Summary: what the Lord’s Supper consists of
Sermon Series on the Lord’s Supper
Topic 1: What is the Lord’s Supper?
August 5, 2001
There is a popular movie from the 1980’s - called “the gods must be crazy.” In this movie, a plane is shown at the beginning flying over a country of uncivilized people. While this plane is flying, a man finishes his bottle of Coke and throws it out of his window. The next scene shows a typical african man, working in his crude animal skins. While he is living his own life, suddenly a coke bottle comes flying out of the “sky” - from the “gods” - and into this man’s life. But what is it? He doesn’t know! He shows it to his friends - and there the story goes. Everyone tries to figure out WHAT the coke bottle is and how it should be used.
That is how many people look at the Lord’s Supper. Our God told us to take this meal - but we don’t really know what it is or what it is for. And so the arguments go on as to what the Lord’s Supper is - is it Transubstantiation, Representation, the Real Presence, or something else?
How do you approach it? Some treat it like the military’s approach to gays in the military - “don’t ask, don’t tell.” “You believe what you want to believe about it.” They are afraid to even bring it up or preach on it because it causes a lot of rifts and differences.
Others talk about it, but they try to minimalize the differences in teachings. They say, “yes, we differ on our beliefs on the Lord’s Supper - but it’s not that big of a deal. They compare it to arguing over what kind of jewels were placed in the breastplate of a high priest. As the popular song in the Lion King sings, they say, “hacuna matata” - it doesn’t matter. “It’s not worth arguing over - it’s just important that you do it.”
Common reason - every day experience - shows that when you go to a meal at someone’s house or at a restaurant - you prepare for it. You examine the restaurant BEFORE you eat there even. If there were mice running on the floor, workers sneezing on the food, and flies flying all over the place, you would think twice about going in and EATING their food. When you look at the menu - you don’t just say, “bring me whatever you want to eat.” You examine the menu - and you see what each plate has to offer BEFORE you order it. You don’t just eat there because someone told you to.
Would not the same approach be appropriate for the Supper which our Lord invites us to? Shouldn’t we KNOW what it is, before we eat it? Consider what could happen if you don’t KNOW what is going on. In 1 Corinthians 11 Paul - by inspiration of the Holy Spirit - warns - anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. If you don’t recognize - understand - what is happening in the Lord’s Supper - you could end up eating judgment on yourself! Instead of helping your faith - it could hurt you! It would be foolish then, for us to treat the Lord’s Supper like any other meal! In fact, that was the whole problem with the Corinthians. They were coming together - eating and drinking - some were eating too much. Some were drinking too much and getting drunk. While others weren’t getting anything. They were eating it like any other meal! And Paul basically yelled at them for it. It was not appropriate!
Does not faith itself demand some sort of knowledge - some Word of assurance to rest on? Romans 10:17 says, “faith comes from hearing the message.” How can we have faith in the Lord’s Supper if we don’t talk about it? How can we find comfort from something that we know nothing about and are afraid to speak about? Is it important to talk about what the Lord’s Supper is? Paul asks - how can they believe if they have not yet heard? You bet!
So maybe it is a good time to review what communion is about - so we can appreciate what it is - and appreciate the practice of the Lord’s Supper that we have.
What is the Lord’s Supper?
Even those who deny that Jesus was the Messiah will always acknowledge that Jesus was at least a Rabbi. Even if they are heathens, the most blind unbeliever can even see that Jesus knew how to teach. This was evident throughout Jesus’ ministry when time and again the people declared,
Mark 1:27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority!”