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Communion’s Deep Meaning – Christ’s Sacrifice Has Freed Us From The Power of Sin

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.”
(1Co 11:23-25 ESV)

Those are oft quoted verses in many churches before the start of the communion service.  I would like to look at what Paul wrote about Communion in the entire context. The larger context in First Corinthians shows multiple issues with communion in the time of Paul:

But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse.  (1Co 11:17 ESV)
For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part,  (1Co 11:18 ESV)
for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.  (1Co 11:19 ESV)
When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat.  (1Co 11:20 ESV)
For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk.  (1Co 11:21 ESV)
What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.  (1Co 11:22 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,  (1Co 11:23 ESV)
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.”  (1Co 11:24 ESV)
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.”  (1Co 11:25 ESV)
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.  (1Co 11:26 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.  (1Co 11:27 ESV)
Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  (1Co 11:28 ESV)
For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.  (1Co 11:29 ESV)
That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.  (1Co 11:30 ESV)
But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.  (1Co 11:31 ESV)
But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.  (1Co 11:32 ESV)
So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another—  (1Co 11:33 ESV)
if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come.  (1Co 11:34 ESV)

There are numerous points made in this section and I would like to touch on some of them,

In verses 20-21 Paul writes “ When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat – For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal”. Paul also says that at these meals some people go hungry while others get drunk. Paul makes a distinction here between just eating a meal together with other believers and the Lord’s Supper. He is saying that just getting together with other believers for a meal is not the Lord’s supper. He goes on in the next verses to ask things like don’t you have your own houses to live in, and don’t you see the you’re humiliating the people who come to these gatherings and don’t get to eat?

In verses 23 through 25 Paul lays out the pattern of service for holy Communion. In verse 23 he specified that this is the instruction that he received. Jesus started with the bread, and announced, “This is my body”.  At this point he gives the directive, “Do this in remembrance of me”. In the next verse he specifies the next step in the procedure, which is the same way Jesus did it! Paul then quotes the words of Jesus, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

In verse 26 he then states the spiritual significance of what is going on – that as often as you do this you are declaring the importance of Jesus’s death in our lives. Jesus’ broken body became our sin. Jesus’ blood washed away those sins, and this became The New Covenant with God!

This, then, is the point. Jesus’ death frees us from the power of sin.  Because he died for us Jesus is life giving.  Because of his death Jesus is healing. Because he gave his body Jesus is resurrecting. That is why his body is the bread of life.   Remembering these things is breath and life, bread and wine, and  eternal power to us.

Further on in the verses, verse 27 does specify that people who receive communion without this frame of mind are unworthy and are actually part of the problem that Jesus had to go to the cross for. In verse 30 says that if you partake of the Last Supper without this frame of mind you bring judgment on yourself. He even goes on to say that this lack of believing in what Christ’s body and blood accomplished is at the cause of why so many are weak, ill, and dying. And that is because weakness, sickness and yes, death, are with us because of the power of sin in the world.

In my own head I see a vision of holy Communion with a neon sign flashing, “Jesus Christ Became Sin For You” – “His Death Washed Away Your Sin” “Sin Has No Power Over You”- “Walk In Deliverance”. Or how about this:


provided by: www.criticallayouts.com
Praise the Lord for the Last Supper. Praise the Lord he gave us this service to be done as often as we get together to have this supremely powerful thought in our head of what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross!

 

 

August 23rd, 2017 Posted by | Basic Christianity | no comments

Almost All Christian Churches Practice Communion

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.”  (1Co 11:23-25 ESV)

The above verses, among others, are commonly read before the practice known as Holy Communion in many churches. (Like Baptism there are a couple exceptions – see Neither Baptism Nor Communion Services for Quakers and the Salvation Army)  The setting for these verses is known as the Last Supper. Luke, chapter 22: 1-38, tells us that the Passover feast was drawing near, and Jesus gave instructions to prepare for the Passover meal to his disciples, who then made the preparations, and we see in the verses that Jesus ate a final meal with his disciples at that time, and he taught a number of things.  It was the first Communion service.

There are a number of truths in the above verses:

  1. Communion is a practice commanded by Jesus Christ himself. (Jesus said the words.)
  2. We are to practice communion to remember Jesus and what he has done. (“Do this in remembrance of me.”)
  3. Jesus Christ’s shedding of blood – literally giving his life for us – brings us a new covenant with God. ( “This cup is the new covenant in my blood”)
  4. It is to be done as a practice. (“Do this, as often as you drink it.”)

Lets look at what Jesus was referring to above in speaking about a new covenant. Jeremiah prophesied about a new covenant:

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”  (Jer 31:31-34 ESV)

If Jesus’ death brought a new covenant what was the old covenant? It was the agreement God made with Israel in the time before Christ. It included the law of the old Testament. The law was a system where people knew what do by the system of rules and regulations about life. It was the 10 commandments, but also so much more. There were feasts to be observed, sacrifices to be made, tithes to be paid, rules on what to eat and what not to eat, how to treat different individuals and so much more.

Jeremiah says that the new covenant will no longer be a written law ouside the body but an inner knowing of the Lord. That is what Jesus brought. Communion remembers Jesus’ sacrifice and celebrates that his death allows us the internal access to the Father that we receive when we accept Jesus as Lord.

August 14th, 2017 Posted by | Basic Christianity | no comments

Almost All Christian Churches Baptize

From the very first the church has baptized;

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
(Act 2:38-41 ESV)

The book of Acts is loaded with references to baptisms. About 3000 people were baptized on the original day of Pentecost. The book of Acts also enumerates the baptisms of Philip, Simon, Saul, Lydia, the household of Cornelius, Apollos, and Crispus along with many Corinthians. Not that that there aren’t discussions and arguments over baptism, but we will discuss that in other articles. (See Baptism, Universally Accepted, Widely Disputed for more about that.)  For now we will just focus on core Christian beliefs that seem to be taught by everyone in Christianity.

All Christian theologians point to this same verse in the book of Romans as to the meaning of baptism.

We were buried therefore with him through baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. Rom 6:4ASV

All groups say that baptism is being buried with Christ, and being raised with him in newness of life, just as the words in the book of Romans say here. This is the core teaching of the meaning of baptism, right out of the letter of Paul the apostle to the Romans.

There are a few other nuggets that Paul incorporates into his epistles.

For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. (1Co 12:13 ESV)

In baptism we become a part of the body of Christ which is the whole group of believers who partake of that Holy Spirit that is given to each of us and that we share.

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Gal 3:27 ESV)

When we are baptized we are changed. We no longer are just earthly creatures, animals who can talk and reason. In baptism we are clothed with Christ, giving us access to the Father and to the power that Jesus Christ made available by dying for us on the cross.

Still, there are exceptions to the practice of baptism, the Salvation Army and the Quakers. See (Neither Baptism Nor Communion Services for Quakers and the Salvation Army for more on this.)

Again, there are numerous points of contention on the details, but for now, let’s just celebrate this area of commonality, that in baptism we were buried with Christ unto death, and raised again with him in newness of life.

 

 

August 2nd, 2017 Posted by | Basic Christianity | no comments