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Nov 10, 2019

A Communion Vision

A Communion Vision

Speaker: Dennis Gallaher

Series: Other

Category: Sunday Morning

Communion is a relational response to what the Lord has done for me.

Communion is a common ritual (a repeating) and a sacrament (something set aside as scared). Communion is a sacred place that we enter into – a time set aside to ask the Holy Spirit to come and anoint. 

Luke 18:9-14 This passage in Luke does not mention communion but talks about two opposite poles in the church today.

1) One of these is "the justified." Like the Pharisees, it includes those who can stand before God just the way we are because of the blood of Jesus. Justified means to understand that our sin was taken on the cross by Jesus and that He has made it so that we can stand before God worshipping Him. In this passage, the justified understands this position in the kingdom but forgets that it's not about a position or criteria met and so it becomes just another act.

2) This passage is also about "the sinner." This one has completely run out of excuses. The one who no longer points to others but recognizes the sorry state of their life and can only bow before God and hope for the best - the position of the condemned. Just like the justified who only sees their good deeds, the condemned only sees their bad deeds.

 Justified is a legal term that means the debt that was owed has been completely paid and the guilty has now gone free. We assume that communion is a private act of worship. Notice that the only two people in the parable are alone. They are evaluating themselves by what they do or don't do (works). But communion is the table of the body of Christ - for the church.

Communion should draw us together. Communion tunes up the body of Christ. Communion is the point we come back to – our common calling - the table! This is a relational response to what the Lord has done for me instead of a religious event that God asks us to do. Our response is important.

I Corinthians 11:23-26 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which 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.” In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

Much of the Bible begs our participation in rituals that demonstrate on a physical level what God desires us to embrace on a heart level. The lessons of the Bible teach us to love God and love one another. The Bible’s great theme points us to 1) the great commission – God sought us and we should seek others, and 2) the great commandment - loving God and loving others that began with God loving us first.

Communion is the ultimate or final demonstration of the entire history of God seeking and saving the lost. The act is the shadow but can give us so much more. It is the acting out of Genesis 3:21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. The one we have offended is also the one who provides the covering for our sin and shame. 

Genesis 22:13 Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. Abraham was tested by God and God provided a sacrificial lamb. My sacrifice pails in the light of God’s provision for me.

Pointing to the Table – the Lamb:

  • Exodus 12 The passover lamb - a sacrifice provided – blood shed
  • The prophetic word of Isaiah 53:7, 10-11
  • John 1:29 Behold, the Lamb

 It’s the Last Supper - the Last Passover. Matthew 26:26-28 While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.

In this simple act of communion, the entire story of God’s redemption is told. The proper response to that redemption is also commanded. This table represents Genesis through Revelation, the greatest story ever told, and has to be approached with humility. This table is the great equalizer telling us that no matter who we are we must come with humility. It’s not just a thing to do, but is a great reminder of the sacrifice and gift that Jesus gave us.

  • I Cor 11:18  For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you, and in part, I believe it. We have groups separated into factions, separate ourselves from those we disagree with.
  • I Cor 11:28 But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

The Lord’s Supper is not for saint or sinner. There is no act that we can do to make ourselves worthy. Jesus comes and makes us worthy. J.B. Phillips says, “It is this careless participation which is the reason for the many feeble and sickly Christians in your church. And the explanation of the fact that many of you are spiritually asleep.” Why? Not because we don’t do it right, but because we don’t humble ourselves and take responsibility for other parts of the body. The Lord’s Supper is for the humble! It’s for those who recognize that the greatest need in life is for someone greater to save me from myself and that someone is Jesus. It's not positioning or groveling that makes us worthy. It is the humility that receives a loving God's free gift of forgiveness and restoration. Forgiveness is THE big deal. Jesus came to this world to forgive us of our sin. 

The table before us is the story of God seeking to save the lost. Today, make peace with God. Come and experience the love of Jesus. Jesus approaches us – He sought us. So many want to try harder – but Jesus comes and says it’s why I came. Then the Holy Spirit will empower and teach us always and lead us.

  • Give ourselves to Jesus
  • Stop trying and realize our position
  • Ask Him to save us
  • Receive His forgiveness for a brand new life

Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thought, and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.

How do you approach communion? 

Are you that person that hides out because you aren't good enough? 

Are you that justified person with wrong focus? 

What is something new you learned about communion?