‘Until He comes’

I really like Selwyn’s conclusion to this issue – it’s great.

He writes: “We remind ourselves, on this last day together, of what we described earlier as the five c’s of Communion – community, commemoration, covenant, celebration and commitment.

Most Christians, will agree that whenever that whenever we approach the Lord’s table, we must recognise that it is a corporate act in which we focus our attention on Christ’s redemptive death on Calvary, remind ourselves of its covenant nature, rejoice in the great benefits of the atonement and pledge our loyalty to Him who loved us and gave Himself for us.

There is just one more word I have to say – the Lord’s Supper is a wonderful but only a temporary provision for the Christian Church. We shall not celebrate it in eternity. The Lord’s Supper commands, a confident belief in Jesus’ second coming. … Indeed without that belief it cannot be said to be truly celebrated.”

Just as the manna provided by God for the Israelites in the desert, while on their journey to the promised land, was not needed when they arrived at their destination; so too, we will not require spiritual food for our journey – when Jesus returns and our earthly journey has reached its end.

Perhaps, a good way to end is with these few verses from Matthew’s Gospel, (26:26-29, NIV): “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

On that day, we will have a new and everlasting celebration with Jesus!

I pray that those who have followed with me – Selwyn’s insights into the Lord’s Supper – now see the wonderful beauty and spiritual meaning that Jesus has provided for us to feed upon. It is real food and you will never go hungry if you fully accept God’s provision.

Any final comments on this issue?

A divine command

Selwyn starts to summarise this issue, on the subject of the Lord’s Supper – Eat, Pray, Share.

He writes in today’s study: “As we begin to draw our meditations to a close, we return to the sentiment I expressed at the beginning of this issue – that one of the greatest needs of the contemporary Christian Church is to return meaning to the Communion. In view of this, we need to ask ourselves a personal and searching question: have we allowed our familiarity with the act of Holy Communion to breed within us a sense of complacency?

… Even if the charge of complacency does not apply to us, every one of us cannot help but benefit from the attempt to comprehend more deeply the meaning of Communion. …

And remember: the Communion service is not a matter of inclination – it is a matter of command. Jesus said, ‘Do this in remembrance of me.‘”

If you meditate upon this fact for awhile – all God’s commands are for our spiritual benefit – they lead us in the direction of His holiness.

How we approach the Lord’s table reflects our relationship to Him – it can be as shallow as taking out a picture from our wallets and briefly remembering an event that occurred nearly two thousand years ago. Or, it can be a joyous celebration of the new eternal relationship we now share with God – an expression of our love for Jesus – a witness of our commitment to follow Him.

The spiritual nourishment that we receive from Christ when we share His Supper is measured by the depth of our relationship with God. If, we expect little then that’s what we might receive – always feeling weak and prone to temptation – lacking essential spiritual nutrition.

Your view?

 

A spiritual health check

I don’t have much to say about today’s study.

Selwyn’s point is very clear.

He writes: “… If we fail to examine ourselves when we come to the Communion table and surrender to the Lord those things that are wrong, then they will become the virus within us that will bring about spiritual ill-health.

The apostle Paul told the Corinthians,Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord’ (1 Corinthians 11:27).”

Sitting at the table with Jesus – is you, testifying that you are one with Him, and that you follow His teaching. It is a sin, not just against your fellow believers (the Church), but against the Person of Christ, God Himself – if, you sit down at His table in an unworthy state or manner.

It is a serious matter – I can’t think of anything worse than to be sitting at the same table as Jesus, at His wedding feast – and hear Him say; ‘Leave this table, by your unworthy manner you have testified that you don’t love me – depart from My presence and go out, into the darkness.”

As Selwyn says in his conclusion: “If we approach the Lord’s table in the right spirit, then we will be able to approach the whole of life in the right spirit.”

Self-examination

Selwyn starts today’s study, by reminding us of the implied commitment that you never violate the friendship of someone with whom you have shared a meal.  He states, ‘that the table at which we eat is, the place where our loyalty is pledged.’ 

This idea is perhaps, very foreign to many people – especially when many of us are in the habit of getting a ‘fast’ meal at some popular take-away place, that even a shared meal with all the family is more of a special event and not the normal routine that it once was, a few decades back.

Yet, the warning that sounds in today’s key verse, 1 Corinthians 10:21, ‘ you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.‘  Is still – very true, you cannot follow Jesus and be friends with this world at the same time. I’m sure many reading this will be very familiar with the temptation of being one, with the world, around a BBQ (non-Christian occasion) on a Saturday; and then trying to follow Jesus for an hour or so, on a Sunday. It’s hard to be – our honest selves – in both situations.

These words of Selwyn’s. make for a good summary: ” … We should approach the Lord’s table with a willingness to bring our habits, our motives and our lifestyle under careful scrutiny, and be prepared to break with all those things that are dishonouring to Jesus.

The Scripture verse Selwyn used regarding the table of demons – had me thinking that some would remember the sacrifice of Christ, and the blood of the new covenant; in ways that would be the exact opposite of a follower. I’m sure that when Satan dwells on the cross, he only sees failure and defeat. It’s not just in the remembering of an event  – it’s the who, why and what that gives meaning to the memory.

Do you agree?

‘Table fellowship’

As we come to the end of this issue – Selwyn introduces the last of his five aspects of the Communion – the aspect of commitment.

It’s an important aspect because it’s a term, which has lost some value in the eyes of western culture that has transferred its values onto the temporary fame of having desirable ‘stuff’; be it the latest fashion (appearance), smart phone (toy), car or large house. Success, is being ‘known’ for any reason – the goal is to become a celebrity and ‘liked’ or ‘followed’ by large numbers of people. It’s a mindset focused on ‘now’; with no regard to future consequences – or commitment to lasting values or relationships.

Selwyn writes: “In ancient times, and in some parts of the world today, sitting and eating a meal at someone’s table implied a certain degree of commitment. … It was expected of those who ate at someone’s table that they would never do anything to violate the friendship that had been shown them.”

Further on, Selwyn refers to this verse, Psalm 41:9,Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me. He writes: ‘The thing that troubled the Psalmist was not so much that he had been wronged, but that he had been wronged by someone who had sat at  his own table.

It is not dissimilar to the table of Communion. Jesus expects that when we eat and drink at His table, we will not be party to anything that would injure His cause or violate His eternal principles.

You may recall, that Jesus dismissed Judas from the group, before He took the bread. broke it and said: “Take and eat; this is my body.” All those present were committed to following Jesus; true – their commitment was soon to be tested but their fail human intentions were – in unity.

With that thought in mind – I think today’s prayer is a good place to end: “O Lord Jesus, I tremble inwardly when I realise just what is involved in coming to your table. I don’t want to ever to let You down. Empower me so that I will be a faithful follower of You -all the days of my life. In your dear name I pray. Amen.”.

Sinners saved by grace

The following from Selwyn, reinforces what was said yesterday – and it does need to be said again and again – because I feel that a lot of people just see Holy Communion as some type of ‘nice’ historical ritual; whereas it’s an outward demonstration of our relationship with God, and, as such, it’s a timeless celebration.

Selwyn states: “There are many reasons that lie behind the praise of God’s people when they meet together, but the central reason is always to be gratitude for our deliverance from the bondage of sin as accomplished through our Saviour’s atoning death on the cross.

When we focus on the cross, we are caught up in the worship of heaven and join with the angels and archangels to acknowledge the worth and holiness of our Creator and our Redeemer.

To focus on the cross and not want to burst forth in praise means that we do not really understand what it is all about.

I guess that’s the main reason why some people have such an uninspired and inadequate view of the Lord’s Supper – they don’t really understand what it means to be saved by grace; and it also means that they don’t comprehend the great depths of their bondage to sin, and their eventual eternal separation from God, which was the definite and only outcome if they were not chosen by Jesus. Grace is truly amazing!

Let’s celebrate!

Selwyn writes, in today’s study: ‘The Passover Festival was a time of great rejoicing for the nation of Israel. The basis of that rejoicing was their deliverance from the tyranny and bondage of Egypt. 

However, a greater exodus than that enjoyed by Israel has been effected in human history.

It is the deliverance wrought by Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. Because He, the Paschal Lamb, has been slain and because by His blood we have been set free, we are exhorted to keep the feast’ of His Supper.

Israel celebrated their release from the bondage of Egypt – it was a significant event in the history of mankind. Yet, it’s but a pale reflection of the release from slavery that we now enjoy through Christ – because our rescue from bondage does not only affect our lives here – it has eternal consequences – surely that’s something to celebrate?