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The Gift of the Lord’s Supper

Maundy Thursday A Miraculous Gift: Matthew 26:26-28 Did you hear what Jesus just said?  Jesus said, “Take and eat; this is my body” and “this is my blood of the covenant.”  In other words, in this Lord’s Supper we eat bread and drink wine and in a miraculous way- a way that goes beyond our understanding- God give us Himself, His true body and blood.  That’s amazing! Now, does it make any sense to us logically?  Not really.  The fact that I would eat a little wafer and drink a little wine and at the very same time I receive the body and blood of God??  That’s crazy!  Right? Well, let’s think about some other things that God tells us in Scripture.  It was crazy to think that the Israelites could walk around the city of Jericho a bunch of times and the city walls would come crashing down.  It was crazy to think that Gideon could defeat the thousand upon thousands of Midianites with only 300 men.  It was crazy to think that Naaman could wash in the Jordan River and be cleansed of leprosy.  It was crazy to think that the disciple Peter could walk on water to meet Jesus who was also walking on water. And…every one of those things worked.  Why?  Because the promise of God was connected to each event.  The promise of God brings power!  The walls of Jericho fell because God promised they would.  The Midianites were routed because God promised they would be.  Naaman’s leprosy was healed because God promised it.  Peter could walk on water because Jesus promised it. Andy why is all of that important to us?  Because there’s all kinds of things that all we have is God’s promise.  We can’t scientifically prove that believers go to heaven; all we have is God’s promise.  We can’t scientifically prove that in baptism a child is adopted into God’s family; we have God’s promise.  We can’t scientifically prove that in the Lord’s Supper we receive Jesus’ true body and blood together with the bread and wine for the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.  In a way to our human eyes and human reason it would seem foolish to believe that. But, we have God’s promise!  And God’s promises have this amazing record of always coming true!  Again and again and again. So we come to God’s gracious gift of the Lord’s Supper, we don’t have to figure it out logically, we don’t have to scientifically prove it, it doesn’t have to jive with our human reason. Rather, we simply rejoice in it.  Why?  Because we have a promise from God!  And God keeps all His promises.  We do receive Jesus’ true body and blood and it really does give us the forgiveness of our sins!  It works!  What a miraculous gift! A Gift to Unite:  1 Corinthians 10:16-17 Do you enjoy being alone?  Sure there are times when we just like to be by ourselves to think about something or to sort things out.  But I’m guessing none of us would enjoy being alone indefinitely, loneliness, no family to visit, no friends to do things with, no coworkers to talk to.  None of us would enjoy indefinite loneliness.  Well, God knows our needs and one way that he fills our need is in this wonderful gift of the Lord’s Supper. There’s actually 2 powerful unitings going on in the Lord’s Supper.  First, God tells us, “Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ?  And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?”  In an awesome and amazing way God unites Himself to us in the Lord’s Supper giving us His own body and blood.  But is that something that we truly appreciate?  Do we have a sense of awe when we approach the Lord’s Supper?  Do we treat the Lord’s Supper as something profound, awesome, and amazing?  Or do we simply come forward without any sense of the wonder and amazement of what God is doing here?  We need to be reminded again what the Lord’s Supper is: God uniting Himself to us by giving to us His own body and blood together with the bread and the wine for the forgiveness that we so desperately need! There’s also another uniting going on in the Lord’s Supper, with each other.  God tells us through Paul, “Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.”  Here Paul uses an illustration of how the Lord’s Supper was distributed.  They would have one loaf of bread, resembling a pita bread, and they would pass it around and each person would break off a piece.  There’s also this horizontal unity in the Lord’s Supper. If there wasn’t any such thing as false teachers and false teachings in the world we could enjoy the Lord’s Supper in a wonderfully amazing way with so many people.  But the fact is as Jesus promised there are false teaching and false teachers.  Let’s focus on just a couple that deal with the Lord’s Supper.  Some people say that the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper actually “change into” Jesus’ body and blood so there’s no longer bread and wine, so that when you drop a wafer you’ve dropped Jesus’ body or if you spill some wine you’ve spilled Jesus’ blood.  That turns the Lord’s Supper into a scary thing!  Others say that the bread and wine merely represent Jesus’ body and blood and that Jesus’ body and blood are really not present.  That false teaching empties the Supper of it’s deep meaning.  Would we want to say that we’re in agreement with someone who believes that? And that’s just scratching the surface of all the false teachings in our world!  Would you want to say that you are in agreement with any of those false teachings?  No way!  So God wants His people to practice membership communion.  God wants only those who’ve had an opportunity to learn and take an official stand on all the truths of Scripture to commune.  Why do we do that?  Because there are all kinds of false teachings in the world and we can’t read hearts so we rely on a person’s confession of faith. And, can you imagine?  You’re about to come before the altar with dozens of other believers who … confess exactly what you confess!  You’re about to come before the altar with other believers who have taken a stand on each and every truth of the Bible … just like you!  You’re about to eat bread and drink wine, but know that you’re receiving Jesus’ real body and blood together with it, in a miraculous way!  And every other person up here has said that they believe the same thing!  This is wonderful and deep unity!  We celebrate it in the Supper, and God builds it ever stronger in the Supper! A Glorious Gift:  Matthew 26:29 He had nothing in this world.  No estate.  No investments.  No inheritance.  He’s about to leave His disciples and what will He leave them when He goes?  What could He possibly give them to replace His physical presence?  And what about us, His followers in the year 2014, what has He left us? In a wonderful way He gives us His true body and blood together with bread and wine so that we can see, touch, taste, hear, and actually receive the forgiveness Jesus won for us on the cross.  God assures us of our forgiveness and sweeps away our doubts about His love for us. And one other thing, Jesus said, “I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”  What else has Jesus given us in the Lord’s Supper?  A wonderful foretaste of the heavenly banquet that awaits us in glory!  Here in the Supper God gives you a foretaste of what you will enjoy in eternity in His presence!  What a glorious gift!