Before we partake in communion, I want to explain some background to help us see why we, as the body of Christ, need to repent before God, and Lord willing, before one another so that we can truly gather at the foot of the cross as ONE unified, redeemed, forgiven people of God.
I am going to read some verses from 1 Cor 11 starting in v27 where Paul gives us some instructions about how we are to partake in the Lord’s Supper.
1 Cor 11
27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy way will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 So a man should examine himself; in this way he should eat the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.
Paul exhorts the believers at Corinth to examine themselves before coming to the table. The Christians gathered at Corinth were not coming to the table in a worthy manner. They were coming in an UN-worthy manner. How so? They came without recognizing the body, meaning, without recognizing their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
How so? Paul goes on to explain in v33–
33 Therefore, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you gather together you will not come under judgment. And I will give instructions about the other matters whenever I come.
What’s going on here? They were not waiting for one another. Back then, the Lord’s Supper was not crackers and grape juice. The Lord’s Supper was literally supper, a full meal in someone’s home. Paul gives further details in v17-22. Basically, those who were well off were arriving to dinner early and eating and drinking up everything. And those who didn’t have the financial means and actually depended on the food from the Lord’s Supper for daily sustenance arrived later and there was nothing to eat or drink. Paul says, your actions tell me, you are not recognizing the body. You don’t know their situation, or worse, you know their situation and you don’t care. You’re hungry and that’s all that matters. You have no love for others in the church.
I want to ask everyone here, do you love your church? Do you love your fellow brother or sister? Do you even know what they are going through? Do you care? If you can’t say, yes, to these questions and you come forward to the table, then you are partaking in an unworthy manner.
Maybe you think, it’s just me and God. I’m just here to consume. Give me a sermon or a Bible study and I’ll be on my way. There is no such thing as a lone ranger Christian. As members of the body of Christ, we all belong to one another. FBC, Hill, it doesn’t matter. We are all one in the Lord.
You might have prayed today and only prayed about yourself. And because you are on your own, you think, my relationships are good. I’m cordial, I’m polite, things never get messy. If this is you, I pray that you would get to know your fellow brothers and sisters. It is going to be messy, but life in the BODY of Christ is messy business because it involves people. Get involved. Get to know the Christians in this body. Love those around you. If you do, I think you’ll find plenty of relational sins and issues to pray over.
If there is a sin separating you and another Christian in this body, before coming to the table, please pray. Ask for forgiveness. Ask God for an opportunity to reconcile. If the person you are having problems with is here, pray with that person after the service. Then, you are following this command to come to the table in a worthy manner, recognizing the body of Christ.
I am going to ask Pastor Smith to come forward.
We are going to ask you to come forward twice. First, you will be invited to come forward to receive the bread and you are free to take it whenever you are finished praying on your own. This is to stress the individual aspect of the Lord’s Supper. Christ died for you personally.
Then, you will be invited to come forward a second time to receive the cup, and this time, I ask that you wait until everyone has been served and we will take the cup altogether. This is to stress the corporate aspect of the Lord’s Supper. Christ died for us, His body, corporately.
Let me read starting from the second half of v23 —
23 …On the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, 24 gave thanks, broke it, and said, “This is My body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”
You can come forward using either aisle. Let’s pray.
If you haven’t come forward to take the bread already, please come forward at this time. [TAKE BREAD]
Now we invite you to come forward for the cup. This time, I ask everyone to take the cup and wait at their seat until everyone has been served. Then, as a symbol of our corporate unity, we will take it altogether so please hold on to the cup and wait for everyone to be served. You may come forward. [TAKE CUP]
25 In the same way, after supper He also took the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
You may take the cup.
Let’s spend some time in corporate prayer altogether. During this time, I want to give a chance for people to come forward to make any type of public decision: salvation, church membership and baptism, rededication, or you just want to be prayed over. Leaders from both churches, if you see someone you know, please come forward and pray with them.