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 is an opportunity to forgive and restore our relationships with others and to realign ourselves to loving the whole body of Christ no matter their background.
‘So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.’ (1 Corinthians 11:27-29)
‘Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.’ (Matthew 5:23-24)
Yesterday, we began looking at what is meant by the injunction to ‘discern the body of Christ’ as we take Communion. Today, I want us to see that this is also about looking around us and putting right our relationships in the church, which is the 'body of Christ'. Communion is a moment to forgive as we have been forgiven, to say, “Forgive us our debts as also have forgiven our debtors”. Paul writes of the unity that Communion speaks of:
‘Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.’ (1 Corinthians 10:17)
The meal is more than a remembrance of Jesus’ death for us. It is a covenantal meal in which we recommit ourselves to Him as Lord, and to one another in His covenant community. It’s a declaration that “I’m devoted to these people as family in Christ”.
‘Discerning the body of Christ’, means Loving the church.
We read of the terrible way that the wealthy in Corinth were creating division as they took Communion:
'In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it...So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!' (1 Corinthians 10:17-18, 20-22)
The wealthy at Corinth were using the Lord’s Supper as an opportunity to be selfish and be seen as of high status - their motivations were mixed and Paul rebukes them.
Do you discern the body of Christ by loving His people of all backgrounds? Communion is an opportunity to examine our relationship to the ‘body of Christ’ and reset ourselves on loving one another. If, however, you are refusing to forgive someone in the church you should refrain from Communion.
Here is another really good song on the subject of Communion:
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.