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Communion

by Dave Everett on June 18, 2011

“For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that 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.’”

Jesus made it very clear as He administered the first communion with His disciples (Lk. 22:19) that the purpose of this act was to keep in remembrance what He was doing for them through His death on the cross.

The real power of communion is the power of remembrance.

The elements used in communion and the ritual itself are not important. The significance of the Lord’s Supper is that it puts us in remembrance of the tremendous price Jesus paid for our salvation. Any deviation from this simple purpose is missing the true meaning of communion.

Some people have taken this statement by Jesus, ‘This is my body,’ to mean that the elements used in communion actually become the physical flesh and Blood of Jesus. Jesus did speak of eating His flesh and drinking His blood in John 6:53-54. Jesus also said, “I am the door of the sheep” (Jn. 10:7, 9) and “I am the true vine” (Jn. 15:1), but that didn’t mean He was claiming to be a physical door or vine. Jesus used expressions symbolically many times in His teachings, and this was what He was doing in this instance.

Both Luke and the Apostle Paul emphasized that the purpose of communion is to remember Jesus and His atoning work (Lk. 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:25). There is no power or holiness in the elements themselves. The benefit that is derived from observing the Lord’s Supper comes from our faith as it is stirred up through remembering what Jesus did for us.

Communion reminds us of the propitiatory and substitutionary work of Christ (Mk. 14:22), and it also is a profession on our part that we have become partakers of Christ and draw our life from His death and resurrection (Jn. 6:53; 1 Cor. 11:26)

The bread of communion symbolizes the Body of Jesus that was broken for us through His sufferings. Jesus not only died for us on the cross, but He also bore stripes on His back by which we were healed (Is. 53:5; Mt. 8:16-17; 1 Pt. 2:24). Partaking of communion should remind us of the emotional and physical salvation that Jesus provided for us.

It is impossible to put a value on the Blood of Jesus. It is the price that was paid for the redemption of the whole human race. The Apostle Peter, in his epistle, stated that silver and gold could never compare to the “precious Blood of Christ” (1 Pt. 1:18-19).

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” (Lev. 17:11)

“And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.” (Heb. 9:22)

The judgment of God was:

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen. 2:17)

Therefore, our sin cost us our lives. But the mercy of God allowed us to substitute animal’s blood (or life) for our own blood under the Old Testament Law. This was not a true atonement, but only a type of the true atonement that would take place when Christ came and offered His Own Blood (life) in our stead. Everything God does for us is dependent on the Blood of Jesus that removed our death sentence forever.

God has guaranteed, by covenant, never to remember our sins after we have accepted by faith that the Blood of Jesus has covered them (Heb. 8:12-13; 9:12, 14, 26; 10:14, 16-19) The following is only a partial list of some of the things that the Blood of Jesus has accomplished on our behalf:

  • It was the price that purchased us from the power of darkness (Acts 20:28; Col. 1:13-14).
  • It justified us before God (Rom. 5:9).
  • It sanctified us (Heb. 10:10, 14; 13:12).
  • It redeemed us (Eph. 1:7; Rev. 5:9).
  • It brought us near to God (Eph. 2:13).
  • It purged our consciences (Heb. 9:14).
  • It provided remission and forgiveness of sins (Heb. 9:22; Eph. 1:7).
  • It gives us boldness to enter into the holiest (i.e., God’s presence) (Heb. 10:19).
  • It cleanses us from all sin (1 Jn. 1:7; Rev. 1:5).
  • It overcomes the devil (Rev. 12:11).

“For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord.” (1 Cor. 11:26-27)

That is a very serious charge! Paul said that if anyone partakes of the Lord’s Table in an unworthy manner they could bring damnation on themselves. In other words, anyone who partakes in communion without being cleansed by the Blood of Jesus is professing a lie.

Then Paul makes this statement:

“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.”

This is where a lot of people miss the Lord’s Table. In context, Paul is stating that we are to partake of His Table in remembrance of Him: Remembering His Body that was broken for us and the Blood of His covenant that was shed for us. This is the entire purpose and focus of partaking of communion. We need the constant reminder.

However, no where in the Levitical Law, was a man or priest instructed to examine the man, only the lamb.

If you could examine the man without the lamb, then you don’t need a Lamb. 

In Leviticus 1-5 we are introduced to five Levitical Offerings. It took five offering to fully illustrate what Christ accomplished for us on the cross. Leviticus chapter one explains the burnt offering and Leviticus chapter four explains the sin offering. The sin offering illustrates our sins being transferred to Jesus and the burnt offering illustrates our Lamb’s righteousness being transferred to us.  

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us [sin offering], that we might become the righteousness of God in Him [burnt offering].” (2 Cor. 5:21, brackets mine)

When an Israelite brought a lamb to the priest as his sin or burnt offering. The priest would examine the lamb to ensure that it had no spot or blemish. Once confirmed, the man would lay his hands on the lamb and the man’s sins were transferred to the lamb and the lamb’s righteousness was transferred to the man and the lamb was slaughtered (crucified). The lamb died and the man was freed. This is what Jesus accomplished for us in the finish work of the cross.

Therefore, as we come to the Lord’s table in remembrance of Him, remembering that He became our sin that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21). In the context of remembering Him there could be only one possible correct examination of ourselves:

WE ARE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM!

Any other examined conclusion would be saying, “Jesus accomplished nothing. Jesus died in vain.” God forbid.

We need the constant reminder. Even in the Levitical Law, the Israelites were required to prepare two burnt offerings per day. One in the morning and one in the evening. Even in the Old Testament they were perpetually reminded of their righteousness. Every time they went to war, they were instructed to prepare a burnt offering so that they would be reminded that victory was theirs because of their righteousness in Him.

Therefore, Jesus said:

“…how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? And then he can plunder his house.” (Mt. 12:29)

I believe the “strong man” is Satan and his “house” is the world: where he once had dominion and authority because of sin. Therefore, I also believe his spoil is everything the enemy: Satan has stolen. (Jn. 10:10)

Therefore, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil,” (1 Jn. 3:8)

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder...Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end…” (Is. 9:6-7)

Jesus is righteous! Jesus is sinless! Jesus is the Son of God: the righteousness of God! Therefore, Jesus has complete dominion and authority over the earth! Consequently, Jesus, as the Son of Man effortlessly and without fail exercised His righteous authority throughout His earthly ministry! Jesus had authority over the sea! Jesus had authority over the fish! Jesus had authority over the storms! Jesus had authority over the fig tree! Jesus had authority over gravity as He walked upon the water! Jesus used His authority over every sickness and disease! Jesus used His authority over every demon! Jesus used His authority over death itself! Jesus had authority because Jesus was without sin! Jesus had authority because Jesus was righteous!

It was Jesus’ righteousness that bound the enemy and spoiled his house as Jesus went about forgiving sin, healing the sick, casting out demons and raising the dead! There was no principality or power that could stop Jesus because He was righteous! Authority is not yelling at the devil.

It was sin that loosed Satan. Therefore, it is righteousness that binds him!

Therefore, righteousness is what gives us: who are born of God, complete authority to bind Satan and spoil his house in order to jubilantly set people free!

Therefore Paul writes:

“For He made Him Who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21)

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He, quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, having nailed it to His cross. And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Col. 2:13-15, KJV)

Jesus bound the strong man! Sin had loosed him. But righteousness now binds him! Jesus crucified sin and blotted out the handwriting ordinances that were against us and nailed them to His cross and declared, “It is finished!” Whereby, proclaiming: “Jubilee! Throughout the land!

Jesus has spoiled all principalities and powers! (Col. 3:15) Therefore, because of Jesus! Satan now has no more authority in the earth! All principalities and powers have been completely defeated, disarmed and spoiled!

Therefore, when we take communion we are proclaiming His death His death! (1 Cor. 11:26)

“For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.” (1 Cor. 11:29-30)

Therefore, as we take communion, we are solemnly proclaiming the Lord’s death and our union with Him through that death. This is a profession of our faith, and therefore, there are serious consequences for those who profess something they don’t possess. There is only one way to be saved and that is to discern the Body of the Lord. To believe and receive that Jesus became your sin and gave you His righteousness through the shedding of His Own Blood. If you believe this and receive Jesus as your Savior then you are the righteousness of God in Him. Communion without believing this will not save you.

In 1 Corinthians 11:30, Paul didn’t say that only a few are weak and sick. He said many people are weak and sick among us because they didn’t discern the Lord’s body properly (1 Cor. 11:29). This same thing is true today. People who are sick because of their failure to discern the Lord’s Body will not get well by someone else praying for them. They have to change their discernment. They must believe: “By His stripes they were healed (salvation).” (1 Pt. 2:24)

When we remember His Body that was broken for us; when we remember the Blood of His covenant that was poured out for us. It helps change our discernment. It places our focus off of the problem and on the Savior. We are reminded that because of Christ, salvation is here, freedom is here, healing is here.

Therefore, we can examine ourselves in a worthy manner and receive everything Jesus has provided for us on Calvary.

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