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THREE WAYS TO LOOK -
A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Evening, December 11, 2005
I Corinthians 11:23-28
The Lord’s Supper is one of the two ordinances Christ gave to the local church. The word “ordinance” means “that which is ordered or commanded.” Christ commanded us to be baptized and then He commanded us to partake of the Lord’s Supper. So, baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the two ordinances Christ gave to the church.
In the Lord’s Supper, we partake of bread and the cup. In baptism we are put under the water and lifted out of the water. The requirement for both ordinances is that a person first must be converted to Christ. Then, after conversion, he is to be baptized, showing outwardly that he is united with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. He is put under the water, as Christ was put into the grave. He is lifted out of the water, as Christ was raised from the dead. So, baptism is the outward sign of the inward experience of knowing Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.
Then, after a person is baptized, he is to regularly partake of the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper, like baptism, points to the gospel of Christ. The bread reminds us that His body was broken to atone for our sins on the Cross. The cup reminds us that His Blood was shed to cleanse us from our sins. There are two elements in the Lord’s Supper, showing that the death of Christ and the Blood of Christ are two separate things. The bread shows forth His death to atone, pay the penalty, for our sins. The cup shows forth His precious Blood, which cleanses us from all our sins.
Now there are three directions we are to look when we partake of the Lord’s Supper.
I. First, we are to look back to Christ on the Cross.
Notice I Corinthians 11:24-25. Let us stand and read these two verses aloud.
“And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me” (I Corinthians 11:24-25).
You may be seated.
“In remembrance of me.” Each time we take the Lord’s Supper it is to remind us of what Christ did to save us. The sinless Son of God died on the Cross to pay the penalty for our sins.
“Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures”
(I Corinthians 15:3).
The Hell and punishment we deserved were experienced vicariously, in our place, by Christ on the Cross.
“The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
Thus, the bread reminds us of His substitutionary atonement, His body broken and pierced with nails, to satisfy the righteous judgment of God. The bread reminds us of His crucified body. It looks back to the Cross. When we take the bread we are to look back in our minds to Christ on the Cross, dying to pay the penalty and price for our sins.
The cup also makes us look back - to the Blood that poured forth from His wounded body. The cup is not the same as the bread. And, so, the death of Christ’s body was not the same as the Blood that poured forth. And the function of the Blood is not the same as the death of His body. The death of His body atoned for our sins. But His Blood was shed for the cleansing of our sins. The Bible says,
“The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin”
(I John 1:7).
And so, the bread should cause us to look back, to His body, hanging on the Cross, to pay for our sins. The cup should cause us to look back, to the Blood that was poured out there for our cleansing from sin.
“This do in remembrance of me” (I Corinthians 11:24),
when we take the bread.
“This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me”
(I Corinthians 11:25),
when we take the cup.
So, when we take the bread and the cup, we are to look back in our minds to Christ on the Cross. But there is another place we should look when we take the Lord’s Supper.
II. Second, we are to look inwardly at ourselves.
Let us stand and read I Corinthians 11:28 aloud.
“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup” (I Corinthians 11:28).
You may be seated.
When we come to the Lord’s Supper we are to examine ourselves, whether or not Christ has saved us. Spurgeon pointed out that you should
Take the responsibility upon yourself, each one of you…You are bidden to examine yourself in order that you may come under an overwhelming sense that it is your own act and deed - that you are not here because your mother came or your father came - that you are not here because you are entitled to come by virtue even of your church membership; but you are here each woman, each man, each one of you, for himself or herself, having searched your own heart, and asked God to search it, to see whether you ought to come or not…not flippantly, thoughtlessly, heedlessly; but that each communicant may say, “I am going to eat of that bread, and drink of that cup, in remembrance of my dear Lord whom I do really love and trust. There is no mockery, or mere formality in this act. I come in downright earnest, bringing my heart with me; for I have looked into my heart, I have examined myself, and I take upon myself the responsibility of saying, ‘Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.’” So this examination means that you are to come to the [Lord’s] table with deep solemnity…I want you, brothers and sisters, to examine yourselves till you come to this conclusion, “Yes; we are not perfect, but we do believe in Jesus…we have a humble hope in him…we do know him, and trust him.”…Then you will have joy and gladness in your soul; and this supper will be what it really is - no funeral feast, but a banquet of delight to all the friends of Christ (C. H. Spurgeon, “Examination Before Communion,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, volume 46, Pilgrim Publications, 1977 reprint, pp. 520, 521, 522).
But there is one more place we should look when we take the Lord’s Supper.
III. Third, we are to look forward to Christ’s Second Coming.
Let us stand and read I Corinthians 11:26 aloud.
“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come” (I Corinthians 11:26).
You may be seated.
Christ is coming again! The Bible says,
“This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
The Lord’s Supper is not a mere ceremony related only to the past. No, the Supper points to a living Christ, now seated at God’s right hand in the heavenlies, a Saviour who is coming again to this earth, to the very Mount of Olives from which He was taken up! As Spurgeon put it, the Lord’s Supper
…is intended to be celebrated “till he come.” We must keep on gathering at his table, giving thanks, breaking bread, and proclaiming his death, till the trump of the archangel shall startle us, and then we shall feel it to be truly blessed to be found obediently remembering him when he puts in his appearance at the last. As he comes to us, we shall say, “Blessed Master, we have done as thou didst bid us; we have kept alive thy memory in the world, to ourselves, and to those who looked on as we broke the bread, and drank the cup, in thy name, and now we rejoice to see thee in thy glory.” (C. H. Spurgeon, “The Right Observance of the Lord’s Supper,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, volume 45, Pilgrim Publications, 1977 reprint, p. 426).
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Jesus came to receive us to Himself when we were in the very act of gathering at His table, obeying His command, and showing His crucifixion and Blood, through the Lord’s Supper, “till he come”? Whether that happens or not, by the Lord’s Supper, and by gospel preaching, let us continue to “shew the Lord’s death till he come.”
If you have not yet come to Christ, you have no right to come to the Lord’s table. You must first come to Christ by faith. You must first rest on Christ. You must first trust in Him alone. Then, having come to Christ, you will be saved. Then, having trusted in Christ, you will have the right to come to the table to partake of the Lord’s Supper. Our prayer is that you will come to Christ soon, so that you can, in turn, come with us to the table of the Lord and celebrate His supper with the whole church. May God grant that it be so! Amen.
(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan:
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Come and Dine” (by Charles B. Widmeyer, 1884-1974).
THE OUTLINE OF
THREE WAYS TO LOOK -
I Corinthians 11:23-28
I. We are to look back to Christ on the Cross,
II. We are to look inwardly at ourselves, I Corinthians 11:28.
III. We are to look forward to Christ’s Second Coming,