6: Communion is Not a Ritual
Jesus ordained the Lord’s Table the night before His crucifixion. It was really the first act celebrating the New Covenant, the Savior instructing His disciples of a special way to remember Him after He left the earth. It is called by different names – Passover, Communion, Lord’s Supper, Eucharist – but no matter what we call it, it is a centerpiece of the Christian faith. Paul reminds us that the bread and the cup are to be received in a reverent manner, paying special attention to your relationships with other believers. His broken body and shed blood bought much for us. Remember your covenant with the Lord, sealed with His own blood. Remind yourself that Christianity is not a religion, but an intimate relationship with a Divine Person made possible by His sacrifice for you.
Three Big Ideas to Remember
1) Remember Him, not youself and your failures. The Old Covenant sacrifices were unable to remove the consciousness of sin. The annual Day of Atonement was a place to be reminded of sin. The New Covenant brings a perfect sacrifice who came to perform the will of God, which is the removal of sin. (Hebrews 10:1-10). He is now our Passover. Remember Him and what He has done. (Luke 22:19-20 / Matthew 26:26-30 / Mark 14:22-26 / John 6:53-68 / 1 Corinthians 5:7-8) The Bread and the Cup teach us about Him:
a) The Bread: The bread reminds us of His body and all the benefits that are ours because of His suffering. It reminds us that we are now part of His Body. 1 Peter 2:24 / Isaiah 53:5 / 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 / Ephesians 5:30 / Romans 12:4-5 / Hebrews 13:3 / 1 Corinthians 6:20
b) The Cup: The Cup reminds us of all the benefits which are ours because of His blood, and the New Covenant which it sealed for us. The list is long. Hebrews 8:6 / 9:15-18, 22 / 7:22 / 12:24 / Psalm 51:1-2 / Acts 3:19 / Colossians 2:14 / Psalm 103:12 / Micah 7:19 / 1 John 1:9 / 2 Corinthians 5:14-17 / Isaiah 43:25
c) John 14:6 We need to be reminded that He is the way, the truth, and the life. There is none other. Acts 4:12 / 1 Timothy 2:5-6 / 1 John 5:11-12 / John 3:36
2) The Lord’s Table proclaims the Lord’s death until He comes. The communion table is a place where we use symbols to talk about His death and the things we learn from this act of love toward us (1 Corinthians 11:23-32). His substitution for lost sinners is the great truth of the Gospel. We see in the crucifixion His amazing love, the power to live holy, and the hope of His return. 1 Corinthians 11:26 / 2:2 / 2 Corinthians 5:21 / 1 John 4:10-11 / Romans 5:5-9 / 6:10-11 / 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 / Titus 2:11-15 / 1 John 3:1-3
3) Correct yourself and you won’t be judged. We are admonished to receive the Lord ’s Table with a good and reverent attitude, “worthily.” (1 Corinthians 11:27-31) It is our moment to stop, think of what He has done, reflect on His soon return, and evaluate ourselves. Where does our heart condition fail to reflect the broken body and the Blood of the Covenant? 2 Corinthians 13:5 / Galatians 6:4-5 / Haggai 1:7.
Somebody Said: The Lord’s Supper is the central act of Christian worship. It is a prophecy, pledge, and prelude to that “supper table of the Lamb,” when we shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of our Father. G. B. F. Hallock
Here’s the Point: The Lord’s Table was instituted by Jesus Himself. He wants to rekindle the reality of His saving work every time we partake. Never allow it to be an empty ritual. It is a holy ordinance to be observed with reverence and self-examination. It is a time to remember who saved you, what He provided in His death, and what He has promised at His coming. It speaks loudly of our participation in His spiritual Body, now unbroken.
Action Steps: Take time to read these passages: 1 Corinthians 11:23-32 / John 14:6/ 1 Corinthians 5:7-8. Find out when your church serves communion and arrange to be there. Prepare yourself by asking the Lord where you need to judge yourself. Take 5 minutes to think about Christ’s suffering for you. Thank Him.
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