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Communion Meditation: The Gospel

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
January 9, 2024 12:00 am

Communion Meditation: The Gospel

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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Friends, in Christ today, as we come to the table, remember the love of God.

Remember the grace of God that He has shown on your life. He never accepted you because you were good enough. He accepted you because Christ is good enough, and that never changes. Welcome to a special edition of the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Hi, I'm Bill Wright. Today, Don continues teaching God's people God's Word, and he presents a communion meditation. You know, communion is an ordinance Christians should take on a regular basis and with a proper understanding of what it signifies, God's unending love for His church through Jesus Christ. We'll enjoy Don's message given to his congregation some time ago, and then we'll come back here in studio with him for a little Q&A. Here now is Pastor Don Green in the Truth Pulpit.

My friend, I guess I would open it this way. Have you lately recalled the significance of what the Bible says about you? Have you lately recalled what it says about Jesus Christ? Because what the Bible says about you does not paint the flattering picture that all of our world would have you to believe. Scripture says that you and I have sinned, and we've fallen short of the glory of God. The Bible says that there is none righteous, not even one.

There is none who does good. God's Word says that all of us like sheep have gone astray. Each of us has turned to his own way. Indeed, it goes so far as to say in Isaiah chapter 64, verse 6, that all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all of our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment. There's a sense in which as we contemplate our God, the holiness of God, we recognize that we have nothing to offer him. We are spiritually bankrupt as Jesus put it in the Sermon on the Mount. We are poor in spirit.

There's nothing to offer to him whatsoever. Indeed, not only do we not have anything to offer to him to deserve a reward like heaven, the truth of the matter is that there is guilt on our account that creates a real problem for us. The Bible says that the wages of your sin is death. God's Word says that the soul who sins must die. Ezekiel 18, verse 4.

As we come together to having sung about a Redeemer, as we come to celebrate the table, we have to realize that this is a matter of great significance that is in front of us, set before us for our remembrance. When Scripture speaks about the penalty for sin as being death, it is talking about far more than the inevitability of the end of your physical life. Oh, that's true enough. The reason that death entered the world was because of sin, but Scripture goes beyond that in talking about it. You see, when sinners die, it's not that they go out of existence.

It's not that God annihilates them so that they no longer exist and have any consciousness. No, the Bible says that God judges sinners with eternal condemnation. The Apostle Paul said in 2 Thessalonians chapter 1 that sinners will, quote, they will pay the penalty of eternal destruction away from the Lord and from the glory of his power.

This is the condition that all men are in. Now, you might ask the question, if you're new to Scripture, why all of this fuss in the Bible about guilt and judgment? It is so contrary to the supposedly tolerant spirit of our age, so contrary to the spirit that says all roads lead to God and that everybody is basically good or perhaps has a spark of divinity in them. Look, the spark of divinity, not that there ever was one, but speaking metaphorically, the spark of divinity went out in Adam when he sinned and fell, and his sin was imputed to all of us as his progeny.

You see, God's word emphasizes what the world conveniently forgets, or perhaps more accurately stated, God's word emphasizes what the world consciously suppresses and holds down. God is holy, which means that he is free from all moral impurity. He's free from all sin. He is morally perfect. As a holy God, his sanctity cannot be violated by sinners.

Sinners cannot dwell with him. When his law is violated, as all of us have done repeatedly throughout our lives, the penalty of the law must be paid. It cannot be ignored. Justice demands that there be a payment for your sin and for mine. There is universal judgment on universal guilt. We all stand condemned before a holy God left to ourselves.

It's the legacy that we received from Adam. It is the just portion that awaits those who have sinned in their thoughts, in their words, and in their deeds. It is only right for God to condemn those who consciously suppress the knowledge of him. It is only right for God to judge those creatures who reject their creator. It is only right for God to judge those who reject his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is serious. And in the ordinance of communion, we have the blessed privilege of remembering that God did not abandon us to the judgment that we deserved. At the table, we remember the good news of Jesus Christ, the good news of the Gospel. The Gospel tells us what God has done for guilty sinners like you and me in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It tells us that Christ left the glory of heaven, was born of a virgin, and lived a perfectly righteous life that finally, for once, there was a man who lived perfectly in obedience to the law of God. But it goes on to tell us the Gospels, the Bible tells us that sinful men rejected him, crucified him, wanted to silence the voice of the incarnate God as much as they silence his silent testimony and creation around them. See, all of human history can be summarized as a history of man trying to suppress the voice of God within him and around him. And you and I all participated in the guilt of that.

None of us are exempt. The Gospel tells you that in the love of God, Christ suffered on the cross, took the sin of man on his shoulders, bore the wrath of God in his body, and he died in the place of sinners just like you and me. 1 Peter 3 verse 18 says it plainly. It says that Christ died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that he might bring us to God. In the Gospel, we hear the good news that God raised Christ from the dead as proof that he had accepted the sacrifice of Christ on behalf of sinners, that Christ had made a perfect payment for sin that would satisfy the demands of a holy God. Now, Christ has ascended to heaven where he sits at the right hand of God.

He represents his people so that they may have free access to this holy God from whom they were otherwise banished forever. And the Bible declares that everyone who repents of their sin in response to that message, that everyone who comes to Christ will be saved, will be delivered from judgment, that God's judgment will pass over them, that God will not hold them and send them to hell for their sins. Rather, in Christ, God will forgive all of their sins freely, gladly, declare them righteous, and give them eternal life so that they may live in heaven forever. And friends, there's something very significant about that message, about what it tells you about the disposition of God towards sinners, that he didn't abandon us to our sins. For those of you that are in Christ here, let me remind you that God has accepted you in Christ. Scripture emphasizes the love of God, the love of God when it speaks of his salvation. John 3.16, for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life. The apostle Paul in Romans said, God demonstrates his own love toward us in the while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. It wasn't after we had taken a few steps toward God and done a few good works of the right kind of rituals that then Christ died for us in response to us. No, no, no, no, no, no. Vanish the thought.

Out on the suggestion. We were all ruined in guilt, in judgment, in bondage, under the wrath of God, dead in sin, with nothing to commend ourselves to God whatsoever. And it was when you were in that condition that Christ laid down his life as an offering to God to pay for your sins, which Scripture says he did voluntarily out of love for you if you belong to him. Paul also said in Galatians, the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me.

Friends, do you realize that when we come to this table so many times a year that we are seeing a tangible symbol, a visible representation of the love of God for you? That Christ voluntarily gave himself up. He said, no one takes my life away from me. I give it on my own accord. I voluntarily lay down my life for sinners, he said.

And why did he do that? Out of grace, out of undeserved favor, out of love and kindness. Ephesians says that while we were yet dead in our sins, God being rich in mercy, Christ saved us. Rich in mercy, rich in kindness, rich in love. Overflowing before you is a representation of the fact that God did not abandon you to your sin, and the reason that he didn't is because he has a disposition of love and grace toward you.

That's wonderful news. As one writer put it, communion is a reminder that our guilty hearts have a place of rest. Friends, in Christ today, as we come to the table, remember the love of God. Remember the grace of God that he has shown on your life. He never accepted you because you were good enough. He accepted you because Christ is good enough, and that never changes. We realize, of course, that our spiritual lives go up and down.

Maybe you've had a really bad and sinful week. This table reminds you that Christ has paid it all, and that in Christ you have rest. Communion is a visual way to remember with symbols the past work of Christ.

His literal body was literally nailed to a literal cross, and his literal blood was literally spilled as he hung suspended between earth and heaven. Scripture says that that sacrifice which he offered to God out of love for us is a perfect atoning sacrifice for your sin. First John 1 says, the blood of Jesus, his son, cleanses us from all sin. Isn't that good news?

Isn't that the most wonderful news that there is? As we come to the table, we remember that God has pardoned us from all of our sins, and that he accepts us as righteous for the sake of his son. For the sake of his son, not because of anything that you have done, for the sake of this glorious Christ who laid his life down for you. My friends, if you're here today and you haven't received Christ, you're still outside the blessing of that salvation. But in love, God brought you here today to hear the offer once again. Christ says, the one who comes to me, I will never cast out. Those of us that are in Christ, we rejoice and we remember and we sing hallelujah praise to the lamb because our sins have been taken away and we've been reconciled to a holy God. Those of you that have not yet come to Christ, maybe some of you young people in the audience, you've heard again and again and again and time and again, you've just hardened your heart again and again and again. Christ comes to you once more through his word and says, come to me and I will give you rest.

That's what we recall as we come to the table today. If you're a Christian, whether you're a member of our church or not, we invite you to partake of the elements with us. This is the table of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It doesn't belong to Truth Community Church. If you're not a Christian or if you're a Christian that's living in hard-hearted sin that you refuse to repent of, we would ask you simply to let the elements pass and reflect on the glory of Christ as we've seen it revealed again in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Bow together with me as we pray and commit this time to our Lord.

Our Heavenly Father, we gladly address you as our Father, as the one who has received us and adopted us into your family through faith in Christ. Thank you for providing a Redeemer who has taken away our sin. Thank you for this time of remembrance of the body and the blood of Christ. And Father, for those of us that are in Christ, we pray that you would use this time to help us develop an even greater sense of gratitude for the salvation that our Lord purchased for us. We love you only because you first loved us, and we thank you for that, Father.

We thank you for your loving, gracious, merciful, kind intervention on our behalf. And as we remember that, Father, we give our praise all to you. So we commit this time of remembrance to you and the time of praise that will follow it. And we ask, Father, that you would comfort the hearts that belong to you. And for those that are outside of Christ, Father, that by the power of your Holy Spirit, by the infinite, omnipotent power of your Holy Spirit, you would show to each one not in Christ with clarity of mind, with clarity of understanding that they are outside of this great gift. And Father, by that same powerful Spirit, may you create in their hearts an urgency to come to Christ, that this might be the day of salvation for each sinner that is under the sound of my voice. We pray these things in Jesus' name.

Amen. And that's a special communion meditation presented by Pastor Don Green to his congregation at Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is the Truth Pulpit, and as promised, Don is here in studio to talk a little bit more about communion. So, Don, first of all, you gave a substantial message there before taking the elements with your congregation. Why the longer meditation?

Well, Bill, that's a very good question. You know, it's something that I'm starting to do more often as we celebrate communion at Truth Community Church. I think it's important for us to remember what Scripture says about communion.

This is no mere outward ritual or just something that we kind of rush through to say that we did it. Scripture says that we should be careful to take communion in a worthy manner. And I think the way to do that is to slow down, to set it apart in the service, and talk a little bit about what Scripture says about the death and the shed blood of Christ for our souls. It helps us to have God's Word percolating, as it were, through our minds as we take communion, to remember that Christ shed his literal blood, that he gave up his literal physical flesh for us on the cross when he bought our salvation.

And the best way for us to do that is to have it sink in with a longer meditation that focuses on the death of Christ and brings him to our mind as we prepare to take the elements. As a pastor, tell us what's on your mind as you speak of Christ before communion. Well, you know, Bill, every time that we celebrate communion at Truth Community Church, there is a lot of things that are going on in my mind, because I realize there's such a diversified group of people represented before us. There are Christians who are growing and joyous in their walk, and I want them to celebrate communion with a sense of gladness that Christ has died for them and has given them so much joy in their lives. There's another group of Christians that I know are struggling. They struggle with sin. They're burdened by temptation or sorrows. And I want to communicate hope to them that communion reminds us that Christ had mercy on us and shows grace to us in our sins, that they might be renewed in hope as they leave the communion service.

There's others that I know that are a little bit more stubborn in their lives and perhaps pursuing sinful patterns in their lives, and they need to be rebuked and warned that they need to take Christ seriously and not accept sinful patterns in their lives as if that were the expected way to live in Christian love. And finally, there are those that are with us that are not Christians at all, and I want to communicate the gospel to them that this is a remembrance of the hope for their soul, that if they would put their faith in Christ, they could be saved from their sins. And so all of those things are going through my mind on a horizontal level while on a transcendent vertical level.

There is my own sense of gratitude. Lord, thank you for shedding your blood to save me from my sins. From a serpent raised up in the wilderness to the Passover lamb and finally to the implements of the Lord's table, symbols have always been used by God to drive home important spiritual truths to his people. Talk for a moment about why we must take these symbols so seriously. Well, Bill, I think the simplest answer for this is that Christ himself told us to do this in remembrance of me. We are remembering Christ, the greatest one in the universe, the greatest one from all of eternity, the Savior of our souls.

And so of course we take it seriously because we take Christ and his word in a serious and earnest way. Don, it's not uncommon for non-Catholic believers to be invited to, say, a Catholic wedding or funeral where they offer communion. Well, what's your sense of whether we should expect to take communion or not in that circumstance?

Well, Bill, I'm happy to give a very clear and definitive answer to that. My advice to people always attending a Catholic service if they feel the liberty to do that is that you cannot partake in the elements at a Catholic mass. The Catholic mass has nothing to do with true Christianity because they believe that they are offering Christ again for our sins, and that's a denial of his finished work. And any Christian who understands that Christ finished the work at Calvary cannot partake in anything that suggests that that work wasn't finished, that it wasn't done.

And so the answer to your question is no. We cannot partake of the elements at a Catholic mass because that's not Christian communion. It is a false addition to the Gospel. It's fairly common for churches to offer formal communion once a month or so. Although some have more options, what would you say about having communion every Sunday? Well, I think this is a situation, my friend, where it's important for us to remember that Scripture gives a measure of latitude and discretion to individual churches to what they want to do about the frequency of communion. Jesus did not command a particular timeframe in which communion would be practiced.

He simply said, do this as often as you do in order to remember me. And so at our church, we tend to do communion maybe six times a year. We recognize that there are churches that do it more often and some that do it less often than that.

That's okay. The important thing is to practice communion in a way where it's not a ritual, it's not a rote thing that you hurry through, but something that you do earnestly after self-examination, and that's the key to communion, is the hard attitude with which you take it. And finally, Don, talk about the attitude we as believers should have as we come to the Lord's Table. What if we have some unconfessed sin in our heart or we're otherwise distracted? I would say, Bill, that there's a great opportunity and a great warning when you approach communion in that condition. There's a great opportunity for you to clear the air, as it were, with the Lord. Confess the sin, repent of it, and commit yourself just before you take the elements.

Whatever it takes to make this right, that's what I'm going to do. You can receive communion with a clear conscience in those ways, but if you're hard-hearted and you don't really want to deal with your sin, you should let the elements pass. Far better to let the elements pass than to take them in an unworthy way, outwardly saying, I identify with Christ, and yet in your heart saying, I don't want to do what He says.

All of these things are designed to promote our sanctification. The Lord is gracious to us. And as you take communion, hopefully after today's program, you can do so with an informed sense of what it means to be a true Christian taking communion.

Thanks, Don. And friend, we hope you've been blessed by today's communion meditation. Our Lord was very explicit in telling His disciples, and through them, us, to take communion in remembrance of Him. It's an awesome privilege we have as chosen believers in Christ. Pastor Don Green will again take us to God's Word for another edifying series next time on The Truth Pulpit.

So plan out to join us as we continue teaching God's people God's Word. Meanwhile, we invite you to visit us at thetruthpulpit.com. There you can download podcasts or find out how to receive CD copies of Don's radio messages for your personal study library. And if you want to go even more in-depth, you'll also find the link Follow Don's Pulpit. That'll take you to Don's full-length weekly sermons not subject to the time editing we need for radio broadcasts. And by the way, if you're in the Cincinnati area, check out the service times for Truth Community Church. That's also on our website. Plan a visit. We'd love to welcome you. I'm Bill Wright, inviting you back next time as Don Green continues teaching God's people God's Word here on The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-09 04:58:07 / 2024-01-09 05:07:08 / 9

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