Oct 07, 2018 | Lee Becknell
The Celebration of Communion
* If you are just joining us during this sermon series on Back 2 the basics, this morning we will be studying the Lord’s Supper. So far we have looked at Salvation, Baptism, and the Church.
* The Last Supper was a Passover Meal. It commemorated the tenth plague upon the Egyptians as the Hebrew slaves were dramatically delivered and the firstborn of the Egyptians were killed by the hand of God. It was celebrated by the Jews every year as a thanksgiving for this miraculous and powerful event.
* This morning, I would like to share with you the following lessons.
- The Lord’s Supper involves preparation.
Matthew 26:17-18, “On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparationsfor you to eat the Passover?” 18 He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’”19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.
* As you see here in the text there is some preparation for Communion just to make it happen. Do you know who at FBCR makes it all happen? Maybe you would like to join this group?
* A interesting fact about the Lord’s Supper. In John 13:10-15, we find the only account of the Lord’s Supper that includes Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. Both were instituted on the same evening.
* Not only do you physically have to prepare but Jesus and the Apostle Paul tell us that we must prepare ourselves inwardly.
THE LORD’S SUPPER REQUIRES SELF-EXAMINATION
* Jesus begins this inner soul searching by talking about the Elephant in the room.
Matthew 26:20-24, “When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve.21 And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 22 They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?” 23 Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me.24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”25 Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “You have said so.”
* Jesus might have been giving Judas a chance to repent and correct his mistake. He didn’t call him out by name, but Jesus knew. He warned Judas there would be tragic consequences to his bad choices.
* The words with Judas at the meal were a brief reminder that, even though his betrayal was predicted, he bore the full responsibility for it. Better that he personally had never been born.
* Beloved, notice that each one of the disciples honestly wondered if they would betray Jesus. They conducted a spiritual inventory and saw that the potential to fail the Lord was there.
1 Corinthians 11:27-32, “So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.28 Everyone ought to examine themselvesbefore they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment.32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.”
* The Lord’s Supper is not for satisfying our hunger and thirst, it is not to gather together in order to interact socially, but it is to bear testimony to our gratitude for the Lord Jesus Christ, and to testify to the reality and continuing significance of the gospel not only in our own lives, but for the world in general.
1 Corinthians 11:20-22, “So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat,21 for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk.22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!”
* I am quite sure none of the other disciples had any idea of what was happening behind the scenes. None of them could believe for a moment that any of them would betray the Lord Jesus Christ.
* There are always things going on behind the scenes.
* Beloved, let me tell you that we have things like this happening at FBCR and it doesn’t please the Lord.
* I see husband and wives being unfaithful and ending their marriages. I see people getting saved, baptized and excited about God drift away and enter a life of sin and bondage.
* I see lazy Christians unwilling to work to provide for themselves or unwilling to gather resources to give to others.
* This morning let me warn you. I don’t want anyone to hear the words that Judas heard.“But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man. It would have been better if he hadn’t ever been born.”
2 The Lord’s Supper reminds us of what God has done for us.
1 Corinthians 11:23-25, “The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and 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.’”
Judas called it "innocent blood" in Matthew 27:4. --- Peter called it "precious blood" in I Peter 1:19. --- John called it "cleansing blood" in I John 1:7. He referred to it as "washing blood" in Revelation 1:5 and "overcoming blood"in Revelation 12:11. --- Paul calls the blood of Jesus "Purchasing blood" in Acts 20:28. "Redeeming blood" - in Colossians 1:14, "Justifying blood" in Romans 5:9 and "Peacemaking bloodin Colossians 1:20. --- It is called "sanctifying blood"in Hebrews 13:12. --- Jesus said that His blood is the "blood of the new testament which is shed for many for the remission of sins"
* Jesus is “the Master Reminder.” And that is good, because we are so doubting and forgetful.
* One of the things we find throughout the Old Testament is that the people of Israel forgot their God. This Supper is a major aid in keeping the Lord Jesus Christ, and all that He has done fresh in our minds.
* But it is more than that - it gives each Christian an opportunity to reflect on just what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for them personally. There is a realization to be made, that what the Lord Jesus Christ did at Calvary has especial significance for me and you individually, and for us as a church together.
* We are to think about all of this, remembering the blessings that have been purchased for us by Christ in His sacrifice.
* We call this the Last Supper, but that’s not really true. Jesus looked forward to a time in the future when He would be alive, and He would celebrate a feast in the Kingdom of God. This will be a future time of reunion, refreshment, and rejoicing.
Matthew 26:29, “I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
Revelation 19:7,9, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.’…9Then the angel said to me, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’
* Those who know and love Jesus will be invited to a great Wedding Banquet in heaven just before Jesus returns to win the final battle on earth.
- The Lord’s Supper is a symbol of what Jesus accomplished.
Matthew 26:26-30, “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.29I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” 30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”
* What we are in fact doing is symbolically preaching the gospel to all unbelievers who observe our celebration of the Lord’s Supper, and this the Church will continue to do until the end of this world, and until Christ returns.
* No matter how long you have been a Christian there are still more wondrous things to be discovered about the Christian life. And it is the challenge of my life each day to seek more and more of what it means to be a Christian.
* At the Last Supper Jesus reinterpreted the bread and the wine. The broken bread symbolized his body which would be cruelly beaten and nailed to a cross; together in Christ his followers share fellowship with the suffering servant of God. The wine symbolized the blood of the lamb, which delivers God’s people from the sins of the past and sets them on the road to eternal life.
* When did he teach his disciples to sing? Did he organize the voices? Was he the minister of music or director?
* The text says, "When they had finished, they went out into the Mt. of Olives, singing a hymn.
* Singing is the sound of the soul so do you need a glorious voice? No, what you need is a glorious soul!
The Anglican Bishop of Singapore, during the 2ndworld war, when Singapore surrendered to the Japanese. He was offered a place on the evacuation plane and turned it down. He went into the prison camp with his people. The conditions were indescribable. The Bishop continued to minister to his people, despite a Japanese command to stop, Each Sunday he celebrated the Mass, not with bread and wine – he had none – but with rice and rice water. Under the trees in the jungle he says “At first only a few came – later we have over 200” The Japanese tortured and beat the Bishop to stop him. Finally, they broke all his fingers one by one to stop him being able to celebrate, but others stepped forward to help. Following the surrender of Japan, he returned to England. Despite the best efforts of the surgeon’s they could not heal his hands. He continued his ministry in Birmingham. One Easter, many years later he met and forgave the Japanese guard who had broken his fingers. He later learnt that the guard converted to Christianity and himself became a clergyman.
Why would a prisoner continue to celebrate this strange ritual with food and drink even though he was being tortured for doing so? Why was it so important to his guards to stop him? And what did it say about God to his fellow prisoners that this bishop had turned down his place on the evacuation plane to stay with them when all he could do for them was offer The Lord’s Supper?