Thesis: The Lord's Supper honors Christ and benefits Christians.
1. It is difficult to overestimate the importance and significance of the Lord's Supper for Christians:
a. Oscar Cullman--LS "basis and goal of every gathering" of 1st Christians.
b. John Calvin considered LS the highest moment in worship.
c. Thomas Campbell: "NT worship ceases when the LS is not observed every Lord's Day."
2. When we study the Lord's Supper two issues often come up:
a. Is it the literal body and blood of Jesus? (cf. Reformation)
b. How often should we take the Lord's Supper? (cf. Restoration)
3. Focus today: purpose of Lord's Supper.
I. A REMINDER OF JESUS' DEATH (1 Cor. 11:23-26).
A. Old Testament Roots: The Passover.
1. Passover Meal had two parts:
a. Eating of Bread.
1) Head of household holds unleavened bread and recites formula taken from Deut. 16:3 ….
2) "This is the bread of affliction which our fathers ate when they came out of Egypt."
b. Telling of the Exodus story.
1) Head of household tells Exodus story, or "Haggadah" which means "declaration."
2) Taken from Exodus 13:8-"On that day tell your son, `I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.'"
2. Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper at the Passover Meal.
a. The Passover was a memorial of the defining moment of Israel's existence-when God delivered them.
1) The Lord's Supper functions the same way for us!
2) Jesus is our "Passover" (1 Cor. 5:7); the "Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world" (John 1:29)
b. No wonder Jesus said, "How I have longed to eat this Passover with you before my death!" (Luke 22:15).
B. New Testament Meaning-Body and Blood-Death of Jesus.
1. Bread: body was broken.
a. Matt. 26:26 b. Mark 14:22 c. Luke 22:19 d. 1 Cor.11:24
2. Fruit of Vine: Blood was poured out.
a. Mt. 26:27-28 b. Mk. 14:23-24 c. Luke 22:20.
II. A REAFFIRMATION OF OUR COVENANT WITH GOD.
A. Lord's Supper closely connected with idea of the New Covenant:
1. Matt. 26:28. 2. Mark 14:24. 3. Luke 22:20. 4. 1 Cor. 11:25.
B. Note the following:
1. All 4 verses specifically link Fruit of Vine with Covenant.
2. Covenants require blood ceremony (Heb. 9:15-22).
3. Lord's Supper provides an opportunity for us to reflect on and reaffirm our commitment to the New Covenant.
III. A REAFFIRMATION OF OUR COMMITMENT TO ONE ANOTHER.
A. Those who share in the Lord's Supper reaffirm their place in the one body (1 Cor. 10:16-17).
B. The Lord's Supper at Corinth (1 Cor. 11:17-34).
1. A look BACKWARD (v. 25)
2. A look FORWARD (v. 26)
3. A look INWARD (vv. 27-29)
4. A look OUTWARD (v. 26)
5. A look UPWARD (giving thanks)
1. Do you remember the movie "Places in the Heart." Sally Field plays a woman whose husband, the local sheriff, is shot and killed by a drunken teenager. She must struggle to harvest and sell the cotton crop if she is to keep her farm. She is helped by a black field hand (Danny Glover) and a blind boarder (John Malkovich).
2. It is the ending of that movie that is particularly stunning. The final scene takes place in a rural church building (actually shot in an old Texas Church of Christ bldg.!)-during a Sunday AM worship service. Communion is being served.