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The Lord's Table

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1 Corinthians 11:24-31              May 6, 2007

Even 5 years after 9-11, there were people still arguing over how those who died in the twin World Trade Center Towers; were to be memorialized.

The winning design was selected from 5,201 submissions.  Part of the design involved 2 reflecting pools to mark the footprint of the twin towers.

How we memorialize someone or something is important, as it keeps the memory alive as we look back.  This is also true, as we consider the Lord’s Supper.  And yet, there must be something more here at this table.

If this table has no more meaning than the memorials of 9-11, the Vietnam, WWII, etc; we will miss something very important.

The danger is in making or allowing the Lord’s Table to become a ritual, a relic of the past that has lost it’s meaning, because we personally did not fight in that war.

The danger is where we go through the motions of eating and drinking, giving no thought to the significance of the spiritual battle that was fought for all believers, even us today.

In the memorial of the Lord’s Supper, it touches us even today, as by faith the bread and the cup represents what Christ accomplished for us on the cross. It is with this understanding we are to reflect on is significance for us spiritually.

Where we are to reflect on:

I.                  THE LORD (1 Cor. 11:24,25)

 

At the end of each verse Jesus says we are to eat and drink from this table, “…in rememberance of me.”  It must always be about the Lord and what Jesus did for us upon Calvary’s cross.

Both the bread and the cup are to be “reflecting pools” by which we are to see Jesus dying in our place for our sin.  Jesus paid the ultimate price in His death, dying to appease God’s wrath over sin.

Sin’s which you’ve committed, Jesus bore upon His body, as He hung upon the cross being held only the nails of love.  And by shedding His blood, Jesus sealed the covenant that can never be broken; this is the New Testament.

For the cross and the Lord’s death; they testify of God’s love and forgiveness.  Where this table is given as a memorial, saying let us never forget.   It’s to remind us, of the tremendous gift given to us, and the infinite cost to Christ at Calvary.

From that great hymn of the faith, “Come thou Fount,” we sing in v.3 of the reality within our hearts at some point: “Prone to wander Lord, I feel it – prone to leave the God I love.”

And we are all guilty of this from time to time, and that is why, we are given this table with the instruction, “this do in rememberance of me.”

We may not like the thought; that we could or would ever forget.  And yet, we are but dust and vapor, frail mortal beings before the eternal God.

What did Paul tell Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:13, “If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself.”  The point is a simple one: we belong to God and He remembered us upon the cross of Calvary.  So we are to remember Him, who died for us.

Secondly, we are to reflect on:

II.               THE LORD”S RETURN FOR US  (1 Cor. 11:26)

This is not a day of guilt and sadness, being brought face to face with our sins, by eating the bread and drinking the cup.  This is a day of celebration, knowing our sins are forgiven.

In fact, this is a day of hope, which we are to reflect on.  As we come to this table, (having trusted in Christ for salvation) we are to look to the future.

What awaits us: is a glorious day, when we are brought face to face with our God.  I do believe I have the mind of Christ on this matter; that Jesus is looking forward to that future day when we are all brought into His Kingdom, maybe even more than we are looking forward to it.

What we do now in celebrating communion; when the Lord returns for us, in fellowship, we will do into all eternity.  But in eternity, it’s the love and joy of the Lord, we will see, as we look upon His face.

Truly, we are to celebrate communion with the prospect that the Lord one day will take us all home to glory, where we will eat and drink at His banquet table prepared for us.

Today we are to live in this world as sojourners in a world that does not belong to us; but one day we’re going home.

It’s what Jesus said in John 14:1-3.  It’s a glorious day that awaits us when the Lord returns for us.

Lastly, we are to reflect within:

III.           OUR OWN HEART  (1 Cor. 11:27-31)

 

It’s precisely because the Lord’s Table can be reduced down to: “that think we do” all because the Lord commands it.  Where there is no deeper appreciation or understanding for it’s significance: Paul gives us this warning or at least a word of caution.

Yes, despite how this service is a holy ordinance given to the church; it’s possible for individual believers to partake in an unworthy manner.

How so?  Consider the following ways:

FIRST, as we’ve said, by allowing it to become a ritual, were we go through the motions with no thought of what Christ went through, or with gratefulness for what we’ve been given.

SECOND, by believing the bread and the cup offers to us added grace from God.  Making this into a sacrament to earn salvation, instead of a memorial that remembers what saved us.

THIRDLY, by coming to this table of rememberance with a heart that is incapable of worship that is in spirit and truth.  Maybe there is anger, some unforgiving spirit that fills and controls us.  Jesus says first make it right with your brother (Matthew 5:23,24).

FOURTHLY, tied to the previous point, where there is un-confessed sin.  All sin breaks our fellowship with the Lord (1 John 1:6), where this table is intended to be all about our fellowship with the Lord.

FIFTHLY, where we come to the table in unbelief: that mocks the victory that was won for us at Calvary.

Certainly for these reasons, we are to reflect on our own heart – to examine ourselves, our motives, our attitudes, when we come to the Lord’s Table.

Is all of this making a mountain out of a mole hill?  Even if we come to this table with a wrong heart; isn’t it a sin like any other that comes under the blood of the cross?  And thus is forgivable.

First, we should never commit sin knowing it’s covered by the cross.  But the answer is still yes; but consider this from v.29.

Paul says by unworthily partaking of the table, we invite “damnation to himself.”

Paul is not saying by this you’re going to lose your salvation.  The word for damnation here in this passage, carries with it the idea of judgment.

By refusing to reflect on your own heart and confess your sin; it’s kind of like running to the head of the line that hands out judgment and say to God, “Do your worst, let me have it.”

I wonder if half of our problems and that includes our health, can’t be traced back to this failure when we come to the Lord’s Table.

V.31, “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.”

So let the Lord’s Table, not be just another service we go through.  Let it be a celebration of the good things God has done for us.  And yet it must be a memorial where: we reflect on the Lord and what He has done for us, we reflect on the Lord’s coming for us, and we reflect on our own heart before the Lord.

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