This Do In Remembrance Of Me
1 Corinthians 11:23-32
IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME
Intro: There are only two ordinances which we Baptists practice. The word Ordinance means, “A law, or something prescribed.” In other words, Baptists recognize only two rituals as being prescribed by the Word of God. The first is the ordinance of baptism by immersion and the other is the Lord’s Supper, or Communion.
Baptism is a symbolic act that portrays what Jesus has done for the believer in salvation. It is a picture of a person dying to the old life of sin and being raised again to a new life of service to the Lord. It is an outward symbol of the inward work of God in the human spirit. We will observe that ordinance this evening.
The Lord’s Supper, on the other hand, is a symbolic act that calls to mind the death, resurrection and promised return of the Lord Jesus Christ. When we take the bread and the cup, we are remembering the fact that Jesus Christ died for our sins on the cross, was buried, and rose again from the dead. The Communion is a symbolic memorial of the eternal work God did through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.
There are 4 basic views as to what the Lord’s Supper represents.
1. Transubstantiation - The bread and wine literally change into the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The recipient actually eats the Lord’s body and drinks His blood, because Jesus is literally being sacrificed in the mass. This is the position held by the Roman Catholic Church. We reject this view!
2. Consubstantiation - The bread and wine actually contain the body and blood of Jesus, but do not literally change. Christ is actually present with, in and under the elements. According to this view, the recipient receives the forgiveness of sins and the confirmation of their faith through the elements. This is the Lutheran position. We reject this view.
3. Reformed - Christ is not literally present in the elements, but there is the spiritual presence of Christ. The recipient receives grace through partaking of the elements. This is the view of most Presbyterians and some Reformed Churches. We reject this view.
4. Memorial - This view teaches that Jesus is present neither physically or spiritually in the elements, but that the Lord’s Supper stands as a symbolic reminder of what Jesus did for man as the cross and the tomb. This is the Baptist and Mennonite view and it alone represents the truth of what the Bible teaches about the Lord’s Supper.
Today, we will worship as Christians have worshiped for over 2,000 years. We will remember Jesus; what He did; why He did it and what it means for us. Since this is our first Communion in quite a while, I want to take a few minutes to remind us what the Lord’s Supper is all about.
More than anything else, the Lord’s Supper service is a time of remembrance. That is why Jesus said, “This do in remembrance of Me.” And, that is the thought that I wish to magnify for a few minutes today. Allow me to share a few thoughts regarding the nature of the Lord’s Supper as we think on the thought: This Do In Remembrance Of Me
I. A TIME TO COMMEMORATE
(Ill. The word Commemorate means “to honor the memory of somebody or something in a ceremony; to serve as a memorial to something.” If the Lord’s Supper is anything, it is a memorial. It is a time to remember Jesus and what He accomplished in His death and resurrection. The following is what we commemorate today.)
A. We Commemorate His Sufferings – Verses 24 and 25 talk about the “broken body” and the shed “blood” of Jesus. Both of these vivid phrases bring to mind suffering and pain. When we take the elements of the Lord’s Supper, we are to remember that Jesus Christ suffered horribly for us to save us from our sins. (Ill. Jesus suffered at the hands of man – Isa. 52:14. Jesus suffered at the hands of God, Isa. 53:1-12; Matt. 27:46. Ill. The cross and all He suffered.)
B. We Commemorate His Sacrifices – The fact that Jesus Christ was in a human body speaks of the sacrifices He made to redeem us. God became a man, lived and died in this world to redeem the lost, John 1:1, 14; Phil. 2:5-8! He suffered shame, Matt. 27:39-44; rejection, John 1:11; poverty, 2 Cor. 8:9; pain, 1 Pet. 2:21; and death, John 19:30. In fact, the goal of giving Himself as our sacrifice was His whole purpose in coming to this world in the first place, Luke 19:10; Mark 10:45; John 18:37.
When the bread and the juice are passed around in a few minutes; stop to remember what Jesus did for you. We are here to commemorate His sufferings and His sacrifices for us!
II. A TIME TO CELEBRATE
(Ill. Just as much as the Lord’s Supper service is a commemoration; it is also a celebration! The word Celebrate means, “to mark a special occasion or day by ceremonies or festivities.” It comes from a Latin word that means “To attend a feast.” That is what we are here to do today! We are here to attend a feast celebrating all that Jesus accomplished for His Bride! There should be a heart of thankfulness, happiness and joy within every saved person today because of Who Jesus is and what Jesus has done! This place should be a place of celebration today. Here is what we celebrate.)
A. We Celebrate His Compassion – Notice the words “for you” in verse 24. These words remind us that Jesus did what He did and suffered what He did all because He loved us, John 3:16; John 15:13. He had no sin of His Own to die for, 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24, but He willingly took our sins upon Himself that we might be delivered from our sins and from the penalty of our sins. What love that Jesus Christ; the sinless Lamb of God would give Himself for you and me! But, He did, Rom. 5:6-8! Jesus shed His blood to take away our sins, John 1:29; Heb. 9:26; 1 Pet. 1:18-19.
B. We Celebrate His Conquest – What is not mentioned in these verses, but what is clearly implied, is the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead after His death on the cross, v. 26! You see, anyone could have died; but only the God-man could have paid for sins through His death and then guaranteed eternal life by rising again from the dead, John 11:25-26! But, that is just what Jesus did, Matt. 28:1-6; Rom. 5:10! Thank God, because He lives, all those who believe in Him will live also, Rev. 1:18; 1 Cor. 15:20.
C. We Celebrate His Coming – We are clearly told that when we observe the Lord’s Supper, we are telling this world that we believe Jesus is coming again, v. 26. That is His promise to us, John 14:1-3! That promise was reaffirmed by Paul in 1 Thes. 4:13-18. It was also reaffirmed by Jesus Himself in the closing words of the Bible, Rev. 22:20! He is coming and that is a truth we can celebrate with joy today!
III. A TIME TO CONTEMPLATE
(Ill. The Lord’s Supper service is a time to commemorate and celebrate; but it is also a time to contemplate. That word means, “to think about something seriously and at length.” When I think of what Jesus suffered for me, I want to worship Him. When I think of all the things we are here to celebrate, I want to shout His praises. But, when I understand the message of verses 27-32; I understand that the Lord’s Supper is also a very serious time. It is a time for us to reflect upon the condition of our lives so that we can be sure we are where we need to be with the Lord, before we participate in the service.)
A. We Must Contemplate Our Salvation – In spite of all their sins and failures, Paul is writing to saved people in this chapter. When Paul uses the words “us” and “we”, he is talking about himself and his fellow believers. He is giving details of a celebration, of a commemoration that is for believers only!
Some people practice what is called "Closed Communion.” This means that the church only allows those who are members of that church and who are in good standing with that church to participate in the Lord’s Supper. Others practice what is called "Open Communion". In those kinds of churches, everyone who is present is encouraged to participate in the observance of the Lord's Supper.
What I have always believed and practiced is what is known as "Close Communion". In other words, everyone who is present is invited to participate; but only after they have been warned of the consequences of partaking in the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner. Since neither you nor I know anyone’s heart, each person is urged to practice self-examination and then they can participate if they choose to. In other words, only those who are in close communion with the Lord are encouraged to participate.
So, we are glad you are here today, but if you are lost, then you should let the bread and cup pass you by. Or, you should come to Jesus and be saved right now, so that you can be made worthy to participate in this great time of celebration.
B. We Must Contemplate Our Sanctification – Notice verse 27. There is a word in that verse that bothers me. It is the word “unworthily.” We are told that if we take of this bread and this cup “unworthily”; we bring God’s wrath upon our lives by not reverencing the Lord’s body. This word refers to taking the Lord’s Supper ritualistically, indifferently, with an unrepentant heart, a spirit of bitterness, or any other ungodly attitude.
In fact, the phrase “not discerning the Lord’s body,” has the idea of treating Jesus like the mocking and jeering crowds did at His crucifixion. It means that we treat His broken body and His shed blood as if they were nothing!
The Lord is telling us to “examine” our own lives. The word “examine” means “to test, top scrutinize, to recognize as genuine after close examination.” We need to be sure that we are clean, before we come to His table. When we partake of His table with an unclean heart, we need to be aware that there will be a price to pay.
1. Some are sick because of it – verse 30a
2. Some are dead because of it – verse 30b
3. All will be chastened because of it – verse 32
What are we to do? The answer is in verse 31! We are to examine ourselves and bring our sins to His altar in confession and repentance, 1 John 1:9. When we do that, we can expect His forgiveness. When we do not, we can expect His chastisement!
Is it that serious? Yes it is! In fact, it is so serious that I would say to you that if you have sin in your life and you do not plan to confess it and deal with in this altar; then you should let the bread and the juice pass you by!
Conc: We are almost ready to come to the Lord’s Supper table. We are almost ready to commemorate and celebrate our wonderful Savior’s life, His death, His resurrection and His return. But, before we do, we need to have a time of contemplation.
I am going to extend a challenge to you today to examine your heart. I want you to look deep within yourself and see just where you stand with the Lord. Here is what I want you to ask yourself:
1. Am I really saved? Is Jesus my Savior? Am I sure?
2. Am I clean before Him today? Have all of my sins been confessed and brought out into the open? Can I take the Lord’s Supper with a worthy heart?
3. Am I ready to partake of the Lord’s Supper with a focused heart? Are my thoughts centered on Jesus, His worship and what He has done in my life? Am I ready to do this in remembrance of Him?
Let’s get ready to meet Him at His table today!