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4/21/14 – “THE POWER OF COMMUNION”

22 Apr

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1 Cor. 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

One of the most powerful elements we have in Christianity is communion and yet it is one of the most misunderstood aspects of what should be a very meaningful and impactful part of our lives. Throughout the years of church history it has predominately become nothing more than a religious exercise for most. I know for others I have read testimonies of it has become a time for some that they did not look forward too. They were taught it was a time they were to look at themselves in the natural, but in fact Paul clearly paints a different picture about communion.

Let’s first take a look at a couple of things to make note of before we dig into the scriptures learning about this very powerful part of our Christian faith. First the word communion itself means to be one with, to be in partnership. Through what Christ has done for us we are one spirit with the Lord, and we are now partners with Him as joint heirs. The other thing to note about communion is that any believer can take communion anytime they want, and in fact it should be done by believers in their homes on a more regular basis. The early disciples received communion together at the start of their meal. This is not something that has to be done with a minister present, for we are all partakers of what Christ has done for us. With that being said let’s look at what Paul learned from the Lord about communion.

1 Cor. 11:23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;
1 Cor. 11:24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
1 Cor. 11:25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

Let’s begin with the two key elements of communion and what they represent. First the bread, which Jesus clearly tells us is His body broken for us. It is in this statement that Jesus was recognizing the sacrifice He would make for us, just as they were to offer the sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb during Passover. He was identifying with this sacrifice given for us. As Jesus broke the bread at the last supper He also did this signifying that He like receiving bread for food should be partaken of. Jesus tells us in Matthew 4:4 that man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Jesus is defined in John’s gospel as the Word.

One of the keys to receiving communion is that we acknowledge by our faith in Him that He has made the ultimate sacrifice for all man-kind, and now for us to become partakers of what He has provided we must feed on the Word, especially what scripture reveals we now are and what we already have in Him. We will talk more about this in a minute but notice that at the end of this statement in receiving the bread Jesus said that we are to do this in remembrance of Him. It does not say anything about us remembering what we have or haven’t done.

The next element is the cup, which Jesus clearly tells us this is the new covenant in His blood. Without the shedding of blood there could be no forgiveness of sin. During the Passover the children of Israel were to place blood over the doorposts of their homes so that death would pass over them. When anyone receives Jesus as the Lord of their life they are in fact receiving the blood He shed placed over the doorpost of their heart in which they receive new life and death now passes over them. There are six different distinct times Jesus shed blood and each time has significance in our life. I shared about this last week in “Why He Came”. When we receive the cup we are acknowledging not only the blood He shed for us, but also the covenant we now have with God.

Once again in the statement about us receiving the cup we are told to do this in remembrance of Him. People tend to forget this as they read on in Corinthians about the other statements Paul makes about communion, but it is very clearly seen the focus in communion is not on our past failures or sins, but on Christ alone and what He has accomplished for us. When you understand this then the rest of what Paul said becomes quit clear.

1 Cor. 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

Next we have Paul telling us as we have seen as our foundation verse this week that as often as we eat this bread and drink this cup we are proclaiming the Lord’s death till He comes. First of all notice he said as often as you do this. This is a reference to the fact that you can do this as a family, with church family, by yourself, or in a church service, and we should do all the above. Next he states that when we do receive these elements we are making a proclamation. This word means to speak, pronounce, or declare. Faith does not just believe, faith speaks. In proclaiming the Lord’s death we are proclaiming our current victory we have through the death of Christ, all that He has purchased for us.

When He comes we will then see the fulfillment of all things and we will no longer need to make this declaration over our lives. We do so now because we have victory in our lives through the covenant He has provided for us to be more than conquerors in this life. Because of what Christ did for us we cannot only be born again, but we can walk in a victorious life right now. We have the right to what He died and paid for because His shed blood and His body given for us made us righteous. We have been given the gift of righteousness (right standing with God) so that we can reign in this life through Jesus Christ as Romans 5:17 tells us. Every time we declare the Lord’s death we are declaring the victory He has given to us through life, the Zoe’ or god-kind of life.

1 Cor. 11:27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
1 Cor. 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
1 Cor. 11:29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
1 Cor. 11:30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.
1 Cor. 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.

As we continue here don’t forget that Jesus emphasized we do this in remembrance of Him. We are told if we eat this bread or drink this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, we will not benefit from communion and will in fact live a life that is still being effected by the results of the fall of man, for Paul states in verse 30 that many are weak, and sick, and even die early because of this fact. How do we not partake in an unworthy manner? There are two key things to consider here.

The first thing to consider is the problem that was happening in the Corinthian church where communion no longer had a sacred meaning. They were not waiting for one another to receive communion together as they had been doing when they would come together, instead because they were hungry and wanted to get to the meal they would receive communion without remembering Christ and what He had done for them. Secondly notice it states in verse 28 we are to examine ourselves, and in the next verse we are told to receive this in an unworthy manner means we are not properly discerning the Lord’s body when it is received.

We are the body of Christ. If we receive communion in “Remembrance of Him”, we remind ourselves of who we now are in Christ. He is the head and we are the body. We are the body because of the righteousness of Christ we have now been given. To judge ourselves means to properly discern who we now are and what we now have a right to as a child of God, because of the sacrifice that Christ made for us. We must do so through understanding of the Word of God. Remember as I mentioned earlier Jesus said man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word of God. If you want to experience the life God has for you, then you must feed on His Word and recognize what His Word says about you. You must acknowledge His Word above your circumstances in life and put your faith in what He said, not what you see.

As verse 31 states if we judge (discern) ourselves we would not then be judged with the world. Those in the world who do not know Christ are still under the condemnation of the fall. Jesus Himself said those who are in the world are already condemned, but once you are saved you are no longer condemned with the world. You are now a child of God who has not only been made brand new; you now have rights as one of His children. You have the right to everything promised to you through what Christ has done for you.

So when you receive communion remember it is about being reminded of what Jesus did, and who you now are in Him. When you begin to see yourself as the body of Christ, you begin to see yourself strong in the Lord, healed, and living out a full life here on earth. There is great power in communion for the believer who understands and receives it the way Christ intended.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

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Posted by on April 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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