This sermon was preached at Red Rocks Baptist Church (14711 W. Morrison Rd. Morrison, CO 80465) on Sept. 23, 2012 by Pastor Les Heinze. These notes are provided as a recap and for further study into the message from God’s Word.
WHAT ARE WE COMMUNICATING AT COMMUNION?
1 Corinthians 11:23-31
Harry Houdini, the famous escape artist, performed some truly amazing feats during his career. The more difficult his death-defying act was, the more titillated the audience was. As part of his act, he often dared participants to hit him in the abdomen as hard as they dared. Time after time, he was uninjured. At least, until the day a university student asked him if what he had heard was still true. Affirming it was, Houdini was struck a blow in the stomach without warning. Not being prepared, his appendix burst and the blow cost him his life. Lack of preparation was his undoing.
Church-goers occasionally comment after a service, “Well, I didn’t get much out of that!” Could it be that lack of preparation on their part, not the pastor’s, led to that result? While every opportunity for believer’s to gather corporately is important, none surpasses the significance of the communion service. The apostle Paul suggested at least three things should happen via our prepared participation since the service is so important.
We should communicate an act of submission (1 Corinthians 11:23-31)
The wafer and juice we use in the service pictures the broken body and shed blood of Christ’s cross-sacrifice. By his own words (Hebrews 10:7), he submissively came to earth in his Father’s all-wise plan with the cross as the final act. Our participation in communion should remind us that, just as Jesus did, we are submitting to whatever God’s all-wise plan for us is.
We should communicate it is a time of commemoration (1 Corinthians 11:24-25).
Many significant events are worth remembering, whether it is a wedding anniversary or the day we came to faith in Christ (our spiritual birthday). How much more important the life-changing, destiny-altering event of Christ’s death for us. God’s admonition to the nation of Israel was often to remember. Remember your slavery in Egypt, remember your experience wandering the desert after disobedience, remember Joshua’s mighty victories. So should the Lord’s Table s be for us – remember what he did for me, and do so until he comes.
We should communicate a proclamation (1 Corinthians 11:26).
One of the more soul-stirring moments at a memorial service for a fallen armed services member is the presentation of a carefully-folded American flag to his widow. Appropriately so. It is a proclamation that he has given everything. When you lift the cup to your lips at communion, you are silently, but boldly proclaiming something more significant – Jesus died, Jesus died for me, Jesus died for you!
Perhaps the reason you weren’t stirred deeply in your participation at the last Lord’s Table you attended was because you hadn’t prepared properly.
- You even forgot it was communion Sunday, even though it was in the bulletin last week.
- You didn’t read 1 Corinthians 11 (or any other passage) before you came.
- You didn’t pause before you got out of your car in the parking lot to breathe a prayer of expectation.
- You didn’t ask God to use the pastor to challenge and bless you through the preaching.
Well, did you?