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Faithlife

Communion (2)

Spiritual Disciplines  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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In the First Passover, the Lord brought ten plagues against Egypt, demonstrating His own glory and power, proving the Egyptian gods were not gods in any sense, and delivering His people from bondage.
The tenth plague was significantly different, though.
Exodus 11:1 ESV
The Lord said to Moses, “Yet one plague more I will bring upon Pharaoh and upon Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will drive you away completely.
So Moses said, “Thus says the LORD: ‘About midnight I will go out in the midst of Egypt, and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the cattle. There shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there has never been, nor ever will be again.
Exodus 11:4–6 ESV
So Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘About midnight I will go out in the midst of Egypt, and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the cattle. There shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there has never been, nor ever will be again.
So Moses said, “Thus says the LORD: ‘About midnight I will go out in the midst of Egypt, and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the cattle. There shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there has never been, nor ever will be again.
God was going to bring death upon the land of Egypt. Every family, every home, would be touched by death. Notice that God doesn’t say, “every firstborn Egyptian shall die,” but “every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die.”
God was going to bring death upon the land of Egypt. Every family, every home, would be touched by death. Notice that God doesn’t say, “every firstborn Egyptian shall die,” but “every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die.”
So, how were the Hebrews spared this plague of death? It wasn’t simply by being slaves, or by being descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God gave specific instructions.
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Exodus 12:1–13 ESV
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight. “Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.
So, death touched every house in Egypt that night. There was only one way to avoid the death of the firstborn, and that was through a substitute. No one could say, “God loves us, and hates the Egyptians, and so He would never harm us.” No one could say, “Well, MY God is a God of love, and a God of love would never put anyone to death.” Judgment was coming against the land, and only those who accepted the substitute commanded by God would be spared.
Let’s be clear about this. Death touched every house in the land of Egypt that night. There was only one way to avoid the death of the firstborn, and that was through a substitute. No Hebrew could say, “God loves us, and hates the Egyptians, and so He would never harm us.” No Hebrew could say, “Well, MY God is a God of love, and a God of love would never put anyone to death.” Judgment was coming against the land, and only those who accepted the substitute commanded by God would be spared.
Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.
Let’s be clear about this. Death touched every house in the land of Egypt that night. There was only one way to avoid the death of the firstborn, and that was through a substitute. No Hebrew could say, “God loves us, and hates the Egyptians, and so He would never harm us.” No Hebrew could say, “Well, MY God is a God of love, and a God of love would never put anyone to death.” Judgment was coming against the land, and only those who accepted the substitute commanded by God would be spared.
God went on to command that Passover be observed as an annual feast, a memorial day, a remembrance of what He had done, and why and how He had done it.
What did God do? He delivered His people from bondage in Egypt.
Why did God do it? Because of His grace and mercy, and not because of any merit or worthiness on the part of the Hebrews.
How did He do it? Through a substitutionary sacrifice.
They were to observe the feast of Passover every year. In spite of this, we read in ,
2 Kings 23:21–22 ESV
And the king commanded all the people, “Keep the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” For no such Passover had been kept since the days of the judges who judged Israel, or during all the days of the kings of Israel or of the kings of Judah.
This took place in the 18th year of Josiah’s reign, which was 622 B.C. There had not been a national Passover observance since the days of the judges, which means 500-600 years, including during the 40 years of David’s reign.
And [king Josiah] commanded all the people, “Keep the Passover to the LORD your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” For no such Passover had been kept since the days of the judges who judged Israel, or during all the days of the kings of Israel or of the kings of Judah.
This took place in the 18th year of Josiah’s reign, which was 622 B.C. There had not been a national Passover observance since the days of the judges, which means 500-600 years, including during the 40 years of David’s reign.
Why had Passover been essentially ignored as a national feast for so long? I think that it’s because Passover was a reminder that they had been slaves, something that the Jews wanted to forget. Their attitude is very clear in :
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”
I think that they also neglected Passover because it was a reminder of their own sinfulness; they were not passed over because of their righteousness or worthiness, but because of a blood sacrifice that covered their sinfulness. Passover was contrary to their national pride. Their culture had become very much divided into classes of people: the poor, the well-off, the rich, the priesthood, royalty, and so on. But Passover treated them all as equals, as slaves in bondage who needed rescue because they were powerless to rescue themselves. In Passover the king and the leper sat at the same table, and the people would not do that.
The night of Jesus’ betrayal and arrest, He observed Passover with His disciples.
Luke 22:14–20 ESV
And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
As we’ve seen, Passover was the observance of God’s deliverance of Israel from bondage in Egypt. Death came to every house in Egypt that night. Those who believed God killed a lamb, a substitute for the firstborn. They marked their homes with the blood of the lamb to show that death had already visited that home. As the last supper proceeded, Jesus’ disciples thought back, as they had all their lives, to that night in Egypt when their people were set free.
Jesus and His disciples gathered to share the Passover meal that night. They remembered, and told the story, of the plague of death God would bring on Egypt. They told how He commanded their fathers to kill a lamb, a substitute for the firstborn of each house. They told how the blood of that lamb was put on the doorposts and lintel of each house, showing that death had already visited that home.
And then Jesus changed everything.
And then Jesus says that it is HIS body which was given for them, and HIS blood which was shed for them. He changed the meaning of their observance in just a moment or two. Something new had transpired, and He commanded them to change the focus of their remembrance. From that moment on their focus would no longer be their deliverance from Egypt, but their deliverance from sin and death. The Passover remembered the physical deliverance of people from physical slavery. Jesus’ body and blood were given to bring about the spiritual deliverance of God’s people from spiritual slavery to sin and the bondage of death.
He said that it was HIS body which was being given for them, and HIS blood which was being shed for them. He shifted their attention from 1800 years before to that very moment. It was His death that they were to remember, HIS death that would deliver them from THEIR death. Passover recalled God physically delivering the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt. Jesus’ death would spiritually deliver all who believed from sin and death.
Likewise, death must come to every sinner.
In the first Passover death came to each house, either through the death of the substitute lamb, or the death of the firstborn. That’s a picture of the spiritual reality that death comes to every sinner, whether Jew or Gentile, whether slave or free, whether male or female. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, smart or dumb, strong or weak, educated or ignorant, rich or poor, happy or miserable, hard-working or lazy, obedient or rebellious.
Likewise, death must come to every sinner.
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,
And as with the Passover, the question is whether we bear our own death, or whether the substitute, Jesus Christ, who is the Lamb of God, bears it for us. He is our substitute.
This is the great exchange, His life for our death, His righteousness for our sin.
This is the great exchange, His life for our death, His righteousness for our sin.
Just as the Old Covenant was instituted by the blood of animals, the New Covenant was instituted by the blood of Jesus Christ.
The Old Covenant was an agreement between God and the people of Israel. The New Covenant is an agreement between God the Father and God the Son.
We don't come to the throne on the basis of our own holiness, but Christ's.
The Old Covenant was maintained by the faithful behavior of the people of Israel; it depended upon their obedience. The New Covenant is maintained by the faithful behavior of the Lord Jesus, and depends upon His obedience.
In Paul says,
In Paul says,
We don't plead sacrifices that we have offered, but the one sacrifice of the Lamb of God.
We don't maintain the New Covenant through our righteousness, but rather are declared righteous by faith in the Son of God, who Himself maintains the New Covenant at all times.
1 Corinthians 11:23–26 ESV
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when 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 also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
The New Covenant does not hinge on our behavior, but Christ's. He is the wrath-satisfying sacrifice for our sin. By His blood we are justified, declared righteous by God. We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins. We have been brought near to God by His blood. He made peace by His blood. His blood purifies our conscience. We enter the holy places of God in prayer and service by the blood of Jesus Christ. His blood sanctifies us, making us holy. We have been ransomed by His blood. He has freed us from our sins by His blood. By His blood we conquer Satan and the world.
In Paul says,
This is divine revelation. Paul did not pass down a tradition he picked up from the other apostles, but what the Lord Jesus Himself revealed to Him.
This is divine revelation. Paul did not pass down a tradition he picked up from the other apostles, but what the Lord Jesus Himself revealed to Him.
This is truthful teaching. Paul delivered it to the Corinthians, and us, just as he had received it. He didn’t change it, he didn’t edit it.
This is Christ-centered worship. It was Jesus who revealed the teaching of the Lord’s supper. It was Jesus who instituted the Lord’s supper. It was Jesus who carried out the Lord’s supper, taking the bread, breaking it, giving thanks for it, passing it among them, taking the cup, passing it among them. It is Jesus who is the focus of the elements: “This is MY body, which is for us; this cup is the new covenant in MY blood.” It is Jesus who is the focus of the observance: “Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” It is Jesus Christ who is the glorious object of the Lord’s supper: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”
It was Jesus who revealed the teaching of the Lord’s supper.
Because the Lord’s Supper is an act of worship, there is a necessary warning that must be understood.
It was Jesus who instituted the Lord’s supper.
It was Jesus who carried out the Lord’s supper, taking the bread, breaking it, giving thanks for it, passing it among them, taking the cup, passing it among them.
1 Corinthians 11:27–32 ESV
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
It is Jesus who is the focus of the elements: “This is MY body, which is for us; this cup is the new covenant in MY blood.”
It is Jesus who is the focus of the observance: “Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
What does it mean to eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner? It means do what the Corinthians had done, treating the Lord’s supper as a selfish exercise; ignoring the truth that Jesus, God the Son, became a man in order to live a perfect life and die as a perfect sacrifice for sin; forgetting that Jesus’ very body was given and His blood was shed; forgetting that the Lord’s supper brings us all to a single, simple, level table.
It is Jesus Christ who is the glorious object of the Lord’s supper: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”
Paul goes on,
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
What does it mean to eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner? It means do what the Corinthians had done, treating the Lord’s supper as a selfish moment in time, ignoring the truth that Jesus, the Son of God, became a man in order to live a perfect life and dies as a perfect sacrifice for sin, that Jesus’ body was given, that His blood was shed, that the Lord’s supper brings us all to a single, simple, level table. The Corinthians had taken it in the most selfish way possible, so much so that Paul says to them,
When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat.
They thought they were eating the Lord’s supper, but they were just eating, says. There was no thought of who Jesus is or what He had done. There was no recognition of His death or the salvation that He gives. There was no recognition that through Him comes all forgiveness and all righteousness.
Every man, woman, and child who was delivered from slavery in Egypt was born into that slavery? In exactly the same way, each and every one of us was born in sin, and because of that we were also born in the prison of death. We are helpless to deliver ourselves; sinners are doomed to live in death, to one day die, and after that to face eternal death.
In the Lord’s supper we have a means of remembering what the Savior did for all who have trusted in Him. Do you know that every man, woman, and child delivered from Egypt was born there? In exactly the same way, each and every one of us was born in sin, and because of that we were also born in the prison of death. We are helpless to deliver ourselves; sinners are doomed to live in death, to one day die, and after that to face eternal death.
But God sent a deliverer, a Savior, God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who took our slavery upon Himself, and granted us His free name. He gave His body as the wrath-satisfying sacrifice for our sin; He gave His blood to cleanse us and give us His life. He gives us that life by His grace, and fills us with faith, and we are born again. Those who are saved die with Christ and are raised with Him to new life.
If you believe this, then join in this celebration of your life in Him!
We come to the Lord’s supper in celebration of our salvation.
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