Summary: The Lord’s Supper, in the eating of bread and drinking of wine, is a covenant remembrance of Jesus’ redemptive work in which believers communion with Christ and are united more and more in the covenant community.
INTRODUCTION - People are always looking for the tangible, the use of media, someway in which people can be "touched" - many Protestants whose heritage is founding on a discarding of the use of images in worship have begun making worship visual. They are reviving the arts. Michael R. Keller, a United Methodist, writes in an article, "Drama in the Worship Service"
"How many times have all of us sat through worship services that could most politely be described as uninspiring? The hymns are played with little feeling or enthusiasm, the choir sings another tired anthem, and the scripture lessons are read in a manner which is ponderous at best. There is no sense of wonder or excitement communicated and no enthusiasm about the reasons we worship. It’s “just another Sunday.” In contrast, picture a worship service where energy and enthusiasm abound the minute the service begins. The music is appropriate and uplifting, scripture lessons are read with a sense of conviction and understanding, and the sermon ties together the themes of the service. Everyone leaves refreshed and invigorated, having experienced one of the most exciting parts of their week."
So often the church ignores what God has provided to reach out to us. Many Evangelicals our on a search for media in worship, while ignoring the holy media that communicate. Marshall McLuhan said, the medium is the message. How true that is when God chooses and sanctifies the medium. This is exactly what we have in the Lord’s Supper.
OUR CONFESSIONAL STANDARDS SPEAK OF SIGNS AND SEALS:
What are the sacraments? The sacraments are holy visible signs and seals, appointed of God for this end, that by use thereof he may the more fully declare and seal to us the promise of the gospel, viz: that he grants us freely the remission of sin, and life eternal, for the sake of that one sacrifice of Christ, accomplished on the cross.
Westminster Confession says in chapter 27:1:
Sacraments are holy signs and seals of the covenant of grace,(1) immediately instituted by God,(2) to represent Christ, and His benefits; and to confirm our interest in Him:(3) as also, to put a visible difference between those that belong unto the Church, and the rest of the world;(4) and solemnly to engage them to the service of God in Christ, according to His Word.(5) [(1)Rom. 4:11; Gen. 17:7,10; see the refs. for section 2 below. (2)Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 11:23 (3)1 Cor. 10:16; 1 Cor. 11:25,26; Gal. 3:27; Gal 3:17 (4)Rom. 15:8; Exod. 12:48; Gen.34:14 (5)Rom. 6:3,4; 1 Cor. 10:16]
The question arises, what is the basis for considering sacraments as “Signs and Seals”?
1. BIBLICAL BASIS FOR THE SIGN/SEAL LANGUAGE:
a. Romans 4:11--"And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be reckoned to them"
Romans 4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." 4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. 5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, 6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: 7 "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; 8 Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin." 9 Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. 10 How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, 12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised. 13 For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
b. Sign: Paul chose the LXX word for sign (semeion) from Genesis 17:10.
c. Seal: (in the verb form) is used for the Holy Spirit’s seal (n. sphragis [Rom. 4:11]; v. sphragizo [2 Cor. 1:22, Eph. 1:13, 4:30]). AT ROBERTSON: Rom 4:11 - The sign of circumcision (shmeion peritomhj). It is the genitive of apposition, circumcision being the sign. A seal of the righteousness of the faith (sfragida thj dikaiosunhj thj pistewj). Sfragij is old word for the seal placed on books (Re 5:1), for a signet-ring (Re 7:2), the stamp made by the seal (2Ti 2:19), that by which anything is confirmed (1Co 9:2) as here. The circumcision did not convey the righteousness, but only gave outward confirmation. It came by faith and "the faith which he had while in uncircumcision" (thj en th| akrobustiai), "the in the state of uncircumcision faith."