Communion Message - Part 4
August 2, 2009
The Trail of Blood – The Burnt Offering
Before we partake in communion this morning, I want to, once again, tread the
crimson trail of blood. We discovered some weeks ago that God started the trail of blood by sacrificing an animal for the sake of Adam. When Adam sinned, God killed an animal and skinned it to provide a covering for Adam. Therefore the first blood was shed and it was for man’s sin.
In my last communion message, we took our first look at the sacrificial system. We examined the sin offering – the basic offering required of all Jews. It was compulsory to atone for sins committed unknowingly especially where no restitution was possible. The animal was killed and its blood was sprinkled on the altar then the fatty portions burned.
The sacrificial system also called the Levitical Offerings – or the law of purification through the shedding of blood (Heb. 9:22) was instituted by God for the Jews as a picture – a picture of what Jesus would do at the cross. Jesus would be the perfect offering by which we can be saved and sanctified. He is called the beginning and the end. He began the new covenant and ended the old.
Today we will take a look at another type of offering – the burnt offering. The burnt offering was also called the whole offering as the whole animal was burned not just the fatty portions. This was the normal sacrifice of an Israelite who was living in a proper relationship with God, and was the only sacrifice in which a non-Israelite could not participate.
As with the sin offering, the animal was killed and the blood sprinkled on the altar. Then the whole animal was cut up to burn. The entrails were washed then placed with all the other pieces of the animal in order on the altar. It was necessary for the fire to be kept burning until there was nothing left but ash. The burnt offering was a smoke offering to the LORD and is mentioned in the first chapter of Leviticus, “…an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD.”
The stipulations as to which animals were acceptable were strict – the animal was to be domesticated, indicating value to its owner. But they could not be carnivorous because animals that lived by slaying other animals could not typify Christ. As with the sin offering, the animal for the burnt offering was to be without blemish, symbolizing the sinless humanity of our LORD.
The burnt offering, the oldest of all the offerings, was a voluntary offering to signify complete dedication and consecration to God. It prophetically signifies the complete dedication of Christ to our redemption by the spilling of His precious blood. The burnt offering expressed personal consecration and desire for purity.
Is this your desire this morning? To consecrate yourself to the LORD? Is it your desire to be pure? That is one of the criteria for all who take communion. It is a ceremony of remembrance, but it is also a ceremony of cleansing. Before you come forward it should be your desire to repent of all sin, as sin separates you from God. Let’s take a few minutes now to silently come before the LORD in an attitude of repentance. [pause for a couple of minutes of silent prayer]
The second and more crucial requirement before taking communion is that you are a believer – a follower of Jesus Christ. If you are, then you are welcome to partake with us no matter which church you belong to. If you are not yet a follower of Christ, then there is no time like the present to come to Him. If you have recognized that you are a sinner, and have turned from your sin and asked God’s forgiveness, and if you have recognized and trusted that Jesus’ sacrificial death was sufficient to pay your ticket into heaven, then you are saved.
If you are a believer, born in the Spirit, you are welcome at the LORD’s table. Come, join us in this spiritual feast. But before you do, examine your heart. Let’s remember that we are not to partake unworthily. 1 Corinthians 11:27 – 29 says, “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. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself…” Eating or drinking in an unworthy manner has to do with divisions in the fellowship (as mentioned in verse 18). If you harbor bitterness or envy or an unkind attitude toward others, Scripture asks that you “mend your fences” before you celebrate communion. This is a holy remembrance.
Let’s pray silently. Ask God to reveal to you if there is a need for repentance before you partake. As you come silently before our LORD and God, ask Him to also reveal to you the deep and wide trail of blood leading to the cross for our sake.
AS we prepared to be served, let’s pray for the consecration of these elements: Father, we are thankful for the bread and cup. We pray that these elements will provide more than physical nourishment. Grant us the peace, unity, and spiritual nourishment this bread symbolizes. May this cup speak again of the blood Christ shed for the forgivenessof sin. Cleanse us and consecrate us again as we partake of this token meal together. We eagerly await the day we shall eat it with you in the Kingdom of Heaven. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Starting on my left, please come forward to be served the elements, please hold on to your serving until all have been served so we may partake together.
(When all are ready to partake) “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” Let’s partake.
(When all are ready to partake of the cup) “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.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”
Let’s finish with these Scripture verses:
“To all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.”(John 1:12)
“If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is LORD”, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”(Romans 10:9)
“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures…He was buried...He was raised again on the third day.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life, No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
“God demonstrated His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)