As we close out our discipleship series, we end with something disciples all over the world did – remember Jesus in a communion service. Why is it important to remember? Come and hear.
(1 Cor. 11:17-25)
A. I really cannot imagine what it was like for Noah. I can’t comprehend the idea of being told to build a mammoth box to float when we don’t even have record of rain, let alone a flooding that God said would happen. The faith it took to build when others saw him as crazy is greater than any other person of his generation. Then, when the ark was build God had put animals it to preserve them, even though God could have created them just has he did originally, but instead he packed the animals in an ark with Noah and his family.
B. When the time came the eight people of Noah’s family and the animals were in the ark and God shut the door. For 40 days the rain fell, the flood gates were opened from the depths the earth and the water began to flood the earth. Genesis 7 closes with these words (vs 23-24). Now look at Gen. 8:1, “But God remembered Noah…” Had God forgotten about Noah, the other seven and all the animals? Had God gotten busy doing something else that he forgot about the flood? No. There’s more here than “recalling something to mind.” The word is used with a deeper sense in Hebrew.
C. To remember has something holy connected to it. For the Jews it was a part of their worship. They would remember the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To remember is to call to mind someone special for the purpose of honoring them. I tell you that because that is what Jesus asked his disciples to do; to remember him.
I. The First Communion Service
A. The disciples asked Jesus, “Where should we prepare for the Passover?” Great question. Jesus tells them about an upper room and someone goes and gets things ready. As they ate that meal together Jesus began to change the reason. Instead of remembering the Exodus, Jesus asks them to remember him. That seems strange, except Jesus told them he was going away. And that upset all of them.
B. Paul was not there when Jesus did that first communion service, but what happened in the early church was an ongoing time of remembrance of what Jesus did for all of us – a deliverance from the bondage of sin. The idea to remember the death on the cross was to celebrate, honor, and worship Jesus because life becomes busy and there is a need to stop and remember. Paul tells the church in Corinth about the first communion service (READ 1 Cor. 11:23-25).
II. The Problem When You Don’t Remember
A. To get the full impact of this passage, you need the context that was read to us just before I began this sermon. I want to walk through the previous verses because it from them that we get the importance of why we remember what Jesus did when come together as a church.
B. Read vs 17. There was a purpose for coming together and they were failing in that purpose. In fact, they were doing more harm to church family than good.
C. We come together and we sing songs of praise and songs that help us stay strong in our faith. But singing is not THE reason why we come together. We come together and hear the Bible read and explained, but the calling of the church is not simply to hear the Bible or say prayers. All of those things are important and all of those things are part of our individual and collective worship, but the reason we assemble is to remember.
D. The Jews were commanded to remember the Sabbath Day, not because they forgot it came around once a week, but because they needed to stop there week and remember the covenant they made with God. For Christians, it’s the same idea. We come together each week to stop the busyness of life and remember our covenant we made with God through Jesus. Singing, praying, preaching, giving are all ways we worship, but the calling together centers upon the need to come around the table of fellowship.
E. The church in Corinth forgot to remember the point. Jesus established an assembly, the church, and each person had great value. Listen to Paul (vs 20-22).
F. The meal was more important than the members. The belief that some were greater than others caused them to forget who was the greatest and the reason for coming together. So Paul reminded them of what he was taught by Jesus in some special revelation about the first Lord’s Supper.
G. It is not so much that Lord’s Supper is of greater value than singing, praying, giving or anything else we do in worship. It is the reason we do it is to remember Jesus and to remember covenant with him, and to remember the value of the church family. When those things are replaced by the feeling of superiority harm is done to the body of Jesus. The emphasis that Paul puts on remembering Jesus is important, because that emphasis was put on him by Jesus.
A. Jesus would describe his mission to Zacchaeus as “coming to seek and save that which is lost.” When Jesus went to the cross it seemed as if Satan had finally won. But the sting of death is sin. What Jesus did was take the sting of death. In his book The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart, Charles Swindoll relates the story of an eight-year-old Kenyan girl, Monica, who fell into a pit and broke her leg. Mama Njeri, an older woman, seeing what had happened, climbed into the pit to rescue Monica. In the pit a black mamba, the most poisonous snake in Africa, bit both Monica and Mama Njeri. Both ladies were rushed to a medical center; Monica improved, but tragically, Mama Njeri died. A nurse explained to Monica that Mama Njeri was bitten first and thus received all of the mamba’s poison. When the snake bit Monica, it had no poison left. While sin still bites us, as Christians, the poison doesn’t have the full effect because of Jesus.
B. When we gather around the Lord’s Table, the elements speak to us of His sacrifice, His substitution, and our salvation. We celebrate our redemption in remembrance of Him. The Lord’s Supper presents the powerful message of the gospel. Have you received the grace that comes by giving yourself to the One who gave himself for you? If we can help you in your spiritual walk, then come as we stand and sing.
Because of Jesus,
Jeffrey Dillinger, minister