Summary: We know what Jesus has done. What are we supposed to do so that as we partake it will not be in an "unworthy manner," & thus be "guilty of sinning against the body & the blood of the Lord?" (PowerPoints available - #331)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
A. In just 3 weeks we will be celebrating the events of Palm Sunday. We will recall the "triumphal entry" of Jesus into Jerusalem & the crowds shouting "Hosanna," & "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." (Matthew 21:9)
Then during the evening of what is generally called "Good Friday" our congregation will gather for a special communion service, commemorating the last Passover meal that Jesus ate with His apostles in the upper room.
It was during that meal Jesus took the Passover bread, broke it & gave it to them, saying, "Take, eat. This is my body which is broken for you." In the same manner He took the cup after supper, saying, "Take, drink. This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for you."
The apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:23 26 that "The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, & when He had given thanks, He broke it & said, 'This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.'
“In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.'
"For whenever you eat this bread & drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes."
That is the reason we gather each Lord's Day to remember & worship Him.
B. That is what the early Christians did, too. In Acts 20:7 Luke says that "On the first day of the week we came together to break bread." On the first day of the week Christians met together to partake what we call "the Lord's Supper" in remembrance of Jesus. And we are still doing that today.
ILL. Roger Rose wrote: "When I was a boy my younger brother was fatally injured in a tragic accident. A dirt road ran alongside our farm, & only on rare occasions would there be a car on it. But one day as my brother was crossing it on his bike, a car came roaring over the hill, & he was run over & killed.
“Later, when my dad picked up the mangled, twisted bike, I heard him sob out loud for the first time in my life! He carried it to the barn & placed it in a spot we seldom used. Father’s terrible sorrow eased with the passing of time, but for many years whenever he saw that bike, tears began streaming down his face.
"Since then I have often prayed, ‘Lord, keep the memory of your death that fresh in me! Every time I partake of your memorial supper, let my heart be stirred. Never let the communion service become a mere formality, but always a tender & touching experience to me.’” (Sermon Central Staff)
Paul goes on to say in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29, "Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body & blood of the Lord.
“A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread & drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats & drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats & drinks judgment on himself."
C. When Paul says to "examine" ourselves, what does he mean? Just how do we "examine" ourselves? What are we supposed to be doing as we meet each week to partake of this communion in remembrance of Jesus?
PROP. We know what Jesus has done. What are we supposed to do so that as we partake it will not be in an "unworthy manner," & thus be "guilty of sinning against the body & the blood of the Lord?"
I. WE MUST RECOGNIZE OUR SINFULNESS
A. First of all, I believe that we must recognize our sinfulness.
Whenever we come to the table of the Lord, we must recognize that even in our most holy moments we are still far from holy, & that our righteousness, the Bible says, is as "filthy rags" before God. And with Isaiah we cry, "Woe to me..., for I am a man of unclean lips . . . & my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty." (Isaiah 6:5)
We must confess our sinfulness to God. Yet most of the time we tend to minimize or gloss over our sins.
Think about that. Have you been dishonest this week? Did you let anger get the best of you? Were you greedy? Did you harbor any immoral thoughts? I think we all must have some confessing to do. And we are all indebted to God.
B. But as we partake of this memorial God reaches down & says, "My child, I forgive! I tear up the debt. You don't owe me anything, because Jesus paid it all. His body was broken. His blood was shed, & your debt is no more."