What is the purpose of the Lord’s Table? The ultimate answer is that the Lord’s Table reminds us of our personal communion we have with God, the Creator and sustainer of the Universe. We need to understand! There is no life or thing worth celebrating apart from Christ alone! He is bread of life that gives eternal life through His death and resurrection, minute by minute, day by day and year to year. Jesus said these words “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life…..”John 6:47-51. The Lord’s Table is a wonderful time of worship to reflect upon His grace a wonderful time to communion as a church family that He has purchased for Himself. Not for you, not for me, but for His glory! Four things we need to understand when we come to the Lord’s Table!
The Lord’s Table is a divine ordinance instituted by Christ Himself
The Lord’s Supper was instituted by Jesus on night that He would be betrayed. Jesus said this “Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 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." Matt 26:26-29
The Material elements are used as visible signs of God’s blessing.
In Baptism we use water as the visible sign of God’s blessing for the new child of God through the gospel. The Lord’s Table we use bread to remind us of His broken body that was crushed for our rebellion and sin. The wine represents His shedding blood that was poured out for us on that tree on Calvary. Heb 12:2 says “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus drank the cup of God’s wrath for us; so that, He could extend the cup of God’s fellowship to us. This might include suffering, but not wrath. The Lord’s Table points to the reality of our communion with Christ which is our outward demonstration of an inward and invisible transformation through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Lord’s Table is a means of demonstrating God’s grace to the child of God who rightly partakes of this Table.
This table doesn’t give us the right to abuse the rights we have in Christ but to remind ourselves of His goodness to each and every one of us here in this place. God has chosen to use the table as a way to comfort and encourage our hearts as we continue this pilgrimage home into His glory. We come to the table to acknowledge His unmerited and overflowing grace to sinners saved by His grace for His glory. The Apostle Peter said this to encourage our hearts “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Pet 5:10-11
The Lord’s Table reminds us of the “seal or certification,” of the grace we’ve received through the gospel truth.
We live in a culture that lived by validating important documents…from legal to our passports, even to our currency. This stamp of approval proves to the world and others that they are genuine, authentic. Its stamped into the paper so that the document cannot be altered by you or anyone else. The Lord’s Table is the stamp seal or the confirmation of the oat, that we are His children and that we are in fellowship with Him. Paul penned these words “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” Eph 1:11-14
John Calvin said this when we partake of the Lord’s table “it’s an outward sign by which the Lord seals on our conscience the promises of His good will towards us in the order to sustain the weakness of our faith; and we in turn attest our piety towards Him in the presence of the Lord and of His angels before men.”
The Lord’s Table is another way the believer comes together in communion with a holy God. Communion refers to God's communication and presentation of himself to us….we respond to him with joy. It’s with “with joy" because it would not be communion if God revealed himself in total wrath and we were simply terrified. Communion assumes that God comes to us in love and that we respond joyfully to the beauty of his perfections and the offer of his fellowship. He may sometimes come with a rod of discipline. But even in our tears, we can rejoice in the Father's loving discipline (Hebrews 12:6–11). Communion with God is ultimately the end game for which we were created through our gospel confession.
The Bible says that we were created for the glory of God “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." Isa 43:7. Yet glorifying God is not something we do after communing with him, but by communing with him. Many human deeds magnify the glory of God's goodness, but only if they flow from our contentment in communion with him. The Lord’s Table is not only a privilege of communing with God but it’s also a covenant that God has made with His children through the finished work of the gospel Covenant by definition is “an agreement, usually formal, between two or more persons to do or not do something specified” A covenant as it pertains to the church is “a solemn agreement between the members of a church to act together in harmony with the precepts of the gospel.
John Murray said “A covenant is a sovereign administration of promise and grace.”
Today is a great day to be reminded of the covenant promise that God decreed to His children, as we communion together at the Lord’s Table. This is the eternal covenant of promise, found in the finished work of Christ on the cross. As the Hebrew writer said “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,” Heb 13:20
The privilege of the Lord’s Table is a privilege that. . . .
Have been spared the wrath that each and every one of deserve.
Have been unconditionally forgiven of our past, present and future sins.
Have been given a new heart and affections to serve and love the Lord our God.
Have been set apart onto holiness.
Have been promised the sealing of the Holy Spirit.
Have been eternally secure with His promises found in the written word.
Have been set free on the account of Jesus Christ our Lord.
This covenant of the Lord’s Table is a beautiful expression of God’s love He has for His children because He has welcomed all who are His to partake of this covenant.
The Lord's Supper is a call to self-examination. Do you see and savor what the bread and cup signify—His willing sacrificial death on behalf of sinners like me and you. Do you feel remorse—do you feel bad—that your attitudes and actions are inconsistent with the love of Christ and the gospel? Do you trust Jesus for the forgiveness of these bad sin attitudes and actions and for the will and power to walk again in love? It reminds me of God’s goodness in my life. It reminds me that a holy God could still love and keep me, each and every day, when this body is stained with sin. It reminds me of how small I am in comparison to Him and His glory that he would invite me in to sit at His table. It reminds me that I’m no longer in bondage to sin and His wrath. Remember this truth as we approach the Lord’s Table “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Rom 8:1
Please turn with me to 1 Cor 11:23-26 In preparation for the Lord’s Supper we should examine ourselves. Any sin, any deficiency in love, any spirit of bitterness should be confessed and taken care of before proceeding with Communion. Why? Because ultimately, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are accountable to God. There are 3 important things we must do before we can take part in this blessed event.
LOOK BACK to the finishing work on the cross at Calvary.
Remember Christian Brother & Sister what sewer He saved you from and the grace He bestowed upon you through the gospel that saved you to the uttermost parts. Paul says “do this in remembrance of Me” of my saving grace in your life. Peter penned these words to remind of us this truth. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5
LOOK AHEAD this is speaking of future things.
Though we remember where He saved us from, we don’t stay there. We look forward to the future where we will spend an eternity with Him. As the scriptures say “He promises to receive us unto Himself, He has gone to prepare a place for us” so we as His children “you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (v26) Be that living testimony to the world that we not ashamed of the Lord or of His blood, that we belong to Him and are obedient to Him. “Proclaim” means “to speak with words”….. tell the world about this GOOD NEWS of the gospel, through our gospel confession. As Peter said “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12. This is where our future begins and ends and the world desperately needs to know this truth from the body of Christ.
LOOK WITHIN, we are to examine our OWN HEARTS.
Is there any unconfessed sin in my life TODAY (v28) “let a man examine himself” This is of great importance, the Bible says if we don’t examine our hearts we “will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord” (v27) What does this mean? Not only is dishonouring the ceremony, but it’s also dishonouring the Lord’s body and blood. (v29) “in an unworthy manner (ceremonially, unrepentant heart, a spirit of bitterness) eats and drinks judgement to himself...” “How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge His people." Heb 10:29-30
Do you realize it’s possible to participate in Communion without even thinking about God? It can become a ritual, full of actions, but empty of meaning. If we let that happen, we miss out on the true meaning of the Lord’s Table. And we miss the blessing that comes with a serious examination of our spiritual condition. So let’s take a minute and ask the Lord of Glory to search our hearts, And to bring any unrecognized sin to our mind this morning before we begin this privilege. Why? So that we can come to the table of remembrance in adoration and praise to the God we love and serve through the gospel confession for the glory of His holy name. So! Let's come to the table of grace in remembrance of His goodness and overflowing grace, together under the great salvation that is in His only Son, Jesus Christ!