"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" The Lord's Supper (26:26-30)
INTRODUCTION 1. During His last week, Jesus observed the Passover for the last time... a. The Passover was a Jewish feast, observed annually - Deut 16:1-8 b. Commemorating Israel's deliverance from Egypt - Exo 12:1-28,43-49 2. This last Passover was very special to Jesus - Lk 22:14-15 a. His knew His death was imminent ("before I suffer") b. He was with those he loved - Jn 13:1 ("He loved them to the end") 3. On this occasion Jesus instituted what we call the Lord's Supper... a. Read our text - Mt 26:26-30 b. As recorded by Luke, Jesus wanted His disciples to do this in His memory - Lk 22:19 4. The importance of properly observing the Lord's Supper should not underestimated... a. The church at Corinth was guilty of abusing it - 1Co 11:20-22 b. Such misuse has serious consequences - 1Co 11:27,29 [That we might observe the Supper properly, to receive its blessings rather than condemnation, let's use this opportunity to review what is revealed about the purpose and observance of "The Lord's Supper"...] I. THE MEANING OF THE SUPPER A. IT IS A MEMORIAL... 1. Note Paul's account as given by the Lord Himself - 1Co 11: 23-25 a. We eat the bread in memory of His body b. We drink the cup (fruit of the vine) in memory of His blood 2. We therefore commemorate the death of Jesus on the cross - Mt 26:28 a. Whose death make the new covenant possible - He 9:16 b. Whose blood was shed for the remission of sins - Ep 1:7 -- As the Passover was a memorial commemorating Israel's deliverance from Egypt through the blood of the lambs on the door post, so the Supper is a memorial of our Lord's death who makes our deliverance from the bondage of sin possible B. IT IS A PROCLAMATION... 1. We proclaim our faith in the efficacy of the Lord's death - 1Co 11:26a a. That His death was indeed for our sins b. If we didn't believe it, why keep the Supper? 2. We also proclaim our faith in the Lord's return - 1Co 11:26b a. For it is to be done "till He comes" b. If we don't believe He is coming, then why keep the Supper? -- Thus the Lord's Supper looks forward as well as backward, and will ever be observed by His disciples who trust in His redemption and anticipate His return! C. IT IS A COMMUNION... 1. A fellowship or sharing in the blood of Christ - 1Co 10:16a a. As we partake, we commune with the blood of Christ b. Perhaps in the sense of reinforcing blessings we enjoy through the blood of Christ - cf. 1Jn 1:7,9 2. A fellowship or sharing in the body of Christ - 1Co 10:16b-17 a. As we partake, we commune with the body of Christ b. Perhaps in the sense of reinforcing fellowship together in the body of Christ (i.e., the church), as we break bread together ["The Lord's Supper", which is also called "Communion" and "Breaking of Bread" (cf. 1Co 10:16; Ac 2:42; 20:7) certainly has great significance and should not be taken lightly. We should therefore consider what the Scriptures reveal about...] II. THE OBSERVANCE OF THE SUPPER A. TO BE DONE WITH REVERENCE... 1. That is, "in a worthy manner" (NKJV) - 1Co 11:27,29 a. The KJV says "worthily", which some have misunderstood b. It is an adverb, describing how we take it, not whether we are worthy (none are truly worthy) 2. With respect for the supreme price Jesus paid for our sins a. Cf. the cruel torture and humiliation of His physical body b. Cf. the spiritual anguish suffered as the Son of God bore the punishment for our sins ("My God, My God, Why have You forsaken Me?"
- Mt 27:46) 3. Failure to observe with proper reverence brings condemnation - 1Co 11:27,29 a. One will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord b. One will eat and drink judgment to himself -- To make light of this memorial puts one in the same category as those who mocked Him as He hung on the cross! B. TO BE DONE WITH SELF-EXAMINATION... 1. Such as reflecting upon one's spiritual condition - 1Co 11:28 2. Are we living in a manner that shows appreciation for His sacrifice? a. By accepting the grace of God in our lives? - 2Co 5:18-6:1 b. By living for Jesus who died for us? - 2Co 5:14-15; Ga 2:20 3. Or are we by willful sinning, guilty of having: a. "trampled the Son of God underfoot"? b. "counted the blood by which [we were] sanctified a common thing"? c. "insulted the Spirit of grace"? - cf. He 10:26-29 4. Do we, by refusing to repent of our sins, "crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an shame"? - cf. He 6:4-6 -- In one sense, the Supper is a very private matter between a Christian and his or her God; a time to reflect the past and to resolve for the future C. TO BE DONE WITH OTHER CHRISTIANS... 1. There is ample indication the Supper is designed to be a communal meal a. The disciples "came together" to break bread - Ac 20:7 b. When they came together, they were to "wait for one another"
- 1Co 11:33 c. Partaking together of "one bread", they demonstrate they are "one bread and one body" - 1Co 10:16 -- We commune not just with the Lord, but with one another 2. For this reason I personally question such practices as: a. Observing the Supper by one's self when camping or traveling b. Observing the Supper on Sunday night when just one or a couple of people in the congregation are partaking c. Taking the elements to the sick or shut-in who were unable to assemble -- While such issues may fall in the realm of "opinion", let's not forget that the Supper builds fellowship with one another as well as with the Lord! D. TO BE DONE OFTEN... 1. The Biblical evidence is that it was done weekly... a. Christians came together on the first day of the week to "break bread" - Ac 20:7 b. Other indications of a weekly observance: 1) The church at Corinth was coming together to eat the Lord's Supper, though they were abusing it - cf. 1Co 11:17-22 2) Instructions concerning the collection suggest their coming together was on the first day of the week - cf. 1Co 16:1-2 c. Following the divinely approved example of Christians in the Bible, we know God approves of a weekly observance on the first day of the week 2. The earliest historical evidence outside the Bible confirms the day and frequency... a. The Didache (ca. 95 A.D.) indicates Christians were to come together on the first day of the week to break bread - Didache 14:1 b. Justin Martyr (ca. 150 A.D.) records how Christians assembled on Sunday and partook of the Supper - Apology I, 67 3. Some believe that a weekly observance diminishes the importance of the Supper a. Which is why some do it monthly, quarterly, or annually b. But does the frequent practice of: 1) Assembling diminishing its value and importance? 2) Singing praises and offering prayers devalue their benefits? 3) Preaching and studying God's Word decrease their significance to our lives? -- Our spiritual lives are dependent upon the value and benefits of our Lord's death on the cross; a weekly observance of the memorial helps us to live appreciatively and accordingly! CONCLUSION 1. "The Lord's Supper" is a very special memorial of His death for our sins... a. Instituted by Jesus Himself, He asked His disciples to do it in His memory b. Jesus told His disciples that He would not eat of the elements again until: 1) "...that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom." - Mt 26:29 2) "...that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God." - Mk 14:25 3) "...it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God." - Lk 22:16 4) "...the kingdom of God shall come." - Lk 22:18 c. There are two plausible explanations for what Jesus means: 1) Some think it refers to Jesus having fellowship with us as we observe the Lord's Supper in the church, which is His kingdom
- cf. 1Co 10:16-17 2) Others propose that it refers to the special communion we will have with Jesus in His Father's kingdom, spoken often in terms of a heavenly feast - cf. Isa 25:6-8; Mt 8:11; 22:2-14; Lk 14:15-24; Re 19:9 2. The first Christians "continued steadfastly" in its observance... a. Just as they did in the apostles' doctrine, fellowship and prayer - Ac 2:42 b. Coming together on the first day of the week for that very purpose - Ac 20:7 3. Christians today should never lose sight of its significance... a. A constant reminder of the sacrifice Jesus paid for our sins b. A communion or sharing of the body and blood of the Lord c. A time for self-examination and re-dedication of our service to the Lord d. A means for building fellowship with one another in the body of Christ May such thoughts encourage us to never neglect opportunities we have to observe the Lord's Supper, but to continue steadfastly and in so doing "proclaim the Lord's death till He comes."