One Comment to “Do This In Remembrance of Me”

  1. Donald McMahon
    May 6, 2019

    Do This in Remembrance of Me (5.5.19; 1 Corinthians 11:17–34)
    Let us pray.
    1 Corinthians 11:17–34 (NIV84)
    17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not!
    23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
    27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.
    33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. 34 If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.
    And when I come I will give further directions.
    The word of God for the people of God.
    Oh, the fallenness and frailty of the human being. How quickly we go astray. The church of Corinth is fairly new, having been planted by the Apostle Paul. He had given them instruction and now he has to write this letter to correct them in the ways they have corrupted the practices that Paul had established. BUT, and this is a big but, Paul says that these guidelines were actually from the Lord Jesus.
    At first, it was not my intention to include these first six verses because I didn’t want to deal with their messiness. In the early church, the practice was to join in a meal, a Love Feast, and then include the sharing of the bread and cup. Over the centuries, Holy Communion evolved into a separate event from these communal meals. Different church traditions have further evolved surrounding the rules, regulations, and administration of this sacrament. If Paul was alive today, he might have to write a lot more letters.
    Their meetings were not what they should have been. Instead of being used to build up the Body of Christ in unity and love, differences were being amplified. Believers that were well-off were separating themselves from the poor and even allowing them to go hungry. On top of that, the abuse in wine drinking looked more like a Roman banquet than a Christian gathering.
    Of course, there are mitigating circumstances. The Christian faith and being a Christian were new things. They were new believers without an older generation to properly instruct them. They were in the minority and surrounded by a pagan culture. They did not have the blessing of our completed New Testament. We do not have those excuses. We must rightly celebrate at the Lord’s table.
    This letter is likely the first written instructions on the Lord’s Supper. Certainly, it was written before the gospels. After Paul’s conversion on the Damascus Road, he spent three years in the desert receiving divine instruction from the Lord. The instructions Paul lays out here are simple, but they convey deep theological implications.
    Paul starts by establishing the origination of the Lord’s Supper in a historical fact. A real man, Jesus, on a particular night, the one when he was betrayed by Judas; the night before his crucifixion; he took the bread. We commonly call this event, The Last Supper, when Jesus gathered with his disciples.
    Jesus gave thanks. This was not what we call saying grace because it happened towards the end of the meal. In a somewhat automated fashion, we think Jesus is just thanking God the Father for the literal bread and wine. But, as we shall see, the bread and wine are representative of so much more. No doubt, we are to be grateful for the depth and breadth of this celebration. Gratitude should be part of our mindset when we participate. Think of the Lord’s Supper as a gift.
    Then Jesus broke the bread. It is not just for the practical distribution of the pieces, but it is symbolic. The bread is Jesus’ body. He tells us in John 6:33–36 (NIV84)
    33” For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
    34 “Sir,” they said, “from now on give us this bread.”
    35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.”
    Jesus says, that the broken bread is His body. The bread that is to be distributed and shared is his body. For whom was Jesus’ body broken? It was broken for you and me. This refers to His suffering at the mock Sanhedrin trials. This refers to His scourging and his crown of thorns at the hands of Pontius Pilate. This refers to His agonizing trek up that Calvary Hill and His gruesome crucifixion.
    Yes, Jesus was certainly broken for each one of us. He says about himself in John 12:24 (NIV84) “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
    The Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon, made an insightful observation about what it takes to make bread: “The bread itself is a most impressive type of suffering. The corn [kernel] is buried in the dark earth, pinched by many a frost when it peers above the ground, and exposed to many trials ere it comes to its full growth. When it is ripe, it is cut down with a sharp sickle, threshed with many a heavy blow, then ground in the mill, the flour kneaded into dough, pressed into the shape of loaves, thrust into a hot oven, and baked, and then in this last process broken.” Yes, Jesus was broken for us.
    Do this in remembrance of me. Do what? Share the bread of life. Taste the bread of life. Be spiritually sustained by the bread of life.
    Do, do; this is a command. This past Tuesday, I was speaking to a group of preteens downstairs. I told one of them that they were in charge and to make sure no one acted out. One of the girls said, “No one is in charge of me. I will do what I want.” Isn’t that the inner child response of most people? We do not want to submit to any authority.
    Human history is human rebellion. But in the command, Do this in remembrance of me, who is the authority. It is Jesus your Savior. It is the author and perfector of your faith. It is the Lord of lords and King of kings. It is the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God. And yet, too many professors of the Christian faith are in disobedience. They forsake the gathering together as church and they forsake participating in the Lord’s Supper.
    In remembrance of me. In remembrance of Jesus. As I shared in the children’s chat, this command of remembrance is aided with these physical reminders. The call and response of the pastor and the people is called liturgy; the work of the people. We use our sense of hearing to remember Jesus. We see, taste, touch, and smell the bread and juice. All our senses, the way we experience life, are employed in this remembrance. Hence we remember He who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
    This command to remember is inscribed on our Communion Tables. We are to remember the person of Jesus. We are to remember the position of Jesus. We are to remember the sacrifice of Jesus. We are to remember that Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father as our Advocate. We are to remember that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit. We are to remember Jesus’ promise to come again.
    In the same way, Jesus closes the supper by taking the cup. With the same purpose, with the same gratitude, there is a common cup. It is a cup of Jesus blood. The shed blood of the Perfect Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world is shared for every sinner.
    When I think about the blood of Jesus, the hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” comes to mind; especially the third verse;
    See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
    sorrow and love flow mingled down.
    Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
    or thorns compose so rich a crown.
    A new covenant between God and His people has been established and sealed with the blood of Jesus. It is the covenant of grace. It is the covenant convened for the forgiveness of sins. A new relationship with God has been established. In Jeremiah 31: 31, 33 this new covenant is prophesied and Hebrews 8:8, 10 confirms fulfillment of the covenant: Jeremiah 31:31, 33 (NIV84)
    31 “The time is coming,” declares the Lord,
    “when I will make a new covenant
    with the house of Israel
    and with the house of Judah.
    33 “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
    after that time,” declares the Lord.
    “I will put my law in their minds
    and write it on their hearts.
    I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.
    We have been empowered by God the Holy Spirit with willing and obedient hearts and minds. Our faith in Jesus makes us Temples of God the Holy Spirit. Because we love Jesus, it is our heart’s desire to obey His commands.
    Well, how frequently should we celebrate the Lord’s Supper? If the motivation of the question sees the sacrament as an obligation instead of a privilege, you are already going down the wrong road. Our translation says whenever and other translations say as often as you eat the bread or take the cup. Wine and bread were staples, they were commonly available at first century church tables. The underlying thought is that it would be frequently; as the opportunities occurred.
    One reason for this frequency specified by Paul is that this sacrament proclaims Jesus’ death. His death means the penalty for our sin was paid in full. His death means that the wrath of God has been satisfied. The second part of this sentence, “until he comes,” addressed more than the duration of our proclamation. For Jesus to come again, He must be alive. So we are also proclaiming Jesus lives today.
    In our communion liturgy, we celebrate the mystery of faith: Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again. And, I say Hallelujah! The promised coming of Jesus is the Hope of God’s people. The new heaven and the new earth will be established. We will rule with Jesus in this kingdom. We will dwell with God in that heavenly Zion. There will be no more sickness or sorrow there. What a joyous day it will be.
    Now, Paul closes with some warnings about taking the bread and wine improperly. If you are living a life of sin and come to the Lord’s table with an unrepentant heart, you mock Jesus and His death. Our liturgy includes a public and corporate confession and then we are given an opportunity for private confession.
    1 John 1:9 (NIV84) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
    This portion of the Lord’s Supper is truly a great blessing. As we commit ourselves to self-reflection within this setting of remembrance of our beautiful Savior, we can empty out all the poison, hate, and discontentedness and fill ourselves with the love of God. Instead of the acid of sin eating away at our souls, we are renewed and refreshed by the body and blood of Jesus. Our spiritual PH level is stabilized.
    Do not just go through the motions. Do not fake it. Do not just go along. Do not come to the table in your filthy rags of sin and self-righteousness. There are dire consequences for unworthy participation: judgment, weakness, sickness, and even death. Instead, Paul and the Lord Jesus tell us DO this in remembrance of the Lord. Do this with an intention of experiencing Jesus.
    Again, Charles Spurgeon: “Faith must be the mouth of the soul, and into that mouth we must receive Christ himself, and live upon him. That new life, which God has created within us, must be fed and sustained by the grand truth of the atonement of Christ, the wondrous doctrine of his substitutionary sacrifice on behalf of all who believe in him.”
    Do you have to have already confessed your faith to participate in Holy Communion? In our Methodist tradition, we invite all who desire a relationship with the Lord Jesus to the table. And, I am comfortable in doing so.
    Jesus said, “No one comes to me unless the Father has drawn them.” If you have a desire for a relationship with Jesus, God the Holy Spirit is working in you. There is a stirring of faith that has not fully formed. Because we, as Methodists, believe that Holy Communion is a means of grace, we understand that there is a supernatural work of God happening in the Body of Christ and in each individual. John Wesley considered Communion a converting ordinance.
    Communion with other believers and with God our Creator is why Jesus came. It is the desire of his heart. Jesus shared this desire in his prayer later that night of His betrayal and arrest.
    John 17:20–26 (NIV84) Jesus Prays for All Believers
    20 “My prayer is not for them [these disciples] alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
    24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
    25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
    How can we possibly deny the Lord Jesus his desire of his heart? Come to the Lord’s Supper. Do this in remembrance of your Lord and Savior.
    Amen and amen. Let us pray.


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