Worship By The Book: The Lord’s Supper

The Correction 23-34

Notice that Paul is speaking with apostolic inspirational authority in this passage (23a). He is giving them instructions from the Lord. Jesus gave Paul these instructions and now he is giving them to the church at Corinth. Therefore, in their obedience to these instructions they will be, in effect, obeying Christ. I found a clever way to outline his instructions in my research for this message and so I will use it as it is better than anything I could come up with. Paul is directing the attention of the Corinthian church toward the purpose of the Lord’s Supper and thus we will use the word “look” to also direct our attention to the purpose of the Lord’s Supper.

  1. Look Back (23-25):
    1. The Lord’s Supper is given to the church so that we might look back in remembrance of what Christ has done for us.
    2. [23] For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed [Last Supper: Matthew 26,etc.] took bread, [24] and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” [25] In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 
    3. Amplification: What does the text mean by “this is my body”? There are a few views on this:
      1. Transubstantiation: This is the view that Roman Catholic theology would teach, and that view is that when the priest says “this is my body”, that the elements actually become the body and blood of Jesus, that he is crucified again in the supper just as much as he was on calvary. This is not our view, nor is it the view of the New Testament, I might add.
      2. Spiritual Memorial: This is the view that Christ is spiritually present in the taking of the Lord’s Supper, but that the bread and wine or juice are still just bread and juice and we celebrate the Lord’s Supper as a memorial, or a remembrance of Christ. After all, that is what Christ said we should use it for. “Do this in remembrance of me…” In addition, it is very difficult for us to act as if the bread becomes his body when in the Supper, Christ handed bread to his disciples himself. Clearly we are dealing with a symbolic remembrance of Christ.
    4. Application: We take the Lord’s Supper to remember the death and resurrection of Christ on our behalf. We look back, with real bread and real liquid to the memory of a real meal with a real Jesus who died a real death. This is not make-believe. We are not stepping out in blind faith as Christians. The Lord’s Supper is given to the church so that we might look back in remembrance of what Christ has done for us.
  2. Look Forward (26):
    1. The Lord’s Supper is given to the church so that we might look forward to his return.
    2. [26] For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup [the phrase “as often” implies a frequency of communion not specified in the Scriptures], you proclaim [that is, preach] the Lord’s death [the gospel of the substitutionary death of Christ on behalf of the sinful wretches drinking the juice and eating the bread] until he comes. 
      1. Matthew 26:29 “I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
      2. Revelation 19:9 “And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” Every time we partake of the Lord’s Supper we remind ourselves that this life is not all that there is and that we are headed to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
    3. Amplification:
      1. Reminder: Every time we partake of the Lord’s Supper we remind ourselves that this life is not all that there is and that we are headed to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
      2. Reminder: Every time we partake of the Lord’s Supper we remind ourselves that there are those outside of the family of God who aren’t going with us. We remind ourselves that we are the means of gathering the people of God for that supper and we are “too busy” doing other things. One of the glories of the Lord’s Supper is that it is a sermon in and of itself. We see Christ in this meal. We see the gospel in this meal. We see adoption in this meal.
    4. The Lord’s Supper is given to the church so that we might look forward to his return.
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