Communion Meditation

Communion Service
March 13th, 2016



Point: 
Welcome
Two Ordinaces: Baptism and The Lord’s Suppers
All Are Welcome: Open Communion To All Believers 

Don’t Take Communion, Let Communion Take You!

Point:
Communion is one of my most treasured practices in our church.  Communion functions like a time machine.  It takes us back to the moment just before Jesus’ death where He gives a model or illustration about what it means to be a servant.  

Let me set the scene.  It is the Passover Celebration in Jerusalem.  Hundreds of thousands have assembled from around the known world to worship and sacrifice.  Jesus and His disciples were no different.  Yet Jesus had different plans.  Jesus knew that Passover week would become His Passion week.  This would be the final or culmination of Jesus’s earthly ministry.  Jesus’ last act as a servant was to die for all mankind.  You will discover why Jesus died in just a few moments.  

We take communion to remember Jesus’ death.  After all it was that death that has set us all free from the bondage of sin.  Communion is a time of true excitement because we have been made whole.

In Luke’s Gospel we see that Jesus celebrated the last supper with his friends.  He celebrated it with His disciples, His supporters and those who would eventually spread the Gospel to each place in the world.  Communion is a time of engagement.  We engage with God but we also engage with each other.  This is a shared experience.  Just like it was some 2000 years ago.

Lastly, we must heed Paul’s words captured in I Corinthians 11:27-29 (NIV)

I Corinthians 11:27-29 (NIV)
27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.
Paul reminds believers that we are to take serious the nature of the Lord’s Supper.  Is there unconfessed sin?  Are we guilty of putting God far down on our priority list?  Are we living in open sin this morning? Friend, now is the time confess those sins.  This morning we will examine ourselves so that we can take Holy Communion with a clean and contrite heart.
Communion Is A Time For Excitement, Engagement and Examination 

Prayer 

I Corinthians 11:27-29 (NIV)
27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.
I. The Bread

Illustration
I have noticed that many motel swimming pools have a warning sign that reads: “No Lifeguard on Duty”. Swimmers are to understand that they are on their own. If some emergency occurs while they are in the water, they will have to fend for themselves.



It is sad that so many people go through life thinking that they have to make it all on their own. They don’t realize that there is a powerful and loving God who wants to be there for them in times of trouble.



We Christians realize that we not only have a lifeguard who is constantly on duty, we have a lifeguard who can walk on water!

Point:
When Jesus broke the bread we immediate know He was referring to His body being broken on the cross.  He was signing that a rescue was going to take place and that it was the creator who would save all of mankind.  

The Bread Symbolized God’s…

A. Presence
John 1:14 NIV
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Point:
When Jesus was introduced by the angels to humanity, they said His name would be Emmanuel.  What does Emmanuel mean? It means “God With Us”.  Jesus is God in flesh with us.  God is no longer distant.  God is no longer removed.  God is now with us in the dirt and dust of earth.  He is present.  It is significant when Jesus took up the bread and compared the bread to His body because Jesus was saying “I am here”, “I am with you right now in this moment”.  Imagine how comforting that is for us today.  God is present.  God took the form of a body and dwelt with us here on earth.  Why?

B. Passion
Mark 10:45 NIV
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” 
Point:
God put on flesh so that we could fully know Him and understand Him.  God’s desire is for us to know what is really important to Him.  He wanted us to see His passion and to experience His love.  The ultimate expression of that love is when Jesus chose to die for sinners.  He allowed His body to be broken so that we could find healing in His suffering and pain.  He wants us to learn the importance of service, especially service to one another. This lesson couldn’t be taught from far away.  It had to be demonstrated up close and personal. 

C. Preservation 
Psalm 143:11
For your name's sake, LORD, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.

Point:
Jesus became flesh so that He could reveal God’s presence to mankind.  He became flesh so that we could understand God and understand what is important to God.  Jesus ultimately came to save us.  He came to preserve our life for eternity.  When Jesus broke the bread, humanity received a huge blessing.  The blessing of sacrifice was given to man so that they, rather we, would not have to experience spiritual death.  Instead, we have the opportunity to gain eternal life.  That’s what John says…

John 1:29 NIV
“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

Point: 
Are you thankful for the bread this morning?  Are you thankful for what it symbolizes.  The broken bread symbolizes God’s presence, God’s passion for people, and it reveals God’s suffering to preserve our lives.  

Let’s say a prayer of thanksgiving for Jesus’ willingness to sacrifice Himself on the cross.

Brief Prayer of Blessing Bread

The Bread Passed

Luke 22:19 (NIV)
And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.  

The Bread is Taken

II. The Blood

I Corinthians 11:25-26 (NIV)
25 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.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Jesus Blood Is Important…

A. Jesus’ Blood Is The Key

Illustration:
Paul Lee Tan writes about a horrible Roman practice: 

"The Romans sometimes compelled a captive to be joined face-to-face with a dead body, and to bear it about until the horrible vapors destroyed the life of the living victim.” 

Virgil describes this cruel punishment: 'The living and the dead at his command were coupled face to face, and hand to hand; Till choked with stench, in loathed embraces tied, The lingering wretches pined away and died.' Without Christ, we are shackled to a dead corpse--our sinfulness. 

At Communion we celebrate being freed from death--having our sins removed by the blood of Christ so we can breathed deeply the sweet air of forgiveness. 

Point:
Friend have you ever thought about the necessity of the blood of Christ.  The Bible is very clear.  Forgiveness of sin requires the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22).  In order for us to be made right, something has to die.  For eons in the Old Testament, animals paid the price.  Unfortunately, this sacrifice would not be long lasting as the people continued to disobey.  There needed to be a better, a more perfect sacrifice, so that all men could be forgiven.  

Who could pay the price but the one sitting in judgement?

Jesus came and died.  Jesus is perfect.  He was spotless, possessing no sin.  Jesus was the sacrifice and when his blood was shed it set us free. Jesus’ blood set us from from our old self.  His blood set us free from the rotting sinful body that we were all attached to.

Romans 8:1 ESV
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

B. Jesus Blood Is The Ultimate Kindness

Illustration:
If you go back and read Genesis 5, you will be confronted with the very first murder.  Cain killed Abel. We discover that Cain hated Abel and was angry at God.  His murder spilled Abel’s blood.  This was an act of shear hate and malice.  When God confronts Cain about his act, God remarks saying,

Genesis 4:10 NIV
And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground.”

Friends, did you know that blood has a voice.  Abel’s blood cried out to God in judgement of his brother Cain.  Cain spilled Abel’s blood in hatred and Abel’s blood cried out in condemnation against his brother.  

In that moment, Cain severed the relationship he had with God, his brother, his family and his home.  Cain would be kicked out and removed.  It was a horrible punishment.  

Now, think into the future when Jesus died.  Scripture is clear that Jesus shed His blood. He bled on the cross.  Imagine what God must have heard.  Imagine what God the Father must have felt.  

The story is eerily similar.  Humanity killed and innocent man and spilled His innocent blood.  Yet, as the blood of Christ called out, it did not call out in condemnation.  It called out in kindness.  It spoke forgiveness.  

What Satan thought would sever humanity forever from God actually built a bridge to God.  Think about this, everything that Cain lost in Genesis 4, was restored in Jesus.  

With Jesus we now have connection to God, we have a new brother in Jesus, we have a new heavenly family and earthly family in the church, and we know have an eternal home.  

What a difference blood can make!

Ephesians 1:7 ESV
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace…

  C. Jesus Blood Is To Be Known

Point:
About two weeks ago, I had outpatient surgery on my arm.  Just before my surgery they made me sign a form saying that I agreed to having a blood transfusion if somehow I lost to much blood during the procedure.  Honestly, I didn’t even have to think about it.  I signed with a smile on my face.  Absolutely, if was dying because of blood loss, by all means save my life by adding someone else’s heathy blood to my body.  

Isn’t it interesting that we as humans all have bad blood.  Our bad sinful blood was slowly killing all of us. God introduced new blood into our system.  We were dying and we need a blood transfusion.  

Those of us that are participating have accepted what Jesus has done for us.  I am thankful that my nurse wasn’t embarrassed about asking my about new blood.  I am glad that she was not worried about offending me. Why?  Because she knows that blood can bring life.  She wanted me to know that if I was dying that blood can save me.  Friends Jesus blood is to be shared.  When is the last time you talked to someone about having a blood transfusion?  Perhaps our next act of taking the cup will remind you that someone needs to hear about Jesus today.  

Remember…

I Peter 2:24 ESV
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.  

They Passed The Cup

Luke 22:20 (NIV)
In the same way, after the supper He took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you."

The Cup Is Taken

Prayer

Dismissal

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