to the Communion Service, we should be reminded of His death for our sins.
There are four different names used in the New Testament to identify the communion and if we examine each of them separately we can learn what the communion means.
I. It is called the Lord’s Supper: I Cor. 11:20
A. Not because we do it at supper time, but because it was instituted at a supper. Matt. 26:26ff
1. The Lord was eating the Passover supper with His disciples. This was a very special feast of the Jews.
2. Facing death, He wanted to give them a simple easily available way to refresh their memories of Him.
3. He wanted them to remember every time they ate a meal. Bread and grape juice were staples in His day.
B. Because the Lord is always here when we participate.
1. We can’t see Him, but He is here in His Spirit.
2. It’s important we come with the right attitude because Jesus is here.
3. So, we need to examine ourselves. It is a time to reflect on our own lives as they compare to the teaching of Jesus.
4. It is a time to think about what He did for us.
II. It is called "The Lord’s table." I Cor. 10:21
A. This relates to our behavior.
1. God is telling us He does not want His children to serve the devil.
2. If we come to the Lord’s table on Sunday, we should live for Him all week.
3. It’s a little like coming to the table at home with dirty hands or face if we come to the Lord’s table with sin in our heart. God doesn’t like that any more than parents do.
B. We must not partake in an unworthy manner. I Cor. 11:27
1. Some don’t understand the meaning of this. They think it means no one should take communion who is not a Christian or completely free of sin.
2. Or children should not partake.
3. But this speaks of how we should partake, not who should partake.
4. I believe anyone who wants to remember Jesus in the way He commanded is welcomed by God if he comes with a sincere heart.
III. It is called "Communion." I Cor. 10:16
A. Relates to the unity of the Church.
1. We are all part of the Body of Christ, the Church.
2. The word "communion" means sharing. So, the communion service is something we share with one another
3. It is also something we share with Christians all over the world. It is something that makes us all one. We share in the body and blood of Jesus.
B. We are part of the family of God.
1. A family eats together at the same table. Christians may not be able to all be at the same table at the same time, but we are with as many as we can be.
2. This is one reason it’s important to be in the worship service when Communion is observed.
3. We need to think about our place in God’s family.
IV. It is called "The breaking of bread." Acts 2:42
A. This was the common way the early Church spoke of it.
1. Partly because they often had a meal together before the communion.
2. Partly because they literally broke the bread.
3. In the New Testament times, it was a time of fellowship.
B. In at least one case, this was the reason for their assembly: Acts 20:7
1. Paul and his companions were on a missionary journey, an important mission.
2. Yet, he stayed in Troas 7 days because he thought it important to commune with the Christians there.