In Remembrance of Me

Sermon delivered on October 4th, 2015

By: Pastor Greg Hocson

First Lord's Supper Service

Text: Luke 22:14-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26


On the night before Jesus was crucified on the cross, He ate supper with His disciples. They had many supper together but this one is not just another supper. This is the last supper that our Lord had with them before He was betrayed and later died on the cross. 


Our Lord perfectly knew and understood that, that this would be His last supper with His disciples before His crucifixion. He was perfectly aware of what awaits Him at the cross. I can only imagine how heavy our Lord's heart was, that night. In fact, Mark records,

Mark 14:34 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.


It is with this setting that our Lord instituted the ordinance that we call the Lord's Supper or Communion Table. We are commanded in the Scriptures to do this as often as we can and until His second coming.


As far as we can tell from the earliest records, the church did what Jesus said.

Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42: And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.


I - What the Lord's Supper is not

We need to understand first of all, that the Lord's Supper, like Baptism, is not just another church tradition or a meaningless religious ritual. It was an ordinance full of meaning and significance.


Secondly, it does not convey grace to the participants, that is, it does not wash away sins. It is not a way of salvation. It has nothing to do with entrance to Heaven.


The New Testament teaches very plainly that we are not saved by works but by faith.

(John 3:16; Acts 16:30; Ephesians 2:8-9; Galatians 3:26)

Some might ask and wonder why then did Jesus ordain the Lord's Supper? If salvation is by grace through faith, why institute an ordinance that cannot save? Why institute an ordinance that cannot wash away sins? These are good and valid questions. This morning I want us to consider the purpose of the Lord's Supper.


Though the Lord's Supper cannot save, do not think that Lord's Supper is not important. The Lord's Supper is not to be taken lightly.


II - What the Lord's Supper is

1. A time of remembrance

On that evening meal with His disciples, He took the break ...

Luke 22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

Isn't it sad that we who have been redeemed have to be constantly reminded of God's grace shown in Jesus Christ? It is a sad truth, that we are prone to forget. This is one of the the results of the Fall. We forget things. What's worst is, we forget good things and we remember bad things. We can remember funny jokes and silly nursery rhymes we learned when we were kids but we easily forget the helpful sermons of God we just heard. We forget the many good things that people did to us but we remember the one single bad thing that they did to us.


What are we to remember?

The main purpose of the Lord's Supper is to remind Christians of Christ and His sacrificial death for sinners.


As Paul said, 

1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

Whenever you and I partake of the Lord's Supper, we proclaim the Lord's death until He comes. The Lord's Supper looks back to the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.


The Lord knows we need visual aids to remember Him and His death. The tools that our Lord prescribed to His disciple to use are the following:


1) The Broken Bread

Luke 22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

He declared that the bread spoke of His body which would be broken. 

Isaiah 52:14 As many were astonied (horrified) at thee; his visage (face, appearance) was so marred (disfigured) more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:

When those who crucified our Lord were done with Him, His appearance was so disfigured that He no longer looked like a man.


There was not a broken bone, but His body was broken and all His bones were out of joint.

Psalm 22:14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.


2) The Fruit of the Vine

Luke 22:20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

When we drink the grape juice at the Lord's Supper, we remember that Jesus' blood was shed for us. The fruit of the vine spoke of His blood, indicating the terrible death He would soon experience. He, the perfect Son of God, became the fulfillment of the countless Old Testament prophecies concerning a Redeemer (Genesis 3:15; Psalm 22; Isaiah 53).


So this is what we do whenever we hold the Communion table, we remember Christ and His death.

1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.


How often should we hold the Lord's Supper?

Some churches hold Lord's Supper every week; others monthly; others quarterly. still others do it annually. The Bible does not tell us how often we should observe the Lord's Supper.


1 Corinthjans 11:25 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. 


"As oft as ye drink it", implying that it is an ordinance that is to be partaken of often. But there is no clear command whether to do it daily or weekly or monthly or annually. I believe the Lord gives us liberty and flexibility in the timing and frequency as to how often we should commemorate the Lord's death.


The Bible simply does not tell us how often to partake of the Lord's Supper. But we are commanded to do it frequently. And that is what I am led to do. I would like us to do it as frequent as we can but not so frequent that we lose its meaning.


As of now, I am led to do it quarterly or during special occasions as I am lead by the Spirit.


2. A time of celebration

It is true that the Lord's Supper is a memorial of a death, but it is not a funeral. It is a celebration. We have to remember Jesus did not remain dead. We observe this memorial consciously aware that death did not hold Jesus in the tomb forever. Jesus has conquered death. We can remember Jesus' death with rejoicing that He has triumphed over sin and death!


There are certainly some very sorrowful aspects to His death, but the bigger picture is that His death is the best news possible. It shows how much God loves usso much that He sent his Son to die for us, so that our sins may be forgiven and we may live forever with Him.


Coming to the Lord's table and having communion should be a celebration, not a funeral.


3. A time of self-examination

Paul gives us a word of warning. He warns us not to take the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner. 

1 Corinthians 11

27: Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 


29: For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.


Then he went on by saying that because some have taken the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner, many of them are weak and sickly and even sleep that is died.

30: For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31: For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32: But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. 33: Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. 34: And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.


Paul warns us against partaking the bread and the cup "unworthily or in an unworthy manner." We are guilty of this if we allow the Communion table to become a dead and formal ritual and forget the tremendous price our Saviour paid for our salvation or to come to the Lord's Supper with unconfessed sin. 


In keeping with Paul's instruction, we should examine ourselves before eating the bread and drinking the cup.

28: But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 


"An unexamined life is not worth living." - Socrates


Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.


When we examine ourselves, we often find sin. This is normalit is not a reason to avoid the Lord's Supper. What we need to do is go to God through Christ for forgiveness for He alone can take our sins away. Remember ...

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world.



4. A Time of Expectation

Luke 22:15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: 16: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 17: And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: 18: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. 19: And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.


Jesus Christ said that He will not eat the bread and will not drink the fruit of the vine until the kingdom shall come. He is referring to what is about to happen, namely, His crucifixion and death. But His words also point to the hope of the kingdom of God. There is always a note of hope or expectation in the celebration of the Lord's Supper.


1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

The Lord's Supper is temporary in that we will share in it only until He comes. When He comes, there is no longer need for symbols of His body. When He comes, He comes as bridegroom for His bride and will take her to the great banquet feast. There all His people will see and enjoy Him, face to face! And that day will come when we all get to Heaven!


But meanwhile, we are till on earth, and we must do as the early church did, they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine, and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayers.


III - Closing Thoughts

Every time we participate, we should be mindful of the great meaning involved in this ceremony. Jesus Christ gave us this simple "Lord's Supper" to help us remember Him and His death. 


There are deaths that are worth remembering such as the death of Adolf Hitler, Sadam Hussein's, and Osama Bin Laden's. These deaths are not worth remembering. But the death of our Saviour is infinitely worth remembering. "We must remember Him because He is the most valuable Person in the universe. We must remember His death because it is the most important death in history." - John Piper


Because His death gave us hope and life and forgiveness. As we partake the Lord's Supper, remembering Christ and His great selfless sacrifice for us, may God so work in our hearts that we would have a renewed appreciation and love and devotion to Him. May He awaken to the glorious reality of Christ's love and sacrifice for us!


May God bless these meditations into our hearts!