Communion is a time to worship the Lord Jesus and remember what He did for us. It gives us an opportunity to review the message of the gospel. It also allows us to reflect on our walk with Jesus as individuals.
We are going to partake of the Communion service once again. But before we do, I want to draw your attention to what the Bible teaches us about this special time known as the Lord’s Supper.
I. IT IS A TIME TO REMEMBER (1 COR. 11:23-25)
A. These verses remind us that the Communion service is a time for “calling to mind” the great sacrifice and victorious resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
B. When we gather at the Lord’s table for Communion, we are not offering a new sacrifice; we are remembering His “once for all” sacrifice (Heb. 10:10).
C. The idea of remembering is more than just recalling an event that took place. It serves to stir the mind to relive with Jesus Christ as much of His life, death, and resurrection as is humanly possible. It is a time to remember that:
1. He left heaven to be born in a human body (Phil. 2:5, 6).
2. He became poor that we might be rich (2 Cor. 8:9).
3. He bore our sins in His own body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24).
4. He willingly took our place on the cross (Isa. 53:4-6).
5. He shed His blood for our redemption (Rev. 1:5; 5:9, 1 Peter 1:18, 19).
6. He conquered death for us forever (Matt. 28:1-6; Rev. 1:18).
7. He returned to heaven to finish His redemptive work and to serve as our High Priest forever (Heb. 7:25).
II. IT IS A TIME OF CONTEMPLATION (1 COR. 11:23-25)
A. Not only are we to remember what Jesus has done for humanity, we are also to contemplate what His sacrifice means to us as individuals.
B. Jesus died on the cross to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15), but what does that mean to you? Does His sacrifice move your heart toward Him in worship?
C. We should use the Communion service to reflect on what Christ’s work means to us. We need to think about what His death and resurrection have accomplished in our lives. The Communion service is a great time to consider your personal walk with the Lord!
III. IT IS A TIME OF IDENTIFICATION (1 COR. 11:23-25)
A. When we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we publicly identify ourselves with Jesus Christ. The event itself holds no saving power; rather, it is a time for us to declare publicly that we believe in His death, resurrection, and return.
B. The Bible reminds us that those who know Jesus are not to be ashamed of Him (Rom. 10:9-11). Let us take our stand with the redeemed and loudly proclaim our faith in Him and our dependence upon His sacrifice.
C. The Communion service is a perfect time to identify yourself with the Lord Jesus!
IV. IT IS A TIME OF DECLARATION (1 COR. 11:26)
A. When we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we proclaim His death and resurrection to new generations of people. This is a time of education as well as a time of worship. We must always take time to explain what we are doing when we eat the unleavened bread and drink the grape juice.
B. That is why we preach the gospel message! We proclaim it so that everyone will have the opportunity to believe in Jesus Christ (John 14:6, Acts 4:12).
V. IT IS A TIME OF EXPECTATION (1 COR. 11:26)
A. We are also reminded that the Communion service is a time to think about the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us, rose again for us, and ascended into heaven for us. There, He intercedes on our behalf. But, we must remember that He has also promised to return someday for us (John 14:1-3; 1 Thes. 4:16-18).
B. The Communion service reminds us that Jesus is coming again! Therefore, when the bread and juice are passed around, remember that Jesus is coming back and that He is coming for a redeemed people.
VI. IT IS A TIME OF EXAMINATION (1 COR. 11:27-31)
A. The Communion service is a time of reflection and worship, but it is also a time for self-examination. We are warned against partaking of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner. This can mean several things:
1. It is a warning to the lost. People who are not believers should not take part in the Lord’s Supper.
2. It is a warning to the backslider. When we come to the Lord’s table with sin in our hearts, we open up our lives to God’s judgment (verse 29).
3. We are warned against taking it lightly. Too often people come to the Lord’s table without taking time to search their hearts for sin, and they do not consider the great sacrifice Jesus made for their redemption. Others participate out of habit and not with their minds and hearts. Others trust the ceremony to save them and fail to trust the One to whom the ceremony points. All of these are dangerous and bring the chastisement of God into our lives.
B. When we partake of the Lord’s Supper in a manner which degrades the truth behind the celebration, we are guilty of trampling underfoot Jesus’ death and resurrection. Let us carefully examine our hearts, lives, and motives before we receive the elements of the Lord’s Supper.
C. Paul’s warning is serious. He reminds the Corinthians that some of their numbers are dead because they came to the Lord’s table in an unworthy manner (verse 30). We must examine ourselves, confess our sins, and right every possible wrong before coming to the Lord’s table (verse 31). But even when His chastisement comes upon us, it is for our own good and is a product of His love for us (verse 32).
Many of us can remember our mothers telling us to “wash up for supper.” Well, that is what the Lord is telling you and me right now! Are you ready to receive the Lord’s Supper today?
General Conference Ministerial Association