Communion A Time To Remember
Sermon preached at State College, Pa. At the Free Methodist Church
On Sunday Morning, February 16, 1997
By Pastor Chester W. Marshall. Jr.
I Cor. 11:23-34
A Time To Remember
Evangelical churches recognize two ordinances established by Jesus Christ for His people to observe: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. ( The Supper is also called The Communion) At the Last Supper Jesus Christ took the cup and the loaf—the ingredients of a common meal in that day—and transformed them into a meaningful spiritual experience for believers.
The value of the experience of coming to the Lord’s table depends on the condition of the hearts of those who participate; and this was the problem at the Church in Corinth.
It is a serious thing to come to the Communion with an unprepared heart. It is also a serious thing to receive the Supper in a careless manner.
The Lord’s Supper gives us an opportunity for spiritual growth and blessings if we approach it in the right attitude. What then, must we do if the Supper is to bring blessing and not chastening?
There are three things that I would like us to learn about communion today.
1. Communion is a time of Repentance-- (11:27-28, 31-32)
Paul did not say that we had to be worthy to partake of the Supper, but only that we should partake in a worthy manner.
If we are to participate in a worthy manner, we must examine our own hearts, judge our sins, and confess them to the Lord. To come to the table with unconfessed sin in our lives is to be guilty of Christ’s body and blood, for it was sin that nailed Him to the cross.
If we will not judge our own sins, then God will judge us and chasten us until we do confess and forsake our sins.
The Corinthians neglected to examine themselves, but they were experts at examining everybody else. When the church gathers together, we must be careful not to become “religious detectives” who watch others, but fail to acknowledge our own sins.
If we eat and drink in an unworthy manner, we eat and drink judgment (chastening) to ourselves, and that is nothing to take lightly. Chastening is God’s loving way of dealing with His sons and daughters to encourage them to mature. Chastening proves God’s love for us, and chastening can, if we cooperate, perfect God’s life in us.
Let’s take a few moments to search our hearts and repent of any sin in our lives.
2. Communion is a time of Restoration.. Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
51:12 Do you ever feel stagnant in your faith, as though you are just going through the motions? Has sin ever driven a wedge between you and God, making him seem distant? David felt this way.
He had sinned with Bathsheba and had just been confronted by Nathan the prophet. In his prayer he cried, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” God wants us to be close to him and to experience his full and complete life.
But sin that remains unconfessed makes such intimacy impossible. Confess your sin to God. You may still have to face some earthly consequences, as David did, but God will give back the joy of your relationship with him.
This can also be a time when we restore a fallen Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
Today could also be a time to restore relationships in the family of God. The Lord’s Supper is a family meal, and the Lord of the family desires that is children love one another and care for one another.
It is impossible for a true Christian to get closer to his Lord while at the same time he is separated from fellow believers. How can we remember the Lord’s death and not love one another.
John 13:34-35 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
13:34-35 Jesus says that our Christlike love will show we are his disciples. Do people see petty bickering, jealousy, and division in your church? Or do they know you are Jesus’ followers by your love for one another?
13:35 Love is more than simply warm feelings; it is an attitude that reveals itself in action. How can we love others as Jesus loves us? By helping when it’s not convenient, by giving when it hurts, by devoting energy to others’ welfare rather than our own, by absorbing hurts from others without complaining or fighting back. This kind of loving is hard to do. That is why people notice when you do it and know you are empowered by a supernatural source. The Bible has another beautiful description of love in 1 Cor. 13.
3. Communion is a time of Remembrance . 1 Cor. 11:23-24 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."
The broken bread reminds us of Christ’s body, given for us; the cup reminds us of His shed blood. It is a remarkable thing that Jesus wants His followers to remember His death.
Most of us try to forget how those we loved died, but Jesus wants us to remember how He died. Why? Because everything we have as Christians centers in that death. It is not the life of our Lord or His teachings, that will save sinners—but His death.
We must also remember why He died: Christ died for our sins; He was our substitute. Isaiah 53:5-6 But he was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace; he was lashed--and we were healed! 6We--every one of us--have strayed away like sheep! We, who left God's paths to follow our own. Yet God laid on him the guilt and sins of every one of us!
He paid the debt that we could not pay. We should also remember how He died: Willingly, meekly, showing forth His love for us. He gave His body into the hands of wicked men, and He bore on His body the sins of the world.
This “remembering” is not just the recalling of historical facts. It is a participation in spiritual realities. At the Lord’s table, we do not walk around a monument at admire it. We have fellowship with a living Savior.