Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Remember the Lord. by John

Remember The Lord
Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:15-22 (Have 3 people read these)

1. Let’s think about the Lord’s Supper, and what the different denominations believe. Please understand that I am not picking on anyone here. I’m just trying to give the facts as they are. I have no desire to hurt anyone. If I do, please forgive me! It is not intentional.
2. What did Jesus actually command His followers including us? 1) Believe. 2) Follow. 3) Make disciples. 4) Baptize, [part of “make disciples”]. 5) Love one another. 6) Abide in His Word continually.
3. Can you think of any other thing Jesus commanded us? I can’t.
4. From the early days, the church has recognized two ordinances, or commands of Jesus, to be carried out in the church on a continuing basis. (The Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and others hold to a number of ordinances, but they have little to back up their specific doctrines in the Scripture.)
(1) The first is Baptism. (part of “make disciples.”)
(2) The second is the Lord’s Supper, Communion, or Mass according to the denomination.
5. Let’s talk about the different views churches hold about the Lord’s Supper.

I. Most denominations hold one of three views about this event.

1. The church with the largest membership worldwide is the Roman Catholic, the second is Lutheran, so let’s look at their views first.
(1) Catholic doctrine says the bread becomes the body of Christ, and the wine becomes the blood of Christ. I’m not sure, but they may predicate their belief on John 6:51 and 55. “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world...For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.” Most of us think Jesus was actually speaking of the spirit, not the flesh, right?
(2) This view is called “transubstantiation.” (define)
(3) Someone in their ranks apparently saw a wonderful way to keep people coming to church every week. He taught something like this: It takes 8 days for food to be consumed and completely used up by the body. That means that God is in you all the time if you attend Mass every week. If you miss a week, He is not.
(4) That should keep you coming to church if you believe that you can be lost, right?
2. When Luther came out of the Catholic Church a historian said that he came out like Lazarus came out of the tomb in John 11. He came out wrapped in grave clothes! He said that because Luther clung to some of the Catholic doctrines.
(1) Luther’s view of the Lord’s Supper is called “Consubstantiation.” That means the body and blood of Christ are present in the bread and wine in some mystical way, but the nature of the bread and wine does not change.
(2) Luther believed that anyone who trusted Jesus was saved forever!
(3) His basic tenet appears three times in the Bible. The best known is Romans 1:17, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
3. The third view is Biblically correct as far as I can tell. It is symbolic.
(1) The body and blood of Jesus are symbolized by the bread and wine.
(2) Jesus did not command us to make a rite out of this event. He just commanded us to do it!
(3) If it was to be a rite, the Passover should be included. (They were celebrating the Passover when this occurred, and the crucifixion followed closely afterward during the Passover week.
(4) Jesus told the disciples to remember Him whenever they did this. (Passover? For them, yes. For us, we ought to think of Jesus and His payment for our sins every time we eat and drink!)
4. These are the three major views of the Lord’s Supper.
5. Our celebration at church should just help us remember Jesus at mealtime all the time!

II. Other things should come before the Lord’s supper for Christians.

1. Our relationship to our heavenly Father is more important.
2. Our relationship to Him through Jesus is paramount. Unless we come to the Father through Jesus, we never get there!
3. The things I mentioned earlier should come before the Lord’s supper, but everything in Christianity is vital to a person’s life. That reminds me of MT. 23:23, 24, “Woe to you teacers of the law and Pharisees, you hyposcrites! You give a tenth ofr your spices--mint, dill and cummin. But have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.”
4. Let me repeat those things: 1) Believe. 2) Follow. 3) Make disciples. 4) Baptize. 5) Love one another. 6) Continually abide in His Word.
5. These are more important than any physical act.
6. If we don’t do these things, we will not have much reason to remember Jesus with the Lord’s Supper!
7. All six of these things are vital to Christian life! And Christianity is not a life-style. It’s a life! (A life-style is what you choose to make it. Christianity results from a choice, but God decides what it is to be, and is, and He is the One Who gives us life.)
8. Our relationship with Him through Jesus is all-important!

III. Other questions arise about the Lord’s Supper.

1. One of the first questions to arise is, Who should take the Lord’s Supper?
(1) Everyone! Is my answer!
(2) That’s my answer because I believe there is no other God but the Lord God Who sent His Son to die for us! And everybody needs to know Him!
(3) It’s a wonderful time for you to give yourself to the Lord!
2. Should sin keep us away from the table?
(1) No! Consider I John 1:8, 9, 10! We are presently sinners!
(2) It should remind us to confess our sins to God so that He will forgive them, and He will, immediately!
3. Do you have to be a member of this church to take the Lord’s Supper with us?
(1) The SBC rules of faith and practice say that you must be a member of a church like this one.
(2) Some churches say that you must be a member of that particular church.
(3) My personal belief is that such a stand is another attempt to divide the good people from the bad people, or simply put to make it exclusive. I believe it should be open to everyone, and that the person should decide what to do.
(4) I won’t break fellowship with any Christian because they have a different viewpoint to mine!
4. If you are lost, and you take the Lord’s Supper, will it save you?
(1) We’ve already covered that, but let’s once again say, No! It is a symbolic act that should say to others that our trust is in Jesus, but it will not make us into Christians.
(2) The fact that it is open to you should remind you that salvation through the shed blood of Jesus is open to you right now, and you can become a Christian without anyone’s help by simply committing your life to Jesus and asking Him to save you.

Conclusion:

1. When we have the Lord’s Supper, we can do just about the same things that Jesus did with His disciples. We don’t need any kind of ritual, or any kind of churchly overtones, or stringent do’s and don’t’s.
2. It should be a spiritual remembrance of the price Jesus paid for our salvation, and it should show a renewed commitment to Him.
3. We should remember Jesus every time we eat or drink and remember that our heavenly home in eternity is not something we deserve, but something we receive by God’s grace!
4. If you have not committed your life to Jesus, you can do it while we pray right now.

ECC May 22, 2005

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