The biblical vision of our church during 2021 is “The Year of the Gospel.” The observance of the Lord’s Supper vividly captures the four points of the gospel message as presented by the apostle Paul, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures (Point 1), and that He was buried (Point 2), and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (Point 3), and that He appeared…(Point 4)” (1 Corinthians 5:3-5a). Nothing we do in the ministry as a church more clearly displays the truth of the gospel message that Jesus died for our sins than receiving and eating the broken bread and drinking the cup of Christ’s suffering. The bread shows the broken body of the Lord who suffering by way of the cross in our place. The cup represents the Lord’s shed blood that was poured out for the remission of our sins. By observing the Lord’s Supper we all become preachers of the gospel message.
There is an important point that Jesus conveyed to His disciples that we sometimes miss. After the first Lord’s Supper meal in the upper room when Jesus had finished serving the meal, He said, “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29). The apostle Paul added to what Jesus said, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). While the bread and cup proclaim the death of Jesus for our sins, the ongoing observance of the Last Supper demonstrates His continued appearance among those who believe in Him. Every time we eat the bread and drink the cup, Jesus appears one more time in our fellowship together. He shows up again through our shared faith. We feel His risen presence and see His sacrifice for us because we are faithful to His command. How is it possible to deny the truth of the gospel when His people time after time continue what He began for over 2,000 years. The gospel is not only something we preach. It is also something we participate in and continue to demonstrate through the Lord’s Supper.
The apostle Paul added a feature to the Lord’s Supper observance which calls for our attention. He said, “But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks judgement to himself if he does not judge the body rightly” (1 Corinthians 11:28-29). This applies to personal sin in our lives that should be confessed and forgiven before partaking in the Lord’s Supper. The Bible tells us to “…confess our sins and He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Observing the Lord’s Supper motivates us to once again ask for and receive personal renewal and recommitment to our daily walk with Jesus.
When Paul said these words to the church at Corinth, he was talking to a church that was out of fellowship because of factions and convicts between believers. He was admonishing the church family to drop their contentions and forgive one another before eating and drinking the elements of Christ’s sacrifice. Everything about the Lord’s Supper displays the sacrifice Jesus made to reconcile us all to God. We should do everything we can to be reconciled to one another, especially during the observance of the Lord’s Supper.
How is it possible for anyone to carry and grudge while eating the symbols of Christ’s broken body and shed blood?
As we observe the Lord’s Supper this morning, let’s strive for unity and fellowship being reconciled to God and to one another.