Communion--Good Friday 2018
Communion—it’s about The Body
Communion—it’s about The Body
Greet you in the name of Jesus—The One who gave his life so that we could live
It’s on this night that we contemplate the sacrifice that He made
And we commemorate it by taking part in the Lord’s Supper, a re-enactment of the supper that Jesus shared with his disciples just before he was betrayed.
This was the Feast of the Passover. Jesus had celebrated it before, but on this night there was something different.
Jesus gave new meaning to the bread that they ate and the wine that they drank
He called it “The New Covenant” or Testament. He declared a new relationship between God the Father and fallen man.
In that new Covenant, Jesus was lifted up as LORD over his Church
We call the Lord’s Supper Communion.
We tend to think of Communion as simply the eating of bread and drinking of juice
We think of it as remembering the sacrifice of Jesus.
These things are true.
Definition of communion: the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level.
There is something deep and wonderful that is going on between us(or at least should be going on) when we commune together.
When we eat this bread and drink this cup
We are celebrating the New Covenant, the reconciliation between God and man
That inward, spiritual reconciliation to God is expressed outwardly in the close communion that we have in our brotherhood.
This communion that we have, or should have as brothers and sisters should be guarded carefully.
By this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another
Tonight I feel that I must address something that is hard, but it must be said.
I assure you that I don’t think the issue I am addressing tonight characterizes Fairview.
But it is a human problem
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.
The benches over here to my left used to be filled with young people.
I look around and I see faces of people who used to be here, but are no longer. Not because they are dead
People leave church for various reasons
sometimes their spiritual fervor dies and they don’t see the need to come any more
Sometimes God physically moves a person to another location
Sometimes God asks a person to serve another body of believers with the gifts that He has given them.
But sometimes a person leaves because the hurts that they have received in Church become too much to take.
And this is what I want to address this evening.
I want to address the fact that a number of people have broken fellowship with us here because the communion that should define us and bind us together had already been broken with them.
What do I mean by that?
Just this. That a number of people have left this fellowship because when people had a problem with something they did or said, They did not go and talk to them as this passage says to do. Instead, they talked about them. And word got back to them.
Brothers and sisters, this should not be!
Let’s look at this passage
I like to read the Scripture as if there were no verse or chapter divisions
in this case, it breaks up the Paul’s overall thoughts.
Chapter 5 talks about living by the Spirit
His main point is this: Living by the Spirit is not a license to indulge ourselves, rather it is the power to serve one another
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
Chapter 5:13-15 You, my brothers and sisters were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself”. If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
Then he talks about what the fruit of the spirit looks like, the kind of qualities it produces.
In order to emphasize what walking in the Spirit looks like, he first shows us what the works of the flesh look like in verses 19-21
We usually think that the works of the flesh are personal problems
I struggle with lust. I have an alcohol problem. I have an anger problem
But the vast majority of these works of the flesh are things that are done with one another.
Then in Chapter 6 he talks about the practical way that life in the Spirit plays out within the Body.
We need to understand this: Our life in the Spirit is not for personal gain or benefit only. Life in the Spirit has its practical outworkings in the Body
We are not saved to be solo Christians. We are saved and redeemed to be part of the Body
Our holiness and our life in the Spirit should/must have the effect of building up the Body.
Likewise, living according to our flesh has the effect of tearing down and destroying the Body of Believers.
6:1 Paul addresses them as brothers. He is talking to the brotherhood
“If someone” That means anyone
“Is caught in a sin”—KJV says “fault”
If someone has been walking with the Lord but has been overtaken and overcome in a fault
This is something that is tearing down the Body
Sin: Human activity that is contrary to God’s will
“You who are spiritual”. The new NIV says “You who walk according to the Spirit”
I like this because it connects with this whole thought of living life according to the Spirit.
This should be all of us.
One commentary made the point that this is talking about spiritually mature people
This should be all of us. We have all spent many years in the church. We should be mature
If we aren’t then something is wrong and we need to address it.
This is VERY important to get ahold of.
If we are spiritual, then we are valuing what the Spirit values
This means that our personal preferences and opinions take a back seat.
Paul is not talking about cracking down on someone who has done something that we simply don’t like
He’s talking about actual sin. And it takes a spiritually mature person to do this.
You who are spiritual should do this:
Restore him how? Gently
a piece of antique furniture. You can’t do it with a jack hammer and matches.
Neither does this happen by just thinking or talking about it. You have to actually approach this piece and get your hands on it, spend time with it.
You do it with care, using just the right touch
It is impossible to restore a person without going to that person and speaking with them.
It is impossible to restore a person by talking about him with other people from a distance
You have to spend time with this person
get to know them
Iron our misunderstandings
This word gently is used in secular Greek for setting broken bones and in the NT it is used for mending fishing nets.
These are things that need to be done gently or more damage, sometimes irreparable damage is done
Why do you do it gently or in a spirit of meekness?
Because you realize that you are also week and that you can have the same faults.
And you need to consider whether this fault is an actual sin or if that person is merely stepping on your “rights”
Because you just might be misunderstanding the situation. You might not have the whole picture of what is going on.
“Bear one another’s burdens”
We don’t go to our brother with the attitude of “I’m here to fix you so that you don’t offend me any more”
Rather we go with the attitude of “How can I help you?” How can I help you serve better? How can I pray for you? What is it that is burdening you today?
“So fulfill the law of Christ” The law of love.
(ESV) 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
(ESV) 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
Love puts our brothers and sisters in front of ourselves. We think of their needs and their growth before our own.
“If any man think he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself”
If you go to your brother and sister thinking, “Ive got it all together so I need to get my brother straigtened out” you are deceived
If you don’t have the proper view of yourself
You too have faults that need to be taken care of
Only through the grace of God can you, or any of us, be who God intends
“Test your own work” put your own work, own deeds, your own service under the microscope. Ask for the direction of the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to reveal the quality of your own work. Ask him to reveal your heart and your motives to you.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
His reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor
This is a hard one to figure out.
There is something inside of us that needs to control someone.
In the flesh, we often become hyper critical of one another
When things are not right between God and me, when communion has been broken, when I need to correct something in my life, I find it easier to try to control others.
to criticize and judge
I try to improve my self-image by controling others or trying to make them look bad
When I find myself trying to control others, I have to ask myself, “What is going on inside of me?” What is God trying to tell me?
What is going on with my communion with God?
But when your life and your work has been put to the test and found pleasing to God, you don’t get your satisfaction and self-worth from controlling your brother or by putting them down.
Rather it will be from the work that God has done inside of you.
For each will have to bear his own load.
This does not contradict verse 2. That is talking about burdens which are too heavy to carry
Huge weights that are pushing you down
This verse is talking about the normal challenges of living, of being transformed. These are “light” burdens. “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”
We are seeing a mix of personal responsibility and coroporate resonsibility.
As we prepare to take communion, is there a brother or sister that you need to talk to. When you are prepared to make your offering and remember that your brother has something against you, go first and make things right with him and then come and offer your sacrifice.