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November 27, 2021 2:00 am
The third characteristic of Breaking Bread seems like it doesn't fit in a list of the four most important priorities of a church. Of all the possibilities for essential core values, why is eating so central a practice? What does breaking bread really mean and is it still to be a primary focus for modern Christians? Today we will both study this and then practice it together.
This teaching is from the series Church? Who Needs It.Links:
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God forbid that our relationship with God should ever become confined to the past. All I remember the day I came to Christ was the first few weeks while okay that was then this is how you doing now. How's the new covenant going today. We take communion is a reminder that we once gave our lives to Christ.
And there still is welcome to prevent prescription today Skip Heitzig continues to examine the purpose of communion in our series church who needs your taking a tour through Washington DC is like taking a tour through this. There are memorials all over the city. Various figures in historical events are a great way to remember the past but when Jesus told us to remember him didn't ask us to build a monument survey study Skip explains how we been called to remember our Lord Jesus.
But before we began, we have a great resource for you this month to build you up further in your faith. Listen to what Sean McDowell said about the tactics is the book I've been waiting for. I enthusiastically recommend tactics Skip right thing to comment on how Jesus spoke out for truth we might think that Jesus never raised his voice.
He would never call anybody out.
However, there was a side of Jesus that was contentious. The Jesus that took tables in the temple, and overturned them and took out a web and throw people out of the temple that Jesus went to defend the gospel and guard against false teachings with six message series to the Skip I think this teaching series on Bible teaching ministry on $35 or more today by Gregory Coble called tactics your game plan for communicating the truth about Christianity with confidence and grace to get connected skip.com or call 892. Teaching today is on your mark get set grow. Part three will be at acts chapter 2. So as you find your place.
What's going Skip the start of today's disciples certainly familiar when they sat down in that upper room with Jesus.
They knew what was coming celebratory meal looked back to Egypt and the deliverance of the Jewish people from the bondage of Pharaoh member Jesus one time set do not think that I've come to destroy the law or the prophets that encumber the right to fulfill, to fulfill. This is where that statement really comes into view. For we are seeing how Jesus was the complete fulfillment of what the Passover initially was to speak up Jesus in effect transformed the traditional Passover meal to speak of an infinitely greater rescue what he would do on the cross out a little explanation itself. The Passover meal was structured around four glasses of wine would begin where the host would take in the wind was red because it was symbolic of the blood of the Lamb that was smeared on the inferences of the homes in Egypt. You lift up the wineglass and give the traditional Hebrew blessing, but a cutoff I don't I okay no matter how long, but a pretty hard, often blessed art thou, Lord God King of the universe is given us the fruit of the vine in the evening would commence. Then there would be the second glass of wine. The second glass of wine would then be lifted blast and with that came the taking of the unleavened bread we would call matzoh cracker in the unleavened bread was dipped in bitter herbs that spoke of bondage of their forefathers in Egypt and also dipped in this sweet sick fruity pace known as Cotto set which reminded them of the mortar that their forefathers made for the cities in Egypt and would be dipped by the host and pass out to the rest.
Then they would eat the meal when the meal was done, the roasted lamb had been eaten at the end of the meal, the host would lift up the third glass of wine. This was called the cup of redemption unleavened bread would be broken and again the traditional Hebrew blessing but to cut tile denial Kino mannitol alum how much you left him mean high edits. Blessed are you, Lord God King of the universe was given us bread from the earth, and that is verse 19 whereafter that Jesus broke it and said this is my body which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me. I can just picture the jaws of all the disciples dropping at that point then that third glass of wine held up the blessing given in Jesus in verse 20. This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you. So that's the pattern of it. And whereas the Passover meal spoke of the temporary physical deliverance out of slavery. The Lord's supper would speak of the permanent spiritual deliverance from the slavery of sin.
So when the early church committed themselves to the breaking of bread, the Lord's supper, and that meal they were doing is re-creating that night of Passover in a very stripped-down and easy to facilitate form to the breaking of bread is a pattern now turn with me to first Corinthians chapter 11. I know were covering a lot of ground and only regret I have is in swift study like this. We can't probe deep enough for this kind of skimming the surface but here in first Corinthians 11. We understand the breaking bread has a purpose. It has a purpose and were only to read a few verses pretty hefty chapter deals with this. We want to look at at just a few things breaking of the bread has a purpose, and there is a purpose by looking back to the past. There's a purpose by dealing with our present in the third purpose is it takes us to the future, past, present and future is the purpose for communion.
First of all, the past.
Look at verse 23 first Corinthians 11 for I received all by the way, it is believed that first Corinthians was written before Matthew Mark Luke and John. So this becomes the first and primary account of the Lord supper in Scripture. For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which he was betrayed took bread when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, take, eat, this is my body which is broken. Do this in remembrance of me. So Paul understood that the first purpose for communion was to look back retrospect. Remember the cross. Remember the sacrifice.
Remember the night Jesus gave this meal significant. This is the remembrance. Isn't it interesting that Jesus didn't say to his disciples, ever. Hey you guys, I want you to remember me so build up beautiful huge mausoleum over my grave to remember me that wouldn't do any good. Since he only occupied is great for a weekend and left being resurrected, nor did he ever say build a huge marble column or a statue where I preach the sermon on the mount so that every time people go to Galilee they'll remember me know what he said was I want you to remember me with a meal.
Do this often when you do this you look back and you remember, I just want to quickly say that as odd as it might seem communion which means the unity of believers together has become so controversial through the centuries. It is actually divided the church and that is because of the viewpoints that some have had to work communion. There is one belief called transubstantiation that said huge word. I know transubstantiation is the belief that these elements the bread and the wine literally become the actual/of Jesus and the blood of Jesus.
They turn into blood and flesh called transubstantiation, Cyril of Jerusalem believe that Gregory of Nyssa believe that John Chrysostom believe that and that is and has been the position of the Roman Catholic Church. They become the body and blood of Christ that the reformers didn't believe that a second viewpoint was postulated by Martin Luther called there's another word ready con substantiation they don't turn into his body and blood, but there's a special presence of the body and blood, with the elements with the elements. There's 1/3 viewpoint. I happen to hold that one and that sees the elements as a figurative or emblematic. This was the position of John Calvin. This was the position of Ulrich sublingually and that is not looking at the body and blood of Christ. When we hold up the elements there like lenses were looking through them to see Christ it's an emblem it's a figure of what he did people get all hung up and say yeah Jesus said this is my body. It is his body, yeah.
But Jesus also said I am the door.
Does that mean he's a piece of wood with hinges know that is a figure of speech right plainly so that's easily observed, is simply to say I am the way, I am the portal lined the means by which anybody and everybody can get to heaven, and no other means.
So it is that this is my body was figurative in emblematic to look to the past.
Second is a look to the present. Look at verse 25 in the same manner he also took the cup after supper, saying, this cup is not us present tense is the new covenant in my blood. This view as often as you drink in remembrance of me. You are living in the new covenant.
I just wanted to become such good news to you.
It's now it's present you're in it.
It's a whole new deal is not ratified by bringing in animal every week to church getting it slaughtered and you will feel better. It's a once and for all sacrifice that establish a new covenant, and you're in it. Now it is what I want to say about the present tense God for bid that our relationship with God should ever become confined to the past, oh, I remember the day I came to Christ that was so in the first few weeks while okay that was then this is now are you doing now. How's the new covenant going today.
You see when we take communion. It's a reminder that we once gave our lives to Christ. And there still is he still in control. That's why I don't like the bumper sticker not really crazy about a lot of bumper stickers and probably my least favorites as God is my copilot. If you have under car. Forgive me for saying that no notes in the agape boxes. Please just get a different bumper sticker which are God will be your copilot. He wants the keys.
He's driving that baby. He wants the pink slip. He's knocking to be okay. I'll come along for the ride he's in charge and communion is a reminder that presently my life is governed by him submitted to the past. We look to the present. And third, we look to the future. Verse 26 as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes to communion reminds us that there's something more up ahead.
It's not just a past event is not just a present hope the one who came and died and left and is now absent in the flesh is coming back in the flesh physically to rule and reign. Jesus even alluded to that end, we read it I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until I drink it new with you in my father's kingdom. Just think of that the next time Jesus Christ breaks bread and distributes drink you'll be with them. You'll do it at the marriage supper of the Lamb. And I think that as believers we get so bogged down with what's happening now and was going on with the economy what's happening with Korea and Iran and all know we get so bogged down in my library, Jesus is coming 00 CS Lewis said since Christians have largely ceased to think about the next world.
They become so ineffective in this world. I think you become most effective when you live right on that edge. I'm responsible now but Jesus is coming. Communion reminds us of that. The fourth characteristic about this activity is that breaking bread requires preparation. This is unlike any other meal you normally have to prepare for going to McDonald's are going to lunch you to show up, but not with this one verse 27 therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks of this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup, 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 when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord. We may not be condemned with the world so communion requires self-examination or we pause and we look inwardly and we consider how were doing with God. We consider our motivations. We confront our own personal sin, we confess that sin to him and there is repentance of that sin. It's called personal inventory and from time to time we all need to take personal inventory communion helps us take personal inventory.
There's an old business statement that says a man who doesn't take inventory will eventually become bankrupt so as to not become spiritually bankrupt. We take spiritual inventory. I want to clear up an issue.
Verse 27 speaks about an unworthy manner, not an unworthy person. I have to bring that up because inevitably there somebody out there who feels unworthy to take communion. I'm so unworthy to be here.
I'm so wordy. Stop right there. That's what the cross is all about Jesus died for unworthy people.
Grace means blessing conferred to unworthy people. You don't get worthy and take communion, but you can take the Lord's supper in an unworthy manner.
What is that, well if you come to the Lord's supper conveniently, that is, you ignore the command by a large communion is announced as I got whatever. No big deal set a priority in my life. After all, I'm first I worship me, that would be an unworthy manner, or if you were to come to the Lord's table ritualistically your hearts really not in it you'll do it will go through the motions but the emotion is absent. If you come superstitiously thinking man I was so blown it.
I just gotta get communion because if I get communion.
That's all get saved or Grace will be conferred to me. If I take communion, or if you come sinfully if you come to the Lord's supper with bitterness in your heart of hatred in your heart with sin in your life that you refuse to repent of and you take communion. That's an unworthy manner. Having said that one of the basic underlying points of Paul is making isn't to avoid communion. This isn't to push people away from it. It is calm union. It's something we take together and we should take boldly just just make sure you deal with stuff that needs to be dealt with first.
That's all. Having said that, and done that then move into it with confidence as a Scottish theologian named John Duncan who was elder at a Presbyterian Church in Edinburgh, Scotland, and he was passing a communion one day part of the team doing that. There was a girl in the church that he knew quite well. Elements came to her. She turned her head and push them away as if to say, I'm unworthy. He knew her.
He knew her spiritual walk and he knew that she had a tender conscience and he just pushed the tray right into her face and said take it lassie it's for sinners. You take it. It's for sinners. If you've never given your life to Jesus Christ. If you've never honestly surrendered your life to him when I do it right now. Right now you say Lord I trust you. I give you my life I received Jesus as my Lord and my Savior. I want to know him. I want to be cleansed by him. You just do that if there's issues in your life need to be dealt with, deal with them and then take but if we are forgiven sinners, which we are. Some people are opposed to the term center, such work. Hey, I embrace it. I am a forgiven sinner. My joined anybody else. Anybody else out there for a given set of okay okay so if you're forgiven sinner. You know that means means that you and I should become forgiving sinners, forgiving sinners. I've been forgiven by God like a huge debt to personally hurt me okay so just think of the cross for a minute and look up at Jesus dying for, you know that person hurt me if you been a forgiven sinner now be a forgiving center and part of the whole follow-up to last week's fellowship and messy people being around us extend that forgiveness. I want to close with this before we take these elements, the sums it up best the neighborhood bar is possibly the best counterfeit there is to the fellowship, Christ wants to give his church the bars and imitation dispensing liquor instead of grace escape, rather than reality, but it is in accepting an inclusive fellowship. It is on shock couple you can go into a bar and tell people secrets and they usually don't tell others were even want to the bar flourishes not because most people are alcoholics, but because God has put it into the human heart the desire to know and be known to love and be loved and so many people will seek a counterfeit at the price of a few beers with all my heart I believe that Christ wants his church to be on shock couple of fellowship where people can come in and say I'm sunk.
I've had it. Alcoholics Anonymous has this quality but our church is too often miss it.
Let's not miss that having been forgiven, we forgive, having been accepted we accept this mean we turn a blind eye doesn't mean we compromise any of the truth, any of the doctrine any of the holiness any of the principles, but we are willing to walk with people as they are brought to the cross we bring them through.
So when you go to church when you devoted to you devoted to getting out on time or to ministering and fellow shipping with people who need to hope and joy. We have when we gather together the church well just one of the many points I think is making in this series church who needs it up to you how to get a copy of it here in just a moment right now, Skip would like to invite you on a trip of a lifetime. Nothing tops studying the Scriptures in the real life locations where it all took place. That's why I'm eager to announce our upcoming trip to Israel in 2022 and if you register by November 30 using promo code connect Israel. You'll receive $150 off the tour price. Find out more about the email@example.com/C a BQ like Skip that's all the time we have for today but if you'd like a copy of today's teaching on your mark get set grow.
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