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Faithlife

Three Meanings of the Lord's Supper

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Intro: What a joy it is to celebrate our first Lord’s Supper service all together as one in our new facility. At Cedar Hill, the Lord’s Supper is much more than a ritual, it’s a celebration. A celebration of what God has done in our lives through Christ His Son.

Though it may be a little harder than normal because of the new surroundings, we must focus on Christ in the service today. That’s what the Lord Supper is all about: Jesus Christ the Son of God. We do this every quarter because we were commanded to by the Lord Himself.

This celebration is rich with meaning, and before we partake this morning I want us to prepare by looking at three meanings in the Lord’s Supper…

I.                    A remembrance

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which 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.” In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 (NASB95)

It’s easy to get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that we take things for granted. We take the simple things like food on the table, clothes on our backs, and the roofs over our heads for granted.  

Many times we take our loved ones for granted. That’s why its so important to remember them on their birthdays and anniversaries and the like.

Above all, I believe Christians take the blessings of such a beautiful Savior for granted (and I say this from experience). The late Vance Havner agreed. He said…

“Our biggest problem in the church today is this vast majority of Sunday morning Christians who claim to have known the Master's cure and who return not [at other times] to thank Him by presence, prayer, testimony and support of His church. In fact, the whole Christian life is one big "Thank You," the living expression of our gratitude to God for His goodness. But we take Him for granted and what we take for granted we never take seriously.”[1]

The way to overcome taking something or someone for granted is to remember.

That’s what Jesus is saying to us. Don’t take the offering up of my body and blood on the cross for granted. Gather together regularly and partake of the bread and the fruit of the vine to help you remember.

 

John Piper says that Jesus is saying… “Let this representation of my body and blood remind you of me… Remember me… sitting with you in fellowship. Remember me being betrayed - and knowing all along. Remember me giving thanks to the God who ordained it all. Remember me breaking the bread just as I willingly gave my own body to be broken. Remember me shedding my blood for you so that you might live because I died. Remember me suffering to obtain for you all the blessings of the new covenant. Remember me promising that I would drink this fruit of the vine new in the kingdom (Mark 14:25). Let the memories of me, in all the fullness of my love and power, flood your soul at this table.”[2]

I preached a whole message on this alone not too long ago, so I won’t cover this anymore. The next meaning in the Lord’s Supper is a…

 

II.                  A proclamation

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. 1 Corinthians 11:26 (NASB95)

 

The word proclaim in this verse means to preach. Did you know every time you partake of the Lord’s Supper you are preaching the gospel?

You are preaching the good news of a Savior whose body and blood provide the answer to the greatest need man has: the forgiveness of sins and acceptance by God. You preach a gospel of Christ’s victory over death (until he comes).

You are preaching the gospel to your children, to your friends, to those around you in the hopes that they will say “Why do you do that?” or “Why can’t I do that?” so you can answer them and lead them into God’s kingdom.

You see this is a rite reserved only for Christians. Only those who have received the good news are qualified and capable to preach it and qualified to partake of the meal that proclaims it.

The last meaning, and there many others, is a…

 

III.               A faith feast

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:35 (NASB95)

 

Bread was the staple of ancient Jewish life. It’s the staple of most cultures today. Jesus presented Himself as the staple of life spiritually. To live spiritually and never have want again you must come to Jesus and you must believe in Him, have faith in Him.


During World War II, the Germans forced many twelve- and thirteen-year-old boys into the Junior Gestapo. These boys were treated very harshly and given inhumane jobs to perform. When the war ended, most had lost track of their families and wandered without food or shelter. As part of an aid program to post-war Germany, many of these youths were placed in tent cities. Here doctors and psychologists worked with the boys in an attempt to restore their mental and physical health. They found that many of the boys would awaken in the middle of the night, screaming in terror. One doctor had an idea for handling that fear. After feeding the boys a large meal, he put them to bed with a piece of bread in their hands, which they were told to save until morning. The boys then slept soundly because, after so many years of hunger, they finally had the assurance of food for the next day.[3]


The Lord’s Supper signifies the satisfaction we have spiritually through faith in Christ. But it’s really more than just satisfaction, its satiation (to satisfy to excess)! It’s a faith feast. Listen to Isaiah the prophet looking ahead to the faith feast found in Christ…


“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost. “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance. “Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David. Isaiah 55:1-3 (NASB95)


Conclusion:  As you hold the bread and juice in your hands today you are remembering the work of Christ on the cross, you are proclaiming the gospel of Christ, you are feasting by faith on the blessings found in Christ.

 

“This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”


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[1] Vance Havner in The Vance Havner Quote Book. Christianity Today, Vol. 31, no. 17

[2] John Piper, Why We Eat the Lord's Supper, August 3, 2003

[3]Michael P. Green, Illustrations for Bilical Preaching : Over 1500 Sermon Illustrations Arranged by Topic and Indexed Exhaustively, Revised edition of: The expositor's illustration file. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989).

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