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Communion with the Lord

Today is all about Jesus, so is tomorrow and so was yesterday. God is love, He is holy, just and perfect. That means our sin, which by necessity separates us from Him, must be dealt with. There is no way for us to make it right by ourselves, so God did it for us through Jesus.

Isaiah 53:4-6 New King James Version 4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows;

Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Those prophetic words were recorded around 700 years before being fulfilled by Jesus. God’s plan of salvation is amazing. The people back then must have been in awe of what God was going to do, yet never saw it themselves. How blessed we are to see it fulfilled and receive this most wondrous gift.

Today, we will partake of the Lord’s Supper (or Holy Communion) but why is that you may ask? What does it mean? This eating of bread and drinking the cup. Let’s hear what Jesus said.

John 6:1-69 New King James Version 6 After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2 Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased. 3 And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples.

4 Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. 5 Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” 6 But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do (The Lord will test our faith by having us face impossible situations).

7 Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.”

8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, 9 “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”

10 Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” 13 Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” (God’s provision is always sufficient, it’s likely these 12 baskets were to bless the Disciples who served).

15 Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone (It’s important we let God do our promoting).

16 Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, 17 got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them. 18 Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. 19 So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. 20 But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” 21 Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going (Do you willingly receive Jesus into your boat? It’s a good idea to get you where He wants you to be).

22 On the following day, when the people who were standing on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except that one which His disciples had entered, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with His disciples, but His disciples had gone away alone— 23 however, other boats came from Tiberias, near the place where they ate bread after the Lord had given thanks— 24 when the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His 2

disciples, they also got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. 25 And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?”

26 Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. 27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” (It seems the people were attracted to Jesus primarily to have their physical needs met. These matter to God too but there are much more important things to consider. He wants us to understand and think about eternity).

28 Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”

29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

30 Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ”

32 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”

35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

41 The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42 And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”

43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves (We should not murmur amongst ourselves either). 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”

53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven —not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”

59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.

60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” (Not the 12 disciples here).

61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”

66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”

68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Eating His Flesh and drinking His blood, sounds strange. It’s clear Jesus is not speaking literally here. How do we know that? There are several ways. We can start by knowing His character by reading His Word. God never lies and therefore won’t ever break His Word. The Old Testament is brilliant at using natural circumstances to reveal God’s standards and spiritual truths.

Leviticus 17:13-14 New King James Version 13 “Whatever man of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who hunts and catches any animal or bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust; 14 for it is the life of all flesh. Its blood sustains its life. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, ‘You shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off.’

That command is repeated several times. It’s not okay by God’s standards to ever eat the blood of any flesh. But note that the life of all flesh is its blood. That’s important for salvation. It’s the shed blood of Jesus that gives us life and saves us.

Then there’s the definition of the original Greek words used for Eat and Drink in this Scripture.

John 6:53 Greek - G5315

Definition: 1. to eat 2. to eat (consume) a thing a. to take food, eat a meal b. metaph. to devour, consume

John 6:53 Greek - G4095

Definition: 1. to drink 2. figuratively, to receive into the soul what serves to refresh strengthen, nourish it unto life eternal John 6

So, Jesus is saying we need to be filled with Him to live with God forever. He said God the Father is the one who gives life. The Father sent Him from Heaven to in turn give life eternal to us.

Then of course there’s the Scripture itself. Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.“ So it’s quite clear with minimal effort that Jesus is speaking spiritually and we know that God is Spirit (John 4:24) and we too have a spirit (Romans 8:16). We’re talking about eternity. Jesus is eternal, He was always there with the Father.

Genesis 1:26 New King James Version 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

John 1:1-4 New King James Version 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

John 1:14 New King James Version 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus is the Word of God. He is the source of all life and life eternal. This is what we must eat and drink. Coming to Him, accepting His Salvation, following Him. This is the food we ought to labour for, it satisfies our soul and is everlasting.

So, back to Communion. Let’s read what the Apostle Paul says.

1 Corinthians 11:17-32 New King James Version 17 Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. 18 For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. 20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. 21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.

23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

So, is Paul saying we must be worthy to partake of the Lord’s supper? Absolutely not, none of us are worthy and that’s the whole point of what Jesus has done for us (Romans 3:10). But we are being transformed (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Philippians 1:6 New King James Version 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

Jesus finished His work on the cross but He’s not finished with us.

Yes, in Holy Communion we are honouring, loving and actively worshipping the Lord. Yes, we should ask forgiveness for our sins and remember the price He paid. Additionally, Paul also addresses how some in the church were behaving towards one another. Remember, God is love (1 John 4:8) and Jesus dying for us is an ultimate act of love. When we come together to celebrate and remember it, God expects us to behave in love. He wants His children, that’s us, to get along, particularly during this special time of remembering what He did to bring us all to Himself and to each other. He is to be reverentially feared or we’ll be disciplined because of His love for us (Deuteronomy 10:12-13).

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 New King James Version 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

How we treat each other matters to God. You may recall in Matthew 5:21-26 where Jesus explains that if while bringing your gift to the altar you remember a brother has something against you, go and be reconciled first. This is important to the Lord.

What is this eating of bread and drinking the cup all about? We’re talking about eternity, which ironically seems a long way off. It is way beyond the physical. With the Lord, it will be amazing. Taking these emblems may look like a small thing to our natural eyes but it surely is not. Does therefore this act of worship save us? No, we’re remembering what and who does. Jesus.

Ephesians 2:4-8 New King James Version 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

To partake in a worthy manner, we ought to examine ourselves. It’s best we ask the Lord to help us with it as we can be biased.

2 Corinthians 13:5 New King James Version 5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

Paul was writing to believers here so their salvation was not in question. He was asking them whether they were acting according to their faith in Jesus. Did they do what was right? Were they living in a way that was pleasing to the Lord and participating in the process of sanctification (becoming more holy and righteous)? Was there evidence of the fruit of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Kindness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control)?

Close your eyes and wait on the Lord. Do you have any sins to confess to Him now?

Matthew 6:14-15 New King James Version 14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Is there anyone you need to forgive? Do it now.

We are forgiven not because of anything we have done or can do but because of Jesus alone.

Do you need to forgive yourself too?

Remember, the words of Jesus on the cross, It is finished. He completed His work perfectly. It is sufficient. He has made a way for all who believe in Him to be made right with the Father. It’s a free gift from God to be accepted. If you haven’t done so, you can do it right now where you are.

Just as Jesus broke the bread to feed 5000, we remember His broken body that is enough to save everyone who comes to Him.

Now we can partake.

Luke 22:14-20 New King James Version 14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.


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