Sunday, November 15, 2015 am                                                Perfection 2015 Index


The Christian and Public Worship (3)
The Lord’s Supper


This month we are examining our public worship.  As we strive to go on to perfection, we need each other.  We come together to worship God and thereby we build up (edify) one another.    Thus far we have discussed how our worship needs to be our best both in attitude and execution. 

In the next few lessons we are going to address the various acts of public worship.  We will notice briefly their authority and then we will examine how to give our best in each act of worship.  Today we start with the Lord’s Supper and giving.

NOTE: I again emphasize that while I am making some observations and some things to think about, perhaps matters where we could change a little for the better, I am not trying to single out anyone personally.  I simply submit these things for your consideration.

 I.                    The Lord’s Supper

a.       Partaking “in truth”

                                                   i.      Instituted by Jesus on the night he was betrayed – 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.  In this text Paul reminded the brethren of that occasion (Matt. 26:26-28)

                                                  ii.      He took elements of the Passover meal – bread and fruit of the vine (note that the word “wine” is never used in conjunction with the Lord’s Supper).  These elements were representative of His body (His humanity) and His blood which was shed for the remission of our sins.

                                                iii.      It was observed “on the first day of the week” – Acts 20:7 – necessarily implied is that it was offered weekly.

                                                iv.      It was offered when they came together for that purpose – Acts 20:7.  Also the context of 1 Corinthians 11:18-34 implies this.   Vs. 18, 20 specifically say they came together.   This is followed by a distinction between coming together and what they did at home – 22, 34.   AND, it was in this context that he warns of partaking in an unworthy manner – which would textually include the way it was served.

b.       Partaking “in spirit”

                                                   i.      We are specifically warned in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 that our attitude is important as we partake of this memorial. 

                                                  ii.      It IS a memorial – a memorial with hope attached to it, but a memorial.  Jesus died to give us that hope.  His death was cruel and unjust to Him.  Yet He died for us!  Eph. 1:7 tells us we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. 

                                                iii.      Let it be done in reverence - our text calls for treating this occasion with reverence.   Paul specifically deals with the “unworthy manner” which can make us guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

                                                iv.      Let it be a time of reflection – what do we think about as we partake of the Lord’s Supper?

1.       The sacrifice of Jesus – consider what He endured for us

2.       Think about the life of Jesus that made this sacrifice possible – He lived without sin, never gave into temptations, etc. 

3.       Think of what Jesus said on the cross

4.       Think about what His blood accomplished – redemption, reconciliation, propitiation, sanctification, salvation, forgiveness, etc.

5.       Reflect on your spiritual condition before you were washed in the blood.

6.       Reflect on your spiritual condition now – considering what Jesus did, are you in your daily living serving Him?  Let a man “examine himself.” (1 Cor. 11:28)
This reflection is designed to help you RESOLVE to serve Him.

7.       Note: You can prepare yourself for this ahead of time!

                                                  v.      It is a communion – a time of fellowship.  As we have noted we partake together. 
1 Corinthians 10:16-17 – the cup and bread are a communion – a word that means a fellowship – a communion with Christ.

                                                vi.      It is a declaration – 1 Cor. 11:26 – you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.  You are declaring to those present with you that Jesus is your Lord.  You are setting an example to the world that you believe that Jesus died and arose for your sins.

c.        Preparing our minds

                                                   i.      Because we partake of this memorial every week it can become easy to become just a routine that is done with little thought, (or the mindset, let’s hurry up and get this out of the way). As we have noted, that is a serious danger with judgment at stake. 
It is a challenge to keep our minds focused on this occasion.  That is why we do things to prepare our minds. 

                                                  ii.      Remove distractions – whether it be cell phones ringing, reading texts, talking, constant movement, the shuffling of pages, etc.  Such things can distract OTHERS from their efforts to worship God properly.

                                                iii.      We sing a song – is it a song that actually reminds us of what occurred on that occasion? 

 Those presiding at the table

Realize you are leading the congregation in an act of worship, which is one of the specified reasons we are here each Sunday.  
- Perhaps, there are some congregations that have begun overemphasizing this act of worship (if that is possible) or they emphasize this to the neglect of other acts of worship, but more often than not, it is treated as if it is underemphasized – as something we are in a hurry to get it over with so that we can get on with fulfilling the rest of our responsibilities for the week.
- Consider your appearance – does it show reverence for the occasion?
- Consider preparing some comments to remind us of this occasion.  Maybe everyone knows why we are here, but it never hurts us to be reminded.    Also, often times we have visitors and we are NOT certain of their understanding of these things.
- Let us be like Paul who REMINDED the brethren at Corinth of the purpose of the Lord’s Supper.  Let us be like Jesus who TOLD the reason for this memorial.
- Consider allowing a few more moments after the emblems are passed so that we can ALL (including those who are serving) think on these things.
- Use variety when reading scriptures or in the comments that are made – you have time, prepare!  If you desire, coordinate with the song leader (ahead of time) and base your talk on a particular song.
Perhaps these comments will help us direct our thoughts in a particular direction.