This evening in our service the church will participate in our quarterly observance of the Lord’s Supper. It is always our privilege to come to the Lord’s Table in order to commemorate our Lord’s death and to reflect upon His promise that He is coming again. It is the responsibility of every church member to be present since we are commanded to observe the ordinance.
In the evening message, I plan to speak directly concerning the utmost care that was taken by the apostles to be sure everything for the Last Supper was exactly as Christ commanded. The night was a very important one because Jesus would give His last instructions to the disciples. The Gospel of John chapters 13-17 contain His powerful discourse, which words were indelibly pressed into the minds of eleven men who were given responsibility to proclaim the gospel to the world. Christ’s instructions were demanding upon their character. Their lives must be molded into His image; they must be one in heart and mind with Him, or else faulty character would damage the impact of their message.
In like manner, every Christian today must live as if he had been present in the upper room. We are the new purveyors of the gospel message. We have no less responsibility to heed the words of Christ and likewise be molded into His image that the gospel should not be hindered. The Supper is a solemn reminder of this duty. Paul said we must examine ourselves before we partake. Our hearts must be pure else we are “guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” Yet I wonder how often there is no preparation. I wonder what has taken place in the lives of many Christians on the day before the Supper. I wonder what conversations have been spoken, what language has been used, who and what are the subjects of those conversations?
Our practice is to begin the Supper with a silent prayer of confession. Sins must be confessed, but sins must also be forsaken. True confession contains repentance and a solemn promise not to repeat those sins. Will you partake of the Supper tonight and then return to the wickedness you practiced before? This is as much to be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. God knows your heart; He knows your sincerity and your intent.
I am convinced that we lack power with God because we are far too lax in our commitment. We are too much unconcerned about holy living. It is not a widespread problem for our church, but as in the case with the Corinthian church, one erring member can hinder God’s blessings on the entire body. Paul wrote, “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth”(1 Corinthians 5:7-8). Leaven represents sin, whereas unleavened bread represents sin purged from the individual and thus from the church.
I sincerely pray that you come to the Supper tonight with these thoughts in mind. Be prepared beforehand with a heart full of sincerity and truth.
Pastor V. Mark Smith