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The Lord's Supper

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
March 5, 2023 6:00 pm

The Lord's Supper

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew

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March 5, 2023 6:00 pm

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Here are your Bibles today. I ask you if you would to turn with me to Mark chapter 14. We're looking at verses 22 through 26. I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.

And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Bow with me if you would as we go to our Lord in prayer. Heavenly Father, we continue to pray this morning for our sick. Pray for Jeremy Carriker and Jim Belt.

Strengthen them and help them to recover. Pray for Shelby Key who's struggling with asthma and congestion. Pray for Mae Nazimba and John Key that you would heal their hearts. I pray for Nicole Lowes that you would help her over her dizziness and vertigo.

Pray for Elsie Camaro suffering in the hospital. Heavenly Father, 2,000 years ago, our Lord Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper. We who have been Christians for decades have celebrated the sacrament hundreds of times.

It never gets old. And when we take it lightly and don't deeply engage, it is most certainly sin on our part. You have promised us that your presence would be with us when we partake. What a glorious promise that is. We pray that you would deepen our faith so that we would believe it, expect it, and rejoice over it. You've also challenged us to examine ourselves, not with a morbid introspection, but with an obedient commitment to be faithful in our fellowship with you and our service to you. Lord, I just pray that as we look at this scripture today, as we participate in the Lord's Supper today, that your presence would manifest itself and the result would be that we would all be more like Christ. For it is in the precious, holy, and wonderful name of Jesus that we pray.

Amen. You may be seated. In prison systems in America, when a condemned criminal is getting prepared to be executed, they give him a final meal. He gets to choose whatever food that he would like to eat for that final meal. In many places, the newspapers will list the menu of what he ate in their newspaper to satisfy the morbid interest of human curiosity. Everybody wants to know, what's this condemned man want to eat for the last meal of his life? Folks, we could ask the same question about Jesus.

Jesus was a condemned man. This was getting ready to be the last meal that he would ever eat. What would he do? What would he eat? What would be the elements of that meal that would be his last meal before death?

Folks, this was the darkest night in history. This was the night before Jesus would be betrayed. It was the night before he would be arrested or that he would be arrested, and he would be condemned for crimes that he did not commit. Before the next nightfall, Jesus would be dead.

They would take his body, place it in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. And so Jesus has gathered the disciples together, and he has a great desire to share this meal with his disciples. We call it the Lord's Supper. It was the last supper that Jesus ate in his natural earthly body, and that's important. It was the last Passover meal that was really legitimate.

Now, how can I say that? When we've got Jewish people today that still celebrate the Passover, are we saying that what they do in the Passover meal is not legitimate? And my answer to that would be yes, because 1 Corinthians chapter 5 verse 7 tells us that Jesus is our Passover lamb. Every Passover meal after the crucifixion is at best a memorial, and it's at worst blasphemy. When Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper, the Passover meal was abrogated, and it was replaced.

We need to understand that. It was replaced with the Lord's Supper. So here we have the last Passover meal, and we have the first Lord's Supper. What I want to do today is to share with you four points about the Lord's Supper.

And the first point that I want to share with you is the heart of the host, the heart of the host. I want to go back into Luke's gospel, chapter 22, the parallel passage to this, and listen to what Luke said. And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for I tell you I will not eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. There's an interesting double positive in that statement of Jesus, kind of like a verily verily. I remember hearing the preacher say years ago, if you hear Jesus say a verily, you better perk up and listen. But if you hear Jesus say a verily verily, you better quit everything that you're doing and be all ears and listening intently to what he has to say.

And folks, that's true. We have one of those strong emphasis right here in the gospel of Luke. It's not a verily verily, but Jesus said this, epithomeia, epithomeia, epithomeia. What does that mean?

It's a double positive. Jesus is saying, I have a desire. I desire with great desire, Jesus is saying, to celebrate this meal with you.

He says, I have an intense, deep desire to commune with you in this meal. Jesus is telling the disciples that he's really been looking forward to celebrating this meal with him, and I submit to you today that part of that desire was in order that he might teach them. He wanted to teach them. He was going to get them together for this meal. He was going to go over each dish in that meal, and then he was going to explain it to them. He was going to explain the history, the significance, and the meaning of what this meal was all about.

He also instituted the Lord's Supper, and the Lord's Supper would be taken from that point on all the way through the history of the church. So, his desire to get them together to have this meal was certainly pedagogical. He desired to teach them, but folks don't stop there. Jesus was primarily describing his desire to fellowship with them. He wanted them to know that he wanted their hearts, he wanted their time, he wanted their communion. Jesus says, I desire with great desire to commune with you.

Now, I'm just going to confess something to you here today. I have a hard time believing that Jesus would really want to commune with somebody like me. I know that his blood has washed away my sins. I know that he has imputed to me the righteousness of Christ. I know that he has purchased my salvation with his own blood.

I'm not worried about where I'm going when I die. I understand that, but the idea of Jesus wanting communion with somebody like me, sometimes I have a hard time with that. Peter and John, yeah. Calvin and Luther, yeah. Aaron Judson and William Carey, yeah. Jonathan Edwards and Charles Spurgeon, yeah. Doug Agnew, I don't know about that.

I don't know about that. At times I could just picture Jesus saying to me, Doug, I died for you. I shed my blood for you. I went to the cross for you. I was raised from the dead to break the power of death over you. I sent my Holy Spirit into your heart to regenerate you, to give you the ability to believe in me and repent of your sins.

I did all that for you, and Doug, you are saved. But you really just don't measure up. You lose too many battles with sin.

You have not been as good a father and as good a husband as you should have been. I have given you many, many opportunities to bring glory to me, and you have missed a lot of those opportunities. There's Paul who said at the end of his life, I fought a good fight.

I finished my course. I've kept the faith. Doug, you're no Paul. You fought a fair fight. You've kind of hobbled over the finish line. You've made a fair stab at faith, and that's about it. So, Doug, you're saved. You're in heaven. You sit over here in this three-legged stool in heaven, and you just be very thankful that you're not in hell where you deserve.

Don't expect any real time from me because I've done all for you that I'm going to do. You know what I've just shared with you? I've just shared with you the devil's lie. I've just shared with you exactly the scenario that the devil wants us to buy into.

Folks, it's how I feel sometimes, but it is not true. Jesus didn't just save me. Jesus adopted me, and he adopted you into his family. He made us his children. And Jesus said, epitheme, epithemia, which means I desire with great desire to commune with us. He desires and wants to greatly commune with us. Folks, we're talking here about the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity. We're talking about the eternal God. We're talking about the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. And this great God desires with great desire to commune with you.

How many would believe that that was a glorious, wonderful thing? Raise your hand. In my opinion, Harry Reader is one of the best preachers that I have ever known. Thirty-six years ago, he called me up one night, and he said, Doug, I know that you're considering leaving the Baptist denomination, coming into PCA. He said, there's a church in Harrisburg that's losing their pastor. He said, if that church calls you, would you consider leaving the Baptist denomination and going into the PCA? The church did call me. I did leave the Baptist denomination.

I went into the PCA. I went through the process, and then Harry Reader preached my installation service in October of 1988. Now, Harry was a pastor at that time at Christ Covenant Church in Mathews, North Carolina. A few years later, Harry left there, and he was called to Briarwood PCA in Birmingham, Alabama. That's the largest PCA church in our whole denomination.

Briarwood gives more to missions than any other church in every denomination in America. Well, about 25 years ago, Harry was leading a leadership conference in Georgia, and wild horses couldn't keep me away. First night there, I went to the first session, and then I was making my way over to the fellowship hall where we were going to eat. As I was going over there, Harry saw me, and he said, Doug, come over here and eat with me.

I took my food. I went over there, and I sat down with Harry, just me and him at the table. For an hour, without any interruptions, we just communed together. We fellowshiped. We talked about church. We talked about family. We talked about Jesus. I'll tell you, I just couldn't believe he was spending that kind of time with me.

We continued to do that, and I felt extremely, extremely privileged. I knew that the host pastor of that church probably wanted Harry's ear. I knew there were hundreds of people out there that wanted to ask Harry questions, but for some reason, he took all that time, over an hour, to just sit there and commune with me and fellowship with me. I look at Harry kind of like a Charles Spurgeon, and so I felt just extremely privileged to do that. I was wondering, why in the world would Harry do that?

Then it hit me, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Yeah, Harry's a wonderful guy, but Jesus Christ desires communion with you in a whole much greater way than Harry Rieder ever thought. He desires communion with you, and he desires it so much that he died for you. Jesus didn't just die, Doug, to get you into heaven. Jesus died that he might have sweet, intimate fellowship and communion with you. I tell you, that's hard for a saved sinner like me to understand, but I want you to know it's true. He wants to commune with me.

He wants to commune with you. And we have times of communion with Christ. We have times when we have prayer. We have Bible study. We're singing praises to his name.

We're worshiping him. We're listening to the preaching of his word, but the truth of this passage is this. The Lord's Supper is a time of communion with Christ. Jesus said, Epitomea, Epitomea, I desire with great desire to commune with you in this meal. That was true then, brothers and sisters.

It is just as true now. When I hear people complain because this is Lord's Supper Sunday, oh, that means we're going to be 10 or 15 minutes late. Or, oh, we just take the Lord's Supper too much now. I know when I hear something like that, that they do not understand the heart of Jesus in this passage. All right, point to the bread of remembrance.

Look at verse 22. And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it, he broke it, gave it to them and said, Take, this is my body. In Luke's Gospel, we are told that Jesus holds the bread up to the disciples, and he prayed a prayer of thanksgiving. Sometimes today, we hear people refer to the Lord's Supper as the Eucharist, and the word Eucharisto in the Greek means thanksgiving. And so, it's a time where Jesus thanked the Lord, his Father, for the bread, and he broke it and said, This is my body.

Now, here's the huge question. What did Jesus mean by that? The Roman Catholic Church takes this passage very literally. They have a doctrine called transubstantiation. They believe that when you take the elements, the bread and the wine, and you put them on the table, it's just bread and wine. But when the priest takes them, and he puts them on the tongue, the recipient, and they ingest it into the body, then that bread and wine turn into the literal body and blood.

Body and blood of Christ. One of the criticisms of the early church by the Jews and by the pagan Romans was that Christians were practicing cannibalism. That if they were eating the flesh of others, that they were drinking the blood of others. It's absolute nonsense.

How do you faithfully and spiritually deal with this problem? Well, excuse me for sounding like Bill Clinton, but it all depends on what the word is means. And in the Greek language, that's very important. Because you study this in the Greek, and the Greek word for is here means represent. See the same thing in the I am passages in the Gospel of John. Jesus said, I am the door of the sheep. What did he mean? Did he mean his body was mahogany and hickory and oak, and that his arms were like hinges, and that his fist was like a doorknob?

Of course not. What did Jesus mean? He meant that I am the way, the passageway to God's kingdom.

He is the passageway. But this is representative language. Jesus was using metaphorical language to show us a spiritual comparison.

Philip Ryken said the following. When Jesus said this bread is my body, he was not giving his disciples a philosophical theory of the sacraments. But he was drawing a simple comparison that would help them understand the meaning of his death. He was not describing a physical change but making a sacramental identification. The union or association between Jesus and the bread is not physical but spiritual. To say that the bread is his body is to say that it represents, signifies, or symbolizes his body. The words of John Calvin, the bread is called body because it is a symbol of his body. Undoubtedly, one of the reasons Jesus chose bread to serve as this sacramental symbol is that bread is so basic to life itself. We cannot live without our daily bread. So when Jesus tells us to take and eat the bread that signifies his body, he has given us something we cannot live without, something that we need to nourish our souls.

I also think we would do well to not overlook what the Gospel of Luke says here. Jesus says, given my body for you. This is my body which is given for you.

What's he talking about there? That speaks of the atonement, the atoning death of Jesus Christ. Folks, his broken body paid for something.

What did it pay for? It paid for our sin. There are a lot of liberal pastors out there today that say, ah, we can't believe about this substitutionary atonement stuff. Jesus' death, he died as a martyr, he died as a role model, he died as an example, but the idea that Jesus died to pay our sin debt is crazy.

He didn't do that. And the idea that Jesus died to appease the wrath of God against us, no, no, no, that didn't happen. One of the primary key pastors in the emergent church movement made a statement that said this, the doctrine of substitutionary atonement is a horrible, bloody doctrine that accuses God the Father of cosmic child abuse. Let me tell you something, folks, that man is going to stand before Almighty God one day and he's going to give an account for that blasphemy. These liberals would argue with me, the statement that I make often from this pulpit is just untrue, where I say Jesus died in order that he might take my sin and give me his righteousness, in order that he might take my misery and give me his joy, in order that he might take my hell and give me his heaven.

They totally deny that, but I want you to know that what Jesus said as he was instituting the Lord's Supper proves that the substitutionary atonement is right. This is my body that was given for you. Not long after the war between the states ended, there was a farmer who went out to a grave cemetery and he was looking down at a particular tombstone, tears were rolling down his cheeks. A man that he didn't know walked up to him and said, sir, is this the grave site of your son?

He said, no. He said, I had seven sons. He said, all of them are alive. All of them are healthy.

All of them are well. He said, years ago, he said, I was drafted into the Union Army and my next door neighbor's son came to me and said, you've got all this responsibility. You've got all these children. You don't need to go to war and leave them without a dad. He said, let me go in your place. I want to go and I want to fight in the war and I will take your place, and he did. Not long after he went, he was killed in the Battle of Shiloh.

The man looked down at the tombstone. He said, his daddy gave me the privilege of erecting his tombstone, and the man looked down at the epitaph on that tombstone and it said this, he died for me. He died for me. That's the testimony of every child of God. Folks, when you take the Lord's Supper today, you need to take it with the same gratitude that that farmer had toward that neighbor's son. Folks, this ought to be what we live for and this ought to be our testimony.

Jesus Christ died for me. Point three, the cup of the new covenant, verse 23 through 24. And he took a cup. When he had given thanks, he gave it to them and they all drank of it. And he said to them, this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many. Just as the bread symbolized the body of Christ, the cup symbolized the shed blood of Christ. Millions of lambs had been slain for the last 1,200 years up to the time where Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper. Oceans of lamb's blood had been shed in anticipation of what Jesus was going to do on the cross of Calvary.

Jesus was telling the disciples that that which they had been waiting for, that which they had been greatly anticipating, was now going to come to pass and Jesus was going to shed his blood on the cross. And when that happened, that would be the sealing of the new covenant. What's the new covenant?

What's he talking about? Jeremiah chapter 31, verses 31 through 34, it was explained. Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. My covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is a covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord. I will put my law within them and I will write it on their hearts. I will be their God, they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, know the Lord, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more.

Jesus is making an unbelievable announcement here. He is saying, my blood will wash away your sin. My blood will purchase your redemption. My blood will impute to you the righteousness of Jesus Christ. The new covenant is built on the spotless, precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Because we don't believe in transubstantiation. We don't believe that the grape juice literally becomes the literal blood of Jesus in our body. But we make a statement every single time we partake of the Lord's Supper. And that statement is this, Jesus this blood declares that we are yours.

We are yours. You purchased us with your blood. Your blood washed away our sin and removed our sin from us as far as the east is from the west.

Jesus said this is the blood of the new covenant. It was shed for who? It was shed for many. Notice he doesn't say it was shed for all. It was shed for many. It was only shed for Christians. It was only shed for those who would bow their knee to King Jesus. It was only shed for those of us who had been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, who had turned from our sin and trusted Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Very, very important to understand. This is the blood of the new covenant that was shed for many. All right, point four, the Passover, Lord's Supper connection.

Look for me at verse 25. Truly I say to you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God. With those words Jesus put an end to the Passover and he fully instituted the Lord's Supper. Now what does that mean? Does that mean that the Passover is finished and should never be done again?

And the answer to that is yes. That's exactly what it means. To kill a lamb for Passover today is blasphemy. It is saying that the blood of Jesus was not sufficient to wash away our sins.

Oh friends, how wrong that is. It is saying that Jesus was not the true fulfillment of the Passover and to kill a Passover lamb after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is a slap in the face of Jesus Christ. Now with that said, let's look at the connection between the Lord's Supper and Passover. Kent Hughes said this and I think he said it beautifully.

Listen carefully. Jesus, the ultimate prophet of Israel, was in profound continuity with prophetic practice when during the celebration of the Passover feast with his disciples, he dramatically reinterpreted the meal and instituted a radically new observance for his followers. Jesus combined word and symbol to maximize the communication of the most important truth for man in the universe. Just how and when Jesus did this is apparent from the order of the Passover ritual. When the meal had been completely laid out before them with the roast lamb as the centerpiece, the host, in this case Jesus, interpreted each of the foods on the table as it related to the deliverance from Egypt. The bitter herbs recall their bitter slavery.

The stewed fruit by its color and consistency recall the misery of making bricks for Pharaoh. The roasted lamb brought to their remembrance the lamb's blood applied to the doorpost. Their eating of the lamb within the house and the death angels passing over them that destroyed the first point of Egypt. We do not have a record of the words of Jesus' explanation, but we believe that it went beyond any ever given before this time.

It prepared them for the coming words of institution. When the explanation complete, Jesus, as a family head, sat erect from his reclining position, took a piece of the unleavened bread, pronounced this blessing, Praise be thou, O Lord, sovereign of this world, who causes bread to come forth from the earth, to which the apostles responded, Amen. Jesus then broke the bread, which was then distributed in silence from hand to hand around the table. During this silence, Jesus shattered the Passover custom with the radical words recorded in verse 22 of our text, This is my body. Jesus uses the cup as a transition tool to move us from Passover to instituting the Lord's Supper. And when they took the Passover, there were four cups that were served during the Passover meal. The last cup was called a cup of thanksgiving.

And Jesus uses this to make that connection between Passover and the Lord's Supper. He says we need to be thankful. Thankful for what?

Let me share with you three things. Thankful for the memory of the past. Thankful for the experience of the present.

And thankful for the anticipation of the future. That was true for Passover. It is also true for the Lord's Supper. In the Passover meal, they remembered the past.

They remembered how the Jewish people had taken the Passover lamb, taken his blood, put it on the doorpost and the lentils of each home. And when the death angel came through that night, he saw the lamb's blood applied to those homes, and he passed over their homes, and they were all safe and sound. God had set his people free from the tyranny and bondage in Egypt. God had destroyed the Pharaoh and the Egyptian army in the Red Sea.

God had broken the bondage. He had allowed them to move out of their tyranny in Egypt and to move on to the promised land. Secondly, in the Passover meal, they experienced the present. God had promised never to leave them nor forsake them, and he never did. He led them by a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day.

He was with them moment by moment. He gave them the holy law of God. He gave them prophets that would preach the truth of God's Word to them.

He gave them the land and then gave them the ability to fight the enemy and defeat them that they might have the land. He gave them his conscious presence every time they would go into experiencing the Passover meal. In the Passover meal, they also anticipated the future. Every time that they partook and ate of the Passover lamb, they remembered that this was just a symbol, and it was a prophecy, a prophecy of Jesus and what Jesus would do on the cross of Calvary.

They knew that the blood of bulls and goats could not wash away sin. All it could do was just cover sin temporarily, and they were pointing and waiting and having faith that Jesus was going to come, the Messiah was going to come, and he would die, and he would shed his blood, and that would make the payment, and their sins would be forgiven, not just temporarily, but forever and ever and ever. So that was the Passover meal, but now Jesus is transitioning to the Lord's Supper, and he mentions these same three things. In the Lord's Supper, we remember the past. We remember what Jesus did for us on the cross, his broken body and his shed blood. In the Lord's Supper, we experience the present. Jesus has promised communion with us when we partake of the Lord's Supper.

Listen, when you got saved, let me tell you what happened to you. The Holy Spirit came to inhabit your spirit, and he lives within you. He lives down the side of you. He's promised never to leave you nor forsake you. He is with you when you're sleeping. He is with you when you're playing. He's with you when you're working. He's with you when you're worshiping.

He is with you, and this is a mind-blower. He's with you when you sin. What happens when a Christian sins? That's why the Scripture says the Christian can quench the Holy Spirit of God, or he can grieve the Holy Spirit of God. Folks, if you belong to Christ, the Holy Spirit is residing in you, so if you're engaging in sinful behavior, the Holy Spirit in you is quenched or grieved.

How bad is that? The word for grieved in the Greek is one of the strongest words in the New Testament, and that word means to be bent over double with sorrow. Think about that for just a minute. Your sin and my sin can bring such sorrow to the heart of God the Holy Spirit that it bends him over double in sorrow. Paul spoke of this in 1 Corinthians 6, verse 15 through 20.

Let me read this to you. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute?

Never. Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For as it is written, the two will become one flesh. But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price to glorify God in your body. Sunday school now we are studying how to mortify sin.

Here's a great incentive to mortify sin. The next time you have some thought come into your mind, maybe I ought to sneak into an adult bookstore. Maybe I ought to sneak into a gentleman's club.

Give you one that's a little easier. Maybe I ought to go to this inappropriate, wrong website. Just take a look. Folks, let me tell you what you're doing when you do that. You are dragging the Holy Spirit of God into that mess. The Holy Spirit of God is not going to leave you if you're a true Christian.

And we need to realize how important that is. One of the things that we do when we celebrate the Lord's Supper is we have a time of examination. We go to the Lord, we examine ourself.

First of all, to see if we're really a Christian or not because some people who think they are really aren't. But second, to give us the opportunity to confess that sin and repent of that sin so that we can have sweet fellowship with Christ. I don't know about you, but this morning when I partake of the Lord's Supper, I want to experience his fellowship. I want to experience communion with him.

I need that, and I need it desperately. Thirdly, in the Lord's Supper we anticipate the future. Jesus promises to eat this with us again in his kingdom. Jesus said the following in Mark 14 26, Truly I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine till that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.

Partaking of the Lord's Supper reminds us that Jesus Christ is coming again and that we are to continue to partake of the Lord's Supper week after week, month after month until Jesus Christ comes back. You know what that is? That's a privilege. That's a joy, and we ought to be excited about it. Let's pray. Heavenly Father, we've been studying this morning the Lord's institution of the Lord's Supper. We have looked at the bread that represents your broken body that was given for us. We've looked at the cup that represents the blood of the new covenant that was shed for many. Help us to realize what a privilege you've given us. You've used this meal to make us focus on the past, the present, and the future. We thank you that your son Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Be with us now as we celebrate what we have just proclaimed, a visual picture of the gospel. For it's in Jesus' precious and holy name I pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-05 14:22:06 / 2023-03-05 14:35:56 / 14

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