Luke 22:19

 

If we are going to thrive. If we are going to experience the abundant life that Jesus promised, we must focus on Him.

 

Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

 

When we focus on Jesus we won’t quit and we will be able to thrive in His joy.

Are your eyes focused on Jesus?

What distracts you? Worry, Business, other people

What are you looking when you are not looking to Jesus?  Your own strength and knowledge

Why would we ever take our eyes off of Jesus?

I don’t know why we do but we do and when we do we begin to sick in our troubles.

 

Peter got distracted, he took his eyes off of Jesus and looked at the trouble that was coming.

Are you like Peter? I am sometimes.

 

Matthew 14:26  When the disciples saw him (Jesus) walking on the lake, they were terrified. 28  “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29  “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

 

Jesus knows that we are weak like Peter and need a reminder to keep focused on Him. So Jesus gave us a memorial so we would never forget.

 

We have many memorials –

The 911 Memorial is our Nation’s most recent memorial.  How many have gone to Washington DC?

The Washington Monument, Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, the Vietnam and WWII memorials, and Martin Luther King’s monument.

All to remind us of our history so we never forget.

We personally create monuments for our loved ones. Every cemetery has hundreds of memorial headstones.  Why?  Because we want to remember our loved ones.

 

God even commanded Joshua to build a memorial. Why?

 

Joshua 4:21  He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22  tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23  For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24  He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.”

 

God created a memorial for us also. We have the Lord’s Supper so we can remember Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.  We come every week to remember, so we never forget what Jesus did for us.  When we remember we won’t quit.  When we remember we will thrive.

 

During the Last Passover that Jesus took part in on earth He instituted this Memorial.

 

Luke 22:19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

 

Jesus wants us to remember Him.

 

If we are going to remain spiritually strong then we must come to the memorial table every Lord’s Day so we never forget Jesus’ sacrifice. In our American culture it seems that the singing and the sermon are the focal points of a worship service.  That was not so in the early church.

We say – Come to church and hear the preacher or come to church we have such a great song service.

 

Acts 20:7  On the first day of the week we came together to break bread.

 

Luke does not say they came together to hear Paul preach, though he did; nor to sing though they did. The Christians did not come to pray but they did.  They came to Break Bread – they came together to remember the Lord’s death and proclaim the Lord’s return.

 

1 Corinthians 11:26  For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

 

The Apostle Paul was in a hurry to get to Jerusalem but he waited 7 days so they could break bread together.

 

That is how important the Lord’s Supper is – waiting 7 days to partake with the Christians in Troas before you head on.

 

Why did you come to the church building today?

Did you come to hear a sermon, to sing praises to Almighty God?

Or was your first thought I am coming to break bread, to remember what Jesus has done for me and my future reward in Him?

 

So let’s remain spiritually strong and come around the Lord’s table every Lord’s Day.

Why on the Lord’s day? Why Sunday and not Saturday?

When did the Christian’s meet to worship? They meet on the first day of the week, Sunday because that is when Jesus was resurrected.

We already read Acts 20:7 and we know that the church began on the first day of the week (Acts 2:1)

 

1 Corinthians 16:2  On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.

 

When did the Christians meet? The first day of the week, that is Sunday.

What did the Christians do when they met?

The partook of the Lord’s Supper – 1 Corinthians 11:17-33

 

Paul was getting on them for not participating in a worthy manner.

 

The point is the early churches meet on Sunday, the first day of the week, to worship and to break bread.

Do we have the authority to change God’s directives given through the apostles?

Many are but I am not going to walk down that dangerous path.

 

Acts 20 is very easy to understand; you need professional help to get it wrong.

Acts 20:7 On the first day of the week we came together to break bread.

 

The Apostles teaching was to partake of the Lord’s Supper on the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week.

Not monthly, not yearly, but weekly.

 

People who don’t practice weekly communion say that the Bible does not instruct us as to when to partake.  They do not want to see that the Corinthians met weekly and partook of the Lord’s supper, a simple reading of 1 Corinthians 11:20f and 16:2 shows when the congregation met and what they did when they met.

 

Some excuses we have all heard is that if you take the Lord’s supper to often it will lose its meaning.

Then I say we should only pray once a month and have a worship service once a month and give an offering once a month.   We don’t want it to lose its meaning.

I use this philosophy on Vicki – I only kiss her once a month – I don’t want the kiss to lose its meaning. Ha

 

There are some who only partake once a year – at least some of those groups do it because they believe that it should only be taken yearly at the exact time Jesus instituted it during the Passover.

 

Some teach that you can only partake of the Lord’s Supper in the church building, because of what 1Corinthians 11:18 says in the King James.

 

1 Corinthians 11:17-18 (KJV) 17  Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. 18  For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

 

“in” the church – but the church is not a building the Greek word is ecclesia – called out ones

The better translation is the NIV

 

1 Corinthians 11:18  In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church,

 

So you can gather as the church (as the called out ones) anywhere on the Lord’s day and partake of the Lord’s supper.

 

So we know why and we know when but what is the meaning of the elements?

 

Jesus instituted the Memorial supper during the final Passover Feast – Luke 22:15, 16; Matt 26:27, 28

The Jews celebrated the Passover Feast to celebrate their deliverance from slavery in Egypt.

(Unleavened bread because of their haste in leaving – Dt 16:3, 4)

 

Exodus 12:17  “Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.

 

Let’s look at the night Jesus instituted His Supper.

 

Luke 22:13  They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. 14  When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15  And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16  For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” 17  After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18  For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19  And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

 

It is a remembrance of Jesus.

There is no yeast in the bread because it was during Passover and it was juice from the fruit of the vine.

Some use wine but the Bible never uses the word wine with the Lord’s Supper. Even if the word wine was used it does not always mean fermented grape juice – the Greek word for wine can refer to both fermented and unfermented – we studied that a few months ago in bible study.

 

Ancient Jews followed the instruction for the priests.

Leviticus 10:8  Then the LORD said to Aaron, 9  “You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the Tent of Meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.

 

Modern Jews use water soaked raisins that they squeeze; so fruit of the vine from grapes.

 

But what does the bread and the fruit of the vine represent?

The bread represents Jesus’ body broken for us and the cup represents Jesus’ blood that He shed for us.

So as we partake we remember that He died for us on the cross.

The bread and juice do not turn into the body and blood of Jesus as some teach; that is called Transubstantiation, it still looks and taste like bread and juice but it is really Jesus’ flesh and blood.

 

Another false teaching is Consubstantiation: the view that the bread and juice are spiritually the flesh and blood of Jesus.

 

The bread and juice represent the flesh and blood of Jesus; nothing more and nothing less.

The Lord’s Supper helps us remember what Jesus did for us.

 

Matthew 26:26  While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 27  Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

 

That sounds like Transubstantiation – accept one little fact – Jesus still had His flesh and blood as He instituted the memorial.

The yearly Passover feast allowed the Jews to remember their deliverance from Egyptian slavery.

The weekly Lord’s Supper feast allows us as Christians to remember our deliverance from the slavery of sin.

 

Romans 6:21  What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

 

So as we partake we remember His sacrifice and we proclaim the promise of His coming.

 

All Christians can participate in the Lord’s Supper because we are remembering the Lord’s death and proclaiming His return.

 

If you are not a Christian, you have nothing to remember or proclaim.

 

Jesus wants you to remember what He did for you. He loves you and died on the cross to save you from your sins.  He wants you to experience forgiveness and He wants you to be with Him for Eternity.

 

Will you accept His gift of Grace?

Will you repent of your sins?

Will you be immersed into Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and receive the indwelling Gift of God?

Then you will be adopted as a child of God and you will want to participate in the Lord’s Supper every week so you can remember and proclaim what He has and what He will do for you.