Introduction: Story of Aunt Tissy’s needlepoint of our Wedding Date and her putting the wrong date and then we got it fixed. But now I just walk by the picture, I don’t look at it, or acknowledge it, it’s there but I don’t really notice it, unless it’s crooked then I might, if I can find the energy, straighten it out on the wall.
1. Q. 168. What is the Lord’s supper?
A. The Lord’s supper is a sacrament of the New Testament in which bread and wine are given and received as Christ directed to proclaim his death. Those who receive the Lord’s supper in the right way feed on his body and blood and thereby are spiritually nourished and grow in grace. They have their union and communion with Christ confirmed, and they publicly witness to and repeat anew their thankfulness and commitment to God and their mutual love and fellowship with each other, as members of the same mystical body.
– Q. 162. What is a sacrament?
A. A sacrament is a holy regulation established by Christ in his church as a sign, seal, and outward display to those within the covenant of grace of the benefits they have from Christ’s mediation.
– Q. 163. What are the parts of the sacrament?
A. There are two parts of the sacrament. One is the external, physical sign used according to Christ’s own directions. The other is the internal, spiritual grace signified by the external use.
– Jesus did not want His followers to forget the meaning and importance of his death. This is the climax of human history. Jesus’ death is what will take away the wrath of God that we deserve to bear. I dare say that the most popular piece of jewelry in the world is a cross. The cross represents more than a trinket or good luck charm. The cross represents the horror and sacrifice that Jesus went through to pay for your sins. The cross represents the washing away of all your wrong doing past, present and future.
So when we take communion, together, as the body of Christ we are not just remembering but also proclaiming the Lord’s death (the gospel). The gospel means ”good news” but when is it ever good news that someone dies? When Jesus died it was good news for us because it means that Jesus bore the wrath of God, Jesus took your rebellion and your filthiness, and your sick and twisted way of living for yourself and Jesus dealt with it on the cross, it was put to death with Jesus.
– When we come to this table, we are remembering and proclaiming the death of Christ and its importance in our lives. This is not just a religious ritual that we coldly come to do.
– Those who receive the Lord’s supper in the right way feed on his body and blood and thereby are spiritually nourished and grow in grace. Is Jesus talking about cannibalism? Jesus wants us to see the spiritual reality of a physical reality. You see, we live in a physical world and it is very difficult for us to think about spiritual things being an actual reality, it’s mystical to us and we don’t always understand this ”spiritual realm” that the Bible talks about. But here Jesus is helping us become crystal clear that there is a very real spiritual reality to the grace that is being extended to us. Just as the elements of the bread and the juice are physical, we can taste them, see them, smell them…so real is the grace of God given to us through Christ. This is His body that was broken for us, this is His blood that was shed in order to take away our sins. The spiritual reality of these things is actually present and does actually convey grace to us, just as real as when your senses take in to chew and swallow and taste the bread and juice.
This is truly and really spiritual nourishment. Jesus wants you to see that He really is for you, that He really did die for you, that He really does love you. These are not just words on a page but these are spiritual realities coming into your life. To give spiritual nourishment to his followers
– I am partaking in the spiritual reality of Christ’s death and its meaning in my life (Gal 2:20)
– Our union and communion with Christ is confirmed. The elements are a sign of continued fellowship and union with Christ. Yes, Christ died once for all my sins, He does not need to die over and over again. However, I need to regularly be reminded that His death has brought me into continued fellowship with Himself. This table confirms my union with Christ, it confirms the unbreakable bond that Christ has made with me. Did you catch that? It is an unbreakable, inseparable bond. If you are a true believer, you cannot separate or divorce yourself from Christ. You are united to Christ forever, and you get to be in communion and fellowship with him forever. This meal confirms our communion, our ongoing fellowship with Christ.
– So, when you eat and drink the elements you are affirming your faith in Christ.
– We are renewing our commitment of mutual love and fellowship with each other, as members of the same mystical body.
This table unifies Jesus’ followers as one body. Yes, if you are a true believer then you are in the family of God and that means that you have a lot of brothers and sisters. Your family has grown exponentially.
Yep, you are stuck with all the other believers in Christ, you are committed to loving and serving them, you are committed to caring for them, you are committed to forgiving them.
– When you come to the table you are showing the inward reality of your unity among other believers with this outward sign
2. What are the benefits of taking communion?
– Remember, that the grace of Christ is actually present and is actually and really being conveyed to you therefore,
– You are Strengthened spiritually to live as a believer that glorifies God in all you do, you are strengthened to make it through the trials and suffering in your life, you are strengthened to care for others.
– You are being strengthened against sin.
– You are inspired with love and zeal
– You are encouraged to know that Christ is for you, that He is looking out for you, that He will protect you
– You are given the assurance that your salvation is secure because this table is about Jesus and what He did to secure your relationship with God, it is not about you and what you can do to make God love you more. This table is not about your good works but its about Jesus’ good works, it’s about His death for you. You are receiving Christ’s affirmation that all the blessings of salvation are reserved for you
– You are receiving the affirmation of Christ’s unconditional love for you.
Who can take Communion?
– This is a serious question that cannot be taken lightly and here’s why:
27-29 ”Whoever, therefore eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats or drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.”
– Only believers who are members of a church, those who have professed faith before this body or of another gospel believing church are allowed to the Lord’s table. Not only has Jesus made it crystal clear but otherwise you will be drinking and eating judgment upon yourself.
– Our membership into a church shows our public profession of faith in Christ and our willingness to be a part of Christ’s body, the church. Christ created the church, it is not man made. As believers we are not just self-governing individuals, but rather we are part of a whole, we are one of many who are joined together through the spirit of Christ.
– It only makes sense that if this sacrament is a physical expression of a spiritual reality then only those who are filled with God’s Holy Spirit will actually benefit. If you do not believe in Jesus then there is no reason for you to partake in the elements. Now, I hope that we have in our midst people who are not believers yet. I know that may sound strange, but we are a ”missional Church”. This means that we are diligently and intentionally reaching out to those who do not know Christ yet so that we can introduce them to Him. It is our mission to reach out to those who are living life apart from God and help them understand that God created us to live in a relationship with Him. We were not created to live on our own apart from God, that would leave us with no meaning or purpose in life except to live for ourselves, and that will not cut it.
– So, some of you here are wondering what people will think of you if you don’t take communion, that you are somehow a second class citizen. Well, that is simply not true. We are so glad and excited that everyone is here in this room, the fully devoted followers of Christ, the curious, the questioning, the hurting, the wandering, the rebellious. We all belong here in this room.
But if you have not given your heart over to Christ then you would be lying to yourself if you took communion. One of our values here at Spring Run is authenticity, and we accept one another for who they are. ”So, you are saying that you accept me, but Jesus has rejected me because I can’t take communion?” No, Jesus has not rejected you, you have rejected Jesus, at least so far if you have not given your life over to him. He is here waiting with open arms.
”So what should I do if I no longer want to live life on my own? What should I do if today, I have become convinced that Jesus died for me?” You should simply acknowledge that to God. Let God know that you have been living in rebellion against Him. Let God know in your heart, that you are sorry for your sinfulness and that you would like Jesus to come into your life and take away the filth, the rebellion, the selfishness, the shame, the anger. Tell Jesus that you no longer want to be in control of your life and that you want Him to be in control. Tell Jesus that you believe He really is the Son of God and that you believe His death can wash away all your sins, past, present and future and that you want His Holy Spirit to come in and fill your life. Tell Jesus that you want to trade in your old life for a new life in Christ.
What should I do while I take communion?
– Examine yourself, confess your sins to God, in essence to unload your conscience to Christ. There is no fear that He will not forgive. You are celebrating His death by taking communion. Therefore, it is a solemn, yet joyous time for each of you to know the assurance of forgiveness and the surety of your salvation.
– Pray with the Lord, just having that sense of intimate fellowship with him.
– Listen to the Holy Spirit speaking to you strengthening and assuring you of His love.
This sacrament enables and equips us to accomplish our mission and vision because it feeds us spiritually and empowers us to live out the gospel and our mission.
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