#656. COMMUNION LOOKS BACK (27/9/22)
This week, as we continue in our Devoted vision series, we are looking at Communion. If we are to build the church according to God’s vision, we must be devoted to remembering what the death of Jesus means through taking bread and wine together.
Summary: Communion - taking bread and wine - is a time to look back and remember the death of Christ for us.
Our memories are a gift from God. What is repeated in thought or action is remembered. Too often we fail to remember important and positive things on purpose and we passively allow fear and worry to fill our thinking. God wants us to remember the gospel - the most important truth - on purpose every day and as we take communion together.
‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.’ (Acts 2:42-43)
LOOK BACK TO THE LAST SUPPER
We derive our understanding and practice of The Lord’s Supper from The Last Supper just prior to Jesus’ death:
‘While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’ (Matt. 26:26-28)
The Last Supper took place on Thursday, the day before Jesus was crucified. According to custom, the Passover Lamb was sacrificed on this Thursday (14 Nisan). This was to commemorate the events of Passover when the ‘angel of death passed over’ the houses of God’s people in slavery, in Egypt who had put the blood of a lamb over their doors. The Lamb was to be eaten in the evening (15 Nisan) as Jesus and His disciples are doing here. However, Jesus takes this symbolic meal and repurposes it, making His work on the cross the new central theme! As with the death of the lamb at Passover, Jesus has died to set you free! He’s died to release you!
Jesus speaks of ‘the covenant’ or ‘New Covenant’. A covenant is a commitment made by God to people who will adhere to the terms of that covenant (See Exodus 24:7-8); In this, The New Covenant, God promises ‘the forgiveness of sins’, and transformation by the Holy Spirit. The terms that we are to keep are faith in Christ (See Heb. 8).
LOOK BACK AT WHAT THE BREAD MEANS
‘For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”’ (1 Corinthians 11:23-25)
Look back and see that the bread speaks of Jesus becoming a real man in order to die for us. He suffered and died for you to pay the penalty of your sin:
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
Jesus suffered for you. He had a real body and underwent spiritual and physical agonies for you. We shy away from physical pain, but He embraced it for you. Look back in grief and appreciation.
LOOK BACK AT WHAT THE WINE MEANS
Look back at what the blood of Christ means for us:
‘Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.’ (Isaiah 53:12)
The blood speaks of death - His sacrificial death to free us from the dominion of sin. Paul writes,
‘For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 6:23)
Death is swallowed up in the victory of Christ for you. Fear no longer holds fear for you. As we look back at Jesus’ death, remember that your death is now a door to heaven.
The bread and the wine are symbolic of Jesus’ body and blood. We are not saved by doing this act or by faith in eating bread and drinking wine - no! These symbols are physical reminders to point us to the object of our faith and salvation - His ‘blood…poured out for many’. Remembrance is a key idea. It’s a physical act which teaches and reminds us of what Jesus has done. We reaffirm our faith again in these things through this act. However, let’s be aware that just as your affirmation of the meaning of the cross is a work of the Spirit in you, so, as you take bread and wine, the Spirit meets you, Christ meets you and helps you to see and celebrate these things with new joy.
TOGETHER IN SEPTEMBER
During September 2022, at CCP, we are having 'Together' meetings instead of our usual Community Groups. You are very welcome to attend these gatherings.
Please come to the church building at 7:30 pm on Wednesday evenings - refreshments and a meal will be available.