Summary: A sermon investigating the purpose of the Lord’s Supper.
"What’s for supper?" A question that is heard millions of times each day around our world. Most people have favorite foods. I pastored people who thought a meal was not a meal without meat and potatoes. Others who were never satisfied with a supper that did not include rice. Some of my Southern friends feel cheated to sit down to a meal lacking biscuits. Others have to have bread or rolls. In some countries beans would be the most important part of the meal. For some, a meal without a cup of tea or coffee is a meal that is not complete. What do you expect in a meal?
For two centuries, every day and every hour, someplace in our world Christians are eating the Lord’s Supper. The ingredients of this meal stay the same. Bread and wine. Now the bread may be made with wheat, other grains, or rice flour and the wine may be fermented and non-fermented… But it is always the same. Bread and wine.
At the last supper that Jesus had with his disciples a full Passover meal was eaten. In the early church the Lord’s Supper of bread and wine was often a part of a church pot-luck-dinner. In fact the major reason First
Corinthians 11 addressed the Lord’s Supper was because the celebration meal had turned into a feast for the "haves" and a time when the "have nots" left the supper hungry. A time when some of the participants drank too much of the wine and became drunk. It had become a time of division instead of a unifying celebration. Some churches still practice a "love feast," but for most, the menu is only bread and wine.
Why? Because most churches no longer meet in homes, but in church buildings. Because of the logistics of feeding large church crowds. Because of time restraints. Because the only two ingredients that Jesus
commanded us to eat at this supper were bread and wine. They have for all time been the centerpiece of the meal.
What about the Lord’s Supper? Eucharist? Communion? What does it symbolize for you? Let us think about some meaningful things the supper represents for the church today.
I. AS WE EAT, WE CONCENTRATE ON JESUS CHRIST WHO WAS CRUCIFED AND DIED TO PROVIDE OUR SALVATION.
Some Americans are unhappy that we have soldiers, sailors, airmen…who are willing to give their lives in Iraq to provide freedom from the terrors that Saddam Hussein has inflicted upon his country for decades. Over a hundred military personnel have already given the ultimate sacrifice. They are heroes. In coming years they will be remembered by memorials, poetry, stories… They died to make a part of our world free. Jesus died to free all.
Jesus said, "12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command."(John 15) When we were sinners, Jesus died for us. We partake in remembrance of him. Communion is his memorial celebration—A sacrament. It illustrates grace.
Are we moved by Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice? Think about it.
II. AS WE EAT, WE CELEBRATE THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS AND HIS PRESENCE IN US THROUGH HIS HOLY SPIRIT.
Before the death of Jesus he told the disciples about the Comforter. The prophets had done the same. On the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was given and the church was created. As we remember Jesus’ teachings, life, death, and resurrection today, his Holy Spirit is here in our hearts and in our church. Following Pentecost the Bible story is filled with the
"acts" of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. Remember, what he did for and through the early church, he can do for and through you. "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" They answered, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’"(Acts 19:2) I ask, are you filled with the Holy Spirit? Have you made a total commitment to
Jesus Christ? Are you wholly committed to, by the Spirit’s cleansing power to live a life of holiness? Think about it.
III. AS WE EAT, WE EXAMINE OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS AND WE RECOMMIT OUR ALL TO HIM.
We live by faith: But the symbols of bread and wine give us some insight into the life and sufferings of Jesus. He gave his all to give us all eternal life.
(Illustration: This past week, I have had opportunity to have two lunches with fellow pastors, John and Juan. About two years ago, one of the pastors had donated his kidney to the other pastor who was in need of a kidney transplant. One man was Hispanic, one Anglo. At the lunches it was easy to see the camaraderie, the love, the friendship, the concern for each other’s well being that they exhibited. It was