Communion March 5th, 2017

Communion March 5th, 2017

Today we are taking part in Holy Communion.  This is one of 2 ordinances in our church.  The first is baptism by immersion and the second is Communion.  We practice open Communion here at ESBC which means that we invite all brothers and sisters who have committed to following Christ in their hearts to participate no matter their denomination.  We welcome you to fellowship with us this morning.  

Don't Take Communion, Allow Communion to Take You!

This is a Time of…

This is an open communion which means that all believers are welcome to participate.  However, Paul gives a warning not to do so flippantly.  

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.
Prayer of Reflection Adoration and Confession
Scripture Reading
I Corinthians 11:23-26 (NIV)
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 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.” 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.

The Bread

The other day I was preparing for this Communion Service.  I ran across the story of Rafael Hernandez.  Hernandez was a firefighter in New York City.  He was an active participant in saving hundreds of lives on 9-11.  He was one of the first first responders to arrive on the terrible scene.  

“I smelled the smoke, and the smell, the smell of a fire, and it was that smell that sent me running towards the buildings!”

You see, Hernandez was uniquely equipped to actually enter the buildings while others fled.  When he reached the 28th floor of the South Tower, he encouraged a woman named Allison.  She was hysterical.  She was also nine months pregnant.  Her water had broke and in the intense moment, had gone into labor.  

Now, that’s one bad situation.  

“I carried her all the way down,” he says. “People were pushing. She begged me not to let her go, to help her out. I promised her I wouldn’t leave the building without her.” Hernandez said. 

They made it outside, where he stayed with her until an ambulance took her away. Shortly after, the towers fell.

Allison did give birth to her son.  She was safe and she was alive.  She credits Hernandez for saving her life and not leaving her.  “If it were not for Rafael, if he were not there with me in that situation, I know that I would not be here today.  I would not be alive and neither would my son. I feel like God sent him to that building, to that floor, just for me.”

There is a great lesson, a great sermon in this story.  Like Hernandez, Jesus came in bodily form to a burning world.  He didn’t just come for one pregnant woman, he came for all mankind.  He came to carry us out of our own destruction.  

Like Allison, we have the choice to refuse.  Allison could have said that she had everything taken care of, that she could make it out on her own.  However, she would have died.  Many people say that they do not need Jesus.  They say that they can make it on their own.  The reality is, that we do need Jesus, we need Him with us.  

Jesus is our only rescue.  

Psalm 91:3-4 NLT
For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

Friends, Jesus came in bodily form so that we could know God.  

He came to us personally.  He came knowing our deepest need.

Hey He came to us powerfully.  He came to serve us. .  

He came to provide for us.  He came delivering our salvation. 

He came knowing that the only way that the rescue could be accomplished was for His body to be broken.  

Isaiah 53:5 NLT
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.

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

The Blood

In his book The Applause of Heaven, Max Lucado tells of an earthquake that struck Soviet Armenia in 1988. Just before the earthquake, a young mother named Susanna, along with her 4-year-old daughter, had arrived at her sister in-law’s apartment. The whole building collapsed, and Susanna and her daughter were trapped under tons of concrete and debris.

Help was tortuously slow in coming. The two were trapped for eight days. Susanna’s heart was pierced by her child’s pitiful cries for something to drink. In the midst of the nightmare, she remembered seeing a program on television about an explorer in the Arctic who was dying of thirst. One of his companions cut open his own hand and put the life-giving liquid in the mouth of his friend.
In the midst of the debris it was easy for Susanna to find some broken glass. She cut open a finger and put it in her daughter’s mouth. The child’s thirst was eased, but quickly came back, and the daughter began to cry, “Mommy, cut another finger.” And time after time, the mother cut her own hands in order to sustain the life of the child.

What an incredible picture of what God did for the world on Calvary! He knew the sacrifices of the Old Testament were only temporary. They could not fully satisfy. Only one thing could.

And so, on a lonely hill, a spear was thrust and a side was pierced. The blood came out . . . the blood that takes away the sins of the world. The only blood that can save.

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Friend, we do not have literal blood here today.  Jesus’ blood is represented by juice those small cups in your pews.  So, why did Jesus’ blood have to be shed?

We have a blood problem.

Isaiah 64:6 NLT
“We are all infected and impure with sin.”

Because of our blood problem, we need a blood transfusion.  We need to take on Jesus’ perfect, spotless, sinless blood so that we can live.  

Listen to Hebrews 9:14…

Hebrews 9:14 ESV
How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

Friends, Jesus offers us His blood so that we can live.  He offers His blood so that we can trade our wicked blood leading to destruction for His perfect blood that leads to heaven.  What a great deal. 

Remember Jesus’ words captured in Matthew 26:28…

Matthew 26:28 ESV
For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

And 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

Remember, Jesus Is The Answer!




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