Summary: Understanding the Basic emphasis in the New Testament on Communion
Title: Basic emphasis in the New Testament on Communion
Text: 1 Cor 11:24-26
Resourse for sermon The Worship Maze by Paul Basden pp. 131
Since I was a little child I can remember observing the sacred sacrament called communion. In some circles it is called the Lord’s Supper. In others it is called the Eucharist. But yet it is still a vague memory in my mind.
It wasn’t until I began to attend Holmes Memorial Church that I observed a church that observed communion on a monthly basis. At first I questioned this practiced. It seemed to be too frequent. But I learned to love this sacred ceremony. I learn to enjoy this practice. As I studied scripture I came to realize that this was not just an annual, quarterly, monthly, biweekly, weekly, event. Communion in the early church seemed to be observed each time the church gathered together.
One of the reasons Paul was writing to the Corinthian church in chapter 11 is to rebuke them for turning this sacred ceremony into a time of fellowship and gluttony. While some would bring their great meals to eat others who were less fortunate would have nothing.
Through the centuries in many major Protestant churches we have observed the writings of Paul as to say that it was done to frequently. But yet he was saying it was done with no meaning. What we have done in our churches is we have almost limited out this sacrament, precious and holy, to an annual basis. The only Church of God that I have seen that observed Communion less than at least quarterly was Easley.
But oh what a ceremony. So precious so holy. And oh how you feel the presence of God. Should we regulate this to an annual event?
This event became a hallowed event to the disciples of Jesus. On Jesus’ last Passover with his disciples he instituted a new ceremony that would be unique to the Christian church. He used some of the elements of the Passover yet he changed its emphasis and its meaning. For with the Passover the Israelites were looking back to a deliverance. A miraculous deliverance from the slavery of Egypt. Just as it took the death of a lamb and blood on the door posts to save the first born. Jesus death also would come and save the world.
In Matthew 26 Jesus is present with his disciples but soon he would not. Paul suggested in 1 Cor 11 that this ceremony would proclaim the death of Jesus. Sacrificial death on the cross for our sins. A reminder to us of what Jesus has done.
As the years passed and the Christianity grew it became more than just a memorial. It was now a sacrament. It was not just a reminder but a part of being a Christian. There as we see Biblically is so much more to it.
Purpose of Communion
I. It is a proclamation of the gospel 1 Cor 11:26
For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. (1 Corinthians 11:26 AV)
The gospel is the “good news” the good new that Christ came and died for our sins. The good news that the weight that we bear we don’t have to. The guilt we feel we don’t have to. Jesus paid it all. He is Lord. He is king. He is our bearer.
Communion reminds us of this. When we partake of communion it is as though we are transformed two thousand years in the past. We are there with Christ on that final Passover. We are there with the disciples in the presence of Jesus.
Jesus said in Mt 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
When we gather in communion we gather together “in one mind and one accord”. We are in unity one with another. Our mind is on Christ.
II. It is a focal point of Christian Unity
Paul said in 1 Cor 10:17
For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. (1 Corinthians 10:17 AV)
Jesus prayed in John 17:20-22
¶ Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: (John 17:20-22 AV)
One thing I have observed about Christians is that there are many different opinions. Many different ideas for one reason or the other. But yet there is a unity in the Lord’s supper. A common thread that runs through and always goes back to Christ.