THE LORD’S SUPPER
I Cor. 11:23-34
Fair Avenue Baptist Church
Easter Sunday, April 12, 1998
Easter Sunday, April 4, 1999 (expanded)
Sunday Evening Service
This evening we are partaking of The Lord’s Supper. It should be the most sacred part of our relationship to God.
I am confident that the Lord’s Supper is something that is great misunderstood in our churches. As a result, it is almost blasphemy the way it is observed in some places.
Paul teaches us here in this 11th chapter of I Corinthians that God judges us in the way that we observe the Lord’s Supper. There were Corinthians who were sick and some had died because of the way they were observing it.
They did not discern the body of Christ.
I wonder whether we discern the body of Christ today.
Most of us observe the METHOD that is used.
We note every detail of RITUAL.
But do we really observe the Lord’s Supper?
The truth is that the Lord’s Supper should be the highest expression and the holiest exercise of Christian worship.
Three of the four Gospels record the institution of the Lord’s Supper, and it is repeated here in I Corinthians 11.
It is interesting that nowhere are we commanded to remember the Lord’s birth, but we are requested and commanded that those who claim to be His should remember His deathday.
VERSE 26 says, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.”
First of all we need to clear up a common misconception about The Lord’s Supper. According to Scripture, there is no set time or number of times for observing The Lord’s Supper. The Bible simply says, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup.”
Some people believe that you have to have it on the last Sunday of any month that has five Sundays, commonly called the fifth Sunday.
Others believe you must have The Lord’s Supper once a month while others believe you are to partake of it every Sunday. Some say at night, others say in the morning.
But the Bible says, and that is what we believe, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup.”
We have chosen tonight, this Easter Sunday night, to observe The Lord’s Supper.
Secondly, The Lord’s Supper is not a sacrament. It is not the means and the channels of saving grace. It is merely a symbol and visible representation of the truth of the Gospel.
While baptism symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, The Lord’s Supper represents the atonement of Christ as the only means of our salvation.
There is no magic in The Lord’s Supper. It is simply a memorial that “shows forth,” it depicts, it dramatizes, it pictures the suffering death of Christ on the cross.
The superstition of the magical powers of a priest to turn common bread and common juice into the actual body and blood of Jesus is ludicrous. We need to know and understand what the Bible says.
When you see a magician wave his hand over something they usually say, “Hocus-pocus.” Where did that phrase come from? They got it from the priests in the Catholic church whom they heard saying in Latin, Hoc est corpus meus, as they moved their magic hands over the tray of bread and the chalice of wine. What amazing magical power! No wonder the magicians picked up the phrase.
Just exactly what did Christ mean when He said, “This is my body,” and “This is my blood”? He certainly did not mean His actual body and blood because He was standing right there in front of them in the flesh.
What did He mean? He meant, “This bread, so broken and crushed, represents my body,” and “This fruit of the vine, blood-red from the crushed grapes, represents my blood.”
The Lord’s Supper is a symbol,
It is a picture,
It is a dramatization,
It is a remembrance of Christ.
Before we begin, we must answer the question of who should observe the Lord’s Supper.
1) First, you must be a born again child of God.
2) Second, you must be a baptized, born again child of God.
3) You must be a member of this local Church.
4) The Word of God teaches in I Cor. 11:17-20 that people who are causing divisions in the church should NOT partake of The Lord’s Supper.
5) You are to examine yourself (V. 28) and see if there is something in your life that should not be there. If your life is not measuring up to God’s standards, you should get right with God tonight.
6) If you have ought against a brother, you need to get it right.
Matt. 18:15-16 teaches us that if we have a problem with a brother, we are to go to him and get it resolved.
Matt. 6:14-15 teaches us that if we do not forgive men their trespasses, our heavenly Father will not forgive us.
Before we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we should get our lives back in tune with God and use this ceremony to renew our relationship with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
If you are a born again, baptized, child of God, and NOT a member of this local New Testament church, then we ask that you NOT participate with us. Please honor our request.
Let’s look at our Bibles once again in I Cor. 11:23-24.
We will now break the bread to symbolize the broken body of Christ. As we break the bread we share together in our remembrance of Christ giving His body.
We will now serve the unleavened bread and ask that you not eat until everyone has received their portion.
As a symbol of our remembrance of Christ, “Take, eat, this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
VERSE 25 speaks of the “cup.”
NOWHERE in Scripture is it called “wine,” as some would have you believe.
Then someone will ask whether it was fermented or unfermented. Questions like that show a lack of Bible knowledge and understanding.
We can know it was unfermented.
This is Passover, the time of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Do you think that they had unleavened bread and leavened grape juice? Wine is grape juice with leaven.
The whole business was unleavened - it had to be at the Passover feast.
But the interesting thing is that here Jesus calls it the cup.
His body was the cup that held the blood.
He was born to die and to shed that blood.
We will now serve the juice and again ask that you not drink until everyone has received their portion.
As a symbol of our remembrance of Christ, “This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.”
The Lord’s Supper is basically three things:
1. It is a commemoration
He repeats, “This do ... in remembrance of me.”
The Lord’s Supper looks back over nineteen hundred years to His death upon the cross.
2. It is a communion
It speaks of the present, of the fact that today there is a living Christ.
3. It is a commitment
It looks to the future - that He is coming again. This table won’t last forever; it is temporary.
It speaks of an absent Lord who is coming back.
It looks to the future.
My friends, when we observe the Lord’s Supper, He is present.
This is not just a symbol.
It means you must discern the body of Christ.
You may have taken the bread and juice in the mouth, but you have Christ in your heart.
I hope we have succeeded in helping us to come to the Lord’s Supper where Jesus Christ is a reality to us.
In Matthew 26:30, at the conclusion of that first Lord’s Supper, we read, “And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.”
We will conclude and be dismissed from this special service with a hymn, Page 306, My Jesus I Love Thee.
(1998 Sermons I / SUPP)