Communion as more than rememberance
This morning in church the sermon was on 1 Corinthians 4. In this passage Paul is basically punking the Corinthians. See, the Corinthians had become prideful and arrogant because of all that they had perceived they had done and achieved for themselves in their faith. Paul states
Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. (8-13)
They had come to believe that what they had in Christ was the result of what they themselves have done.
And because of that, right before these verses Paul states
I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? (6-7)
Paul asks them, how can you boast in something that you have received?
And then this morning we took communion. Normally when we think about communion we use the word “remembrance” and for good reason. In 1 Cor. 1123-26 we are told
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
I think another good word would be “receive.” Instead of “taking” communion, we should “receive” communion. Receive it, because there is nothing we have done to deserve it. I think we forget this. I know I do. Anyone else?
Before I take communion I pray and prepare myself to take communion. So then I think, well, now I am good, I have prayed the right prayer, gotten right with God, done everything I need to do to take communion. Don’t get me wrong, the Bible is clear about making sure we partake of communion with a right spirit and heart, but doing that does not mean that by doing so we push God into a corner where he has to provide communion for us.
Did we come up with the plan to have Jesus sacrificed on the cross? Did we give our only son to save mankind? Did we lay our life down for the world? Did we give up our body and blood? No.
Jesus said, “this is my body which is for you and this is my blood which is for you. Here, receive it from me for you did nothing to deserve it. Come to my table and receive that which you cannot gain on your own. And do this often so that you’ remember’ that his is something you receive from me and not something you do for yourselves.”
So, the next time there is communion at your church, remember to do it with a spirit of receiving knowing that there was absolutely nothing you did to make yourself deserving of it.