Pastor’s Corner 9/4/09

This coming Lord’s Day we have the great privilege of sitting down to share a meal with our Savior and Bridegroom. The Lord’s Supper was instituted by Jesus on the night in which He was betrayed. Have you ever wondered why Paul includes that last phrase, “on the night in which He was betrayed”? Part of the reason is that he wants to draw our attention to the incredible love of our Savior for us – just before He was about to enter His greatest suffering,
at the hands of men and God, He was thinking about you and me. He knew that our faith would need propping up. He knew that we would doubt His love for us. He knew that we would falter and faint along the way. So He gave us this sign of His covenant faithfulness, a physical sign since we live (as He does forevermore) in a body.

We do at least three things as we eat and drink at the Lord’s Supper: commemorate, commune, and anticipate. We commemorate: “Do this in remembrance of Me.” This has reference to the past. We remember the once-for-all, unrepeatable event of our Lord’s death. We show forth His death; we declare to all that the heart of the good news is a bloody cross. There He bore our sins in His body, and our sins were forgiven. There God’s wrath was satiated, and He was reconciled to us. But it’s not just that we remember that event – we remember our Lord Himself. We remember that He who possessed all glory and riches became poor and suffered for our sakes. He who knew no sin became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. We remember that the righteous shall live by faith (a truth Habakkuk will teach us this coming Lord’s Day).

We also commune. There is a present aspect to what we will do this Sunday morning. The One whose death we commemorate is living and present with us. Jesus Christ is present at the table; He is the host. We commune with our Savior in the eating of the bread and the drinking of the cup. “Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ?” (I Cor. 10:16). In Him are all spiritual blessings; by His Holy Spirit and by faith wepartake of all that is in Him. You who eat with faith, repentance, and love will feed upon His body and blood – not literally (the bread and the wine remain bread and wine), but spiritually. We are nourished spiritually, and grow in grace as we remember what our sin deserves and Christ’s death in our place. As we eat we renew our thankfulness and our commitment to God, as well as our love and fellowship with one another, as members of the body of Christ. We declare our willingness to walk in the steps our Savior trod, suffering for His sake and the sake of the gospel.

Finally, at the Lord’s Supper we anticipate. We “proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” We must not forget the future aspect to what we will do Sunday. There will one day be a presence of Jesus bodily and visibly, and seeing Him we will be made like Him! This sacrament will be no more, for the marriage supper of the Lamb will be at hand. We anticipate that day every time we partake of the Lord’s Supper.

In light of these three realities, the believer looks in four directions as he/she comes to the Lord’s Table: within, back, forward, and around. 1) Within. Examine yourself, says Paul in I Cor. 11:28. Look for sin to confess, for knowledge of Christ and of what the Lord’s Supper is all about, for faith to feed upon Him, for repentance, love, and new obedience. 2) Back. Look to Christ, who died to forgive your sins, who suffered that you might be reconciled to God, who drank the cup of God’s wrath that you might drink the cup of God’s blessing. 3) Forward. Look with joy to the second coming, then we will feast with our heavenly Bridegroom in person. 4) Around. We must discern or judge the body, says Paul in I Cor. 11. That is, we must realize that we are not only in union and communion with Christ, but with one another, and are called to love and serve one another and forgive one another as God in Christ has served and forgiven us. Parents and grandparents, I encourage you to use these words as you discuss the Lord’s Supper with your children and grandchildren – especially if they are not yet communing members. Let us pray that God would continue to work the reality and the maturity of faith into our hearts and the hearts of our  children’s children, and that this coming celebration of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper would indeed be a means of grace to us all.
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We began Wednesday night adult small groups this week, and new Sunday School classes begin this Sunday; please note the various offerings later on in the newsletter. These times of fellowship and instruction are a wonderful way to get to know in a more intimate way the body of Christ, the word of God, and the God of the word, and I encourage you to participate as you are able.

SDG

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