Summary: This sermon discusses the Lord’s Supper in conjunction with the Memorial Day holiday.
This is Memorial Day weekend. There will be many memorial services and events held around our country to commemorate the men and women who gave their lives to gain and protect our freedom. We should never forget the price they paid. I want to build off of this idea to speak of another sacrifice. In addition to remembering their sacrifice I want to remember the sacrifice that Jesus made to gain our freedom. In addition to memorializing our military we want to memorialize our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That is why we take communion together today.
What is the significance of communion? Let’s go to the scripture. We follow the text from I Corinthians 11. Paul said “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.” (vs. 23-26)
Joke: Understanding and appreciating communion sometimes requires a little explanation. I read about a little boy who was in church when the juice and wafers were passed. His mother leaned over and told him that he was not old enough to partake in the Lord ’s Supper.
Later on, when the offering basket was passed she leaned over once again to tell him to drop his money in, but her son held his dollar firmly in his hand, stating..."If I can’t eat, I won’t pay!"
(Contributed to Sermon Central Reese Blanchett)
What is the significance of communion?
First, it is a responsibility for believers. Jesus instituted communion. He gave His disciples this responsibility and commanded us to fulfill it until he returns.
Since it is our responsibility it should be an act of obedience. We honor Jesus by obeying Him. We worship Jesus by obeying Him. It is our responsibility to take communion.
The Bible indicates Christianity is measured by obedience. In I John we find these words “By this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘ I know Him, ‘ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (I John 2:3-4 NKJB) The test of discipleship is not empty words. Many people say they are believers but a true disciple is one who obeys.
When something is your responsibility you are obligated to be faithful. You do not do it because it makes sense. You do not do it because it is easy.
Illustration: Back in the early 80’s I served a church in Port Gibson, Mississippi. This was a small church so I had to hold a second job in order to support my family. I held a job as a substitute mail carrier. On one occasion I was carrying the mail when my sense of responsibility was challenged. I terrible snow and ice storm struck. This storm shut down all businesses and most of the roads were impassable. I called the post master and asked if I had to attempt to deliver the mail. She said yes! The U.S. postal service has the reputation of delivering in all kinds of weather, rain, sleet or shine. I went to my car to attempt to deliver the mail. My car was frozen to the ground and my doors were frozen shut. Needless to say, I did not deliver the mail that day. However, my sense of responsibility caused me to think beyond the normal.
If you know Jesus Christ you worship because it is your responsibility. If you know Jesus Christ you tithe because it is your responsibility. If you know Jesus Christ you attend church because it is your responsibility. If you know Jesus Christ you take communion because it is your responsibility. If you know Jesus Christ you serve because it is your responsibility.
A second aspect of communion is remembering. In the text, Jesus twice encourages us to remember. In his commentary on I Corinthians 11 John MacArthur says “For the Hebrews to remember meant much more than simply to bring something to mind… To truly remember is to go back in one’s mind and recapture as much of the reality and significance of an event or experience as one possibly can. To remember Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross is to relive with Him His life, agony, suffering, and death as much as is humanly possible… we remember His once-for-all sacrifice for us and rededicate ourselves to His obedient service.”