Sermon No: 117477-Communion



SERMON TOPIC: Communion

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 3 October 2021

Topic Groups: COMMUNION, THE CHURCH, PASSOVER

Sermon synopsis: Communion is a memorial in which Christians identify with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and remember the Lord's broken body and the blood he shed for us. Along with baptism, Communion is a Covenant sign.

1 Cor 11:25 (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.” [cf. Matt 26:27-28]

THE CHURCH IS NOT: A BUILDING

The Greek word “ecclesia” translated as “church” in the NT means “a called-out assembly or congregation”.

In English, we go to church – and we are the church.

But the Greek word translated “church” in the NT is always the congregation (people) – it never refers to a building.

Rom 16:5 (NIV) Greet also the church [ecclesia] that meets at their house.

THE CHURCH IS NOT: A BUILDING

THE CHURCH IS NOT:

Israel

A concert

A self-help instruction centre

A dating club

A den of thieves

A community centre

A mouthpiece for a political party

A political party for social justice

An exclusive club for holy people

A denomination

A physical building

The church is not:

THE CHURCH IS:

An assembly (gathering) or congregation

An embassy

A family

An army

The revelation of God’s wisdom

The church is:

Body

Bride

Branches

Building (spiritual)

It is also:

WHAT THE BIBLICAL CHURCH DOES:

THE BIBLICAL CHURCH

Christians are instructed to fellowship with other believers.

Heb 10:25 (NIV) not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

The recipients of the letter of Hebrews were being persecuted for their faith. Maybe some had stopped fellowshipping because of their fear of persecution and possible death.

Many have stopped fellowshipping today because of their fear of infection and possible death by a virus.

Even when there are no restrictions or eased restrictions they don’t fellowship.

COMMUNION

The Koine Greek word for fellowship is “koinonia” (which is often also translated “communion”).

KOINONIA

Thayer's Greek Lexicon says of “koinonia”: fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, contact

the share which one has in anything, participation; with the genitive of the thing in which he shares…

contact, fellowship, intimacy: … the right hand as the sign and pledge of fellowship (in fulfilling the apostolic office)…

a benefaction jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, as exhibiting an embodiment and proof of fellowship…

WHAT IS COMMUNION?

Communion is a memorial in which Christians identify with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and remember the Lord's broken body and the blood he shed for us.

The breaking of bread (Acts 2:46)

Communion: derived from Latin communio (“sharing in common”).

1 Cor 10:16 (KJV) The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion [Greek: koinonia, Latin communio] of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

The Lord’s Supper

1 Cor 11:20 (NIV) So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat …

ALTERNATE NAMES

ALTERNATE NAMES

The Eucharist: The Greek noun “eucharistia” means “thanksgiving” while the related verb “to be thankful” is found several times in the accounts of the Last Supper:

Matt 26:27 (NKJV) Then He took the cup, and gave thanks [Greek: eucharistesas], and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. [cf. Mark 14:23; Luke 22:17,19; 1 Cor 11:24]

It is a command. Jesus instructed us to regularly come together to remember and celebrate his death.

1 Cor 11:23–24 (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 [eucharistesas], he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

WHY DO WE HAVE COMMUNION?

Along with baptism, Communion is a Covenant sign.

1 Cor 11:25 (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.” [cf. Matt 26:27-28]

WHY DO WE HAVE COMMUNION?

The Passover

Ex 12:21-23 (NIV) Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe ... When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood … and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.

Jesus – our Passover Lamb

Jesus is our Passover lamb.

1 Cor 5:7 (NIV) for Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

John 1:29 (NIV) The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

Jesus instituted Communion on the eve of his death when he ate the Passover meal with his disciples (Matt 26:26–29; Mark 14:22–25; Luke 22:14–20).

THE FULFILMENT OF PASSOVER

Jesus – our Passover Lamb

As the Jews were slaughtering their Passover lambs, they did not realise that on that very day, the true Passover lamb was being slaughtered.

And just as God told the Israelites in Egypt “When I see the blood, I will pass over you” (Ex 12:13) so when God sees the blood of Jesus applied to our lives – he will pass over us and spare us from judgement.

A NEW COVENANT - IN HIS BLOOD

The Passover lamb was killed on the day of Passover - as was Jesus.

Luke 22:14-15 (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.

Jesus instituted a New Covenant at Passover and gave new significance to the bread and wine. What is the significance?

Bread and wine are served for the Lord's Supper. The bread symbolizes Christ's body, which was beaten and broken for us as he died for the sins of humanity.

1 Cor 11:24 (NKJV) and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

UNLEAVENED BREAD

Unleavened bread is used to represent Jesus’ body.

Leaven always has a negative connotation in the Bible. It is always used to represent evil, sin and false doctrine. Speaking of the sinner in the Corinthian church, Paul writes, “Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?... Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Cor 5:6-8)

UNLEAVENED BREAD

But unleavened bread represents the absence of sin.

As our sacrifice for sin, it was necessary that Jesus be sinless. He was “tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” (Heb 4:15)

We also partake of the cup of wine (or grape juice).

Just as grapes are trampled on to produce the wine so Jesus’ body was trampled.

Isa 53:5 (NIV) But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities…

THE CUP OF WINE

The cup of red wine (or grapejuice) symbolizes his blood, which was shed for us as he paid for our sins.

Matt 26:27-28 (NKJV) Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

“The blood is the life” (Deut 12:23). By partaking in communion, we are symbolically intermingling his blood with ours to represent intercommunion and pledge of oneness. We are entering a blood covenant together.

PASSOVER SEDER

The Passover Seder is a ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover. * It is the most commonly celebrated Jewish ritual, performed by Jews all over the world. *

The Seder is a ritual performed by a community or by multiple generations of a family, involving a retelling of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. *

Seder customs include telling the story, discussing the story, drinking four cups of wine, eating matza, partaking of symbolic foods placed on the Passover Seder plate, and reclining in celebration of freedom. *

* https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Passover_Seder

FOUR CUPS

The Four Cups represent the four expressions of deliverance promised by God in Exodus 6:6–7.

CUP OF SANCTIFICATION: “I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians” (v. 6).

CUP OF PRAISE: “I will rescue you from their bondage” (v. 6).

CUP OF REDEMPTION: “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments” (v. 6).

CUP OF ANTICIPATION: “I will take you as My people, and I will be your God” (v. 7).

THE FIRST CUP

The First Cup is the Cup of Sanctification. It is consumed early in the meal. In Hebrew, the word for “sanctification” is kiddush. Hence the cup has become known as the Kiddush Cup.

Sanctification means “set apart.” Jewish people acknowledge, remember, and praise God that He selected, exalted, and set them apart from all other nations by giving them his commandments.

Deut 14:2 (NLT) You have been set apart as holy to the LORD your God, and he has chosen you from all the nations of the earth to be his own special treasure.

Deut 14:2 (NKJV) For you are a holy people to the LORD your God…

NATURE OF SANCTIFICATION

Separation

Sanctification and holiness are synonymous terms. The word “holy” which describes the divine nature means “separated”. When God wishes to use a person or object in his service, he separates them or it from common use and by this act of separation the person or object becomes holy.

Dedication

When the word “holy” is applied to men or things it means they are used in God’s service and dedicated to him, in a special sense his property e.g. the Sabbath and Feasts days are holy because they represent the dedication or consecration of time to God.

Purification

The idea of purification is also involved. God’s character reacted upon whatever was devoted to Him. Hence men dedicated to him must share his nature and be clean.

Inanimate objects where consecrated by being anointed with oil. (Exodus 40:9-11)

The Israelite nation was sanctified by the blood of a covenant sacrifice. (Ex 24:8)

The priests where consecrated by being washed with water, anointed with oil and sprinkled with blood.

3 MEANS OF SANCTIFICATION IN THE OLD COVENANT

3 MEANS OF SANCTIFICATION IN THE NEW COVENANT

In the New Covenant we are sanctified by:

The Holy Spirit (oil)

Rom 15:16 (NIV) … He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

By means of the Word (water)

John 17:17 (NKJV) Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

The Blood

Heb 10:29 (NIV) How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them..

NATURE OF SANCTIFICATION

The Old Testament sacrifices were types of the real sacrifice of Christ. The various washings and anointings where typical of the real sanctification made possible through the work of Christ.

Therefore, as Israel was sanctified by the blood of the covenant so in the New Covenant we are sanctified by Jesus’ blood.

Heb 13:12 (ESV) So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.

When we partake of the Communion Cup, we remember that we are a people set apart and sanctified by the blood of Christ.

THE SECOND CUP

The Second Cup is the Cup of Praise.

After the story of the Exodus is read, the cup is drunk with a prayer of praise to God for being the constant source of deliverance in every generation - rescuing them from Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and all other foreign countries.

THE SECOND CUP

As Christians we too can praise God at the time of Communion for being a constant source of deliverance .

Acts 2:46–47 (ESV) And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes … praising God …

Justin Martyr’s (c. AD 150) earlier account of church worship in the 1st century speaks of Communion as following a service which consisted of the reading of Scripture, prayers, and exhortation.

Eph 5:18-20 (NIV)…Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

* https:// israelmyglory.org/ article/ the-four-cups

THE THIRD CUP

The Third cup is called the Cup of Redemption (from slavery). It is taken after the meal and hence is the one referred to in the gospels.

Luke 22:20 (NKJV) Likewise He took the cup after supper, saying…

THE THIRD CUP

The Cup of Redemption (from slavery) symbolizes what Jesus did for us: He shed his blood to redeem us from slavery to sin.

John 8:34-36 (ESV) Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

THE FOURTH CUP

The Fourth Cup. It is called the Cup of Anticipation and everyone drinks this cup at the close of the Passover. Some believe that Jesus deliberately did not drink this one as it was typical of the Millennial kingdom which is still to come. After the third cup he says:

Matt 26:27–29 (NKJV) Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But 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.”

Jesus said he would not drink of this cup until he and his believers feast together at the Messianic Banquet. Hence the fourth cup points to the cup that will be served at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

WHERE?

Where should we break bread?

The church is a place where believers normally break bread together.

However, it can be taken anywhere and anytime when believers come together or even on our own.

Acts 2:46 (ESV) And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts

The early church used to have communal meals called “agapae” (love feasts).

The love feast was “the name given to the communion meals of the early Christians, at which the rich and the poor, the master and the slave, sat together at one table, merging all distinctions of rank in fraternal union and fellowship.” *

* jewishencyclopedia.com/ articles/ 10128-love-feast

LOVE (AGAPE) FEAST

It is believed that the practice of the love feast may have been inspired by the following words of Jesus:

Luke 14:12-14 (NIV) Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbours; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

THE LOVE FEAST

Julian the apostate (331-363 AD), the pagan Emperor who (unsuccessfully) tried to move the Roman Empire back from Christianity to paganism, would complain about this practice in the 4th century:

“These impious Galileans not only feed their own poor, but ours also; welcoming them into their agapae (love feasts), they attract them, as children are attracted, with cakes. Whilst the pagan priests neglect the poor, the hated Galileans devote themselves to works of charity, and by a display of false compassion have established and given effect to their pernicious errors. See their love-feasts, and their tables spread for the indigent. Such practice is common among them, and causes a contempt for our gods.”

COMMUNAL MEALS

At these meals the Christians gathered, not just for the sake of eating, but for fellowship (Acts 2:46–47) and the Breaking of Bread (1 Cor 11:17–34). In the early Jerusalem church, it was a daily occurrence:

Acts 2:46–47 (ESV) And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts …

COMMUNION AT THE LOVE FEAST

That Communion was celebrated as part of the love feast is implied in 1 Corinthians 11 where - in the context of talking about communal eating - Paul mentions Jesus taking bread and saying, “Take, eat; this is My body”.

Nowhere is this practice more clearly confirmed than in the communion passage of 1 Corinthians 11:20-34. Paul begins that passage by saying, “Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk.” Now, this is obviously talking about more than just the Eucharist. Nobody gets drunk from the small amount of wine taken in communion, nor is it credible that various persons would receive communion before others because they were hungry. No, Paul is obviously describing a meal—the love feast—that preceded the actual Eucharist. *

* https:// earlychurch.com/ love-feast

Why did the practice cease of having love feast and Communion together?

Paul noted abuses at the feasts in Corinth (gluttony and drunkenness).

Jude and Peter note that at times there were false disciples frequenting the love feasts.

Jude 1:12 (ESV) These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted;

2 Pet 2:13 (ESV) … They are blots and blemishes, revelling in their deceptions, while they feast with you.

WHY DID THE PRACTICE CEASE?

WHY DID THE PRACTICE CEASE?

But Clement of Alexandria (c. 150 – c. 215 AD) writes of the sexual immorality of the Carpocratians (a Gnostic sect), saying that at their Agape they “have intercourse where they will and with whom they will”. *

Church historian Philip Schaff writes: “The early disappearance of the Christian agapæ may probably be attributed to the terrible abuse of the word here referred to, by the licentious Carpocratians. The genuine agapæ were of apostolic origin (2 Pet. ii. 13; Jude 12), but were often abused by hypocrites, even under the apostolic eye (1 Corinthians 11:21). **

* Stromateis ** "Elucidations", CCEL.org, Christian Classics Ethereal Library

WHY DID THE PRACTICE CEASE?

Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) objected to the continuance in his native North Africa of the custom of such meals, in which some indulged to the point of drunkenness, and he distinguished them from proper celebration of the Eucharist: “Let us take the body of Christ in communion with those with whom we are forbidden to eat even the bread which sustains our bodies.” He reports that even before the time of his stay in Milan, the custom had already been forbidden there. *

Today, love feasts are still observed by the Moravians, Church of the Brethren, Old German Baptists, Dunkard Brethren, and some other denominations. In some cases, the fellowship includes a foot-washing ceremony, a meal, and the observance of communion. **

* https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Agape_feast ** gotquestions.org/ love-feast.html

COMMUNION HAS SIGNIFICANCE FOR THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

Past: We look back in remembrance at the cross. We are told that in the practice we “proclaim the Lord's death” (1 Cor 11:26).

Present: We are instructed to “examine” ourselves (1 Cor 11:28).

Future: We look forward the return of Christ We are told to “proclaim the Lord's death until He comes” (1 Cor 11:26).

Communion is a time to look back, remembering the Lord's death on the cross. Christ died in our place so that we might live. He took our sins upon Himself so that we could receive his righteousness.

Bill Crowder writes, “I was in London’s Heathrow Airport waiting for a connecting flight to the US. An announcement came over the public address system stating that it was “Remembrance Day” in the UK, the day on which people honoured those who had died for their country in times of war.”

1) PAST SIGNIFICANCE OF COMMUNION

The announcement further said that at 11:00 a.m. there would be 2 minutes of silence and that it would be appreciated if everyone kept that in mind. Thousands of people from all over the world stood in silence as a tribute to the fallen soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen of the UK. The desire to remember those who gave their lives for their country is noble.

1) PAST SIGNIFICANCE OF COMMUNION

Yet, as meaningful as that is, it cannot compare to the privilege that belongs to us when we approach the Lord’s Table. As we celebrate Communion, we are obeying Christ’s command that we remember His death ... When He sacrificed His life for us, He provided the forgiveness of sins that sets us free and secures for us an eternal home in heaven. *

Rather than letting the Lord’s Supper become routine, make every opportunity at the Table a true “Remembrance Day” by honouring Him till He comes. *

* preceptaustin.org/ hebrews_12_sermon_illustrations.htm

In addition to being believers, we must prepare our hearts to participate in the Lord's Supper. Communion is a time to look within, considering our lives in light of our profession of faith.

We must examine our lives for any unconfessed sin.

1 Cor 11:28 (NKJV) But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

2) PRESENT SIGNIFICANCE OF COMMUNION

EXAMINE YOURSELF

Note that we are told to examine ourselves, not others.

As we become right with God through confessing our sins, we may then participate in the Lord's Supper in a worthy manner.

1 John 1:8-9 (NKJV) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Ps 139:23-24 (KJV) Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

2) PRESENT SIGNIFICANCE OF COMMUNION

Communion is not just another meal. It is sacred.

The elements of bread and wine are given to stir our minds and hearts. The physical action of eating and drinking is designed to remind us that we spiritually “ingest” and depend upon Jesus and the saving benefits of his life, death, and resurrection.

HOW SHOULD COMMU-NION BE OBSERVED?

Jesus commanded his disciples to observe Communion (Matt 26:26); therefore, anyone who participates in the Lord's Supper must first be a believer.

1 Cor 11:27 (NKJV) Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord

To partake in an unworthy manner is to take it without regard to its true worth – it is to come complacently, light-heartedly, giving no thought to that which the elements signify.

2) PRESENT SIGNIFICANCE OF COMMUNION

NOT DISCERNING THE LORD’S BODY

One of the issues Paul addresses in 1 Corinthians is the manner in which the people were taking communion… Instead of reminding people of Jesus’ sacrifice, communion became a means of self-gratification, furthering the divisions among the Corinthian Christians. After describing the situation and explaining what communion should be, Paul instructs them to examine themselves and reminds them that we bring judgement on ourselves when we take it in an unworthy manner. *

1 Cor 11:29-32 (NKJV) For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

* https:/ /www.gotquestions.org/ examine-yourself.html

3) FUTURE SIGNIFICANCE OF COMMUNION

Not only is communion a commemoration of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ for our sins, but it is also a reminder that he will return. It is a time to look ahead toward the second coming of Christ. We are to "proclaim the Lord's death until He comes" (1 Cor 11:26).

This, then, is not merely an ordinance of thanks that looks to the past. It is an ordinance of hope that points to our future.

The Lord's Supper foreshadows the great marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19).

Today, we stand between the two most important events in human history: the first and the second coming of Jesus Christ. When we observe The Lord's Supper as Christians, we become connected to both.

CONCLUSION: Proclaim the Lord's death until He comes

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. ( Lockman.org)

Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV: Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.




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