Free Reformed Church of Kelmscott
Singing: (Psalms and Hymns are from the "Book of Praise"
Anglo Genevan Psalter)
To table: Hymn 21:1
At table: Psalm 73:8
Beloved Congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ!
The apostle Paul gives to the Corinthians an overview of the institution of the Lordís supper. He presented that overview so that the saints of Corinth Ėand therefore the saints of Kelmscott- might celebrate the supper of the Lord time and time again.
The question I want to address today is this. What is the kernel, what is the heart of the Lordís supper celebration? Shortly weíll go forward to sit at the table of the Lord with so many others from the congregation. Some of these people we consider our good friends, and we feel close to them. With others of these people we experience distance and maybe even distrust. Now the question is: what is the fine point of the Lordís supper celebration today? Whatís the heart of this table?
The apostle writes a letter to the Corinthians. These Corinthians experienced "contentions" among themselves, so that the one declared himself to be "of Paul," while the person in the next pew insisted he was "of Apollos", a third "of Cephas", and still another "of Christ" (I Cor 1:12). In the midst of this evidence of the brokenness of life on this sin-filled earth, the apostle speaks in our chapter of the Lordís supper and sets before the saints of Corinth what the fine point, what the essence, of this celebration is. "The Lord Jesus on the night in which He was betrayed took breadÖ, broke it and said, ĎTake, eat; this is My body which is broken for youÖ.í In the same manner He also took the cupÖ, saying, ĎThis cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do Ö in remembrance of Meí" (vss 23f). Notice that the emphasis lies on the bread and the cup. Paul recalls the institution, and does not place the disciples in the limelight but instead the words of the Lord, those words about His body and His blood. Paul speaks to the saints of Corinth about the Lordís supper, and does not highlight first of all the natures of those who sit at the table; he highlights the essence of the celebration by asking attention to Christ, to Christís body, Christís blood.
Why? Because the essence of the celebration is that matter of what Christ did for sinners. Though Himself without sin, He gave up His body as a sacrifice in order to pay for our sins. Though Himself without sin, He shed His blood to wash our sins away. The fine point of the table is not that those who sit at the table today are sinners; the fine point is what happened 2000 years ago on Calvary, is that Christ laid down His life. The focus at the table is not people, but the focus is the bread that you see being broken Ė a symbol that Christís body was broken 2000 years ago. And thatís a bread that the crucified Christ commands you and me to "take" and "eat"; after all, "this [bread] is My body which is broken for you." Again, the focus at the table is the cup Ė a symbol that Christ shed His blood on the cross 2000 years ago, and thatís a cup that we are to drink "in remembrance of" Him.
Itís so human for us to focus on the things we see, the things we feel, the things we experience. But, brothers and sisters, as soon as we focus on the things we see, the things we feel, the things we experience, then we lose sight of where things are really at. For we are all sinful, and so what we see around us is all marred by sin, yes, and we see it through sin-filled eyes, and then everything looks so gray, so dismal. So the Lord tells us to lift our eyes off the things of this earth, and to fix them on the Christ. Thatís what He does by holding up before us this bread and this cup. The fine point of the Lordís supper celebration is not the people who sit at this table; the fine point is what the Lord is holding up for you to see and to recall, to taste and to enjoy.
He wants us to look at Him. That will encourage us, and move us to live the more for Him. Amen.