The Vision of Midtown: John 13:34&35
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
We get there by Intentional Discipleship / Biblical Theology / Active Participation
At the Center of it all and what motivates it all is The Cross of Christ
1st Corinthians 11:17-34
But in the following instructions, I cannot praise you. For it sounds as if more harm than good is done when you meet together. First, I hear that there are divisions among you when you meet as a church, and to some extent I believe it. But, of course, there must be divisions among you so that you who have God’s approval will be recognized!
- The purpose of church meetings: Glorifying God & building us to do more of that
- Necessary divisions of people in the church for Godly / Ordained reasons
When you meet together, you are not really interested in the Lord’s Supper. For some of you hurry to eat your own meal without sharing with others. As a result, some go hungry while others get drunk.
- The focus of the gathering is not on Christ but on themselves
- This is displayed in the behavior of self-indulgence
- There is a lack of unity and a lack of consideration for others
What? Don’t you have your own homes for eating and drinking? Or do you really want to disgrace God’s church and shame the poor? What am I supposed to say? Do you want me to praise you? Well, I certainly will not praise you for this!
- If you want to be self focused you can do that at home, not in Jesus’ church
- There is a place to party and there is a place to Worship: an important difference
- We are to negatively reinforce ‘UnBiblical Behavior’ (Building Biblical Culture)
For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
- Since Paul was not there Christ must have directly instructed him regarding this
- We are to intentionally experience ‘Remembrance’ of the ‘Ultimate Sacrifice’
- This experience should effect they way we treat each other; uniting us in love
- The problem the Corinthians were having was ‘Taking Christ for Granted’
In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.” For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.
- The Cross was the ultimate fulfillment of all of God’s promises: New Covenant
- The power of the New Covenant (salvation in Christ) is based on Christ’s blood
- Blood is symbolic of the life force of any being: God’s ‘Life Force’ saves us!
- What is more powerful than the life force of the Creator of EVERTYTHING?
- This Observance / Sacrament celebrates salvation in Christ until His return
- Because what Communion represents is SO IMPORTANT we must do it properly
So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup.
- Sinning against Jesus’ Body: The Church / Jesus Blood: The Gospel
- The basic definitions of unworthy are: ‘Unrepentant’ / ‘Unsurrendered’
- We examine ourself to be sure we are not harboring such attitudes BEFORE
- This Worship (Communion) is to be entered into AFTER repentance & surrender
For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself. That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died.
- Taking Communion with an attitude that dishonors Jesus Church is dangerous
- Knowing the Truth and taking it for granted is ‘Not Healthy’
But if we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way. Yet when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned along with the world.
- Self examination / transparency with God
- Embracing attitude of Repentance; asking God to show you how you have sinned
- If we honestly examine ourselves before God, He teaches us as His children
- Weak…Sick…Dead…condemned along with the world… SERIOUS BUSINESS
So, my dear brothers and sisters, when you gather for the Lord’s Supper, wait for each other. If you are really hungry, eat at home so you won’t bring judgment upon yourselves when you meet together. I’ll give you instructions about the other matters after I arrive.
- It is important that we are united and considerate of ‘This Body’
- Prioritize worship when we gather as ‘Christ’s Body’
- Focus on the ‘Good of The Body’ (going to church for others)
- Paul is going to come…for the good of others…
What would be some examples of ‘Biblical’ divisions in a church?
How might we stay ‘Interested’ in the Lord’s Supper?
Why is it important we are careful to earnestly announce Christ’s death?
How might you take ownership of your discipleship during communion each week?