Luke chapter 22 is where we will be spending a great majority of our time together this evening, though not the totality of it. I'd like to begin by saying that food is an interesting subject to consider. Families are called in from their long and busy days to unite just once again around the table of chicken and dumplings that spans back multiple generations. We're passionate about it, cultures are built around it, we take pride in it, and there's just something special about the recipes that your family has kept around for generation upon generation. It is with that in mind that I take liberty to pause and say that South Carolina's mustard-based barbecue is still the most elite of barbecues.
And the fact that most of you disagree with me proves the point that we are passionate about our food. Well, far more fascinating than Granny's Biscuits, which called an individual's family in from our tiring days, is the meal that is set forward by Christ and his table, which has called not only just a few of us to our own individual families, but has called family upon family from generation to generation, spending the entirety of the globe from their weary and Christian fight to come together to commune both with themselves and with our Lord of glory, who has set the table for us. Growing up in South Carolina, I was accustomed to the people of God having an insatiable desire and love for his word. However, one thing I was not accustomed to was a love for his ordinances, most particularly the Lord's table. I recall communion being lightly attended and heavily frightful events. And when I assumed my first pasture, I realized that this was not a geographical phenomenon, but that this is an issue that plagues great deals of churches in general. Concerning the Lord's table, I recall a few years ago speaking with a friend of mine who now belongs to the assembly where I was baptized, but have not belonged for quite some time.
In our conversation, he told me that it had been over 11 years since they have partaken of the Lord's Supper there. And when I learned that I would be speaking tonight, and as I was speaking with Brother Greg earlier and learned that it would be a Lord's table service, that very well knelt down what I would be preaching on. And the question came to my mind as I considered my upbringing and considered the thoughts that run through many congregants mind. And the thought that I had was this, what is it about our understanding of the Lord's table that causes some on one hand to bear unbearable fright concerning the Lord's table?
And on the other hand, some view it as almost unbearably unnecessary. I believe it is because we have a malnourished understanding of the Lord's table that has left us feeling this way. And it is my desire here tonight, therefore, to take us to the Word of God as we will find within it the true doctrine of the Lord's table, that within it there is great assurance within this sacrament. You will hear different assemblies use different terms. Some will use Eucharist, meaning it is a time of thanksgiving, a thanksgiving meal. Some will use sacrament, which means a visible sermon.
And some will use ordinance, which some of us have grown up using as well. So if you hear me use one of those three and interchangeably tonight, they mean the same thing. It is my desire for us to look at this sacrament of the Lord's table as it is a visible sermon communicating something far greater than entailed within the mere bread and wine that we partake. So if you find yourself here tonight and you harbor great fear concerning the Lord's table and you have been a believer, but your testimony concerning the table has been one marked by slipping out during the pastoral prayer before we take it.
This is for you. And if you are those here tonight who find yourself believing that it is nothing more than an empty memory that is almost useless, this is also for you as well. It is in the Song of Solomon, chapter two, verse three through four, that the Shulamite woman writes this, that her lover is like an apple tree among the trees of the woods. And she says, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down in his shade with great delight and his fruit was sweet to my taste and he brought me into his banqueting house and there his banner over me is love. In this passage we read of the Shulamite woman's love for her beloved as she states that he is as an apple tree in the midst of a forest or to speak of it today, there is absolutely no one like him. She wants to be in his presence. She drinks up the difference in him between the world and himself.
There is no one like him and she could sit in it all the day long. It is in that that we find him inviting her into his banqueting house where she is flabbergasted to see that his banner over her is love. He is inviting her in from this daily sweet communion into something even more intimate, something even richer than what she has experienced on a day to day basis. And as believers, beloved, we have been pressed through this long week instructed by God to walk in his love and enjoying his daily communion with us. But before us tonight he has set a banqueting table.
The means of grace surround us in the prayers and in the preaching of the word and in the presentation of the Lord's table. We have arrived here wearied, worn, beaten, yet we have rested in the one who is like none other. He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother. He is the lily of the valley. He is the rock in a dry and thirsty land.
He is, according to the Song of Solomon, a sweet apple tree in the midst of the forest. We have enjoyed daily fellowship with Christ. We have enjoyed him day by day, but here tonight he reaches forth in arm and calls us in to know him in a way which we otherwise do not.
The table is set. Come into the banqueting house. We are, as the second chapter of Song of Solomon teaches, called in from the beauty of daily fellowship into something more intimate. We are called into the dining hall and there the banner over us is love and tonight, beloved, as we feast upon what he has provided for us, let us lift our eyes to gaze at the assuring love of Christ. So with that said, as we gaze upon his assuring love in the Lord's table, we will find four things for our assurance here in Luke chapter 22 that I will strengthen with arguments from 1 Corinthians 10 and 11 and seldomly, but we will use 1 Corinthians 5.
These assuring truths are fourfold and we will give them now. First, beloved, be assured Christ for you. Be assured in Christ for you. Second, be assured Christ is with you. Third, be assured Christ's church affirms you. And fourth, be assured Christ is coming for you. This is declared in the Lord's table.
First, be assured in Christ for you. As we looked at our text for this evening, I know it was quite odd because most of our Bibles separate the paragraphs between verse 13 and 14 in Luke 22, but I wanted you to highlight in your mind that mentioning of they prepared the Passover. That is an important statement that we'll find here and if we're not careful, we will merely read it as though it is a simple coincidence of dates or a piece of information that is just irrelevant to our understanding of the Lord's table or this scene at hand. But in reality, what Jesus is doing here is he is taking the bread and the wine that would be present in the Passover feast and he is going to communicate the reality of his death and likewise institute the Lord's Supper for us.
But what about the Passover is so significant here? Well, if we look back in the book of Exodus, we will learn that the Jews are enduring Egyptian captivity. A new Pharaoh is reigning that does not know Joseph or the lineage of the Jews and he sees that the Lord has prospered them tremendously in the land and so he sees an opportunity to enslave them and to use them as his servants. And it is during this time that they cry out for God's deliverance and he hears them and he sends forth Moses to them to declare to Pharaoh to let his people go.
Pharaoh will not listen, he hardens his heart or rather God hardens his heart and God sends forth nine plagues to persuade Pharaoh and they are to no avail. Now comes the tenth plague and God commands each house to slay a lamb and to apply its blood to their doorpost and to the lentils of their home. They would also be expected to go into their homes to roast the lamb and to eat it with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. And on that night the Lord would pour judgment out upon Egypt and he would enter in to every home that did not have the blood of a lamb and he would slay their firstborn son. We might very simply say that the judgment of God was appeased or distanced from that time by the blood of a lamb.
Nonetheless this event granted a period of time where Israel was able to escape Egypt and later on to memorialize this event. The Passover feast was held but the lambs were no longer slain by the fathers of the homes but were slain by priests. And they were no longer eaten within their homes but were eaten in the sanctuaries and the blood was no longer shed and put upon the doorpost and lentils but was now placed upon the altar. This is developed in Deuteronomy chapter 16 and why do we bring all this up?
Why is this relevant? Well it's because this event was not only sacrificial as you'll see the priest took the sacrifice, the priest offered the sacrifice, the priest shed the blood, the temple, the sanctuary was where they consumed the meal. It was not only a sacrifice though, it was a sacrifice and a meal, a sacrifice and a meal. We find this throughout the Old Testament where only parts of a sacrifice would be consumed on an altar and the rest would be saved for the priest or for the sacrificing family to eat.
Herman Bovink puts this well in volume four of his reformed dogmatics. He says, the significance of these meals was that God met with his people and on the basis of the sacrifice made and accepted, he united himself to his people with joy. Bovink continues, he is the host who relinquishes a part of the sacrifice brought to him and invites his people to come in and to dine with him. And as we fast forward to our passage tonight we find that Jesus takes the cup and the bread but leaves out the meat from the lamb. This is because Jesus is communicating that he himself is the lamb that would be sacrificially slain. It is Abraham in Genesis 22 who when asked by his son, where is the sacrifice, utters forth a foreshadowing which he probably didn't even understand at the time. And he says that God will provide himself a sacrifice.
It was Isaiah who prophesied in Isaiah 53, he was oppressed and he was afflicted. Yet he opened not his mouth like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, like a sheep that before it sheers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. It was John the Baptist in John 129 who looks upon Christ's coming and declares, Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world. And it is Revelation 5, 6 through 10 which reads, And I looked and behold in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures and in the midst of the elders stood a lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out to all the earth. Then he came and took the scroll out of the right hand of him who sat upon the throne. Now when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the lamb, each having a heart and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song saying this, You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals for you were slain and have redeemed us to God by your blood, out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation and you have made us kings and priests to our God and we shall reign on the earth. Beloved in Christ, it is in Christ himself who has bore the sacrifice of the Passover and now we see the communal aspect of Passover hidden in the Old Testament, now being developed in this time, this institution of the Lord's table. Why am I bringing this up tonight?
Why is this important? Well, first and foremost, I really like preaching the Old Testament, so I could not do it, but also if we're going to have a very robust understanding of the doctrine of the Lord's table, it's important to understand Passover's significance. I am bringing this out because Jesus says that it is in this cup, which signifies his blood, that the new covenant is made with us. This new covenant is all that is necessary for our reconciliation unto God and it is made wholly finished by Christ alone.
Jesus paid it all. The reason that I spent so long cultivating this truth tonight is because it seems that many of us understand the new covenant and its nature, but when we approach the Lord's table, we behave as though the nature of the new covenant changes in totality. What I mean by this is we sing that Jesus paid it all, we rest in him in totality, we try to look away from ourselves as not to navel gaze or to be introspective, but when it comes to the Lord's table, we look at ourselves as though it is our own merits which warrant access into communion with God. The nature of the new covenant does not change tonight. Our access to commune with Christ has always been and will always will be by Christ alone given for us. All those lambs did not truly appease the judgment and the wrath of God. It foreshadowed what Christ would bear for us, beloved. Christ is the lamb slain for his church. This is our hope.
This is our anthem and plea. Are you fearful in coming to the Lord's table tonight? Worried that you might take it unworthily as your mind rehearses Paul's warning in 1 Corinthians 11 27 which reads, 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. Listen to David Dixon who wrote this concerning Paul's warning.
Here Paul shows how easy it is to prepare to receive the sacrament in a worthy manner. He says that people need only to examine themselves being aware of the seriousness of their sin and of their great need of Christ's remedy for it. Furthermore, Tom Haskell writes, Paul's warning then should not be misconstrued to mean that really bad sinners are somehow unworthy to come to the Lord's table.
Those are the only kind of people who are legitimate candidates. Worthiness is not to be found in some kind of supposed level of personal righteousness in the communicant. Rather a sinner comes to the table worthily when he soberly remembers his sin and the great cost that Christ paid to redeem him from it. The Lord's table tonight is like a king writing a letter to the poorest beggar in his kingdom as though to say that this beggar is invited forward to enjoy sweet fellowship with him forevermore.
But it doesn't end there. Dear beggar, you receive an inheritance of my whole kingdom. And as this beggar receives the letter and sees the seal, he opens it up and reads it. But to his disbelief, how could this be so? How could these promises be mine?
I am a beggar. And he closes the envelope and looks at the seal and it confirms the authenticity of all the promises sent forth. This is what the Lord's table does for us tonight. When we take the body and the blood of Christ symbolized in the Lord's table, we may say unto ourselves, so surely has my mouth taste this wine and this bread.
So surely has Jesus died for me. This is Christ for you. This is the assurance given to the believer in the Lord's table.
Come tonight. You bring great disadvantage to your soul in refusing it, brother. Christ for you declared in this table, come and be nourished. The letter has been given unto us. This is what the Lord's table is. It is Christ. And Christ, all that is needed is found and it is in his table that he invites us to be assured of his promises to you and to me. So you thirst from wondering in that parched land of your own self-righteousness. Come and be satisfied with the wine wherein is known the blood of Christ, which sues the demands of the law for you. And you who find yourself weakened from the cancerous condemnations that plague your mind. Come and find your soul strengthened in Christ for you tonight. This is our first assuring doctrine of the Lord's table.
They get shorter the longer I go. Second. Also, brother Greg is watching out for any ticks or mannerisms I had. I had an energy drink before I came up here. So we're in high gear tonight. Second, be assured in Christ with you. Now I've already alluded to this.
It's hard to separate these two. But as we continue in our consideration of Luke 22 tonight, we find in verse 19, he took bread, gave thanks and broke it and gave unto them saying, this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. I ask this question, is the Lord's table more than a memorial act? Is it more than a memorial act?
Is there something more to this than what meets the eye? Well, in first Corinthians chapter 10, verse 14 through 22, Paul begins this section by stating that the Lord's table is communion or your translation of every participation in the body of Christ. And he continues this to develop this doctrine in stating that in the pagan cultures wherein they were saved from, these sacrifices would result in meals dedicated to their idols. And he further argues in verse 20, the things which the gentile sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God.
And I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. What Paul is arguing is that in the Lord's table, we are spiritually, presently communing with Christ in a manner that is not else wise known. Christ is spiritually known in the Lord's table. I am not arguing consubstantiation or transubstantiation, nor do I argue Zwinglian memorialism. I argue for Calvin and I would argue the biblical account of Christ's spiritual presence in the Lord's table. He is here.
He is here. In Luke 22 19, we've read Jesus calls us to have the supper in remembrance of me. And if we glance at that, we might think, yeah, case settled.
It's just a memory. But remember, the Passover is in context here, calls you back to the book of Exodus. And as we consider Exodus, specifically chapter 20, verse 24, we read this, an altar of earth that you shall make for me and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. And every place where I record my name, I will come to you and I will bless you. We are baptized believers stamped with the name of the triune God. And he has invited us forward to feast at his table. And he has just said, wherever his name is recorded or recounted, there he is present to come unto us and to bless us. Christ is spiritually present in the Lord's table.
Herman Bovink once more says in his reformed dogmatics, besides being the inaugurator of the supper, he is also the host and the administrator. He himself takes the bread and wine. He blesses them. He distributes them to his disciples.
He remains the host and administrator of it always. And wherever his meal is separated, the Lord's supper is a meal whose host is Christ. It is in this table that we are spiritually fed or feeding upon Christ for us. So as you take the Lord's table, think to yourself, just as surely as I can taste this bread and wine, so surely has Christ died for me. And in the same vein, just as bread and wine nourishes our physical bodies, though we're not necessarily getting a high amount of caloric consumption in the elements tonight, but likewise, and so like a wine and bread would nourish our physical bodies, so do as we feast upon Christ for us, we are strengthened as we feast upon him in the Spirit. And our souls are strengthened in Christ for us.
Let me clarify that this is not unto the justification of a lost man. The partaking of the table is unto the sanctification of the believing sinner. Robert Bruce said, you do not get any different Christ in the Lord's supper than you get in the preaching of the word, but you may get the same Christ better.
Let me read that again. You do not get any different Christ in the Lord's supper than you get in the preaching of the word, but you may get the same Christ better. Before we hurry on onto our last two observations, let me highlight what a beautiful thought it is that Jesus is acting as prophet, priest, and king as he is foreshadowing his death on our behalf, he is placing himself as the lamb, and then he takes the bread and he breaks it, he takes the wine and he offers it, and he gives thanks for it. Christ knew that he was going to be brutally murdered the next day, and as he presents forth the elements to his disciples and to us, he does not begrudgingly provide for them, he gives thanks that they will be forever more nurtured as they consider Christ for them. Jesus is not ashamed of us, and he did not begrudgingly suffer in our place, but he went thankfully and happily, and he is pleased to commune with us, his blood-bought people. Third, I will hurry, be assured, not only in Christ for you, be assured in Christ with you, but third, be assured in Christ's church as it affirms you.
It's a different vein, but it's an important thing to know. Our third observation is in Luke 22, 17. The scripture says, then he took the cup and gave thanks and said, take this and divide it amongst yourselves, and he continues to say, I'm not going to be here to take it until the kingdom comes. In 1 Corinthians 10, 14 through 17, we find communal language as it says this, the cup of blessing we bless, the bread which we break, for we, though many, are one bread and one body, for we all partake of that one bread. It is obvious here that the Lord's Supper is not an individualistic event, but an ordinance belonging to the local assembly.
Now, where is the assurance found in this reality? I find it in 1 Corinthians 5 where Paul is writing to the Corinthian church and he is telling them that they need to remove a member who is apparently having an unrepentant affair with his mother-in-law. And in verse 7, Paul says, therefore purge out the old leaven that you may be a new lump since you are truly unleavened, for indeed Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Do you hear the language here connecting us to the Passover? Unleavened, leavened, Passover, lamb, sacrifice for us.
He's connecting it back again. What I find encouraging to us in light of this passage is that when a church takes church discipline seriously, we may have assurance in the partaking of the Lord's table. What I mean by that is that the Lord's table may be a sign of assurance unto us because as we walk forward to take it, the local church and our elders do not find sin in our life wherein we are called to be excused or barred from the table. There is great benefit in us taking church discipline lovingly yet seriously. And when we do that, having access to the table and not being barred by the elders and the church works for our assurance.
They see fruit in my life. They affirm me in Christ. And might I say tonight as you make your way to the table, you need to keep your head up and to look around because as they take the cup tonight, they are openly reaffirming the vows that you watch them make in their baptism. They are declaring with you and with all of us together, I follow Christ. My creed and my anthem is Christ for me.
And it's not a solo or an individualistic thing, but they are declaring it alone and with you. We are an army gathered together, being strengthened in numbers and Christ has called us together to release, as it were, a war cry. Christ is our Lord and we are committed to him.
It's developing that 1 Corinthians 5 doctrine or 1 Corinthians 10. Don't fellowship with demons, fellowship with Christ. And as we come and eat at his table, we're being strengthened and we are openly declaring, I'm committed still to that testimony you saw me make all that time ago in my baptism.
You may be assured tonight. An old hymn by John Newton says, May the grace of Christ our Savior and the Father's boundless love with the Holy Spirit's favor rest on us from above. Thus may we abide in union with each other and the Lord and possess in sweet communion joys which earth cannot afford. Beloved, as we make our way to partaking the Lord's Supper, it is of great benefit to our own encouragement to look around, to affirm within our hearts, but to be encouraged as our eyes rest upon our brothers and sisters and I hurry on to point four.
Be assured not only is Christ for you, not only is Christ with you, not only does Christ's church affirm you, but fourth, be assured Christ is coming for you. And finally, we notice in Luke 22 16, Christ says, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. Verse 18 reads, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes. And in 1 Corinthians 11 26, we read, For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. As we consider these passages together, we come to realize that the Lord's table is not simply an act to remember a past event, nor is it a present communion, but it is a foreshadowing of a future reality. James Renahan writes, baptism signifies new creation, new creation life, and the Lord's Supper signifies our right to that new creation and our ongoing nourishment until we reach it. Even more so, however, the Lord's Supper is the rehearsal dinner of the great marriage feast of which Christ and his bride.
Partaking in one is anticipation of another. And this future meal is found in Revelation 19, 6 through 9, which reads, Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty pills of thunder crying out, Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exalt and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and his bride has made herself ready.
It was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure. For the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saint, and the angel said to me, Write, Blessed are those who were invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me, These are the true words of God. Within the Lord's Supper is found a testimony of all that is central to the Christian faith tonight. We, the redeemed church, partake of Christ's sacrifice on our behalf by the miraculous act of the Spirit through whom our souls are nourished. It is through this means of grace that the Father is reminded, similarly to the bow in the sky after the flood, that he will never again pour wrath upon those, his people, beneath this mark.
The climax of this all is the foreshadowing of the day where all promises come to pass, and we shall see him as he is. We will dine with him forevermore. So tonight as we enjoy the Lord's table together, come and enjoy the rehearsal dinner. Come and enjoy the rehearsal dinner.
For you who are cheapskates, this one has been fully paid for, so come and dine. Terry Johnson wrote this in conclusion. The communion table became the point at which commitment to Christ was either refused or ratified. The people came to understand that if they were to do business with God, it would be at the table. If you were a non-believer, Christ was beckoning you to his table through the waters of baptism. The supper was a poignant reminder that one was outside of God's covenant family and thus not a recipient of his saving provisions. If you were a baptized but non-communing child of the church, confirmation would take place at the table. The table for you was a reminder that though a covenant member, you had unfinished business with God. If you were a backsliding Christian, rededication would take place at the table.
The fence table, excluding the unrepentant, was a divine cannon shot over the bow, warning you to get right with God. If you were a faithful believer, reaffirmation of the covenant with Christ would take place at the table. The table for you was a blessed spiritual meal, a reminder of the gifts of grace and communion with the risen Christ himself.
Hear this. The table was the reformed altar call. At the table, one was to deal with Christ, for there he is present.
There he was most clearly seen. There he issued his invitation, take, eat, take, drink and enjoy the benefits. Tonight as we prepare for the Lord's table and as we are called to examine ourselves, we will find most assuredly we are sinful people. Beloved brother or sister in Christ, you who feel condemned in your sin because you have fallen so harshly this week, look to Christ and rejoice, for it is those who partake worthily. For you who are still of the mindset that this is an empty ordinance and take it lightly, you need to be concerned.
This is not a thing to take emptily or lightly. Christ ordained this. Christ is present. You who are lost, this sermon and the act of the Lord's table that you will see take it tonight, calls you to come to the table as you trust Christ for the salvation of your soul and you follow him through the waters of baptism. He will wash you and he will feed you as he has faithfully done so with each one of us. Tonight what is to go through our minds as we take the Lord's table?
Three applications or three thoughts. First, we must remind ourselves that I am a great sinner but Christ is a great savior. Second, as surely as I can taste this bread and wine, so surely has Christ died for me. And third, as you partake, remind yourself that you are reaffirming your commitment to following Christ here.
It is in baptism that we made an open declaration of death in the self but new life and following Christ. Keep those vows as you take this tonight. Be reminded that for me to live is Christ. Pursue him holily, leaving behind the weights which so easily beset us. Feast upon him tonight.
Think of what he has done for you. Christ is happy to receive us. My three-year-old daughter Ella's favorite song at the time is Jesus Loves Me.
It was Who Let the Dogs Out for quite some time so we were pleased to see this growth. I frequently ask her what she wants them to sing in toddlers and her anthem is Always Jesus Loves Me. As I heard her little voice singing it throughout the house last week, I began to think on the love shown to us as we are invited into his banqueting table and his banner over us is love. As I began to consider the two thoughts together, I believe we would be correct in saying this tonight, that Jesus loves me, this I know, for his table tells me so. Let us gaze upon the love of Christ that is declared for us, his people.
Let us pray. Heavenly Father, I thank you for the Church of Christ. I thank you for the congregation here at Beacon and their love for the word of God. I should pray that as we go into a time of the consideration of our hearts that you would be pleased to work in this place tonight, that for those who do not know Christ that you would be pleased to call them unto yourself, Lord, that you would save them, grant unto them regeneration and repented faith that they might place their trust in Christ even this evening. Lord, I thank you for the word of God. I pray that even where our anxieties are high, your grace is deep and I pray that you would be pleased to use the teaching and preaching of your word to allow in us a cultivation of love for the word of God and of the truths that are communicated in it. Lord, may our hearts be stirred tonight with thankfulness as all you have done for us is for your glory. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-31 19:04:46 / 2023-05-31 19:18:12 / 13