O Lord, we are prone to wander but you are so faithful. We have praised you with our lips, our hearts, and our minds. We will now praise you through the breaking of the bread of your body and the drinking of the cup of grace. We thank you for giving us this simple physical representation of the gospel, just another way that you remind us of your grace. Your word says that it's your kindness that brings us to repentance just like we sang, "Let Your goodness, like a fetter--a chain--bind our wandering hearts to You." As we take the next few minutes as a Body, Your Body, to corporately remember your goodness, grip our hearts, pull us from the monotony of the week, the distractions of life, and shove us to the foot of the cross. We give you our hearts and our minds, guide them to repentance and to praise in this time. In Jesus' name, by his blood, we pray. amen.
Welcome to East Valley Bible Church Tempe. Every week we take part in the Lord's Supper. If you a Christian, if all your hope for this life and the next are placed in Christ alone, you are welcome to participate with us in this time. This time is a wonderful gift for us who have been adopted into God's family; this is family time.
However, if you cannot honestly say that Christ is your only hope--if you have hope in your own goodness, in your own actions, in anybody or anything other than Jesus' Christ's death and resurrection paying your debt of sin--this time is not for you. We do not say this to embarrass you. We aren't judging. This is between you and God. So if you are not a Christian, please pass the cup and bread by. But please don't stop there, listen intently to what I'm about to say and please accept it, embrace it. Talk to whoever brought you or to me or one of the elders after service.
Doing this every week, it may be easy to view the Lord's Supper as monotonous, what we do after we sing and before the announcements and the message. Just another part of what we do. So you will get the bread and the juice and confess a few sins and say "thank you" for dying and that's about it.
So let me guide our hearts through the Lord's Supper this week.
1. Examine your heart for sin. If your first though is "I did pretty well this week." Repent of that sin first. Sin is deceptive. Your sin doesn't have to be murder, adultery, viewing pornography, stealing, cheating, or any of the other "biggies." Have you been content with worldly triviality. Maybe you haven't thanked God for life or acknowledged that you are dependent on him. It could be any number of things, anything that does not come from faith is sin (Romans 14:23). Anything that doesn't come from faith presupposes that you are self-sufficient, which takes God off the throne and puts you there. This is why sin is so horrid. There is no greater treason or rebellion and for this we rightly deserve eternal Hell.
2. Feel the weight of God's wrath against sin that should be sitting on you. As you feel "convicted" for your sin realize that you really do stand convicted before Judge. Image yourself standing before the Holy God as Judge, the sentence comes down "GUILTY"! You have disobeyed God; worse you have committed treason by putting yourself on His throne. For that you deserve death. For that we cannot have his grace on us, only wrath. Wrath that will righteously cast us into torment where when after 10,000 years when we cannot bear it any longer and we just want to cease existing, our torture continues for year after year afterward. I lose my breath and feel like my throat is in my stomach just at the thought of it. This is some vindictive God. This is what we deserve; it's life with without God exactly what we asked for in our rebellion.
3. But guess what! Christ drank down every ounce of that wrath. Look to the cross, where this Divine Alliance, the perfectly Holy, loving, and united Trinity was ripped. God the father pouring out His wrath on Christ making him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf. We were enemies and He still died for us and gave us faith, a new heart, and eternal life. This is quickly not becoming monotonous anymore, huh?
4. Now look back to yourself before the throne, the judgment seat. "Guilty" is the verdict, but Christ--exalted; no longer humbled but exalted to the highest place, God's right hand--is there interceding saying to the Judge, "No. Look at me on the Cross! Look at me being raised! I conquered death. I paid the price. I drank the cup of wrath and have given them the cup of grace!" Your throat should now have moved out of your stomach and should be trembling to cry out praises. No sin this week was too big to make you undeserving of taking part in this. No amount of godliness could possibly make you deserving of it. This is what it means to be a Christian, this is what it means to remember Christ.
5. Now look at your hands, at the bread which represents His body that he willingly broke for you. Remember that broken body on the cross so that you could be forgiven. Look at the cup, the blood poured down which has washed you and given you Christ's righteousness. This is the cup of the new covenant. The Judge doesn't look at you anymore, He looks to Christ.
Now on your own, take some time to remember your sin and see both is horridness and God's kindness shown at the cross. You will be brought low but don't stop there. Look up to Christ at God's right hand taking each one of those sins upon himself and clothing you with His perfect righteousness. Remember that and repent; remember that and praise God; remember that and partake of the bread of remembrance and the cup of the new covenant on your own.