Wednesday, August 16, 2017
 

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By : Lonnie Branam [ Sermon What The Lord's Supper Shows ]






WHAT THE LORD'S SUPPER SHOWS



 


I Corinthians l1:23-26 says, For I have received of the lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood; this do as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord's death till he comes." The central theme of this is, "What the Lord's Supper Shows".This thought comes from verse 26, "For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup you do show the Lord's death till he comes." There is something very unique about the supper which Christ instituted, for it very specially concerns Himself. Other things set forth the truths which he taught, the blessings he purchased and the duties he enjoined, but this supper has mainly to do with our lord Jesus Christ himself.


The complexity of his profound personality is set forth in one of his names, Immanuel. His Godhead is beyond us, but his manhood is near to us. This supper is not only the commemoration of a dead person, for the text declares it shows his death till he comes. The supper is a commemoration of a person who is now alive but was once dead. We must not give the impression to the world that Christians, in this observance, are giving honor to a person who is still in the grave. The attitude we should have as we meet around the Lord's Table is best expressed by Jesus himself when he appeared to the Apostle John on the isle of Patmos. He said in Revelation 1:18, "I am he that lives, and was dead? and, behold, I am alive for evermore..." He has gone away as to be still present, and he is still present so as to be absent. Make what you can of that riddle; many of you understand the blessed paradox. According to the text we are to observe this institution to show the Lord's death till He comes. Please notice that in the text the Lord's Supper is said to look forward as well as backward.



First, let us think of the backward look of the Supper. I Corinthians 10:16 says, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we brake, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" There can be no doubt about the meaning and purpose of the Lord's Supper. The main intent of our gathering around this table is to show forth his death. This is the principal point, therefore collect all your thoughts into one thought and all your contemplations into one contemplation. Then let these thoughts ascend to the throne of God as you eat the bread and drink the fruit of the vine. In the wisdom of Christ it was given to us; let us not grow so wise, or rather so foolish, as to neglect it.



Next, let us look at the two emblems used in this memorial service. The cup which we bless represents the blood of Christ, and the bread we break represents the body of Christ. Of what does the supper consist? Simply of bread and grape juice. If you ask why I said grape juice instead of wine I must reply that Jesus did not use the word wine when he established the lord's Supper. The Greek word for wine is oinos, and the Greek word for a grape vine is ampelos. My Greek lexicon states that the word oinos means the fermented juice of apples, pears, etc. It also says the Greek words for grape wine is oinos ampelos. Jesus did not use the word oinos at all, but only the word ampelos which refers to the juice of the grape. The word wine is used over 25 times in the New Testament, but Jesus did not use the word wine when he established the Lord's Supper. For that reason we do not use it.





Furthermore, when Christians eat of the bread and drink of the fruit of the vine,they do so in remembrance of the violent death of Jesus Christ. The two emblems stand separately on the Lord's Table, and we could not observe the Supper with the two joined together. You must have them both, but you must have them apart, for when the blood is separated from the flesh, then death ensues. So, on the table, you have net only two tokens of intense suffering, but you have in the two, separate frcm each other, a most marked and instructive symbol of death. This is just what the Lord intended that it should be, and when we come here we can hardly help remembering his death, for it is so clearly set before us. What I see on the Lord's Table says to me, "I am to show or proclaim the Lord's death till he comes." Whatever I forget, I am to remember that, and this supper was instituted that I may do so. Whatever else may come or go Jesus wants us to remember his death and keep it right in the forefront of everything.





I have been in the habit of coming to the Lord's Table every first day of the week now for many years. I have never omitted it except I have been too ill to move, and I can sincerely say it has never lost its freshness. The Lord's Supper is a standing sermon, containing more teaching than volumes of men's sermons. I just don't know how people think who observe the Supper only once a year or once every three months. Paul said, "As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup." This verse doesn't tell of the frequency of the observance, but it dees use the word "often". It implies that it should be often. Would once a year be often? Would 4 times out of 52 weeks be often? I think not. The apostle Paul taught us by his own example that the Lord's Supper is a weekly observance (Acts 20;7; I Corinthians 16;1,2). However, if God had given us no law about how often we should remember his death in this observance, I still think that it would be well for us to come to the Lord's Table every week. Paul said, "As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup." He should have said, "As seldom as ye drink it," according to the habit of some.



I refer you once more to Paul's statement, "The cup which we bless...and the bread which we break.. " We bless the bread and the fruit of the vine when we offer prayer before partaking of each emblem. The word bless is frcm a Greek word which means "to consecrate a thing with solemn prayers; to ask God's blessing on a thing." Hence, when we give thanks for the bread we should mention the bread, and when we bless the cup we should mention the fruit of the vine in the prayer. Whatever other petitions we may offer in the prayer, we should mention the emblems because the purpose of the prayers is to consecrate two material substances to a holy and spiritual use. And we can all he fully assured that after these consecrating peayers, God has set apart the bread and the grape juice to a special use in his Divine worship.





















As we continue the study, I refer you to the forward look of the Supper mentioned in the text. My text says, "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord's death till he comes." Paul speaks of the prophetic glance of this observance by the words, "We do show the Lord's death till he come." It locks to the past and it looks to the future. In the supper we have fellowship with the centuries that have gone before and with those that shall follow. The command, "This do in remembrance of me" was given to all Christians who have gone before us in the past 2000 years and to all Christians who will come after us until He comes back.



When we eat the bread and drink the cup each Sunday it is an exciting thought that we are doing the same thing Paul, Peter, John, and James did, and as thousands of Christians who died as martyrs. Many regard this as an unimportant ceremony, but we regard it as a most solemn and. sacred duty, especially when we think of hew many hands have combined to break the bread, and how many lips have partaken of the fruit of the vine. When scripture says we do show the Lord's death, it means we publicaly proclaim it. What a privilege to be in the number in our generation who keep the Lord's death before a dying and unbelieving world. It must be kept before the world till he comes. So will it be in the future when you and I sleep with our fathers. Each generation must carry the touch and hand it to the next generation. Someone has described the Lord's Supper as a bridge of diamonds which spans the the centuries  from the death of Christ to his second coming in glory. On this bridge Christians are crossing over from this world to the heavenly world. One thing is certain, and that is that the observance of the Lord's Supper will have much to do with cur reaching heaven. Someone says, "Christians have waited for him nearly two thousand years." So what?  What is two thousand years? Think of those who waited four thousand before Christ came here to die. To wait two thousand years is only a trifle compared to four thousand years for his first coming. Waiting should be no problem for us; our task is show the Lord's death and proclaim it publicly in our generation. When a person comes to the table he proclaims openly that he is a Christian; he has been baptized and serves in the church Jesus purchased with his blood.Furthermore, the correct observance of the Lord's Supper calls for self-examination. In  Corinthians 11;27 Paul said, "Therefore whoever eats this bread and drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup." TO eat the bread and drink of the cup unworthily is to do so in a careless or thoughtless way or manner. Paul does not say, "Let a man examine himself, and then not eat or drink at the Lord's Table." The examination should lead him to repentance and prayer and forgiveness for any wrongdoing which may be in his life. Jesus said, "This do in remembrance of me." Those who fail to meet around the lord's Table, for any excuse whatsoever, transgress this plain commandment of Christ. Unless providentially hindered, Christians must observe the Lord's Supper every Sunday. Self-examination should, lead the Christian to repentance and prayer for forgiveness, and this should bring him to the Lord's Table in the right state of mind and heart. The examination is not a door to shut him out from the ordinance, but a door at which the Christian can pause awhile, to see whether he is in a right condition to enter. And if he is not in a right condition, he should seek to make himself right by repentance and prayer and then come to the table.


The members of the church in Corinth observed the lord's Supper in a most disorderly and unspiritual manner. They confused it with an ordinary meal. Paul said they cane together, not for the better but for the worse. It is a very bad state of things when Christians meet for worship, but their coming together is for the worse and not the better. The Corinthians seem to have regarded the Lord's Supper as a common feast, to which they brought their own provisions and without waiting for each other. They disgraced the table of the Lord by their scandalous proceedings. God was greatly displeased with the way the Corinthians corrupted the Lord's Supper. And he is just as greatly displeased today when Christians meet around His table without discerning the religious and spiritual purpose of the observance.


In order to prevent any such repetition in the future the Holy Spirit gave these most solemn instructions in I Corinthians 11;29,30, "He who eats and drinks unworthily eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep." When  Paul said one eats and drinks damnation to himself, the meaning is he brings judgment on himself and condemns himself. Paul further adds that because of their misconduct in regard to the Lord's Supper many of those Christians were weak and sickly and many fell asleep in death. It appears that Cod visited this church at Corinth with sickness and took away many of the members by death because they had profaned the Lord's Table and would not repent. In summary let me say that Christians must not neglect to observe the Lord's Supper every Sunday, unless providentially hindered. In addition, let Christians see to it that when observing the Lord's Supper they recognize it as a solemn religious and spiritual observance and let the remembrance of Christ occupy the mind during the observance.


The word Communion breaks up easily into the words union and its prefix can. Can means with. So the word communion literally means union with. We must, therefore, first enjoy union with Christ and with his church or else we cannot truly camune with Christ around the Lord's Table. Vfe must be one with Christ in heart, soul and life. Remans 6:4 declares that we are buried with Christ in baptism. Scripture says, "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature." We cannot have camunion with Christ till we are in union with him. In like manner we cannot have carraunion with the church until we are in vital union with it. If you believe in Christ and would like to enter into union with him, then Cod's will for you is expressed in Acts 2?38, "Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins..."


           

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