Summary: Sunday is the ultimate "Memorial Day" when we take of the Lord’s Supper. The correlation to our nation’s "Memorial Day" is intriguing.
OPEN: Priscilla Larson, of Lexington, Massachutsetts, tells of the time her brother-in-law (a preacher) had been away from home one afternoon donating his blood at the Red Cross.
The preacher’s son was a little concerned when his father didn’t come home by the time he usually did, and the boy asked his mother, “Is Dad going around visiting all the sick people?”
His mother replied, “No honey, he’s giving blood.”
The paused in thought for a moment and then said: “But we know it’s really grape juice, don’t we Mom?”
APPLY: This boy knew that the communion cup represented the blood of Jesus and he had grown so used to the Lord’s Supper and what meant to his family that the very mention of “blood” reminded him of that part of Worship.
I. Paul is telling us here in I Corinthians 11:23-25 that Jesus wanted us to make communion so much a part of our worship experience that whenever we do it we should remember Jesus and what He did for us.
“Do this in remembrance of me.”
Over the past few weeks we’ve been dealing with what’s called the “Great Commission” out of Matthew 28. “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…”
Part of “Discipling” is to teach others to observe everything that He has commanded us.
Could communion be part of that “Discipling process?”
II. Jesus declared that whenever we take of the bread & of the cup, we remember Him.
Why would we have to “remember” Him?
Is it possible, that we might forget Him? I’m not sure, but I don’t know if it’s so much possible to “forget” Him as it is to forget WHO He was and WHAT He did.
In a lot of churches, Jesus is seen as a nice man, a great teacher, a powerful example. “BUT HEY”, this Cross thing. This blood and sacrifice. It just doesn’t seem to appeal.
ILLUS: Donald Nash once wrote in the Christian Standard that he has heard of some churches that have done away with Communion as part of their Morning Worship. These churches offer the Lord’s Supper as an option in a side room, rather than making it part of the main Worship Service. Why? Because it seems these churches want to appeal to the “seeker” crowd (those who visit “seeking” a church home).
These congregations apparently believe that communion is such a strange practice - and dwells so much on death – it would offend “seekers” and frighten them away.
BUT if observing Communion is one way of Discipling people, downplaying it’s observance would be a grave mistake. Placing communion off to the side would declare it to be less important than other activities in worship.
WE want seekers AND members to remember what Jesus did on the Cross – this is why the church meets! Acts 20:7 tells us “On the first day of the week we came together to break bread.
III. But, why do we need to do THIS to remember Jesus and what He did?
Because we get so easily distracted by other things.
As an example: What is this weekend? (Memorial Day weekend).
Why do we call it “Memorial Day?” (a day to "remember" those who have sacrificed for us).
ILLUS: Memorial Day was 1st widely observed on May 30, 1868. It was originally known as “Decoration Day” because it was time set aside to honor the nation’s Civil War dead by decorating their graves.
After WWI, observances also began to honor those who had died in all of America’s wars. And in 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday.
That’s what it is supposed to be all about… but what do people usually do on this weekend? Well, they go on picnics, they go to the beach, they spend time with their families and have cookouts and so on…
BUT there are a few that actually attempt to “remember…” In cemeteries across the nation, small groups of people will gather and observe a military service. There will be prayers and buglers will play taps.
Now, I’m not saying we necessarily need to feel guilty for not attending such activities. My whole point is that Memorial Day doesn’t have the impact it once had. AND because people don’t observe Memorial Day like they once did – it has lost much of the meaning it once had.
That sort of thing can happen to communion. That’s why it’s critical that seekers & believers be constantly exposed to the message of the Lord’s Table. AND That’s why we take Communion every Sunday. It’s part of DISCIPLING ourselves and new converts.
IV. For us old timers - communion is time disciple (discipline) ourselves.