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From Passover to Communion (Sunday, July 28th) *Verses in NKJV*
(Only 30 minutes! Alter call and Communion after sermon.)
– Some refer to the Bible as “basic instructions”, or as a collection of inspiring quotes, or as reference guide for living a Christian life. (Kind of, but not really.)
– The Bible is actually one continuous story, written by many authors over thousands of years. From Genesis to Revelation, it is all true, and it does not contradict itself.
– It is the story about God’s relationship with man, and ultimately, His plan for redemption.
– God makes several covenants with His people, serious binding agreements, sealed in blood.
– Today, we don’t understand the significance, because we don’t take our covenants seriously.
– Example: Marriage. We make vows, “To death do us part”… before many witnesses… but it only lasts until one of them changes their mind, or it becomes inconvenient, etc…
– Eccles. 5:5, Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.
– We don’t expect others to keep their word, so then we have an excuse for not keeping ours.
– When God makes a covenant with us, He will keep it!
– Today we are talking about communion. My hope is that you never look at it the same way again.
1. Passover: God saves His people from death by the blood of the lamb.
– 1500 years before Jesus, the Hebrews had been slaves in Egypt for over 400 years.
– Moses has now come to set God’s people free, and brought 9 plagues upon the land already, but Pharaoh will not let his people go. Then came the 10th and final plague.
– Exodus 11:4-6, Then Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt; 5 and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the animals. 6 Then there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again.
– God’s people had been protected from all the other plagues, with no action required, but this time God required them to participate in the process of their own salvation.
– Exodus 12:3-7, Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. 7 And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.
– Israel’s actions did not save them. But by listening and obeying the word of the Lord, and taking action showing they believed it by faith, they were saved from death.
– Exodus 12:12-14, 12 ‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. 13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. 14 ‘So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.
– This is a big day, and God wants them to remember forever that he saved them from death.
– Exodus 12:25-28, It will come to pass when you come to the land which the Lord will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service. 26 And it shall be, when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ 27 that you shall say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice of the Lord, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.’ ” So the people bowed their heads and worshiped. 28 Then the children of Israel went away and did so; just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.
These are the key details we see in the Passover:
– All were going to receive death, but God gave his people a way to be saved from death.
– Each one had to receive the lamb individually, but also with their neighbor in need, AND “…with the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel.”
– The lamb was male, and without blemish.
– They had to listen and obey the word of the Lord. They had to believe it as truth, made evident by taking action concerning it.
– The sacrificial lamb’s blood covering the household saved Israel from death.
– They are commanded to have this meal on a regular basis, generation to generation, so that they will never forget what God has saved them from.
– The Jews celebrated the Passover meal every year, for over a thousand years before Jesus came to earth. It’s meaning and symbolism are well known, and deeply ingrained in their lives and culture.
– When Jesus sat down to his final Passover meal with his disciples, just hours before his crucifixion, they knew the symbolism, but didn’t know that Jesus was about to change it forever.
2. Communion: Through Jesus we have a new covenant.
– The “new covenant” is the new agreement God made with mankind, based on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The prophecy of a new covenant was spoken in Jeremiah, that God would one day do for His people what the old covenant had failed to do.
– Jer. 31:31-34, “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
– Jesus is establishing this new covenant right now with his disciples at the Passover meal.
– The flaw in the old covenant was people! “They broke” the deal, not God. The glory in the New one is that Jesus paid the price. The agreement is his. The covenant is perfect.
– We see here in Jeremiah that the Lord refers to himself as the “husband”, implying Israel is his “wife”. Eph 5:25, Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it.
– The Lord says to Jeremiah that “…they all shall know Me…” , meaning all people will have the ability to have a personal relationship with God Himself.
– Psalm 103:11-12, For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
– The bread and the wine of the Passover meal relate back to God saving his people in Egypt. Jesus used these same symbols to illustrate to his disciples HIS ultimate purpose.
– Matthew 26:26-30, 26 And as they were eating (the Passover meal), Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
– Unleavened cracker type bread. Leaven is used to relate to sin, and Jesus’ body had no sin in it!
27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
– He chose the 3rd cup, the cup of redemption. Without blood there is no forgiveness of sin.
– Hebrews 9:22, And according to the law almost all things are [a]purified (cleansed) with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no [b]remission (forgiveness).
29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” 30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
– Passover BECOMES communion through Jesus: Jesus is our “Lamb of God”!
– We were all going to receive death, but God gave us a way to be saved from death.
– Jesus is the perfect, unblemished sacrificial lamb, whose BLOOD forgives sin, and brings life.
– We have to listen and obey the word of the Lord. We have to believe it is true, and take action because of it.
– We must accept salvation through Jesus individually, but also share in this covenant as “…the whole assembly of the congregation…” as Christ’s bride, the Church.
– John 1:29, (At the beginning of Jesus ministry), The next day John (the Baptist) saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
– Jesus Christ has become our final sacrifice for sin. Once and for all time!
– This covenant will never expire because Jesus is alive, and as believers, we will live forever too!
– 1 John 2:2, And He Himself is the propitiation (sacrifice, atonement) for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
– Romans 3:25, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed.
3. We are going to take communion today. It looks casual, but it’s not.
– We do communion on the last Sunday of every month. We are commanded to do it on a regular basis, but we want to avoid it just becoming a ritual without meaning.
– We do communion in the church service because it is not just a moment between you and Jesus. It is also the communion of the saints, the family in Christ.
– We use the cracker (gluten free). Unleavened bread, because leaven is often used to represent sin in the bible, and Jesus’ body was free from all sin. It’s a symbol, not His actual flesh.
– We use grape juice. I don’t think alcohol is necessary or prudent for the ceremony. The juice is a symbol, not the actual blood of Jesus.
– You don’t have to be a member of FVC. All believers together are the collective body, we can communion together. It connects us to all believers, past, present, and future, around the world!
– You do have to be a believer, because how can you commemorate the sacrifice unto salvation if you haven’t accepted Christ as your Savior? This would be doing it in an unworthy manner.
– There is no power in the cracker and juice. The power is in the blood of Jesus!
– You will serve yourself when ready. Jesus is our high priest and we are communing with him. You don’t need a mediator, a go between. I am no more holy than you are.
– You should examine yourself first, before taking communion. Get your heart right with the Lord.
– 1 Cor. 11:23-29, 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.
– Unworthy manner would be not taking it seriously, taking it when you are not saved, Not considering the amazing sacrifice and gift of salvation…
– Unworthy manner would be not taking a moment to reconcile with the Lord, recognize your own depravity and asking for forgiveness of your sins.
– Be prayerful, and mindful, understand why you are doing it, and with the right heart condition.
– This should be a supremely meaningful experience for you, but it means nothing if you have not accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord.
– Accept that you are a sinner who need a Savior.
– Believe that Jesus is that Savior, the only and only way to heaven.
– Confess your sins to Him and ask for his forgiveness.
– Then start living your life for Him. Allow the Holy Spirit to change your life from the inside out!
(Stand up, close eyes, walk forward for prayer, reflect on this moment, 1st communion…)
– Alter Call, Communion (and final song), Mugi closing.
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