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The Body and the Blood (1 Corinthians 11:23-30)

First Baptist Church http://fbcbartow.org

“The Body and the Blood”

(1 Corinthians 11:23-30) [on screen]

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida

December 30, 2018

Introductory Comments:

Illustration: Some of you know that I have an old truck that I drive at times when the weather is nice. It’s a 1982 Chevrolet C-10, short wheelbase pick-up truck. That truck is special to me for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s just a cool truck. Also, it’s the truck on which I learned to drive starting when I was fourteen years old. Also, it’s an 82 model and so am I. Most of all, that truck is special to me because that truck was my Papa’s truck. I remember riding in that truck with my Papa on hot Summer days driving around Polk County. To this day, when I see that truck, it reminds me of my Papa. 

There are a lot of items, events, or places in our lives that draw our attention to something significant in our lives and help us remember that significant thing. 

Today, we’re going to look at what Paul says to us in 1 Corinthians 11 concerning the Lord’s Supper. 

You see, the Lord’s Supper is not to be thought of merely as a ritual or a symbol. It is to remind us of something more significant. 

As we open the Word of God, let’s see what God may be showing us regarding the Lord’s Supper. 

Let’s look at the passage together. 

Read the Passage

Read 1 Corinthians 11:23-30

23 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 and when he had given thanks, broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, and said, “This cup is the new covenant in 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.

27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself; in this way let him eat the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 This is why many are sick and ill among you, and many have fallen asleep.

Let’s pray together.

(Prayer)

So, what is God trying to show us through this?

There’s a lot that could be said from this passage, but this is not meant to be a full study on the Lord’s Supper. 

However, we are going to see today that there are four looks that we are to take at the Lord’s Supper. It’s like when you get a new car or bicycle, you look at it different ways to really take it all in. So also, we’ll take a look at the Lord’s Supper. 

Let’s discover those different looks as we continue. 

First, . . .

At the Lord’s Supper we . . .  [on screen]

I. . . . take a past look at the Lord’s crucifixion [on screen]

This is really the central message behind the Lord’s Supper. 

It’s pretty straightforward and easy to understand. 

Remember, when Jesus would have given the supper to the apostles He would have actually taken a piece of bread and broke it before them. 

He is saying, as this bread is broken so also my body will be broken.

Indeed, Jesus’ body was broken at the crucifixion. He had nails driven in His body, stripes and bruises beaten across His back, a spear thrust into His side, and thorns crushed into His head. His body was broken. 

Jesus also speaks of the cup, representing His blood. 

As He is serving the drink to the apostles, He says that it is similar to His blood being spilled. 

Indeed, His blood would be spilled while He was beaten and crucified. 

We have to imagine that when Jesus originally said this, it would have created some confusion among the apostles. They didn’t understand that He would be killed. They didn’t see the similarities between the bread and the cup, and Jesus’ coming crucifixion. 

Jesus was talking about something that would happen in the future. 

Now, as we take the Lord’s Supper, we take a past look and remember that Jesus’ body was broken at the crucifixion. 

We can be sure that from that point onward, the apostles would remember the crucifixion of Jesus anytime they broke bread and took the cup together. After witnessing His horrific death and glorious resurrection, and reflecting upon His words, they would remember. 

So also, we are to remember the work of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins. 

We too are to take a past look at the crucifixion of Jesus. 

Second, at the Lord’s Supper we . . .

II. . . . take a present look at the Lord’s covenant [on screen]

Look carefully at verse 25: “In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’”

Jesus speaks of this new covenant at the meal that they are enjoying together. 

Now, let’s back up just a minute. Remember, this is the meal that they are sharing just before Jesus would be betrayed by Judas, arrested by the authorities, and then crucified. 

This is no regular meal. This meal is the Passover Meal, that would have been celebrated by all Jews as a remembrance of what God did through the exodus from Egypt. 

Remember, the Jews were enslaved to Egypt and God was delivering them through a series of plagues against Egypt. 

The final plague that God brought upon the Egyptians was the death of the first-born. The first-born sons in all of Egypt were killed by the Angel of Death. 

However, in order for God’s people to be spared, God commanded that the blood of a lamb be spilled to mark and spare the Israelites. 

After the Angel of Death’s passing over of the Israelites, and God’s deliverance of them from slavery in Egypt, the Jews remembered and celebrated that moment from then on with the Passover Meal. 

After God delivered the Israelites from Egypt, He delivered the law to Moses and started a formal covenant with the people of Israel, bound by the law and rituals given by God to His people. 

Jesus is saying at this supper with His apostles, “I am starting a new covenant that will be remembered with a new meal. 

Do you see these similarities between the Passover Meal and the Lord’s Supper, as well as the Old and New Covenant?

Listen and look at these similarities. I have them on the screen for you, these are just a few of the many comparisons. 

(show special Old Covenant and New Covenant slides)

OLD COVENANT Work: Deliverance from slavery to Egypt, establishing of the kingdom [on screen]

NEW COVENANT Work: Deliverance from slavery to sin, acceleration of the kingdom [on screen]

OLD COVENANT Secured By: Spilled blood of an unblemished lamb [on screen]

NEW COVENANT Secured By: Spilled blood of the Lamb of God [on screen]

OLD COVENANT Delivered Through: Moses [on screen]

NEW COVENANT Delivered Through: Jesus [on screen]

OLD COVENANT Meal to Celebrate: Passover Meal [on screen]

NEW COVENANT Meal to Celebrate: The Lord’s Supper [on screen]

The grace of God was demonstrated in the Old Covenant, and yet the Old Covenant was just a foretaste of the glory that was to come in the New Covenant. 

As Jesus spilled His blood, He secured and started the New Covenant. This covenant is the bond and the promise that we have between us and God: that He will love us and make us His children if we come to Him through Jesus.

This was all made possible at the death of Jesus on the cross. 

Illustration: Just like when you hold a present that you got from your loved one and you look at them and you say, “Thank you for getting me this present.” So also, when we take the bread and the cup, we are thankful for the New Covenant. 

When we take the Lord’s Supper, we take a present look at this New Covenant that we have because of Jesus and we thank Him for it. 

Third, at the Lord’s Supper we . . .

III. . . . take a future look at the Lord’s coming [on screen]

This is such a beautiful part of the Lord’s Supper. We are not just remembering the crucifixion, as powerful as that is. We are also looking forward to the future promise that Jesus will one day return. 

Look at verse 26 again: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

We’re not just proclaiming the Lord’s death. We’re proclaiming it until He comes!

We are to continually observe the Lord’s Supper over and over again as we wait in anticipation for His return. 

Paul says, “as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup.” He doesn’t say how often to do this, but whenever we do, we keep in mind that Jesus is coming back. 

We look to the future with hope! We know He’s coming back! He not only did a great work through His crucifixion and resurrection, but He also started a new covenant. Part of that new covenant is the promise that He will return and make all things new!

It’s because of the Lord’s promised return that the observance of the Lord’s Supper is not just a time of mourning, but a time of celebration. 

Note, also, that Paul says we proclaim the Lord’s death. There is a sense that when we take the Lord’s Supper, as a church, we are proclaiming the Gospel. We are proclaiming that the broken body and spilled blood of Jesus can save us from our sins. That’s a unique and beautiful way to proclaim the Gospel!

(pause)

We certainly look at the past crucifixion of Jesus, we must look at the present new covenant instituted by Jesus, and we can look at the future coming of Jesus. 

Finally, at the Lord’s Supper we . . .

IV. . . . take an inward look at our conscience [on screen]

Let’s look again at verses 27-30.

27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself; in this way let him eat the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 This is why many are sick and ill among you, and many have fallen asleep.

I wanted to be sure and include this part of the passage in this sermon because these verses point to the necessity of us as a church taking the Lord’s Supper seriously. 

Paul tells the church in Corinth, and all of us, not to take the supper in “an unworthy manner.”

It’s important here to note for just a minute that the church in Corinth had a whole lot of problems . . . a lot. 

One of the problems they had is that they were taking the Lord’s Supper as part of a larger meal and while they did so they were showing favoritism to people in the church so that some actually were missing out on the chance to partake of the supper. People seemed to be more concerned about the food than the work of Jesus. 

This made a mockery of what Jesus intended in the Lord’s Supper, and it didn’t lift up the memory of Jesus’ work. 

As a church, and as individuals, we can observe the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner. Here’s what that means: we can start to forget about the work of Christ and its implications in our lives. 

If any of us are taking the Lord’s Supper without recognizing that it is a time for us to reflect upon the work of Jesus in our lives, then we are taking it in an unworthy manner. 

You’ll hear me say when we take the Lord’s Supper that we invite any baptized believer in good fellowship with the Lord to take the Lord’s Supper. 

This is the reason why we say that. If you’re not a Christian who is walking in obedience and submission to the Lord, we encourage you not to take the Lord’s Supper. 

We don’t want to aid you in taking the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner. 

We want you first to take in the life-changing work of Jesus in your life, be in good fellowship with the body of Christ, the church, and then participate in the remembrance of the work of Jesus at the Lord’s Supper. 

This is so serious that Paul says some have even gotten sick and “fallen asleep,” as a result of this. In other words, some have gotten sick and died because they took the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner. 

God is serious about the work of His Son, Jesus, and we should be as well. 

So, we take an inward look at our conscience, at our hearts and minds, to ensure that we are properly devoted to the Lord and prepared to remember and celebrate His work. 

Here are some questions to help you examine yourself and prepare yourself for the Lord’s Supper:

  1. Am I a follower of Jesus Christ?
  1. Am I living like a follower of Jesus Christ?
  1. Is our church living as the body of Christ?

If your answer is “no” to any of these questions, seek to make it right. Let the work of Jesus truly change your life!

Concluding Thoughts:

In just a moment we’re going to take the Lord’s Supper together. 

As we do, let’s remember the work of Jesus. 

The Lord’s Supper helps us do that. 

That’s our bottom line today:

Bottom Line: The Lord’s Supper shows us a picture of the work of Jesus.  [on screen]

(repeat)

That’s why we have this gift. That’s why we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Remember the beautiful work of Jesus. 

Challenge yourself this week in the following way:

Weekly Challenge: [on screen]

  1. Do something practical to remember the work of Jesus.  [on screen]

Maybe place an item somewhere where you will see it often to help you remember the work of Jesus. 

Maybe listen to a song that helps you remember what Jesus did for you. 

Do something practical so you stay focused on what Jesus has done through His crucifixion and resurrection. 

Closing:

Well, let’s remember the work of Jesus together, now. 

I’m going to ask our deacons to come forward as we prepare to take the Lord’s Supper as a church. 

(Observance of the Lord’s Supper) 

(Gospel Presentation)

(Closing Prayer)

Invitation Song – Wherever He Leads I’ll Go

Benediction:

If you have any sort of spiritual decision that you would like to make, you can contact me or Pastor Richard and we would be glad to talk to you anytime.

Tonight, join us for our second part of the “Names of God” study. Last time we covered the names of God the Father. Tonight, we’ll look at the names of God the Son and God the Spirit. 

Let’s dismiss by singing Blest Be the Tie That Binds. 

(Sing Blest Be the Tie That Binds)

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER: The text contained in this sermon is solely owned by its author. The reproduction, or distribution of this message, or any portion of it, should include the author’s name. The author intends to provide free resources in order to inspire believers and to assist preachers and teachers in Kingdom work.