It was great to be back at Cornerstone yesterday. After being gone for two weeks, I was encouraged to see everyone and to be able to preach again. I stepped back into the series that we have been studying on the church. Yesterday, I talked about one of the ordinances (prescribed practices) established by Jesus that the church should be actively pursuing. I talked about the issue of communion, also called the Lord's Supper (the other ordinance is baptism, which I talked about HERE). In this sermon, I shared four characteristics of communion from 1 Corinthians 11:17-34.
1. Communion is a Time of Unity (vs. 17-22)
Can you imagine the Lord coming to your church meeting and saying that your gathering is causing more damage for the kingdom than if you were not to even meet? That's what Paul is saying to the Corinthian church. Their coming together was for their own benefit, not for the benefit of others. Because of that, Paul accuses them of making a mockery of the gospel. Think about it, the gospel is about Jesus coming to give and serve. To come together to reflect upon that event with an attitude of selfishness is to trample on the very point of the cross. What should happen is a church is never closer than when they come to celebrate Jesus on the cross. It should be bringing us together, not separating us.
2. Communion is a Time of Remembrance (vs. 23-25)
Two times in these verses, Paul quotes Jesus on that night of the Last Supper as saying that they should do this to remember Him. I wonder if Jesus instituted this practice for the church because He knew how easily it would be for us to forget our Savior. As crazy as that sounds, we all know practically how easy it is to go through a day, maybe even a week, without reflecting upon our Savior and His sacrifice for us. Communion is the coming together for the expressed purpose of forgetting the world and its business and remember Christ and His cross in our life.
3. Communion is a Time of Proclamation (vs. 26)
Paul also says that as often as we do this, we proclaim the Lord's death until He comes. Whenever we come before that table, whether it is daily, weekly, or monthly, it is for a time to proclaim to those around us that we are unashamed of His death. We are not afraid to tell others what the death of Jesus means to us. We preach when we participate in communion.
4. Communion is a Time of Examination (vs. 27-34)
The time around the table of remembrance of Christ death is not to be taken lightly. It is to be a time of serious consideration of where we stand with Him. It is possible to take the table in an unworthy manner. We should come repenting of our sins, with pure hearts, reflecting upon Jesus and all that He means to us. This is one aspect that is often overlooked in the life of the church. Communion is not to be taken lightly, but only after serious consideration.