Friday, August 17, 2018

記念主餐The Lord’s Supper Celebration

William Woo 胡偉南牧師
Sermon: The Lord’s Supper Celebration, 1 Cor. 11:17-34
Last night, I was editing my sermon and I fell asleep. I woke up thinking about a news story that I saw right before I slept. That story concerned an airplane that was stolen in Seattle, WA.  The airplane would crash, but seen following the stolen plane were 2 fighter jets- F15’s. The story said that the only known person killed in that crash was the person who stole the plane. And I pray that was the case. But a thought occurred to me – how fun it would be to borrow a plane. Of course, it wouldn’t really be any fun for me because I do not know how to fly an airplane
I asked my wife, “have you ever scuba dived?” And she said, “no, you have to be certified.” I realized that I really don’t have any fun hobbies. I suppose I will live through my daughter. I grew up in the desert of West Texas, and I never really learned to swim. So I love it that my daughter is taking swim lessons and she loves to jump in the water.
Recently the Washington post reported that some parents were hiring tutors to teach their youth to play the Video game Fortnite[1]. And what am I getting at, it seems that to have fun, sometimes takes a little investment, or even knowledge to get the most out of an activity.
Today, I felt very strongly about preaching on the passage that we use when we observe the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper can be found in the three gospel books that we call Mathew, Mark, and Luke. It is alluded to in John, and continued by the church in Acts, and Paul addresses in 1 Corinthians (Ch 10-11). And what I have come to realize is that the Lord’s Supper is celebratory, as is the Christian life-  is one of joy. A life abundant and overflowing.
I sent Sharon my sermon and woke up thinking about flying airplanes, so I am cutting everything I sent her, and you can ask me later, why we are not in Revelation. But today is the day we celebrate the Lord’s Supper.  The Lord’s Supper is a point of celebration, my hope is we appreciate the celebration more.
As you turn in you bibles to 1 Corinthians 11, remember that Paul wrote letters to churches as well as to individuals. His letters usually address issues in the church. The book of 1st Corinthians is addressing the issue of division.  
                  10 Now I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, that there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction. 1 Cor 1:10
I think about Thanksgiving. I understand for some people they hate this holiday. They have to meet with people who are their family but other than blood they have nothing in common. The stereo type is you have to sit though a dinner where a cousin has the opposite political views as you. That weird uncle who talks about his hobbies that your not interested in. Basically this gathering of what should be a united family is a sad gathering of different people separated by politics, religious views, generation gap, and even language gap. 
The early church in the book of Acts chapter 2 is seen to be a group that was united. Acts 2: 42 and 46-47:
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers.
 46 Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them[q] those who were being saved.
Look at verse 46. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude In contrast 1 Cor. 11:17-22:
17 Now in giving the following instruction I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. 18 For to begin with, I hear that when you come together as a church there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. 19 There must, indeed, be factions among you, so that those who are approved may be recognized among you. 20 Therefore, when you come together, it is not really to eat the Lord’s Supper. 21 For at the meal, each one eats his own supper ahead of others. So one person is hungry while another gets drunk! 22 Don’t you have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you look down on the church of God and embarrass those who have nothing? What should I say to you? Should I praise you? I do not praise you for this!
Notice how disunity has messed up this once joyful celebration. What happened from the joy seen in Acts 2. Perhaps, this is a great lesson, disunity brings division, which brings unhappiness. Perhaps you come today separated from the Lord, then the time you spend in church, in worship, in taking the Lord’s Supper will not be a joy.
From verse 23 of Cha.11, these are familiar words to us as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper every month.
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: On the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, 24 gave thanks, broke it, and said,[f]“This is My body, which is[g] for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”

“For I received from the Lord” – I was startled to read in my HCSB study bible that Paul’s receiving this instruction from the Lord is seen throughout the NT.
Acts 18:9 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Then the Lord said to Paul in a night vision, “Don’t be afraid, but keep on speaking and don’t be silent.

Acts 22:18 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

18 and saw Him telling me‘Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me!’

Acts 23:11 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

11 The following night, the Lord stood by himand said, “Have courage! For as you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”

Acts 27:23-25 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

23 For this night an angel of the God I belong to and serve stood by me24 and said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul. You must stand before Caesar. And, look! God has graciously given you all those who are sailing with you.’ 25 Therefore, take courage, men, because I believe God that it will be just the way it was told to me.

2 Corinthians 12:7 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

especially because of the extraordinary revelations. Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger[a] of Satan to torment me so I would not exalt myself.
Yesterday, a local pastor invited me to a picnic. He asked me to drive some people and I was able to have a Gospel conversation. And the person was hoping to have a supernatural experience, and I shared my testimony, and answered questions, but this person was on the cusp of belief. Not just intellectual assent but to fully trust and allow Jesus to be the Lord of their life. But this seeker could tell that Christians had received something in their life and this person wanted that! 
When we come to worship the Lord, when we are united with God in purpose the worship is sweeter, the celebration is fuller. 
Paul reminds us that the Lord’s Supper was installed/instituted by Jesus himself. He gave it to his disciples on the night he was betrayed. Jesus gave a meaning to the bread that his disciples did not understand until after his death, burial, resurrection. For Jesus said that the bread is his body. The broken loaf is a picture of his body broken on the cross. 
This of course is the part of the Gospel. Jesus broken body  is what I believe our Catholic friends fixate on, but not the complete story. Next comes  The cup continues the Gospel story.
25 In the same way, after supper He also took the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
The cup is the new covenant. NOT the old Covenant- which is the Mosaic law. That law cannot save you. The Mosaic covenant called for constant sacrifices of lambs for one’s sins. But Jesus’s sacrifice was enough. The bread is a picture of Jesus’s broken body, Jesus died for us and the cup is a picture of his atonement which gives us a new kind of life.
After the bread we read that we “do this in remembrance of Me”, and after the cup we are told the same thing we “do this in remembrance of Me.” In remembrance of Jesus, we read that we proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
Isn’t that a picture of the Gospel? Are we not asked to share the Gospel with others?  The Lord’s Supper is a proclamation Christs death (the gospel). So by the practice of it we proclaim Him! 
Having explained that the Corinthians were practicing the Lord Supper incorrectly by being divided, Paul reminds them the origins of the supper as given by Jesus, the meaning, the picture of Jesus sacrifice. We come to verse. 27. One of the best words in the bible. “THEREFORE”.  It means consequently. For this reason:
27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy way will be guilty of sin against the body[h] and blood of the Lord. 28 So a man should examine himself; in this way he should eat the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body,[i] eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 This is why many are sick and ill among you, and many have fallen asleep. 31 If we were properly evaluating ourselves, we would not be judged, 32 but when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord, so that we may not be condemned with the world.
Earlier in my sermon I mentioned that one of the reasons for the Corinthians joyless supper was division. And v. 27 may seem like a bad thing, a bummer, a joykill, a buzz kill as the kids say. 
Jesus said the Lord’s Supper is about Him- The bread is His body broken, the cup is the New Covenant. The new covenant of God’s grace- that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but having ever lasting life.” 
V. 27 is a warning one can eat in an unworthy manner, and this is why the Pastor gives the warnings. If you have unconfessed sin in your life is what I remember one pastor’s  warning. And another pastor  says if you don’t understand what the Lord’s Supper is about, simply observe and pass on the elements. 
This practice is known as Guarding the Table. Some churches have what is called openLord Supper- which means anyone can partake. Some have what is called closedcommunion, meaning only members of the church can partake, which may seem very extreme- but the idea is that churches allow those who have stepped forward in believes baptism to participate. The idea being that a church is supposed to know where there members stand with the Lord and thus spare those who are eating in an unworthy manner from judgement. We practice c-l-o-s-ecommunion which allows all baptized believers for different churches to partake.
In v 27 the phrase Unworthy manner in the context of the Corinthian church is that they were selfish, disregarding Jesus’ sacrifice for everyone thus they were sinning against others.  “A broader application of this principle would encourage believers to examine their own lives and repent and ask for forgiveness for any unconfessed sin before taking the Lord’s supper. At the end of 27 “guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord” also pictures Jesus’ body broken for others and thus if one eats unworthily, they profane Jesus himself. Jesus’ sacrifice was other centered. He died for all. But the Corinthians were thinking of themselves. [2]
So we must examine ourselves- v. 28 -do you understand the atoning sacrifice of Jesus and how can we imitate that attitude in our own life.[3]
V. 29 would seem to be a repeat of 27 but notice Paul leaves out the blood. This understanding is  that the body here is the church. And the church is not the building but the people. And thus as we examine our relationships, and our behavior in the body. We should act like Christ when we assemble. By our love, our sacrificial attitude toward others and actions toward others.
At the end of 29 “eats and drinks judgement on himself” is a “sober warning that the Lord will discipline those who dishonor the Lord’s Supper. And thus must not be entered into lightly.”[4]
v. 30”30 This is why many are sick and ill among you, and many have fallen asleep.
Is a reminder “that the discipline of the Lord has consequences in real life.”[5]V. 31 reminds us to properly evaluate ourselves. V. 32 reminds us that where discipline is hard, it is better than being condemned. 
Paul then ends with practical advice for a group of selfish folks in need of discipline:
Therefore, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you gather together you will not come under judgment. And I will give instructions about the other matters whenever I come.
Paul is saying practice self-control, to prevent unnecessary division.[6]
One day I hope to fly a plane, I think that would be fun, or perhaps be a certified scuba diver, or even learn to swim, or maybe even take a lesson on the video game Fortniteb- you see what I mean? We are taught different things, and those teachings enhance our enjoyment in those pursuits.  I hope that today’s sermon was a preparation to enjoy the Lord’s Supper ever more fully. To remember the work of Christ and to celebrate the Gospel! 

[2]ESV Study Bible Notes 1 Cor 11:27-29.
[6]HCSB Study Bible Notes, Location 150537