The Lord’s Supper; its meaning and observance
Preached in Quabbin Valley on 12/14/08
Lesson Text: 1 Corinthians 11:17-34
We participate in the Lord’s Supper every week and sometimes the sermon is directly related to the supper but often I preach on what I feel God wants me to preach that has nothing directly to do with the Supper. This week I want to take the time to look at the Supper more in-depth.
1) The meaning of the Supper (what the supper means or represents?)
a. Jesus instituted the Supper during the Passover meal. The Passover was a remembrance of what the nation of Israel went through in Egypt. The hard labor and persecution. It was a reminder of the night before they were freed from bondage. They took some of the blood of the lamb and put that blood on the top of the door and on the sides of the door. It’s interesting to note that that is the shape of the cross. It was a reminder of how that night the angel of death would Passover every house that had the blood on the door. The Passover was a reminder of how God took the Israelites out of Egypt and brought them to the Promised Land.
i. Jesus at the Passover supper says “this is the new covenant in my blood”. Jesus was instituting a new Passover supper. Jesus was going to be our Passover Lamb, slaughtered for our sins. The Supper is a reminder that Jesus gave his body and blood for our sins, to set us free from the bondage of sin and death and to lead us out to the Promised land, heaven, to glory, to the New Heavens and the New Earth. That is what the supper represents, reminds us of. m
2) Day of the Supper (What day is the supper to be eaten on?)
a. What day of the week are we to participate in the Supper?
i. Jesus rose on what day of the week?
1. The first day. The first day is Resurrection day. The day when the tomb was empty and the announcement went out that Jesus had risen from the dead, he conquered death.
2. On what day of the week was the Church established on? It was Pentecost which was the first day of the week. The day when the Spirit was poured out on the Apostles and they spoke in different languages and thousands came to Christ and the church was established.
3. The 1st day represents the new creation. God originally created all things in 6 days and rested on the 7th. Jesus Christ, who is the head of the New Creation rose on the first day, established his church on the first day. The first day of the week represents the New Creation in Christ. In Christ we are new creatures. What day of the week are we to celebrate the Lord’s Supper? On the day that he rose, the day he established his church, on the day that represents the new life, the New Creation, The first day of the week, Sunday. What other day would be more appropriate than this day?
3) Our attitude
a. What is our attitude to be like as we come to the Supper? Paul says each one should examine himself before he partakes of the Supper. We are to think hard about what we are doing and why we are doing it and how we are to respond to what the Christ has done. We should come to the supper as humble followers of Christ, recognizing that he is to be glorified that we are his servants and we are no better than any other person in this room, we are sinners saved by grace. There is no room at the supper for the proud or the boastful, no room at the supper for persons who look down at everyone else. The supper should say to the one who thinks he is perfect or better than others, Christ died because you were not perfect, you have no reason to boast in yourself. The supper says to the person who thinks “I am the worst sinner in the world and don’t deserve to be in your presents” that God loves you and died for you so that in Christ you are righteous and holy.
i. Our attitude should be humble, and full of joy and thanksgiving to Christ for what he did for us that we couldn’t do for ourselves. The supper shows us that in Christ we are equal, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, but all are one in Christ.
The supper reminds of Christ crucified from the dead for our sins. He is our Passover lamb. We partake on the first day of the week, resurrection day, the day the church was established and the day that represents the New Creation. And our attitude is to be humble and contemplative of what Jesus has accomplished for us. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes (1 Cor 11:26)