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1 Corinthians 11:23-26
THE MESSAGE IN THE MEAL
Intro: For 2,000 years, the church of Jesus has been celebrating the Lord’s Supper service. In some churches, it is an elaborate and ornate affair that dominates the entire service. In other churches, it is observed at the end of a worship service. Some churches observe it every Lord’s day. Others observe it at random intervals and others, like us, observe it once per quarter.
However it is observed, the important thing is for those involved to remember why they are doing what they are doing. We need to take the time to look at the meal and the message it preaches. This morning affords us such an opportunity, Therefore, I would like to take a few minutes to preach to you about The Message In The Meal.
You see, every time we gather together and partake of the Lord’s Supper, we see and participate in a living illustration of the Gospel message. This observance contains a message for every person in this room. Let’s look into these verses together today and hear The Message In The Meal.
I. V. 23-24 A MESSAGE IN THE PAIN OF HIS SACRIFICE
A. When Jesus refers to His broken body, Luke 22:19-20, He is referring to the pain He was destined to suffer when He was on the cross. You see, the salvation we enjoy in Jesus Christ today is free for the taking, but it certainly was not cheap. It cost the Lord Jesus Christ His life on the cross!
B. Think for a moment about the death Jesus suffered for us at Calvary.
1. He was Beaten - Luke 22:63-64
2. He Was Scourged - Matt. 27:6; Psa. 129:3
3. He was Spit Upon - Matt. 27:30
4. He was Mocked - Matt. 27:26-29 (Ill. Jesus was delivered to a "band" of soldiers, Matt. 27:27. This is group of between 400 and 600 soldiers.)
5. His beard was Plucked Out - Isa. 50:6
6. He was Stripped Naked - Matt. 27:35
7. He was Nailed to the Cross and Crucified - Matt. 27:38; John 20:25. (Ill. We cannot even begin to understand the horrors of this kind of death.) Still, His body was broken for us at Calvary - Isa. 53:4-7. He came to this world for that very reason, John 18:37; Isa. 50:7.
C. The very fact that God wore a body is evidence of His love for us, Phil. 2:5-8. The fact that He willingly gave that body on the cross “for us” says everything that needs to be said about His love for sinner, Rom. 5:6-8!
D. What kind of message does the cross send to us? It is THE supreme message that God loves sinners and gave Himself for them on the cross. It is the message of a Friend, John 15:13! That is what we are to remember this morning as we take that bread and place it on our tongues!
II. V. 25 A MESSAGE IN THE PAYMENT OF HIS SACRIFICE
A. Was it not enough for Jesus to have just died? Absolutely not! Jesus had to die through the shedding of His blood. The whole purpose of His death was to provide and atonement for sin. The word “atonement” means “a covering”. For atonement to take place, blood had to be shed, Heb. 9:22. (Ill. Jesus did not come to just cover sin, He came to take sin away - John 1:29.)
B. In God’s economy, it had always been that way. He, Himself, had set the example for man, Gen. 3:21. Blood sacrifice has been God’s Law for Israel, Lev. 17:11. Through the years literally millions of animals had been offered as sacrifices, but not a single sin had been paid for, Heb. 10:4. Christ, by His once for all sacrifice, accomplished that very thing, Heb. 10:10-14; Heb. 9:7-14; Heb. 9:28.
C. What Jesus did when He died was to provide a perfect avenue of salvation for all who would come to Him by faith. He gave His blood, which is the only way sin could ever be paid for and sinners could ever be saved, 1 Pet. 1:18-19; Rev. 1:5!
D. Hear again the words of Luke 22:19. Jesus said that what He was about to do on the cross was “for you”. What He did was to forever satisfy the just demands of God for sin, Rom. 6:23, 1 John 2:2; ***Rom. 3:25***. Jesus didn’t die to pay off the devil, He died to satisfy God! He gave Himself in our place so that we might go free from the penalty of our sins, 2 Cor. 5:21. He suffered, the Innocent for the guilty, so that the guilty might go free! He took our place!
(Illustration: I read about a small boy who was consistently late coming home from school. His parents warned him one day that he must be home on time that afternoon, but nevertheless he arrived later than ever. His mother met him at the door and said nothing. At dinner that night, the boy looked at his plate. There was a slice of bread and a glass of water. He looked at his father's full plate and then at his father, but his father remained silent. The boy was crushed.
The father waited for the full impact to sink in, then quietly took the boy's plate and placed it in front of himself. He took his own plate of meat and potatoes, put it in front of the boy, and smiled at his son. When that boy grew to be a man, he said, "All my life I've known what God is like by what my father did that night.")
(Illustration: Robert Bruce of Scotland was leading his men in a battle to gain independence from England. Near the end of the conflict, the English wanted to capture Bruce to keep him from assuming his position as next in line for the Scottish crown. So they put his own bloodhounds on his trail. When they got close, Bruce could hear them baying loudly. His attendant said, “We are done for. They are on your trail, and they will reveal your hiding place.” Bruce replied, “It’s all right.” Then he headed for a stream that flowed through the forest. He plunged in and waded upstream a short distance. When he came out on the other bank, he was in the depths of the forest. Within minutes, the hounds, tracing their master’s steps, came to the bank. But they went no farther. The English soldiers urged them on, but the trail was broken. The stream had carried the scent away. A short time later, the crown of Scotland rested on the head of Robert Bruce.
The memory of our sins, prodded on by Satan, can be like those baying dogs. But a stream flows, red with the blood of God’s own Son. By grace through faith we are safe. No sin-hound can touch us. The trail is broken by the precious blood of Christ.)
E. As you raise that cup of juice to your lips this morning, all you are doing is drinking grape juice. But, as you take that juice in your hand and raise it to your mouth, take the time to remember that it is a reminder of the blood Jesus shed to save you from Hell. That is to be in our thoughts as we take the Lord’s supper today!
III. V. 26 A MESSAGE IN THE PROMISE OF HIS SACRIFICE
A. There Are Promises To His Saints
1. The Promise Of His Resurrection - Jesus is said to be One Who died, but Who was also returning. If this is true, then He must be alive! Thank God He is! This is what the bible says about Jesus Christ, Matt. 28:1-6; John 10:18; Heb. 7:25. We are to remember that this Savior Who died for us on the cross is alive and well today!
2. The Promise Of His Return - We are also to remember His promise that He is returning to this world someday to receive His people unto Himself, John 14:1-3; 1 Thes. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; and He is also returning to reign on this earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
3. The Promise Of A Rehearsal - We all know that God has called His people to be witnesses to Him, Mark 16:15, Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8. I hope you are doing that! However, when we gather in this place and partake of the Lord Supper, we have the opportunity to make a united, corporate statement concerning our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ! Our observance of this meal is an opportunity to tell others about His death, His resurrection, His return and His invitation to them to come to Him for salvation.
B. There are Promises Given To The Sinner - Implied in the message of the Lord’s Supper is an invitation for lost people to turn from their sins to embrace the Savior. After all, His death, His resurrection, His ascension, His second coming are all for the purpose of accomplishing redemption for lost sinners. Lost friend, the cross was for you! The empty tomb is for you! God’s invitation to you is to come to Him by faith and be saved, Matt. 11:28; John 6:47; Acts 16:31. If you are lost and need a Savior, I invite you to come to Jesus Christ today. The door is open and the way clear is you want to come to Jesus. You need not fear that He will turn you away, John 6:37. (Illustration: During the Spanish-American War, Clara Barton was overseeing the work of the Red Cross in Cuba. One day Colonel Theodore Roosevelt came to her, wanted to buy food for his sick and wounded Rough Riders. But she refused to sell him any. Roosevelt was perplexed. His men needed the help and he was prepared to pay out of his own funds. When he asked someone why he could not buy the supplies, he was told, "Colonel, just ask for it!" A smile broke over Roosevelt's face. Now he understood--the provisions were not for sale. All he had to do was simply ask and they would be given freely.) (Illustration: Salvation is free, but it must be received! Back in 1830 George Wilson was convicted of robbing the U.S. Mail and was sentenced to be hanged. President Andrew Jackson issued a pardon for Wilson, but he refused to accept it. The matter went to Chief Justice Marshall, who concluded that Wilson would have to be executed. "A pardon is a slip of paper," wrote Marshall, "the value of which is determined by the acceptance of the person to be pardoned. If it is refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must be hanged."For some, the pardon comes too late. For others, the pardon is not accepted.)
Conc: We have heard The Message In The Meal, now it is time to heed that message and respond to it. For the Lord’s people, it is time to examine our hearts to be sure we have dealt with our sins and failures. It is time for us to bow before the Lord in repentance and humility as we ask Him to prepare us to meet Him at His table. For any lost people who might be here today, it is time for you to consider your destiny. Do you want to go to Heaven when you die, or do you want to go to Hell? If you have never been saved, you can receive forgiveness and salvation through the blood of Jesus today if you will come to him by faith!