Having said that, we have freedom in Christ and it would be legalistic for me to suggest that this is how Communion should be done every time, everywhere. Christians have the liberty to recall Christ’s atoning sacrifice as often as they please. If once a week or month is sufficient for you, who am I to argue.
Posts Tagged ‘communion’
Posted in Bible, Christianity, discipleship, religion, tagged Christ, Christianity, communion, God, Jesus, lampstand, pick up your cross, precious desire, religion, Second Epistle to the Corinthians, the cross I bear, words of jesus on February 23, 2013| 11 Comments »
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23
What did Jesus mean when He said we need to pick up our cross and what does it actually look like to pick it up daily? Examining the words of Jesus we see that there are four parts to the equation. I’ve summarized them with four ‘D’ words: desire, denial, deed, and devotion.
In order to effectively follow Christ, Jesus wants us to know that there is a progression. Discipleship (the actual following-of-Christ part), comes when the first three elements are actualized. Reject or skimp on desire, denial, and deed, and devotion suffers. It’s kind of like a student showing up to school without his pencils, paper, and books — he might be able to get some of his assignments accomplished, but the lack of preparation will be revealed in his work for that day. It’s plain to see that this pattern can not lead to improvement.
If Anyone Desire…
For the love of Christ compels us…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:14a & 17
Before we were born of the Spirit, we were born of the flesh. Accordingly, before we were born of the Spirit, our desires were focused on fleshly things. Some of those things may not have even been sinful unto themselves, but our desire for them, steeped in pure selfishness, was sinful. Once we were born again, our desire was redirected towards those things that were pleasing to God, rather than ourselves. We understand by faith that we had no hand in placing this new desire within us; this precious desire is the byproduct of the grace Jesus freely gives His disciples. If this desire is not present, we must question why, perhaps even pondering if we are truly born again believers.
Don’t fret — repent!
Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place–unless you repent. Revelation 2: 5
Deny: “let him deny himself”
If desire is present, then denial is the next preparatory step forward, with the realty being that self-denial is the fruit of Godly desire. In other words, if you have died with Christ (that is, died to your flesh) you will desire to walk in the Spirit and not work to satisfy the desires of the flesh. The bonds of flesh have been broken and we have willingly yoked ourselves to Jesus; we are bond servants of Christ. At this point we can begin to see that while there is a progression and order to desire, denial, deed, and devotion, they are also divinely intertwined.
“Our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.” Romans 6:6-9
Deed: “take up his cross daily”
We might wonder why desire and denial is not sufficient; why are we additionally instructed to pick up the cross of crucifixion each day? The answer is simple: the directive from Jesus is a reminder for us. Human beings have a tendency to forget and rather than scold His children daily, Jesus provides for us a way to daily remember our baptism, our first symbolic gesture publicly proclaiming the death of our flesh and our newness of eternal life in Christ.
In the same way that Jesus wants us to remember what He accomplished on the cross (when we break the loaf and partake of the cup), He wants us to remember (daily) that we hoisted our old man up there as well. If the Christian does not consistently start each day with this holy recognition, his or her desire will fade, and he or she will be susceptible to appeasing their flesh rather than denying it. At this juncture, devotion to Jesus might not even come to mind!
What does picking up the cross look like?
It minimally starts with prayer. Personally, it’s my preference to pray before my feet hit the floor in the morning. This prayer is characterized by thanksgiving and an affirmation of God’s godliness, followed by my desire to follow Him and to deny my flesh, and then, His help in the deed of dying to myself (picking up my cross), so effective devotion can occur that day. I ask for (and allow) God to search my heart in order to root out any evil that’s lurking therein, and then ask for a fresh refilling of His Holy Spirit for power and direction. This initial morning prayer is less than a minute long, but it sets the pace for the rest of the day; my cross has been raised and my baptism has been remembered. Having done this, I’m best equipped to follow Him. If I forget to do this, there stands the likelihood I will soon stumble. Neglect these things (and I have), devotion, the act of submission to Jesus, suffers. Effectual discipleship requires preparation — the preparation Jesus outlines in Luke 9:23.
Devotion: “follow Me”
I’m reminded that these deeds are not works unto salvation. Our salvation is a done deal; a work that Jesus finished on the cross. Nor are these deeds compensation to Jesus for the gifts He bestows; everyone knows that when you receive a present you don’t try to thank a person by paying for it. If we’re fooled into believing that our efforts in Christ are restitution to Christ, we’ve fallen back into fleshly ritual. Suddenly it’s no longer the love of Christ that compels us, but an obligation to a false image of Christ we’ve created; the components of our Christian faith (prayer, communion, fellowship, etc) are no longer things we are free or desire to do, but rather things we must do.
But in the design Jesus lays out, we’re daily reminded that these sinful bonds have been broken. He provides and empowers as we present ourselves to Him as empty and submitted vessels. In this manner, each day in Christ can be a continuation of His will from the previous day, or if we didn’t fare so well, a divine do-over. Regardless, through Christ’s blood, death, and resurrection, sin has lost its power. In every single sinful opportunity we encounter, God will provide a way to circumvent evil one hundred percent of the time. Of course the decision to receive His remedy hinges on how we started our day, and whether or not we picked up our cross. This is where the disciple demonstrates that he came to class prepared.
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
These articles may or may not be related (I think some of them are not):
- Ash Wednesday (menofmud.org)
- God is throwing rocks at the world… it’s time to get right with Him before the big one hits! (vineoflife.net)
- Lenten Journey Day 9: Friday, February 22, 2013 (contemplativechristians.com)
- Transfiguration: A moment of listening to Jesus (junjunfaithbook.com)
- The Chronicles of Life and Death (vineoflife.net)
- Bob Hunt: Stations of the Cross allows Christians to walk His walk (knoxnews.com)
- iLove (krisbelfils.wordpress.com)
- Weary of Praying? (justifiedandsinner.com)
- Faith Fuel (inspiration4generations.wordpress.com)
- Satan as Your Best Friend (menofmud.org)
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For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 1 Cor.11:30
For What Reason?
Why are we weak, sick, and asleep at the wheel? The Apostle Paul reminds us it is because we are not giving worth to the Lord’s Supper—Communion. We have forgotten what Jesus did on the cross and why He did it. We have forgotten that our presence at the table and participation in the meal is in remembrance of Him. We have forgotten the significance and we have forgotten our Lord’s directive. We’ve lost our focus…or have we?
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians 3:2
His Pain or Our Gain
Where then should be our focus? On the pain and suffering Christ endured for us ~or~ on the result of that sacrifice, our salvation? I would say yes to both. Earlier in the passage, Paul writes about participating in an unworthy manner and not discerning the Lord’s body. I believe he is purposely reminding us that Christ’s death was not routine (in the natural sense) and nor should be our participation. It really needs to be a time of Eucharist (which simply means thanksgiving, which really means to remember) and I believe it needs to be at every meal.
Frankly, I’m not sure how a Christian gets around:
“This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
So in my house, we don’t get around it — we remember Christ’s broken body and poured out blood (almost) every time we dine as a family. It’s never an elaborate affair nor do I think Jesus wanted it to be. As often as you do it, remember. That’s all. And the more often you do it, the more you need to remember.
Because the more often Christians partake of God’s blessing the more we tend to take that blessing for granted.
Don’t think so?
When was the last time you walked out to a car that you assumed would be where you parked it last, inserted the key and assumed it would start, and drove where you wanted to go assuming you would arrive safely, on roads you assumed would be there, and not once thought about the God who provided it all?
We’re all guilty. We are a forgetful people and God knows this.
“Yet I am the Lord your God Ever since the land of Egypt, And you shall know no God but Me; For there is no Savior besides Me. I knew you in the wilderness, In the land of great drought. When they had pasture, they were filled; They were filled and their heart was exalted; Therefore they forgot Me.” Hosea 13:4-6
God knows that when we are regularly filled it is our tendency is to worship the blessing and ignore the Blessor. Therefore He chose a specific occasion for times of remembrance. Why a meal? Because its something we all do. He didn’t say, ‘Every time you get on your camel,’ because not every person owns one. He didn’t say, ‘As often as you enter your house,’ because not every one has one of those. But everyone eats eventually. It’s an activity that is common to all people.
Of what worth is His sacrifice if we don’t take the time to remember it? God ordained it so let’s do it — it honors Him and it blesses us!
But Communion is for Church!
Communion is for His body the Church, however I’ve yet to find a verse that suggests it can only be done at church. Frankly to suggest such a thing reeks of religion-ism; that very thing that so many Christians today are opposed to! Communion is absolutely a time of remembrance and a time of fellowship, but believer quantity was never meant to be the prerequisite.
If Jesus and I is all there is then Jesus and I will do just fine.
…The Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 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.” 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.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-25
- What do these verses say about God?
- What do they say about us?
- What are some changes we could address?
- A Proper Love (compassiondave.wordpress.com)
- The Lords Supper is a Full Meal | Till He Comes (javaman56.wordpress.com)
- Taking Communion for Granted (dailybibleplan.com)
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When I was a fledgling Christian, the first few times I read this verse I was jealous. Despite knowing better, it almost seemed as if they (the disciples in general, and John in particular) were rubbing my nose in the fact that they hung-out with Jesus, they heard and spoke with Jesus, they had seen Jesus, and they had touched Jesus. My initial reaction was how easy it must have been to come into a saving faith being so ‘personally’ blessed.
What I missed in the passage was that John is telling us that we can be similarly blessed—we can experience Jesus in the same way the disciples did.
We can glean from the experience of two men who were traveling on the Road to Emmaus; the account given to us in Luke 24. We recall that this event took place after the crucifixion and that these two fellows were quite dejected (not knowing Christ had indeed risen). Although not recognizing Him, Jesus joins them on their walk and as verse 24:27 points out…
And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
Then later on we see this occurrence…
Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him…He was known to them in the breaking of bread. Luke 24:30-31, 35
In the communion of fellowship, Jesus revealed Himself and in the same way He reveals Himself to us today! The scriptures tells us that Jesus has come and, “In the volume of the book it is written of Me, ” (Hebrews 10:7, quoting the Psalmist). Further more we know that, “faith comes by hearing the Word of God, ” (Romans 10:17), but in actuality the Word is opened-up as we partake of the broken bread recalling why He was broken. Christ is known in the breaking of the bread. By this we may know Jesus as the disciples knew Jesus.