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Spiritual Habits: The Ordinances of Baptism and the Lord's Supper

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Have you ever wondered why we do certain things we do? Why do we practice the things we do in our church service?
Too often we do things because “we have always done it like that.”
Well, why have we always done it like that?
We have been talking about spiritual habits over the last few weeks. We have talked about the importance of bible study, prayer, applying God’s word to our lives and practicing our faith in a community of believers like our church.
Just as there are spiritual habits that we must practice individually, there are two spiritual habits that our church should be a part of on a regular basis. One is baptism. We have several folks in our church that have come to the point in their lives that the have asked Jesus to be Lord of all and want to follow Him in baptism. We are working with families to have that scheduled in the next few weeks.
The other spiritual habit that we are about as a church is partaking of the Lord’s Supper. Some churches practice the Lord’s Supper once or twice a year. Some do it quarterly, and some celebrate this each Sunday as a regular part of their worship service.
Here , our church has practiced traditionally 4-5 times a year sometimes more. There are several reasons that we do this. One is because we are commanded by our Lord to do so. Jesus said to do this in remembrance of me. Jesus initiated the very first Lord’s supper the night before he was arrested, tried, and crucified. Jesus took the loaf and the cup, ingredients in a common meal that day, and transformed them into a meaningful spiritual experience for believers.
We find evidence in scripture of this continuing in the churches that were established after the resurrection of Christ and obviously continues today in many ways.
We have done the traditional method many churches utilize today with a cracker or some type of bread representing the body of Christ. We have also celebrated with a loaf of bread and a chalice. I have administered the Lord’s Supper in weddings, with youth groups on the beach, on camping trips, with families as one of their family members is dying, and I have administered the Lord’s Supper in a parking lot. Wherever we can worship, there we can participate in the Lord’s supper.
Basically, all you need is a place, the elements, and the people to partake. Right? There are a few more requirements and that is the subject our our message today.
1 Corinthians 11:23-3
1 Corinthians 11:23–32 NIV84
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: 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.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Therefore, 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. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.

Paul’s Understanding

Paul writes that he received this from the Lord and has been instructed to pass along to the church in Corinthians. This is not the first time Paul made this claim.
Galatians 1:12 NIV84
I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV84
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV84
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:2 NIV84
I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.
How did Paul receive this from Christ when did not know Jesus prior to His crucifixion? Most likely, Paul’s statement could be worded, “I received a tradition that goes back to the Lord.” After all, he ministered with Peter and Peter had a great influence in his life.
Paul also could have received this interpretation of the Lord’s Supper from the risen Lord. Nevertheless, there is an undesigned coincidence between Luke’s version of the Lord’s Supper and Paul’s account of this ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. To me, this is further proof of the geniuses of the way God is at work!
Paul gives us the AUTHOR of this ordinance. He refers to the the Lord Jesus.
The beginning of this ordinance was the night He was betrayed. Remember when that was? It was the night just prior to His arrest and the next day of His trial and crucifixion took place.
The ordinance itself consists of the bread representing the body of Christ, the blessing, the cup of the new covenant which consisted of wine representing the blood that was shed for us.
Paul gives us 4 distinct viewpoints that you and I should recognize every time we participate in this beautiful time of worship.

First, We Look Back...

Jesus said to do this in remembrance of me.
We first look back to remember THAT Jesus died.
1 Corinthians 15:3–4 NIV84
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
Jesus did indeed die.
It is remarkable that we are asked to remember not only that Jesus died, but how He died. It is not the life of Christ nor His teachings that saves the sinner, but it is His death that does so! We must remember WHY Jesus died:
Isaiah 53:6 NIV84
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:
1 Peter 2
1 Peter 2:24 NIV84
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
Christ died to be our substitute.
We must also remember HOW He died:
Romans 5:8 NIV84
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Second, We Look Ahead...

1 Corinthians 11:26 NIV84
For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
The second coming of Christ is the Blessed Hope for the Church and for the Christian.
Those of us in Christ are not all that we should be, but one day, we will be so much more.
1 John 3:2 NIV84
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
We need to look ahead for the return of Christ and live daily as if His return is could happen anytime.

Third, We Should Look Within...

1 Corinthians 11:
1 Corinthians 11:27 NIV84
Therefore, 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.
We don’t need to be worthy to take the Lord’s Supper, but we do need to take the Lord’s Supper in a worthy manner.
This means we need to examine our own hearts. Evidently the Corinthians were busy examining the hearts of others and not themselves? As we come to the Lord’s table to participate in this Lord’s Supper, are you examining your own heart or are to busy looking at the hearts of others?
We need to judge our own sins. What do you need to confess before the Lord as you prepare
The Corinthians had failed to do so. Too often we participate in spiritual habits because they have become part of the routine. We take their meaning for granted.
We are called to remember and look within.

Fourthly, We Should Look Around...

1 Corinthians 10:7 NIV84
Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.”
1 Corinthians 10:17 NIV84
Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
One of my favorite TV shows is Blue Bloods. It is a drama about a family that has a grandfather, a father, 2 sons that are all cops or former cops, and a daughter that is a prosecuting attorney, and 3 grandkids all wondering what if they should stay in the family tradition of police work. In every show, there is at least one scene of all them gathered around the table, usually for a Sunday dinner where they may have differences to discuss but the one thing they all have in common is the sense and unity of family.
When you and I come to this table, we are demonstrating the unity of our church family.
The Lord’s Supper is a family meal, and the Lord of our family desires that His children love one another and care for one another.
It is impossible for a true Christian to get closer to his or her Lord while at the same time he or she is separated from his or her fellow believers.
1 John 4:11 NIV84
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4
Today, as we approach the Lord’s table, let’s take the time to
Look Back
Look Ahead
Look Within
And Look Around
The Lord’s Supper is a time of thanksgiving and joyful anticipation of seeing the Lord Jesus Christ. Even though our Lord was about to suffer and die, He paused to give thanks.
The Lord’s Supper
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