By Pastor David Zimmerman
Bible Baptist Church, Sapulpa, OK
Text: 1 Corinthians 11:18-31
Introduction: One night, after some 3 ½ years of ministry, Jesus ascended into an upper room with the twelve He had chosen and named apostles. There, alone with His tiny band of followers, He instituted the Lord’s Supper. In less than 24 hours, the dead body of Jesus would lie in a borrowed tomb. His disciples would be numb with shock. And in their confusion and grief, their minds would go back to the last days and hours with Jesus:
The Triumphal Entry
The Arrest in the Garden
The Trial and Crucifixion
And they would relive each moment of their last meal with Jesus. The Gospels are rich with details. They sat down to dinner and began to eat. They probably discussed the day’s events. Then Jesus made a comment that brought instant silence. “Verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.” Matthew records that each one of them asked Him, “Lord, is it I?”
Shortly thereafter, Judas left. Then, as the eleven remaining apostles looked on, Jesus took a loaf of unleavened bread in His hands. He blessed it, thanking God for that which it symbolized. Next, He broke it into pieces and passed it among His disciples saying, “This is my body which is broken for you.” At that time, the meaning escaped them. They didn’t understand. Twenty-four hour later, the light of understanding must have begun to dawn on them as they recalled the tortured, battered, crucified body of their Lord. After they had eaten the bread, He took a cup filled with the unfermented fruit of the vine and blessed it. As He passed it to the waiting hands of the apostles, He said, “This cup is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”
That night, they must have wondered what Jesus meant. Twenty-four hours later, as the words were recalled, they would also call up the picture of the blood flowing from a hundred wounds, matted in their Savior’s hair, darkening His flesh, and staining the ground.
That is what the Lord’s Supper is meant to do. The two elements are to remind us of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is something unique. As our reading tonight bears out, it is to be done soberly. God has expressed His displeasure with those who abuse His Table. It is to be observed in a particular way, in a particular place, by a particular group of people. It is His Supper, and it is to be observed as He gave it.
I. It is a Special Observance 18-22
The abuses of the Corinthians caused their observance
of the Lord’s Supper to be rejected by the Lord. (See Verse 20)
They had a spirit of selfishness and divisiveness. Those who were
“approved” of were given a special place at the tables. While some
feasted, others were allowed to go hungry. What had been designed
to be a solemn reminder of the price of their salvation had degenerated
into a feast of epic proportions. “This,” Paul said, “Is not the
Lord’s Supper, regardless of what you may call it.”
The Lord’s Supper is meant to be special. It is His Supper.
A. He instituted it
B. He determined what elements would be used
C. He gave the elements their meaning
D. He limited those who could partake.
there were many disciples, He ate it only with the eleven apostles.
a. No friends or strangers were invited to that table.
b. Not even the owner of the home where it was first celebrated was invited to attend.
2. Because Jesus limited those who participated, we must also.
a. It is for the saved those who have professed faith in Christ
b. It is for the baptized
1) Scriptural baptism is by immersion
2) Scriptural baptism takes place after salvation
3) Scriptural baptism “adds” a person to a local body of believers.
READ ACTS 2:41-42
c. It is for the members of a local church. It is not for friends,
even other believers of a “like faith and practice.”
II. It is a Symbolic Observance 23-26
A. It has two elements
1. The bread
is a symbol of the broken body of Jesus.
a. The bruised, battered, tortured, pierced, beaten, spat upon body of Jesus
b. We are saved because He suffered in our place. By His stripes we are healed.
2. The cup reminds us of the New Testament in His blood.
a. The old testament, or covenant, was inferior. It relied upon the blood of bulls
and goats that could never take away a man’s sins.
b. The new testament in the blood of Christ tells us three things (Hebrews 9:12; 10:11-20)
1) We have obtained eternal redemption (9:12)
2) We have been perfected forever (10:14)
3) We have boldness to enter the holiest (10:19)
B. It has two purposes
1. We are to
look back to the cross to shew forth the Lord’s Death
2. We are to look forward to His coming till He come
a. We believe He came once, and we believe He will come again
b. Each time we partake, it is with the hope that Jesus will come for us
before we can partake of it again.
III. It is a Serious Observance 27-31
A. The Need for Discernment - None is to eat it unworthily
1. To be unworthy
means to be unfit inappropriately, improperly.
a. Those who distort the meaning, as did the Corinthians, eat and drink unworthily.
b. Those who despise the meaning, saying we will do as we please, eat and drink unworthily
c. Those who fail to discern the Lord’s Body (the meaning behind the symbols),
Verse 29, eat and drink unworthily.
1) You must be born again a believer
2) You must be baptized
3) You must be a part of this local body
2. To eat and
drink unworthily is a serious offense in the eyes of God.
a. It is to be guilty of the body and the blood of Jesus to share the
guilt of those who crucified Christ
b. It invites the discipline of God upon your life.
1) Damnation doesn’t refer to going to hell
2) It was a legal term that meant you stood condemned and deserving of punishment.
NOTE: Because of the abuse of the Lord’s Supper by the Corinthians, many were weak, many were sick, and many had died! Just as God had done in the past (Nadab and Abihu, Ananias and Saphira), he gave the first offenders what they deserved so that you and I might remember that He is holy and we are to be careful in how we worship Him and keep His commands.
B. The Need for Examination
1. Each man
is to examine Himself.
a. Are you a qualified candidate?
1) Not saved? Trust Christ today!
2) No baptized? Present yourself for baptism the first step of obedience
for a Christian
3) Not a member yet? Why not join tonight?
b. Do you have the right attitude?
c. Do you have anything against another believer that ought to be made right before you partake?
2. If we would not be judged by God, we must examine and judge ourselves.
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