by Greg Byman
SJCC 2017 11 26 Greg Byman - Communion
Why does Jesus have his followers “eat” his flesh and “drink” his blood
To some, the Lord’s Supper, also known as Communion, may seem like a bizarre concept. For Jews who clearly understood that the Old Testament clearly prohibited drinking an animal’s blood or otherwise consuming an uncooked animal, a ritual that imitated drinking Jesus’ blood and eating his flesh must have certainly struck the twelve disciples as very strange. But what did Jesus really have in mind when he told his disciples that Communion represents a “new covenant” and a critical way that believers in Christ grow in their relationship with God? On Sunday, November 26, 2017, Pastor Greg Byman preached on the importance of Communion in the life of a Christ-follower. Pastor Byman welcomes questions about this or other issues. Feel free to post questions here or contact Pastor Byman directly at (260) 471-4704 or click here.
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Well before we began this morning thinking about the Lord's Supper I want us to be thinking about what we're thankful for and if you want to go to your scriptures we're going to be using First Corinthians Chapter eleven as our key text first Corinthians Chapter eleven and we're going to use that in verse twenty three through thirty as the key text that we normally use and we will use again today as a. As our key text for the Lord's Supper. But as we come to the table what do you thankful for. How are you giving God thinks this morning this week has been an interesting week there has been laughter there has been sorrow there have been highs and there have been lows there's been rejoicing of welcome of people we haven't seen in a while and there are some in this room probably some who didn't see somebody who they thought they might and once again reminding us that we still live in a world that's a little bit broken maybe a lot broken and we're not yet come into full reconciliation with everyone around us there are all kinds of mixtures of emotions but what are you thankful for. When we say thank you Lord. What do we say when we are thankful what do we say to him thank you Jesus for what and right now in your mind just as you think about what you're think what you're thankful for just in your mind you don't have to close your eyes you can if you want if you want take a nap no don't do that but think right now Lord thank you just in your mind thank you Lord. And just whatever comes to your mind that you can be grateful for. I'm thankful for a bed that I got to sleep in last night and I got I got some warmth in my in my house and for some of you that are battling the the thermostat you had a window you could open because somebody else wanted it to warm in the house it's a little warm in here but by the way is a lot colder earlier this morning so we got it got it turned up a little bit. But what do you think for for I'm thankful for what Jesus did for me. And how he died for me I didn't deserve that he looked down on me and found me where I was I didn't find him he found me he sought me out some of you said well I found Jesus when did you find Jesus where did you find Jesus. Interesting enough so many times we don't find Jesus in our highest moments we often find him in our deepest darkest moments Sadly we forget about him in our high moments things are going so well things are going so good and we're able to just kind of move along thinking that in some way we arrive where we were without him and we may not verbal They say that we may not really mean that or think that but we certainly in practice are can live that way some bodies said wrote a book called christian atheist. Living our life as though Jesus really doesn't exist. Coming right along thank you very much adding a few truths notes here and there but for the most part not really putting him in our lives and making and being grateful for what he's done for us. So right now just think about what you're thankful for and maybe even on your on your boat on the back just write a name or two or five or twenty. Write some things down thankful for my health. Thankful for what health I have left some of you might say thankful for recovery thankful for hope in Christ. I'm thankful that through all the sorrows that we've experienced in our church and this year has been a year of Sorrows we've had a lot of loss but as someone rightfully said when you lose something that means you don't know where it is and as I heard son talk about his mother who was a faculty member at Tech she said he said we didn't lose my mom it was in the last season the father's arms and we look forward to seeing her again when loser she gained heaven and we know right where she is and will some of their day be there with her and I hope that you will be too he added to all in the crowd and so we have these moments where we realize that we've passed through the valley of the shadow of death we're not at death's door some might be closer than others but we're not there yet. But we're going through some valleys and I'm thankful for the hope in Jesus Christ and thankful for healing in the sorrow I'm thankful that we can have a family to lean on in times of trouble and and dire circumstance what do you think before. So as we come to the Lord's Supper we think about these things because it is with a heart of gratitude that we come to the table in the first place Jesus says the two did this as the thing the ordinance or the command that he gave the local church to prefer to do and in First Corinthians chapter eleven verse twenty three The apostle Paul Paul who has written is writing a letter to the Corinthian church he is spelling out what he heard from Lord and he said I received from the Lord What I also passed on to you somehow some way Paul learned might have been through the other apostles because he had relationships with the others but it might possibly have been weak conjecturing he doesn't explain it directly that he had a revelation from God from Jesus Christ himself about what happened on that day because Paul as an apostle was not there when it happened and so he had to have some inside information so to speak literally actually so either as from the Lord or from the Lord through other witnesses for I received from the Lord What I also passed on the you on to you on the night when he was betrayed the Lord Jesus took bread gave thanks and broke it and said This is my body which is for you do this in remembrance of me quoting Jesus and in verse twenty five in the same way he also took the cup after supper and said 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 now let's pause right there let's see what it means to practice or to what does the Lord's Supper represent first of all the Lord's Supper is a reminder. He says Do this in remembrance of me remember what I did remember how I died for you. Remember that my body was broken my blood was spilled and you were set free because of what I did for you. It's a reminder of the sacrifice Jesus gave his entire life and there isn't anybody in this room that has completely given their life and to death for somebody else or you wouldn't be here but you may know somebody who chose to do that we celebrate or we memorialize men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice defending our country as well I think we should because that is a noble and very worthy sacrifice for our freedom think of police officers that paid the ultimate price with your first responders the current in the fire department fire. Captain that his life was lost it was during a training exercise but it was training in order for him to rescue people from certain calamity and death fire you see we celebrate those lives we remember those lives we most certainly must remember what Jesus did for us it's also a symbol this is my body you know some people want to add to this scripture and yet in every way in which this is described there is no way that we can reconcile the idea that it becomes something. When the body when the it was very clear that they weren't even to Jews running supposed to drink blood. And weren't supposed to do those types of things and there's been all kinds of conjecture outside of the Bible extra biblical conversation by other faith movements that have added to what the scripture says in order to in their minds reconcile what they don't see as purely some symbolic. And so what we believe and what we just you know we just believe the bot the Bible is our key content key text for for what is what is good for faith and the practice of our life. It is our sole authority for Faith and Practice and so we believe and we based on the Scriptures and what Jesus saying here is this is this is my body this is this is a symbol of my body just as they were taking the Passover none of those things and the passover became some miraculously different element when they got into their mouth or in before it got in their mouth and they certainly had no ritual that went on in order for it to become something special while Jesus was sitting there at the table with them he just simply picked up the bread they were probably passing it around it was crunching because it was unleavened bread it wasn't soft risen bread and as it was breaking in their mouths as it was breaking in their hands as they were breaking it off for one another he said this is my body that was broken for you sacrificed for you on your behalf this is my blood this is this is the cup this is the covenant of the new of the New Covenant this is the symbol of the fact that my blood is being spilled for you and no longer will there be a need for animal sacrifice to atone for your center to symbolically atone for your send I'm going to tone for it with my blood I'm going to die for you blood for blood without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin the Bible says and Jesus is giving them assemble for us to remind ourselves and as we take the cup we're reminded some people said use real alcohol no we don't we're not trying to be legal istic We just know there's people in the room that have had too much of that and they've decided to get away from it so we were dry church because of that in respect for those that have recovered from alcoholism but it's great juice just like it was great juice then. Maybe ten just a little bit back in those days and have a refrigerator. But it's a symbol. Of the blood of Jesus Christ and you'll take the cop and you take the bread and you remember the symbolic the symbols of his death simple subjects simple objects for us to remember what he did this is also a church family practice this is something that we as the Body of Christ here at St Joe Community Church and any other church for that matter it's a local body of Christ ordinance it's a command that Jesus gave the local church and so we practice this just as they did in the early days of the church and as we continue to do until he comes again it's a family practice. And I say that also to say that we do invite you who are followers of Christ who come from other faith churches groups that believe in Jesus Christ you're welcome if you put your faith in Jesus Christ we do not sit there with a checklist of who's part of our church and not this morning we do welcome you to the table but I will say this. If you're not a follower of Christ then this means absolutely nothing to you because we're not practicing religion we're following Jesus in a relationship and so if you're practicing religion and you've not had any movement put by putting Jesus as the Lord of your life if you're refusing to be baptized to openly to proclaim his name as a follower of Jesus Christ if you're refusing to identify with him in the middle of this world that we live in then we. That you rather than facing the judgment of the Lord we ask that you not to take with us and the you allow us to partake as followers of Christ. Were given followers. And will go through what it means to come to the table because really nobody is worthy of coming to the table but we're all invited to the take and it's also a proclamation. He said For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes for you keep doing this to Jesus comes back which means we believe that Jesus is coming back it's that's that that's yeah A excited about that maybe sooner than later I hope. Ever get worse yeah and it might get worse or it might not he might come back I'm so looking forward to when that happens maybe I'll be alive maybe I'll come out of the grave and beach all there I don't know what's going to happen. Or my body will already be with Jesus I'm telling you this it's going be a special day when Jesus comes back. I'm excited about that. And we proclaim this is this is a symbol and a reminder of his death. But it's in the middle of that that we also know there's no hope he's actually alive he who ascended to the father and he's going to come again buries God it's our proclamation a small but then Paul add some more he continues on in the conversation of the way in which we ought to come to the table therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy way will be guilty of the sin of sin against the Body and Blood of the Lord so verse twenty eight so a man should examine himself in this way and this way he should eat of the bread and drink of the cup for whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body eats and drinks judgment on himself this is why many are sick and ill among you and many have fallen asleep died or had someone die in our church because they took the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner but I've got a perfect record so far as pastor and I'm hoping I keep it that way. So this morning I hope you examine yourself before you come to the table. No one's perfect but that's no excuse for not aiming for God's way of living and so I want to just kind of go through yes I'm going to revisit what we did the last eight weeks as a way of examining ourselves and so let's look at our relationship with God and our relationship with people first of all as you think about yourself and you can just take your nose to say God it's as you're convicted or is there some area of your life that you feel like the Lord needs to work on that you need to ask forgiveness for before you come to the table then I want you to write that down maybe one maybe none maybe a I don't know it's all you and Lord right now as you think about this contemplate of Lee prayerfully my relationship with God Bless that of the poor in spirit have you admitted your spiritual bankruptcy in other words are you trying to work your way into heaven or of you completely released all effort in order to find God personally are you done with religion and starting on a relationship. We don't earn heaven it's by faith that we've put our faith in Christ and that's how we find eternal life. Those who mourn are you grieving over your sin are you really sad that you're a center have you really counted the cost of the people around you have you counted the cost of unforgiveness in your relationships have you counted the cost of your refusal to do what God wants you to do in a particular area but it's going to cost you it's costing others and ultimately what it cost Jesus in order to atone for your sin his death on the cross blessed that of the humble if you submitted yourself under Christ's control there's a lot of talent in this room there's a lot of power there's a lot of brain activity in this room we've got a lot of thinkers and doers. I've always said that many of the great ideas that we've done in our church that most of never come from me they come from you it's my job and what I try to do is pull the best of everybody in the room we try to move forward in what's best and try to release you from ministry not constrict you to certain ways but even so we can get so proud in ourselves to think that old we are all that more have you submitted yourself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed. Do you really hunger and thirst for what God wants for your life. What have you paid more attention to this week what God wants for your life. Or what this world is saying that you must have in this life is there one thing that keeps getting in your way of totally trusting and whatever that is that came to your mind write that down and confess that a sin that's a relationship with God What about your relationship with people around you do you show mercy. Oh are we not that you need to keep going through that they're all in their Yeah thank you there we go perfect about the merciful are you merciful. Do you show mercy even as you like to be shown mercy Are you quick to point others faults out now this is really unfair for me to go through all of this that you've just had Thanksgiving with all kinds of family that you're not normally around. With that sibling that you most are like water and oil I understand where we're treading on some. Thin ice we're getting into winter time now but I think we can handle this. What about the pure in heart are you acting with pure motives are you are you single minded in your focus in the way that the Lord would have you are or do you have all teary or motives whenever you're saying things do you say things in code and in such a way that people have to interpret what you're really saying. Have a nice day I don't really mean that what about. Peace makers we all carry a bucket of gas in a bucket of water. And when you see a fire in the middle relationship do you throw gasoline on or do you throw water on it and I'll be honest I never go into a room in the house and you say a word or two and then you leave to see what happens in your family situation I'm a little devious That way you know the code words that set people off. You use them. Or do you choose to forget them went to confession for such and those who are persecuted because of righteousness in other words are you willing to do what God wants you to do no matter the cost or have you counted the cost and you've cut corners and you've compromised because you're afraid of what the world might say or what your boss might say or what someone around you or a maybe you're dating somebody and you don't want to offend the person you're dating because you're so desperate for love you're willing to abandon the love of Christ for the relationship here on Earth. That's ungodly I don't know and it's always think if I can comfortably invite this girl that I'm thinking of dating. To my Bible study on Tuesday night either I have altered or motives. Or she's not on the same path that I'm on and I thought and worked through that. Usually successfully sometimes not so in college as I thought through my dating life. Thankfully my sophomore year I found Anita it was all good We've been dating ever since But blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness are you willing to suffer a loss are you willing to hear the word that's not fair when it's applied to your life because someone has chosen to marginalize you or penalize you because you're a Christian if you've denied him in any area of your life this is a. Let me just pause for prayer right now. And silently if you just take whatever it is that God is convicted you of. And just say Lord forgive me for and just put it in the blank privately to oh here are prairie lowered you promise that if we confess our sins you are faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness we come to the table. Because you clean us up not because we come in clean ourselves up we come to the table in an unworthy manner but we are certainly worth dying for you prove that on the cross you want us far more than we ever wondered that we thank you as one more moment of thanks thank you for that forgiveness that you gave us now watch over us your love and your peace and your presence fill us with the Holy Spirit. May be reminded that you tossed our sins behind you there remembered no more you choose to forget what we've done wrong and we thank you for that and even as we ever do we remember because we do the things that we did wrong may there not be moments to beat ourselves up or to grovel down and to feel worthless. But May those be moments of gratitude to know where you brought us from. And that you have a plan to take us to. A better way of living a better path better relationships. Better Life and it's through you that we find that and so we give things.
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