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Summary: WE KNOW THAT JESUS INSTITUTED THE LORD’S SUPPER, OR WHAT WE CALL COMMUNION, AS PART OF THE LAST SUPPER. IT WAS AN OBJECT LESSON OF WHAT WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN TO HIM. HE GAVE US THE INSTRUCTIONS TO CONTINUE TO OBSERVE THIS SERVICE UNTIL HE COMES AGAIN.

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THE LORD’S SUPPER

1 CORINTHIANS 11:`17-34

THERE ARE A NUMBER OF WAYS WE CAN CONSIDER THE SERVICE OF THE LORD’S SUPPER, MUCH MORE THAN WE CAN COVER IN ONE MESSAGE. TODAY, I WANT TO FOCUS ON THE CORPORATE ASPECT OF THE LORD’S SUPPER THAT PAUL TEACHES IN THIS PASSAGE.

I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU THAT A PROPER OBSERVANCE OF THE LORD’S SUPPER : CREATES THE LOCAL CHURCH

CONTROLS THE LOCAL CHURCH

COMMUNITY OF THE LOCAL CHURCH

HISTORY OF THE LORD’S SUPPER:

WE KNOW THAT JESUS INSTITUTED THE LORD’S SUPPER, OR WHAT WE CALL COMMUNION, AS PART OF THE LAST SUPPER. IT WAS AN OBJECT LESSON OF WHAT WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN TO HIM. HE GAVE US THE INSTRUCTIONS TO CONTINUE TO OBSERVE THIS SERVICE UNTIL HE COMES AGAIN.

THERE ARE THREE BASIC VIEWS OF COMMUNION. THE BAPTIST DENOMINATION FOLLOWS THE “REFORMED DOCTRINE” WITH REGARDS TO COMMUNION. WE BELIEVE THERE IS NO SALVIFIC VALUE TO THE ELEMENTS. THIS MEANS THAT WE ARE NOT SAVED BY TAKING COMMUNION, NOR DO THE ELEMENTS BECOME ANYMORE THAN WHAT THEY ARE NOW, JUST BREAD AND GRAPE JUICE. THIS DOES NOT NEGATE THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SERVICE IN ANY WAY, BUT PUTS THE FOCUS ON OUR SPIRITUAL WALK WITH THE LORD.

JESUS WAS SHOWING THE DISCIPLES THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PASSOVER AND THE SACRIFICE HE WAS ABOUT TO MAKE ON THE CROSS. IT IS HERE THAT WE ARE INTRODUCED TO THE NEW COVENANT, NOT BECAUSE THE OLD COVENANT OR SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM WAS FAULTY, FOR IT WAS NOT, BUT THE OLD COVENANT WAS COMPLETED WITH THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST ON THE CROSS. THEREFORE A NEW COVENANT WAS ESTABLISHED.

THIS NEW COVENANT WAS SPOKEN OF IN THE BOOK OF DEUTERONOMY.

DEUTERONOMY 30:6: “The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.”

NOTE THE OLD TESTAMENT SYMBOLISM HERE. GOD’S PEOPLE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT WERE MARKED BY CIRCUMCISION. HERE THE WRITER IS TELLING US THAT GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE ARE GOING TO GO THROUGH A SPIRITUAL MARKING OR CHANGE IN THEIR HEARTS, NOT BY AN OUTWARD SHOWING. IT WOULD NOT BE IN CIRCUMCISION OR THE SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM THAT WOULD CREATE A NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. IT WOULD BE THE NEW COVENANT SEALED IN THE BLOOD OF CHRIST.

THE FORM OF COMMUNION HAS CHANGED OVER THE YEARS. THE EARLY CHURCH OBSERVED THE LORD’S SUPPER ON A WEEKLY BASIS. SOME DENOMINATIONS STILL PRACTICE THIS. THE SUPPER ASPECT OF THE SERVICE HAS BEEN DROPPED BY MANY. SOME CHURCHES HAVE THE COMMUNION SERVICE ONCE A MONTH, OTHERS LESS FREQUENTLY. SOME CHURCHES PRACTICE “CLOSED COMMUNION” WHERE THE SERVICE IS ONLY OPEN TO CHURCH MENBERS, OTHERS “OPEN COMMUNION” FOR ANY PRESENT WHO HAVE ACCEPTED JESUS CHRIST AS THEIR LORD AND SAVIOR. THE COMMUNION SERVICE CAN BE PLANNED FOR ANY PART OF THE CHURCH SERVICE, BUT IN MOST CASES IT IS AT THE END OF THE SERVICE.

THE DANGER TO AVOID IS TO BECOME SO CAUGHT UP IN THE METHOD, THAT WE FORGET THE REALITY OF THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SERVICE. HEREIN LIES THE PROBLEM FOR THE CORINTHIAN CHURCH.

CONTEXT OF THE PASSAGE:

THE CORINTHIAN CHURCH WAS A SOURCE OF GREAT CONCERN FOR BROTHER PAUL. WE KNOW THAT IN THE FIRST 10 CHAPTERS PAUL WAS ADDRESSING MANY SERIOUS PROBLEMS IN THE CHURCH, RANGING FROM INCEST TO IMMORALITY. LET’S NOT BE TOO CRITICAL OF THE CORINTHIANS AT THIS POINT. AS A NEW CHURCH THEY BROUGHT MANY OF THEIR BELIEFS OF LIFE WITH THEM, WHICH WOULD TAKE TIME AND TEACHING FOR THEM TO SORT OUT. THIS IS THE SAME FOR US WHEN WE CAME TO CHRIST. THE SPIRITUAL MINDSET IS NEW TO US AND TAKES TIME TO DEVELOP.


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