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What's to Eat?

Surrounding Easter  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Surrounding Easter

Since we’re so close to Easter, I decided to do things a bit different than what I said last week. We’re going to look at a few events that surround Easter, and what Easter really means. What is Easter, why do we celebrate Easter?
We celebrate Easter because of Jesus death burial and resurrection. Because of those three things, we are able to have salvation and freedom from our sins when we place our faith and trust in Christ.
Now can you name something that we do at different times of the year that’s connected to Easter?
Once I say it, you’ll go oh.. It’s the Lord’s Supper. That’s the first thing surrounding Easter we’re going to look at. We’ll be taking the Lord’s Supper on Easter, so I want you to have a good understanding of what it is, and why we do it. Open up your Bible to Matthew 26. We’ll look at 26-29 and then we will also refer back to Exodus a bit as well.
Matthew 26: 26-29 says: Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take eat; this is my body. And he took a cup and when he had given thanks He gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
So let’s look at the Lord’s Supper and break it down and see what all we can pull from it
How is it done?
When we say we’re partaking in the Lord’s Supper, it’s done in a ceremonial style, to an extent. The deacons come up and pass the containers around that hold the unleven bread and the cup that has the grape juice, or fruit of the vine, in it. The bread is done first, the pastor leading usually reads verse 26 or they may pull the same verses from Luke 22. We pray and then everyone eats at the same time.
Next we go to the juice. After the juice is passed out, the pastor reads verses 27-28. There is another prayer, and everyone drinks the juice at the same time.
How often?
There is no set amount of time when we do it. There is nothing in the Bible that says we should do this daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. We’re just instructed to do it. 1 Corinthians 11:26 says For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
So it doesn’t really say how often, although there are a few other verses, like Acts 2:46 and Acts 20:7 suggest the disciples may have done it daily or weekly depending on how you look at the interpretation of breaking bread.
This is one of two ordinances we as baptist feel we are commanded to follow. The other one is being baptized. Here at Immanuel, we have the Lord’s Supper, or communion, once a quarter or on special occasions when it’s deemed necessary.
Some churches offer it every time church service is offered. Other churches are like us and only do it so often. There is nothing wrong with doing either. Some people can argue that since it’s something special, we should not do it all the time because it would lose the meaning behind it. Others argue the exact opposite, that it doesn’t lose meaning and we should be doing it more often. Personally I don’t think there should be a debate, as long as followers of Christ are doing it and doing it for the right reasons. Which we’ll talk about here in a few minutes.
Who can do it?
Next question would be can anyone do it? Short answer is no, not everyone can participate in the Lord’s Supper. But I don’t like short answers, I want to make sure it’s fully explained.
The only ones that are supposed to do the Lord’s Supper is someone who has fully professed their faith in Christ and baptized. Here is where things get a little tricky. There are three types of communion. Open, close and closed.
Open Communion: We practice open communion here at church. Anyone that comes can participate in the Lord’s Supper. As long as you are a believer in Christ. Doesn’t matter what denomination you are. However, there are some in the baptist faith that have issues with an open communion. As baptist, our belief is that when you are baptized, it’s an outward expression of your inward belief in Christ. You’re buried, in the water, and raised into new life. We follow the meaning of the Greek word for baptize, which is Baptizo. That means to immerse. Other denominations, Methodist and Catholics as an example, believe that just sprinkling water is a sufficient form of baptism. They do this for children when their born, and it leaves some with the false impression that just them getting sprinkled as a child allows them to go to heaven. Which is a completely different topic that we can discuss some other time.
Close Communion: This type of communion makes things a bit tighter on who can participate. This form of communion is only open to people who have confessed Christ as their Saviour, been baptized by immersion, and belong to a like minded church. In other words, if we were holding a close communion, and someone from the Catholic church was present, they would not be able to participate in it.
Closed Communion: The third type is the most restrictive form of communion. The only ones who can take part in this type of communion is those who confess Jesus as their Saviour, been baptized by immersion, and attend that specific church. Only the members of that church can partake because they are the only ones that can be verified to meet the requirements because in order to be a member in most baptist churches, you have to profess Christ as your Savior and either be baptized at the church, have a letter from another church saying you were a member that was baptized, or a statement of faith.
Like I said, we practice open communion here at church. We welcome anyone who has placed their faith in Christ Lord’s Supper. But that will add another question.
Why does it matter who does it?
The Lord’s Supper is not something that we take lightly. It’s something that the body of believers is required to do. Not everyone who comes to church is part of the body of Christ. Only those who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Saviour become parts of the body of Christ. Since those who believe are part of the body, all believers are welcome to fellowship with Christ and this is one of the ways that we do that. Anyone who is not a believer should not take part in communion.
Why’s that?
Unbelievers are not part of the body of Christ. They haven’t accepted Christ as their Savior and don’t know the saving grace that Jesus provided for us with His death, burial, and resurrection. When a follower of Christ dies, they have Jesus covering their sins and when an unbeliever dies, they have to face the judgement that comes. Jesus payed for our sins, without Jesus, we have to pay for our own sins. When we take communion there is a connection to the sacrifice that Jesus made.
How is it connected and what does it symbolize?
The connection is simple, Jesus explained it in the two verses that we read. Verse 26 Jesus said the bread was a symbol of His body. His body was broken for each of us. In verse 28, Jesus says the juice is His blood which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. So when we drink the juice we do so in remembrance of the blood that Christ shed for our sins.
Before we take communion, there is always the opportunity for us to make sure we are in the right place with God. We should never enter into communion with uncofessed sin. Which explains more about why non-believers can’t participate in communion.
1 Corinthians 10:21 says You are not able to drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You are not able to share the table of the Lord and the table of demons.
In other words, you can’t sit and have the Lord’s Supper while you still sit in sin. So you must confess your sins before taking the Lord’s Supper.
So again, when you take the Lord’s Supper you’re saying that you know Christ died for my sins, you’re openly admitting that you believe that. So for someone who isn’t a believer, if they take communion they are lying because they are not in a relationship with Jesus and they don’t believe that He split His blood for the forgiveness of our sins.
1 Corinthians 11:27-29 address this. It says “So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But let a person examine themselves, and in this way let them eat from the bread and let them drink from the cup. For the one who eats and drinks does not recognize the body, eats and drinks judgment against themselves.
Now Jesus didn’t just say now is a good time to share this with the disciples, there is more to it. He did it during the Passover feast. This Sunday, our new senior Pastor Chris Workman, is going to go over Passover, so I’m not going into detail tonight. However, there is something important we have to know. Think back to Moses and the plagues. God had Moses ask Pharaoh to let the people go. Each time pharaoh said no and a plague came down. The last plague was the death of the first born, but those who had blood of the sacrificed lamb on the door, death would pass over the house.
Jesus was showing that He was the sacrifice that would allow death to pass over. He showed that He was going to be the lamb that sacrificed so that death would not take those who believed and hid under it’s blood. When we accept Christ, we hide under his blood and death passes us by. , What’s awesome is it’s so simple. Just confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord. Know that He is God’s Son, who was sent to earth, lived a perfect life, suffered and died on the cross, was buried and rose again three days later. If you have done that, you are a follower of Christ, praise God, if you haven’t accepted Christ yet, why not? What’s stopping you from making that decision, let’s sit down and talk about it. If you have accepted Christ and haven’t been baptized yet, let me know. Let’s get that scheduled! We want everyone to know and see that you made a commitment to Christ and that He is your Lord and Saviour.
Now just to recap what we discussed, there are lots of things going on that surround Easter. The Lord’s Supper or communion is one of those, and it’s something we are called to practice today. It’s us recognizing that Jesus blood was split for us and it’s one of the ways we recognize it.
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