The Lord's Supper

Helping hands

Passover


God commanded in Exodus that Passover be kept. Passover is the celebration of God’s delivering His people out of the slavery of Pharaoh.

The word Passover comes from the worst plague God sent to Egypt because of Pharaoh would not let the people go free. Exodus 7-12

On that night God promised He would visit every house to execute judgment and would take the life of the first born unless that family had marked the door of their house with the blood of a perfect lamb.

If the family obeyed God and marked their doors with this sacrificial blood from the lamb, He would “pass over” that house and the first-born baby would not be killed.

This plague finally convinced Pharaoh to let God’s people go. Even to this day, Jewish families and many Christian families celebrate the feast of Passover as God instructed.

Jesus and His disciples were Israelites and it was this celebration that He shared with His disciples as the His last supper with them. And as we take communion we must remember that Christ instructed His followers to remember Him in this way.

Jesus had spoken again and again of His death and resurrection. The disciples never seemed to understand.

Mark 9:31
For He taught His disciples and said to them, “The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.”
Luke 9:22
Saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”

After the feeding of the 5,000 He gave them specific teachings that should have made them understand. His own flesh would be the bread He would give for the life of the world.

The world often judges Christians by the way responsibilities are carried off. In 1Thessalonians 1 we read where Paul came to the church at Thessalonica, ministering in the synagogue and teaching the word of God and how that teaching grew a church.

When Paul accepted the call from Macedonia “to come over and help us,” he ended up in Thessalonica and the church in that part of the country which ended up being one of the great churches mentioned in the New Testament.

John 6:51
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever, and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

Yet they still did not seem to realize what this would mean. But Jesus knew that this Passover meal would be the last one that He would eat with His disciples. How His heart yearned over them. How He wanted to prepare them. How much He longed to draw them to Himself.

Luke 22:14-16
14When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. 15Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16For I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.”
Luke 22:8-12
8And He sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.” 9So they said to Him, “Where do you want us to prepare?” 10And He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters. (This was an unusual sight for women always carried the water, and still do in that land.) 11Then you shall say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” 12Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready.”

The preparations were quietly made in the twilight hours and Jesus and His disciples took their places on the couches at the Passover table. The Passover was not only a memorial, it looked ahead to God’s lamb, that is, to Christ who is our Passover.

After prayer, Jesus broke the bread and gave to His disciples to eat as a memorial, not of a deliverance in Egypt, but of full deliverance that come through His broken body.

UNDERSTANDING THE LORD’S SUPPER

I Corinthians 11:23-29
23For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread. 24And when He had given thanks, He broke it, saying, “Take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you. This do in remembrance of me.” 25After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, “This cup is the new testament of my blood. This do you as off as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. 27Therefore whoever eats this bread and drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29For he who eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
Matthew 26:26-30
26And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and broke it and gave it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat, this is my body.” 27Then He took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.” 28For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s Kingdom. 30And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

We’ve been studying about the joys and the privileges that are ours as members of the Body of Christ. In Verse 33 we have been given two ordinances of the church, baptism and The Lord’s Supper.

These two beautiful symbolic observations reminds us of the truths that they are ours, because of Christ, and it is important that we understand them so that as we come to observe them, they will be meaningful to us.

Most of have pictures of our loved ones who may have passed away or living in different states or across the ocean. If you would visit me, you would see a gallery of pictures on my wall because they remind me of something so precious.

And as we study about the Lord’s Table, we need to understand that the Table is a picture precious to God, one which God has provided for us.

The communion is a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord, so wonderfully drawn out for us in the New Testament so that we cannot be mistaken and take it as a ritual. As we study about the Lord’s Supper which He ate with His disciples, we discover that the institution of the Lord’s Supper was given to us for very three important reasons.
1. We are to look backward.
2. We are to look forward.
3. We are to look inward.

1-LOOKING BACKWARD
It was given to us that we might look backward. In the 24th verse, Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Look at Verse 26. The word show could be translated by the word picture. When you drink the cup and eat the bread, you picture the Lord’s death until He comes.

When we come together, it is good for us to look back. Obviously, The Lord knew how easy it would be for us to forget and let the weeks and months to go by without ever stopping for even a moment to meditate on the passion of Our Lord.

I’m becoming more and more convinced as I grow spiritually, and as I walk with The Lord in the older years of my life, that the key to a vibrant, active, fellowship with My Lord is regular meditation upon His death in our behalf.

You see, when we forget the price that was paid for our redemption, we begin to live as though we have not been redeemed. But when we come back again and again to stand in awe at the foot of the cross and looking up (seeing the picture) into the face of our suffering Savior and know the agony that the savior went through for you and for me.

Then we walk away from that experience to understand the wonderful privilege that is ours as members of the body of Christ, and with it the responsibility we have to live for God and to honor Him.

Knowing how easy it is for us to forget, we must meditate on His Word and pray many times daily for His power to resist the enemy of our soul.

Throughout life there have been many different meanings concerning The Lord’s Supper, but God gives to us the true meaning in His Word. In the early days of Catholicism they instituted, under one of their Popes and Priests, that the elements, the wine and the bread, that those substances literally transformed into the actual substance of the Lord’s body and blood.

They teach that every time the Mass is offered, Jesus Christ is sacrificed again for our sins. In Roman Catholic Theology, there is no salvation in their Doctrine and the way they teach, that salvation can never be known until the very end. For who is to know whether or not Christ has been sacrificed afresh for sins committed since His last death.

In the Book of Hebrews “after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God. He did not suffer constantly as the animals did in the Old Testament.

Jesus paid it all, past, present and future. His death atones for all of our sins. Communion is a memorial to remind us of what Jesus did on the cross. We commemorate the ordinance, not because it provides any grace for us. You could eat the bread and drink the cup until you were filled, but it won’t add any spiritual grace to your life. The only grace that is involved in taking the communion is the grace of obedience. The Lord said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” We are reminded of His sacrifice through obedience.

2-LOOKING FORWARD
We are to look forward to His coming (Matthew 26:29) Jesus told His disciples that someday I will “drink it new with you in My Father’s Kingdom.”

In Revelations we studied about the marriage supper of the lamb. I can’t imagine what its going to be like when all God’s children are going to gather at the Banquet Feast and we will fellowship with the Lord Jesus personally.

Someday we will sit down with Him throughout eternity. So when we lift the cup to drink, we are saying, “He is coming and He is coming to bring joy and peace to our lives forever. So, we look backward to the cross and forward to His coming.

3-LOOKING INWARD
And we look inward to our own lives. (I Corinthians 11:28). If you go back and read the Book of Corinthians, you’ll find that the Lord’s Table had come into great disuse among the people in the church at Corinth. They would come together and had turned their feast into a drunken party.

And, instead of coming to the Lord’s Table with reverence and dignity as we are taught to do. They would drink the wine and eat the bread with frivolous, meaningless attitudes.

And Paul spoke to the Corinthians and told them that when they did that, they did damnation themselves because they did not discern the importance of The Lord’s body and what He did on the cross.

The Bible tells us that we are to examine ourselves; a time to take inventory of our hearts. Just stop and look inward. As we come to this Table, we should ask, “Am I truly born again?”

This gives us the opportunity to judge ourselves. It’s when we look into our own lives and we see these things that are not pleasing to the Lord, then we can judge ourselves and ask forgiveness. God gives us the opportunity to make I right, through His forgiveness.

We should be careful not to violate His Divine Laws. Then He will not have to judge us. If sin is not repented of, then we will have to stand before God and be judged.

RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD

Unless we properly discern The Lord’s body, communion will mean very little to us. Merely going through the motions with self-examination of our motives and of our current standing with Christ can lead to spiritual disaster.

A proper relationship between the believer and his Lord is of the most importance. The Lord is not content with outward religious services, it must come from the heart. He longs for a close, binding, loving relationship.

Too frequently these symbolic observances have become mere rituals without spiritual benefit to the people. Partaking of The Lord’s Supper is a reminder that we have accepted Jesus as our Savior and reminds us that He is coming back for His bride.

It speaks of His great love for us and should motivate us to complete dedication to Him because external forms and ceremonies are hollow with a genuine spirit of communion with Christ.

Before we take The Lord’s Supper we search ourselves to see if there are any wrong attitudes toward God or man, and if there is, ask forgiveness in the name of Jesus.

The New Testament gives constant emphasis to the fact that the Christian life is a matter of faith and obedience, not forms and ceremonies. Yet Jesus commanded two ordinances, water baptism and The Lord’s Supper.

Even these may degenerate into empty forms, but on the other hand, they may become very meaningful expressions of our union and communion with Him. Communion is not optional. Jesus said in I Corinthians 11:24 “This do in remembrance of me.”

Let us not forget that the body of Jesus was broken for us in order for us to be saved and He wants us to be one in our fellowship as believers. Jesus, Himself, emphasized this mark of identification to His disciples.

Paul emphasized that when we partake of The Lord’s Supper, that there’s a time of preparation of our hearts, one’s position toward Christ and toward other members of Christ’s family. We must have open honesty.

Confession of wrong feelings, gossip, misjudgments, wrong attitudes and lack of love would be in order. Living on past experiences in the Christian way won’t suffice to maintain the union with Christ. Communion should be safely guarded for the devil loves to destroy the effectiveness of our fellowship as Christians by causing dissension.

We must watch that dissension (which is born of selfishness and pride) does not enter our assembling together for The Lord’s Supper. We must Nurture our faith in Christ and discipline ourselves as we grow daily in His love. Then it is not difficult to share with others and to love them in Christ. Observing communion causes us to think of Calvary and the cross. Otherwise these ceremonies can become hollow and void without a genuine spirit of communion with Christ.

We must approach The Lord’s Table with self-examination, asking for forgiveness for wrong attitudes toward God or man. When we accept Christ, we are called into battle against sin and under grace we are free from sin enslavement and God will help us fight our battles. And with God’s help we can live a victorious life. Our union and communion with one another as members of Christ’s body (the church) is as important as our union with Christ. The Lord’s Supper pictures this union and communion of the Body expressed in fellowship around The Lord’s Table.

I Corinthians 10:17
For we being many are one bread, and one body for we are all partakers of that one bread.

Dissension was one of the problems of the early church. Paul pointed out that it would be as ridiculous for one member of the church to reject another as for the head to say to the feet that they are not needed.

I Corinthians 12:20-22
20 But now are they many members, yet but one body. 21And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you, nor again, the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 22No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.

Strife and divisions are an indication of carnality and are a work of the flesh. Strife results in mutual destruction and will keep people from Heaven. Believers are warned to avoid those who cause divisions.

Romans 16:17
Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned and avoid them.
Author: Nannie Mae Jordan   (Transcribed by Joyce Carter   Transcribed and Formatted by Jerry Knight)

 

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