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As We Come to the Table #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
May 5, 2022 8:00 am

As We Come to the Table #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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May 5, 2022 8:00 am

Today Pastor Don Green will continue his look at the Lord's communion table by showing us how to be sure our hearts are in the right place before we partake. --thetruthpulpit.comClick the icon below to listen.

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I want to ask two questions as we contemplate the coming of communion.

What do we examine and then secondly how do we respond in our own lives as we contemplate the Lord's table. This is the truth. Pulpit during the Bible teaching of Don Green founding pastor of truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio by Bill Wright today. Don will continue his look at the Lord's communion table showing us how to be sure our hearts are in the right place for we partake.

If you're ready, let's get started as God continues teaching God's people. God's work.

Here is the second half of a message titled, as we come to the table there on the golf look over at the book of Philippians chapter 2 Philippians chapter 2 verse one he says.

Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ. If there is any consolation of love there is any fellowship of the spirit, if any affection and compassion.

He says make my joy complete by being of the same mind maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves. Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others and then he goes and illustrates it by by showing that that was the very attitude with which Christ came into the world. Nothing from selfishness nothing from empty conceit, but marked by a humble spirit that seeks the, the oneness of mind, the, the oneness of love, the oneness of unity in Christ that that would be the mark of everyone who is a living participant in the life of the body of Christ. And so we take this commitment seriously, because Scripture takes it seriously. This is a direct consequence of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for his people because Christ was concerned for the for the love and the unity of his people, that becomes, that becomes a preeminent concern for for everyone who knows Christ in on the idea of of tolerating cultivating any kind of division or resentment within the body is utterly contrary to the spirit of the New Testament 100% Scripture says we need to be mindful of this. In the midst of all of our blessing. We need to be mindful of the fact that we do have an adversary.

Scripture says that the adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. And we are not ignorant of the devices of Satan.

He stirs up false doctrine.

He quietly sows division within the church and for me, you know, it is my particular responsibility as as a pastor to keep the fence up and to keep the fence repaired in order to protect the work of the Lord in the midst of his own of his own flock as we have to take these things seriously. But we realize that that the spirit of Scripture. When you recognize the blessing of God the Spirit of God comes to us and says, and in the words of Scripture you're doing well but Excel still more the work is not done. We have not arrived at anything. There's work to be done and so we must watch and protect what has been given to us.

We must we must be diligent to make sure that we ourselves are contributing everything to the to the positive development of of this work and those of us that have entered into it, you know after the beginning of it that that we come in with a sense that that I'm here to contribute to what is already being taken place. It ought to be thought to be a matter of of great concern and and caution and watchfulness for each one of us to say I would never want to be the one through whom division came into the church that that my you know that my own attitudes my words, my, my remoteness would somehow diminish the work of God in this place that is so obviously under under the blessing of God. Now, having said that, I know that no one would intend to do that. Certainly none of our membership would would intend to do that. But these things these things can happen when it were not paying attention as we have to watch ourselves. Think about it this way. You remember when the Lord told even Peter said Peter get behind me Satan. When Peter tried to discourage him from going to the cross. Just moments earlier Peter and recognize Jesus as as the Christ, the son of the living God. Christ had affirmed him said blessed are you, Simon bar Jonah for flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my father who is in heaven. And so Peter was Peter was tracking Peter had it right and in the very next moment he becomes a mouthpiece for the devil in trying to hinder the advance of Christ to the appointed cross where where he would redeem his people. We have an opportunity to give thanks for all that we've been given. We also have an opportunity to examine ourselves. Every one of us in Scripture. As we contemplate communion, you can kinda see how all of this is coming together.

Scripture speaks to us about how to prepare our hearts for the Lord's table and that is what I want to address from the perspective of gratitude for all that the Lord is done considering the present and looking forward to the future as well. As you know very well. The Lord's table is a time at which we remember the Lord's death for us the bread representing his body that that was on the tree, the juice indicating the blood that was shed through his wounds at the cross for the atonement of our sins and it reminds us of his love and his suffering for us and and it it keeps fresh in our minds the gratitude in our hearts for for what our Lord did for us. But as you read Scripture it's not just that leading up to communion is also a time of self-examination and and preparation nonnormally normally in the way that things are are done, you know, normally the time of preparation is just a brief in others, you know, we have a consideration of the Lord's word and then we take the elements and we prepare that way but that of the way that the Lord has blessed us this week is that he's giving us an opportunity to hear things to take the man and to have a period of a couple of days in order to process this and to examine ourselves and to ask ourselves whether there is anything in us that might be hindering that might be contrary to better stated anything in us that might be contrary to that that loving, gracious, wonderful spirit that that the Lord intends for his people to enjoy and to live out in their own lives and with each other and so I want to ask two questions as we contemplate the coming of communion. What do we examine we say they were called to self-examination. Well, what do we examine in that light. And then secondly, to address the question, how do we respond, how do we respond so we need to know what it is that we should examine ourselves for and then we need to know how to respond what I want to address to you here today is to realize that the process of preparing ourselves for communion calls us to examine matters of church unity actually and when our part in our role and whether were contributing to that are detracting that so to take you to the consideration of this I want you to turn to first Corinthians chapter 11 first Corinthians chapter 11 as we consider what it is that we should examine in our own lives as we contemplate the Lord's table. This is for us to take personally for us to examine ourselves individually and to contemplate the tenor of our lives. The tenor of our conversations, the tenor of our relationships. In light of the priority that the Lord puts on the unity and and blessing of his people. So in first Corinthians chapter 11. You'll remember that the church at Corinth had a number of spiritual problems in their midst. There were divisions that Paul alludes to right from the beginning in chapter 1 and then they had all kinds of selfish manifestations in the life of the body.

It's always remarkable to see that Paul addresses them as believers in the light of the carnality in the division that that was in the church and it shows us that that even genuine believers is recognized by an apostle can have many many things that need to be sanctified in their lives in the way that they approach the Lord's table was one of those matters at the church of Corinth. So in chapter 11 verse 17 the apostle Paul says this, he says, but in giving this instruction I do not praise you because you come together, not for the better but for the worse, for in the first place. When you come together as a church. I hear that divisions exist among you, and in part I believe it for.

There must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you, then he goes into dealing with the Lord's table, the Lord's supper and he says, verse 20. Therefore, when you meet together. It is not to eat the Lord's supper for in your eating each one takes his own supper first, and one is hungry and another is drunk. What do you not have houses in which to eat and drink or do you despise the church of God and shame.

Those who have nothing what shall I say to you, shall I praise you in this. I will not praise you and he goes on to describe the Lord's table in verse 23, he says, for I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you that the Lord Jesus and the night in which he was betrayed took bread 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 he took the cup, also after supper, saying, this cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

What Paul has done there is he's he said their existing practice side-by-side with the the way that the Lord instituted the Lord's supper at that last Passover meal before he was crucified. Any any contrast, there the Lord's generous sacrificial spirit with the carnality and the divisive spirit that was marking the church at that time people are coming together for a meal and people just hurrying to to serve themselves and take care of themselves while while others were left on the side without anything to eat or drink. Paul says this is shameful that you're behaving this way and he goes on and gives instruction about the way that Christ intends his table how the spirit of that is to be his table. The Lord's table is to be a time of loving harmony for the people of God is were going to see beloved conscious every word I'm about to say. Here's is important and emphatic here, conscious toleration of broken relationships in the body of Christ violates the spirit of harmony that the Lord's table is supposed to promote and for someone to come with with conscious division conscious resentment conscious grudges in in their heart and in their mind against another believer in Christ and come to the table that way is an utter reversal of what the Lord intends the table to promote so that in verse 27 here in first Corinthians 11 verse 27 he says this he says therefore, in light of how the Lord instituted the table. Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.

This is serious. This is a saying this is a sin against the sacrifice of Christ to approach the Lord's table with division and resentment in your heart toward others in the body of Christ and selfishness toward them. So he goes on in verse 28 says here's the consequence of this, but a man must examine himself and in so doing, he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup before we come to the table were to examine ourselves for these things to examine ourselves, not only for whether we you know we had our quiet time.

The day before were to examine ourselves in the contemplate whether whether you are actively involved in in resentment or grudges toward someone else in the body of Christ and near to examine that into dealing with it. Verse 29 he says for he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner otherwise eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly so much so that verse 30. For this reason, many among you are weak and sick in a number sleep. He said God is disciplining you. You are experiencing physical weakness and physical judgment some people have even died as a result of God's judgment upon them God's discipline upon them for not taking the Lord's table in a worthy manner. So it's very serious. In verse 31, he says, but if we judge ourselves rightly we would not be judged. In other words, if if you examine yourselves and you deal with things then you can take the Lord's table without a fear of judgment.

But if you ignore that process of examination. If you come with with consciously tolerated division in your heart and you're not you, not dealing with that.

The Lord's table is no longer a blessing, but an instrument of judgment upon you. When you do very very serious.

So Paul says, verse 31. If we judge ourselves rightly we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.

We are to examine ourselves before we come to the Lord's table.

That's obviously not a superficial matter that you can just do. And in a few seconds before you tipped the cup back and take you know, take the element Paul is speaking in the context of communion and disunity in the church so beloved what you and I are to do an overall under the authority of the Lord here in the authority of the word. What you and I are to do as we are to examine ourselves for this. What do we examine we don't examine other people. We don't examine what others in the body are doing. We look in the mirror and we examine ourselves we examine ourselves to see if we are holding grudges or bitterness against anyone in the body. If there is a relational disruption that is in the body that you are participating in the you are a part of beloved, it is not a question of whether there was a wrong done to you or not. That's not the spirit of this at all and that if it well you know there was a wrong done to me and therefore unjustified in my you know in my resentment that so wrong that is so utterly contrary to the spirit of Christ. Think about it. Jesus Christ was sinless. All of us had sinned against him and he had legitimate grievances against us. When he came into the world and when he laid his life down and and sacrificed himself in order that we might be forgiven. That's the spirit. Christ had done no wrong. He bore the grievance.

He bore the sin himself in order that we might be forgiven something that we did not deserve the question we need to put aside in these matters and it can be, you know within a family within a marriage, not just within the not just within the broader body of Christ. The question is not did that person wrong me. The question is it that you're examining yourself or is is there a gracious, forgiving spirit in my heart toward one that I am thinking about so not a question of whether you were wrong.

Christ was wrong far more infinitely more than any of us have been wronged on a horizontal level and he came in he sacrificed any for gave. So the question is whether you been wronged. Whether you think you been wrong. That's the wrong starting point. The question for the self-examination is whether you do I say this gently, but it needs to be needs to be said. The question is whether you are holding something against someone in the body of Christ. Something against her spouse against a child against apparent against a friend in the body of Christ. This is where you start and say you know there is there is something wrong in my heart.

Here I've been angry and bitter about this for a long time. The word of God is convicting me about it. It's obvious that my heart has not been right here that's where we start now. Overall, those of you that are visiting your out-of-town and I don't want to give the wrong impression here overall and for all of the church here.

I want to make very clear.

Overall we have a a peaceful unified spirit of truth Community Church. I believe that I think that that is true and I'm very grateful for and I know I speak for the other elders when I say that at the same time, beloved for none of us none of us this.

This is not the first rodeo for any of us. We've all been around the block.

You know, and most of us have been around the block in the Church of Christ for for a long period of time. You and I would be foolish and unfaithful, even to think that there aren't occasional undercurrents, occasional streams that run contrary to that spirit of unity in our body, whether it's in homes or whether it's in the broader church and so were not talking about someone else were talking about you. You know were holding up a mirror to you through the word of God inside asked the question this way and let me say this, one of the one of the most difficult things that I have encountered in pastoral ministries dealing with somebody that is bitter against someone else. There is sometimes.

If not, often they become enveloped in a suffocating overbearing sense of self-righteousness that that person wronged me, and I'm in unjustified in in resenting them. It is humanly impossible to pierce through that self-righteousness and that angry spirit in order to get people to look at it objectively and that's part of the reason why want to preach and open the word of God on the matter is because I believe that the spirit of God uses the word of God in the hearts of his people and goes where human words cannot go.

So I ask you this question. What would a spirit of disunity look like in in your heart, what would it look like in your heart and I want to give you four days.

Not because you've done well here. As if this were an education class, but forays for you to think about and to help you in your spirit of self-examination and want to give you four words here that the go from inward outward in it just to say it briefly, forays to help you identify the spirit of disunity in your own heart will number one is anger. Anger do you have an inward resentment against someone over something from the past that they said or didn't say did or didn't do know is there an inward resentment in your heart toward someone else in the body.

For whatever reason, and we say that and we start there because we remember what the Lord God said about himself. First Samuel 16 verse seven said the Lord is not like a man. He doesn't look on the outward appearance of a man.

He looks at the heart.

He looks at this inward matter and is there anger in your heart. Is there resentment is there bitterness toward another person in your heart that's that's a bad sign. That's a bad sign, especially if it's been there and you know that it's been there for long period of time more than a few hours or a couple of days. You know you start to embrace that and more and more you go on. Secondly, there's this matter of accusation accusation you complained verbally to other people about the person may be bypassing. Addressing the person directly as Matthew 18 would call you to do and instead you just complain that you do know what this person did you know what he did to me. You know what he said do you know what they did there were accusations that are made, and sometimes maybe it's maybe it's nothing more than than simply simply having these conversations around your own dinner table and just feeding off of that with in the confines of your own family.

That's not okay.

I realize those are private conversations at your own table, but those words are an expression of what's in your heart and it's very possible for for people to turn their family against others through the poisoning words that they injected you know, in the context of your own home, so anger accusation. Thirdly, avoidance or just being real here. This is what we need to address avoidance won't talk to the person you see them, and you walk the other way pretend like he didn't see him you won't engage them and fourthly, here's the worst one of the mall. Here's the climax of it all.

Alibi alibi. You justify your behavior to yourself or to someone else. If your question about going green ringing their study to a close for today and friend were so glad you could join us here on the truth pulpit.

Our teacher will continue with our series titled reflections on our Lord. Next time. Meanwhile, if you'd like a copy of today's lesson or you'd like to find out more about this ministry. Just go to the truth. While you're there you'll find all of God's teachings along with other great free resources. Also, you'll discover an opportunity to support this ministry financially. That's all it the truth. now before we go there again is done with the closing thought a friend.

I have a simple request for you as we close our broadcast today would you go to our website. The truth and simply send us a quick note to tell us where you listen to the broadcast.

Whether it's a radio station or a podcast or a particular website you use. Knowing where you listen can help us make sure that the truth pulpit stays available in your area so please my friend go to the truth. and let us hear from thanks Don and thank you dear friend for being with us today I build will see you next time on the truth pulpit were done green continues teaching God's people. God

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