By Greg Byman
March 4, 2018
St Joe Community Church
The Lord’s Supper is God’s personal reminder to his church—God’s family—to proclaim salvation, forgiveness and reconciled relationships. The Lord’s Supper reminds Christ followers that God’s family is marked by covenant commitments. For example, God’s family is a fellowship (Acts 2:42); a family based on relationships, not rules (1 Peter 3:8, 1 Timothy 5:1-2); and a spiritual body with different members exercising diverse gifts to bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27) and a flock cared for by pastors, overseers and elders (1 Peter 5:1-3).
Pastor Greg Byman delivered this sermon on March 4, 2018 about the Lord’s Supper and the importance of its implications for how the St. Joe Community Church’s body of believers relate to each other. We do this through covenant commitments in the unity, responsibility, ministry and testimony of its members.
Click "Read More" to access sermon notes, slides and transcript.
The Holy Spirit inspired him to write this he wasn't at the Lord's Supper but obviously there is we're not sure how he he doesn't tell us how he exactly got it it just says that I received from the Lord What I also passed on to you he did have a visitation from the Lord and then he also says later in his letters that he actually was taken up into the third heaven he was taken up above it may be a spiritual encounter and we're not sure he doesn't explain it to us he just says that he had a spiritual experiences was an unusual supernatural experience did Jesus visit him and give him these very words did did Jesus give him these words through those eye witnesses the other apostles we just know that this is God's word and this is what is being passed on to us from the Lord according to the Apostle Paul prophecy from the Lord What I also passed on to you on the night when he was betrayed the Lord Jesus took bread gave thanks broke it and said This is my body which is for you do this. In remembrance of me in the same way he also took the cup after supper and said This company 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 there for whoever eats the bread who drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sin against the Body and Blood of the Lord so a man should examine himself in this way or in himself and in this way he should eat of the bread and drink of the cup forever eats and drinks without recognizing the body eats and drinks judgment on himself this is why many are sick and among you and many have fallen asleep so let's just take this apart and see what the Apostle Paul is telling us first of all the Lord's Supper is a reminder Jesus said Do this in remembrance of me it's a personal reminder. It's a reminder that Jesus died for you and for me it's a reminder that we. Have been saved by His blood I don't think that's the right one here it's not working right is it already pay no attention to the screen behind me. And I said I'm sorry that's my daughter up there so. It's not Lynette OK I. Just realized what I did. Apologize. Not for calling her dear. It's also a symbol this is my body this is my blood it's a symbol. Of the broken body of Jesus of the spilled blood that he shed on the cross for our sins and so we practice the Lord's Supper with simple symbols It's a simple act with simple symbols. And so we use these symbols to remind us of what he did for us as we take the unleavened bread in our mouth and we crunch it we think of the brokenness. Of his body and what he did in the sacrifice that he made for us. We also practice this as the family of God This is God's family that does this. In this passage the entire passage is addressing believers and it's addressing people who are followers of Jesus Christ so that's why I say it's for God's family it's not for unbelievers it's not for seekers who are thinking about following Jesus it is for those who have truly put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Because it really means nothing to someone who is not a Christian someone who has not put their lives in the hands of Jesus Christ is not a faithful follower they're not trusting in Jesus at this point in their life and I'm not I'm not criticizing that I'm imploring someone who has not done that to put their faith in Christ but I'm just saying this cannot mean anything to someone and we don't we don't practice something in order to get into heaven we don't practice the Lord's Supper in order to be more saved we're already followers of Christ we're already saved by His blood we're practice this in order to tell the world that we're Christian. It's a proclamation of our faith in Jesus Christ he says sir as long as you do this. And eat this bread and drink the cup you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes we're proclaiming that we have trusted in him and that we trust that he's coming again. That he is coming again and you think about this world in the crazy system that we're in you know for years people have said he's coming again and when I was a kid I remember saying Oh it's all coming together during the Cold War era there was this moment of thought that that we're going to be annihilated but Jesus is coming and it will all be taken care of and then we had the Middle East war that we've had and in the last two Gulf wars and then we've had even more problems than nine eleven hits and then there's just onslaught on Christianity all over the world people dying for their faith more Christians have died in the name of Jesus for trusting in the name and proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ than in the era in history I mean by by a magnitude of how many Christians there are really makes that number swelled not so much that there was proportionately there were quite a few that were also dying for their faith even early on in the Christian faith percentage wise but the reality is that every time we have lived in history it seems like other than certain laws in history there's always been this understanding that it's kind of becoming soon and you sort of like. When people ask when kids ask in the car they're yet you can always say well we're closer than we were the last time you asked. Is he coming again Oh I don't know when he's coming I know it is. And we're certainly closer than we've ever been before some actually think that all the signs and all of the way all of the. Prophecies that were to take place before his coming again that they believe they've already been fulfilled and there's just a matter of him saying it's done here I am. To which I say if you're a seeker today be ready for you have no idea when he might come. Put your faith in Christ today do not wait and say well I'll think about that tomorrow. And even then if you think about that tomorrow and Jesus doesn't come for another fifty years well you may pass away before you have an opportunity to put your faith in Christ so every day every moment is an urgent moment a plea to put your faith in Christ the Lord's Supper is a thing for us to remind ourselves what he did for us it's a symbol of what he did for us it's for the family of God and I want to say when we begin our Lord's Supper we welcome you that if you have children older children who put their faith in Jesus Christ they already know what it means to follow Christ they're not just saying nice things about Jesus and I don't mean to be crass about that that's how you learn about Jesus as you start saying nice things about him as a little kid you prayed to him as a little kid but those who have truly understand what it means that Jesus died on their behalf and put their faith and they've put their faith in him. And they're growing and learning that that truly is Jesus is their savior we welcome you to go and get those children and bring those in line in and they may in particular to you but those children that are still trying to figure that out they don't understand it then we then we ask you not to bring those children to partake because they don't need to be learning to do something in a ritualistic way and it's not going to change anything and it's certainly not going to be a good testimony or a proper testimony of any faith that they have other than their simple faith and understanding the stories of Jesus and praying and they're in the gorge graces but they need to make a decision for themselves that's what we're asking for but it says in the Bible that a man ought to examine self before it's the bread of drinks the cup in verse twenty eight and that's where I want to cut zero in on just a little bit here because as we come to the Lord's supper table it's not something we just do flippantly it's not something we just do and say well you know I'm going to do this and it's not something that we come here to get cleaned up because we get cleaned up in our heart and our prayer to the Lord. And Paul said there are some of you in this in this in the body of Christ that are sick there you are ill you are not doing well that there is some kind of a spiritual oppression or there is some kind of a consequence to you to coming to the table in an unworthy manner. He said in fact some of you have fallen asleep some of died that's a euphemism for death so. I've never had so I'm so this poor I've never had someone pass oh out or get really sick or I've never had someone come up here and die because they protect in the wrong I just hope that this Sunday isn't the first OK So you know we don't want that I mean yeah you're in heaven but I mean that's just kind of dramatic and a lot of paperwork our insurance company just. All kidding aside it's a big deal. It's a big deal to come to the Lord's supper table and so I suggest to you that you go to the Lord and you just before we come to the table prayed in your seat and say Lord is there anything that in my life is there any way in which I have offended you or anything that I've not confessed that I need to ask your forgiveness for and ask his forgiveness and then and then if there is and then recommit yourself Lord I give my all to you assert and start doing inventory of your work your social life all the different places of your life is there is there any area that I have not fully surrender myself to you so far in my life for five I've tried to take control of the wheel in all it was a Jesus take the wheel well I'm a sinner trying to yank on and go a different direction got and I'm rebelling against your authority in my life and I need to ask your forgiveness of that I need to yield and I need to submit myself to you in a fresh way. And then is there anyone in my life that I've offended or that it is that I have personally done something that I know that I need to go ask their forgiveness for and make a resolve that you'll do that my Even this is when I say you are allowed to get out your smartphone and send a text or send an e-mail to say let's get together I need to talk to you God's impressed in my heart that we need to talk maybe to step out of the room and make a phone call and say I I'm not I'm not in the right spot with you I need to fix this or maybe not come to the Lord's supper table because it's that serious this morning that you are going to be resolved that before you come to the table you're actually going to make that meeting with someone who you've offended this is not about checking off who all got to come to the Lord's supper table this is about recalibration Sunday this is about rebuilding our system that's about revival reviving our hearts in a fresh way towards the Lord Jesus Christ so we receive His forgiveness we recommit ourselves to Christ and we restore relationships when we talk about relationships I want to finally say that there is a conversation I like for us to have about following Christ as the Body of Christ that we are believers in Jesus Christ and I want to talk about four different words to describe what the church is first of all the church the Bible the tells us is a fellowship of people. In Acts chapter two verse forty two it says and they devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching to fellowship to the breaking of bread into prayers the fellowship of the people a top priority and fellowship is harmony and unity that we want to be together. Second of all the church is a family now finally all of you should be like minded and sympathetic and you should love and love believers and be compassionate and humble first Peter three eight and first Timothy five it says Do not rebuke an older man but exhort him as a father younger man as brothers older women's mothers women as mothers and with propriety the younger women as sisters there is this family. Conversation. That we are a family of God we operate on the basis of relationships not just a bunch of rules. If there is something that looks like a rule at St Joe it's not meant to be a rule just like that's how it is figured out it is to protect the relationships with one another. You know you may have rules in your in your marriage if you're married that you will you know you only spend so much money without the other person's knowledge and then anything over that you have to talk to each other about it to make sure that that's OK and it's not that you're trying to again it's not a rule that says I'm it's just that it keeps you mutually submissive to one another to be on the same game plan for how you spend your money as a couple that's a that's a that's a common example of a of a good rule but it's not about the rule it's about the relationship it's to restore or to keep the relationship moving forward and so we're a family and we operate on relationships the church is a body now you are the Body of Christ and individual members of it first Corinthians twelve verse twenty one So in other words were a body not a business and we're an organism not an organization. We're incorporated as a public entity so he says I'm going to the church. Well but the church is a body it's a people. We are we are we're a group of people were a family of people. And we do run business we have business to do but. It's not about being a business it's not about being an organisation we're not just some social club we're a living breathing group of people and it doesn't take legal status it doesn't take a building and it doesn't take any kind of government. Recognition for us to be who we are we were established by the Lord Jesus Christ. And he is the one who is building His Church we rest ourselves on the rock of Jesus Christ. And it will stand the test of time in the gates of hell will never prevail against the church it will come and go in different shapes and forms. In some places buildings army and not even allowed and there are house churches all over because the body adapts to wherever it is and uses the tools that that particular society in which they live uses but it's not the tools that define the body the body is defined by the Word of God. And finally the church as a flock the church is cared for and led by shepherds I want to read for us and first Peter chapter five verses one through three one of my favorite passages that I like to look at in my personal life is I think about leading you and about how my life ought to be therefore as a fellow elder and witness it to the sufferings of the Messiah and also participate in the glory about to be revealed I exhort the elders among you Shepherd God's flock among you not overseeing out of compulsion but freely according to God's will not for money but eagerly not lording it over those entrusted to you but being examples to the flock and when the chief shepherd appears you will receive the unfading crown of glory in that passage three different words are used the words of Pastor overseer and elder is talking to the same person but he's talking about three particular functions won't get into that today but our church we have actually recently called Three men to service elders to have an elder counsel and the elder board and then I have always been considered the pastor overseer elder of the church as the as the lead pastor and so before of us served together in that capacity and one of the fun parts of that so that meeting that we have and often it's on Sunday mornings last couple Sunday mornings the last two weeks we met. Before church worship service. Is to see the different giftedness and the different ways in which these three words that you see on the ball on the wall there how those three are coming out in the four personalities that are in the room and how we can together as a team tackle the things that God has for us to do to spiritually leave the body of Christ. I share that. Say that these are the words This is the way in which we describe ourselves at St Joe Community Church because that's the way the Bible describes us and if you come to our new members class which I invite you to come to if you've never been put your name on the yellow card today and put class want to one or actually it's I'm interested in church membership please enroll me in the connect Now membership study if you're connected do that then we'll start creating a list and we've got a right before Easter we're going to try to have one more Sunday afternoon. Seminar to help those that want to find out what it means to belong to the church and we welcome you to join us for that you get a free lunch and then we go off to talk about the body about membership important around here belonging is important it is we become what we're committed to and so in your bulletin this morning before the last thing we're going to do is go over our church covenant and I'm going to have us read aloud and if you're not a member you don't have to read aloud but you're welcome to read aloud with us and I want to just use this as a guideline for how am I measuring up to what God's called me to be here at St Joe Community Church. Our. Covenant is simple it's action oriented and it's it's practical it's not the best one in the world. But it's one we got. It's not the only covenant you can have but it's the one we've got and it's one that we've prayerfully thought over and we've used for the last fifteen years as a guideline for how to help one another in fact this is the one thing that if we were to say the rules OK if there's one thing is if there's someone in here who's a member of the church I'm talking about members not just attenders and they're doing something that they're not supposed to be doing or they're not doing something that this covenant says they're supposed to be doing that we have given each other permission. To call each other out on that. That that this is what we say we're going to do now do we do that on a regular basis I'm no I'm not saying that you know I'm going to give. Jack I'm this week point number four I'm in we need to step aside here yeah I know I don't even know what that was when I said that but we but. All joking aside. In relationship to one another out of love speaking the love the word of truth in love you can go to a member say Hey man I I'm really grieved over this and by the way I'm not exempt from that conversation if someone comes means as pastor I think there's something on here that you're not doing that we ought to talk about me and I want to know because we all are in the we all want to get better stronger become more like Christ and become the kind of church that is attractive to the world that's watching. That we are hypocrites in recovery of our how Poch Recy getting over not doing this because none of us are perfect at this in fact we're. I'm going to get hit somewhere in this passage today in this covenant because none of us are perfect only Jesus can completely fulfill this every single day twenty four seven. Every hour every minute. But we're moving towards doing this and where we can become stronger in this so let's read this together at the very top of St Joe Community Church membership covenant. Having received Christ as my Lord and Savior and been baptized and being in agreement with St Joe communities statements strategy and structure I now feel led by the Holy Spirit to unite with the St Joe community church family in doing so I commit myself to God and to the other members to do the following Number one I will protect the unity of my church by acting in love toward other members by refusing to gossip by following the leaders now we don't will read all of the verses but let me just read aloud for us the second one there live in complete harmony with each other each with the attitude of Christ toward each other and there are others as well on there let's go down the Roman numeral to two aloud I will share the responsibility of my church by praying for its growth by inviting the unchurched to attend by warmly welcoming those who visit Roman numeral three. I will serve the ministry of my church by discovering my gifts and talents by being equipped to serve by my pastors by developing a servant's heart and in Roman numeral for I will support the testimony of my church by attending faithfully by living a godly life by giving regularly These are the covenants that we have committed to together and as you come to the Lord's supper table I want to just ask you to examine yourselves individually as a family where are you in relationship to the Body of Christ and we welcome you who are not members of our church who have put your faith in Jesus Christ and are examining yourselves and seeking the Lord's best for your life as you go in prayer for forgiveness of sins and whatever it is that you need to do to find yourself spiritually fit to serve to come we invite you to partake with us as well we do have open communion policy in our church for the members of St Joe Community Church I ask you to take that covenant to heart and to pray over that before you come and say Lord Jesus is there any error in my life or I can be stronger better healthier spiritually for you and for the sake of the body here at St Joe finally as we leave as we come together I want you to come down the front and center aisle and then there's actually will be juice and bread on both the juice in the middle and bread on both sides so you can either come this way or that way and then just peel off to either sides to the side aisles and if you'll just come in that way but take your time. When you're ready to come and get in line and come and partake come with your family. Come with friends you may come by yourself you don't have to go with anybody but I suggest and encourage you to do that if you're with a group of people I suggest one of those would pray before you even drink that is to just say Lord thank you for what you did to die on the cross for my sins thank you for your sacrifice just something simple if you're by yourself just pray to yourself and then remain quiet and respectful for everyone else to finish quietly in this room and then if there's a need for prayer if there's a way that you want to be prayed for. We'll have some people in the back might be in the front I'll be around as well at some point after I partake with my family and use this connection card bring it to to one of the per team people and say hey I need prayer I need some help and if you don't feel ready to do that or if that's not you're not led to do that this morning then we welcome you to take that prayer card and put it in the offering box as you so that we know how to pray for and encourage you in your spiritual walk or any decisions that you're making so that we can follow up and help you let's go to the Lord in prayer and then we will begin ssion Father God we just thank you that you gave us this time to argue this morning. That we gave you gave us this time to remember what you did for us the Lord we are the Body of Christ. That you assembled together in a small nucleus in a home. A couple homes and then in a garage and then in some schools and then and it's. In a movie theater and now you've placed us in that and so Laurie's thank you that you gave us the privilege of being called a body of Christ. But Lord help us to represent you well. And may we come to the table remembering what you did for us. Proclaiming you to the world who is watching us that when might be stronger and better. I'm up at this time if you would and just a couple things before we close. I always say if you want to come back for prayer God's work on your heart decision to make Well Cam wanted me to share with you all that he's trusted in Christ as Lord and Savior this morning let's praise God for that. So he wants to get baptized. Got his hands in the air back there he wants to get baptized and so real shortly we'll figure out how to get that plumbing go on and get that tank opened up and and we'll we'll make that happen either the next Sunday or the following Sunday and if that's something that you have been struggling with or it's time for you to tell the world you're Christian doesn't make you a Christian but it tells the world you are in it and I struggle to think of someone that would be trusting that they're going to heaven if they're refusing to obey the honor of an honor Christ with their life by being baptized again baptism make you a Christian but I can't imagine somebody want to follow Christ and refusing to trust him in believers baptism so if that be you this morning and you want to put your faith in him openly and or if you're trying to figure out what that means you don't have to put on here I want to get baptized will merely get you wet next week we want you to know why we believe that why the Bible talks about being baptized we welcome you to put that on your card so that we can her with you and counsel with you even this week will set up a time to visit with you about that the other thing I wanted to mention before we left here this morning is that a special milestone took place that rarely takes place very few people accomplish this this achievement and I thought it was worthy on a Sunday morning of recognizing we have a young man in our church that's been coming our church for some time he and his family come here and Stephen Burns earned his Eagle Scout award this past Tuesday evening let's praise God. So. He is. He is very in can speak us and a bright neon shirt this morning so if you. Know by the look back at so they're so high because next encourage him it's a family effort and I know as family has has can take some credit for encouraging him and pushing him along to do that here today and then his scout leader is here today James was here who led that ceremony I had the privilege of praying at that ceremony I've never done that before I've known Eagle Scouts my cousins and people but that was a real honor and a privilege but I wanted to know about that Stephen not want to jump up and tell or by what's going on out loud so I needed to make sure that I embarrassed him royally in front of you this morning to do that so praise God again for that. All right so and all we do live is all due to the honor and glory of Jesus Christ and I know that Stephen and like so many of us we want to honor God with our lives as we make those achievements and so let's stand or feet let's proclaim him one more time and worship as we sing our praises to him and honor him at maybe a final decision that you need to make on a card somehow whatever it is the Lord's leading you to do to close out this time let's worship in the small inning with our all whole hearts our minds and our souls.
B: Bible book