Faithlife Sermons

The Bread and Cup- Destiny and Identity

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We are going to try a little experiment this morning. I have brought a few logos of popular places and things, and I want to see how many we can get right this morning.
Begin with slideshow of images.
Logos, the images that help us recall certain things, places or actions. Some call this “branding.” The idea that our brains connect certain images to specific times, instances, and products. The logos is not McDonald's, but the logo brings up the sight, the sound, and maybe even the taste of McDonald's.
We even see this in the way road signs are made- stop signs are made red and octagon so that your brain sees it and recognizes it faster than reading “stop”
The church has done this same thing, developing our own set of symbols- we call them ordinances, because they hold special meaning in the life of the church. For, as Brethren, we hold to 3 main ordinances in the life of the church that call us to remember Jesus and hold us together as a body. They are Baptism, Anointing, and Communion.
What is special about Communion- the ordinance that we observe today- is that it is one ordinance that we all do together. Baptisms are us bearing witness to what God is doing in the life of some else, anointing are us standing together with a brother or sister in need- but in Communion we all take the bread and we all drink the cup.
In 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 Paul uses some intentional language when he teaches on food sacrificed to idols and the Lord’s Supper.

The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread

Paul says that we participate in the body and blood of Jesus. The word that Paul uses is koinonia- it is rich Greek word found all over the NT that means a bond of fellowship.
One author I read this week said that the closest understanding we might have to the word koinonia is our last name in our culture. Families are joined together by last name, a common identity that we hold that transcends all other parts of their lives. Sure, for many people in our family we are connected through a bloodline, but that is not the case for all, right? In the case of adoption, or marriage, or step-children, we connect with the identity of a name, not just blood. I think about my relationship with my BIL Curtis- we are not connected through a bloodline- we are connected through a last name, but he takes on the role of my bloodline brother- I would do anything in heaven or Earth for him. Koinonia is that kind of fellowship in the body of Christ, the connection and responsibility that we take for one another through our confession of Christ.
For Paul, taking communion is an active role in the sacrifice of Jesus. We are not just drinking juice and eating bread, we are spiritually attaching ourselves to the work of Jesus. This is serious stuff, friends.
So, in John 6 we see Jesus, for the first time, talk about the symbol of his broken body. Jesus tells the crowd that day what this symbol is all about, and what it points to. So, today, let’s consider the 2 things that Jesus tells us our participation in the Communion of our Lord points to in our lives.
First, this Communion is a reminder of our Destiny.
Jesus said in John 6:50-51

This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.

We act as though destiny is only a here and now thing- like it only applies to the physical world of today. How many athletes or musicians have we heard that have family or friends who reflect- we knew he was destined for greatness- or we knew he was destined to be a football player.
But Communion is a sign and reminder of our eternal destiny- that we have a destiny that extends past the right here and right now; we have a destiny that lasts forever.
Jean Neditch once reflected that “It's choice - not chance - that determines your destiny.” A sentiment that Jesus certainly advocated for and preached- in this passage he is quite clear that if we choose him and his sacrifice on the cross then our destiny is eternal life with him.
When we break the bread of Communion we are reminding ourselves, and our neighbors of our eternal destiny.
However, unlike many contemporary schools of thought that teach that we are the masters of our destiny, we also remember in this Communion that Jesus is the ultimate master of our eternal destiny . It was through his broken body and blood that this destiny was created and chosen for us.
Second, this Communion is a reminder of our Identity
There is a story I heard once of a famous preacher, well known throughout the world, who went to go visit some elderly people in the nursing home one day. He was used to being recognized everywhere that he went. He went into the nursing home and walked up to a lady in the dinning room and struck up a conversation- she seemed less than impressed- so he asked “Do you know who I am?” “No” the lady replied “but if you go ask them at the front desk they will tell you!”
We all need a reminder of who we are sometimes. Communion is exactly that, an intentional moment of remembering who Jesus says we are. Listen to John 6:57
 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me
Remember a few weeks ago? We talked about John and Jesus’ use of live is more than just to be alive- it is about all that we are- our entire beings. It is about our interests, opinions, desires, and will. It is about our entire identity.
Kenneth Boa once wrote that “As Christians, our identity in Christ far transcends our identity in anything else. We are children of the living God, fearfully and wonderfully made and deeply loved by the Father”
Communiuon is not just a reminder of who Jesus is- it is also a reminder of who we are.
The Bread is a reminder Jesus’ body
The juice is a reminder of Jesus’ blood
But the Communion itself is a reminder of us- who we are, who Jesus claims us to be- worthy, loved, cherished, and redeemed.
Yes, many take Communion and remember their sin, their struggle, their need for a Savior. There is a time and a place for those reflections But today I invite you into someting else.
Today I invite you to take this bread and cup as a reminder of Jesus’ deep love and mercy, as reminder of who he says you are, and as an indication of the destiny he has provided for you.
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