These are my notes from a sermon series I did through the gospel of Mark. It has not been proofed for spelling or grammatical errors. I present it to you as-is.
Take your Bible and open it to 1 Corinthians 11. In about 30 minutes we will share the Lord’s Supper together. When it comes to the Lord’s Supper there are several reactions toward it.
- For some, it’s a boring and dreary religious ritual. The few times I went to church as a child and even after I was saved as a teenager and started going to church on a regular basis I considered the Lord’s Supper as an uninspiring church activity. When I walked into the church and saw the Lord’s Supper table set up my first thought was, “Oh no, the church service is going to be longer and I’ve got to sit through a boring religious ritual.” If that’s describes you today, I hope today’s message will help you understand the Lord’s Supper better and help give it more meaning and depth to you.
- Some approach the Lord’s Supper as a religious duty. To this group, it stirs very little or nothing up inside them. They have participated in the Lord’s Supper so many times it has become routine. They know it has significant meaning but it no longer has a significant meaning to them other than being an important religious activity that all good Christians should do. They go through the Lord’s Supper like a habit. They don’t give much thought to it and it has little impact if any on their lives.
- Others approach the Lord’s Supper with delight. This person thinks through the death of Christ, the sacrifice He paid, and the pain Jesus went through. The act of worshiping God through the Lord’s Supper impacts, moves them, and motivates them to be more thankful, more forgiving, more gracious and more committed to Jesus. It is a genuine act of worship for them.
I hope that no matter where you are on your understanding and appreciation of the Lord’s Supper that this message will be helpful, instructive, and motivating to you.
The Bible has a lot to say about the Lord’s Supper. We do not have time to cover it all today, but I do want to share with you several things that you should do as you take the Lord’s Supper. These are six things that Jesus intended to happen every time His people ate the bread and drank from the cup that represents His sacrificial death on the cross.
When these six truths take root in your head and heart you will find the Lord’s Supper more exciting and full of meaning and application to your spiritual life.
You are to look around and restore
Number one, when you take the Lord’s Supper you are to look around and restore. Let me explain. You need to notice that this section on the Lord’s Supper begins by addressing some divisions in the body of Christ. Look at verse 17, “But in the following instructions, I cannot praise you. For it sounds as if more harm than good is done when you meet together. First, I hear there are divisions among you when you meet as a church, and to some extent I believe it” (NLT). This is interesting to me because Paul begins explaining the Lord’s Supper by starting with church divisions and conflict among the believers. Paul knew that one of the purposes and effects the Lord’s Supper has when done correctly is restoration among God’s people. When the Lord’s Supper is done right, unity and forgiveness will be the outcome. If the Lord’s Supper is done with the right attitude and mind, you should be motivated to seek forgiveness from those who you have hurt and give forgiveness to those who have hurt you. Worship though the Lord’s Supper should make you more gracious.
As you take the Lord’s Supper you need to ask God, “God, is there anyone I have hurt and need to ask their forgiveness?” If there is then you need to make it right as soon as you can. As you remember the death of Christ and think about how it restore and reconciled you to God, it should drive you to restore and reconcile with others. So, when you take the Lord’s Supper look around at the people in your and restore.
You are to look back and remember
Number two, when you take the Lord’s Supper you are to look back and remember. In 1 Corinthians 11 God gives us some instructions about the Lord’s Supper. Two times in verse 24 and 25 we are told to “do this to remember Me” (NLT). The Lord’s Supper is about remembering our Lord Jesus and His death.
To “remember” means much more than simply to bring something to mind, merely to recall that it happened. To truly remember is to go back in one’s mind and recapture as much of the reality and significance of an event or experience as one possibly can. It’s like remembering a significant moment.
- I remember when I was standing at the altar and saw my wife come down the stairs in the church’s atrium [show picture]. I remember having butterflies in my stomach and thinking how beautiful she was and thinking how blessed I was to be marrying this woman that I would spend the rest of my life with. Someone as awesome as she was would want to love me and spend the rest of their life with me was overwhelming. I still am moved by those memories.
- I remember when our first child was born [show picture] and walking up to the emergency counter and saying, “I think my wife is having a baby” and my heart was about to come out of my chest I was so nervous and excited. I remember being in the room with the nurses and doctors and overwhelmed with this incredible miracle called birth, when one human being comes out of another human being. This is a God thing. I remember exactly what I thought when I held my son for the first time. I remember thinking about the incredible responsibility of being a good dad to this baby, about providing for him, and how much I loved him. Even as I talk about it and remember it now I consumed with the same thoughts and feelings that I had nearly 30 years ago.
When Jesus said, “Do this to remember me” this is what He was talking about. To remember Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross is to relive with Him His life, agony, suffering and death as much as is humanly possible.
When Jesus tells us to “do this to remember Me” He is telling us to think about the sacrifice He paid, the pain He went through for us, the greatness of Him taking up the cross that should have been for us. He wants us to remember this because it reminds us of how much He loves us. He wants us to look back and remember.
You are to look without and reach
Number three, we are to look without and reach. The Lord’s Supper also reminds us to reach out and proclaim Christ to those around us. Look at verse 26, “For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death…” (NLT). The message of the cross and the Lord’s death is not only for us to remember, but it is for us to proclaim, preach, teach, share, and testify. The Lord’s Supper is really an act of proclamation. When you participate in it you are saying I believe Jesus died for my sins. I believe He rose again. I believe that my sins have been paid for by the death of Jesus Christ on that cross. I believe I have eternal life because of Christ. When you take the Lord’s Supper you are making a statement to those sitting around you that you are a follower of Christ and you are not ashamed of Jesus.
But now listen. That very act of proclaiming His death through the Lord’s Supper should remind us to proclaim Christ out in the world. When you take the Lord’s Supper think about how important the message of Christ is and how you can share it at school, at work, with your family, or with friends. One purpose of the Lord’s Supper is to remind you to share the good news of what Jesus has done with others.
You are to look ahead and rejoice
Number four, you are to look ahead and rejoice. The Lord’s Supper brings our attention to the fact that someday Christ will return to gather His people together. Look carefully at verse 26, “For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until He comes again” (NLT). We proclaim the cross of Calvary every time we take the Lord’s Supper, but it is always in the shadow of Christ coming back.
The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ will return. Listen to 1 Thessalonians 4:16 which says, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will always be with the Lord” (HCSB).
If the Lord’s Supper is done right in your heart, you should be more excited about the return of Christ. The Lord’s Supper is not just about the death of Christ, but about the reign of Christ. Jesus died on the cross so that He could resurrect from the grave. He resurrected from the grave so that He could ascend to the Father. He ascended to the Father so that He could come back again for His people. So we are to look ahead and rejoice.
You are to look within and repent
Number five, we are to look within and repent. God wants us to use the Lord’s Supper as a time of examination. 1 Corinthians 11:28 says, “You should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup” (NLT). As you hold the cup and the bread, even now, you should inspect your thoughts and motivations and actions. Let me give some areas of examination to consider.
- Examine your salvation (2 Cor. 13:5). Have you truly surrendered to Jesus Christ as the master and Lord of your life? If you haven’t you need to nail that down. [Would you like to receive Christ now? Lead them in a prayer of salvation].
- Examine your relationships. Examine how you treat others (Col. 3:12-13). Are you treating those in your life with kindness, humility, gentleness, respect and love? How are you treating your parents? How do you treat your kids? How do you treat those people you work with or go to school with?
- Examine your attitude. Does your attitude toward life reflect someone who has been given abundant life?
God wants us to use the Lord’s Supper as a time of self-evaluation, examining our commitment to Him.
You are to look up and renew
Number six, you are to look up and renew. The Lord’s Supper is a reminder to us that we are in covenant with the Lord. Take a close look at 1 Corinthians 11:25 Jesus says, “This cup is the new covenant between God and His people – an agreement confirmed with My blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it” (NLT).
Notice Jesus referred to a “covenant.” This covenant has two sides. One side is forgiveness of your sins by the Lord. When you enter this covenant at salvation God guarantees your sins have been paid for and forgiven by the blood of Jesus.
The other side of this covenant is obedience. When you accept Christ as the Lord of your life you are saying, “I will obey You, Lord. You are my God and I will submit to You.” Part of the Lord’s Supper is to remind us as believers that when we were saved we entered a covenant with God saying I will follow your ways. So as God’s people the Lord’s Supper is a time to look up to God in our hearts and rededicate ourselves to the covenant that we have with Him knowing that He will always keep His end of the covenant whenever we sin. It’s a time to look up and renew.
On your seat was a Communion Set. It contains both the bread and juice. To help with social distancing and health guidelines we will be using these today to help observe the Lord’s Supper.
We will do this together. First of all, take the cup and peel the first layer off that only reveals the bread. Take the bread out and hold it. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 11:24, The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” [Eat the bread]
Now carefully peel the lid off to reveal the juice. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 11:25, In the same way, after supper [Jesus] took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” [drink the cup]