Yesterday's service is not available as an audio download or podcast. Portions of the speaking were not recorded and there was quite a bit of music, and due to copyright laws, we are unable to post most of the musical portions of our worship services.
The services yesterday morning were unique. Rather than a typical order with introductions, the "welcome" and a sermon, this time the entire service was centered around the ordinance of the Lord's Supper.
I began the service explaining the purpose of the ordinance. It was clearly stated that the Lord's Supper (or Communion as some call it) is not a sacrament, but an ordinance. The elements (wine and bread) have no saving power nor any power to remove sin, but are set as reminders of what God has done for mankind through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.
What are these elements and what do they mean?
Bread - the symbol of the broken body of Jesus. Like the lamb at Passover, the Lamb of God - Jesus, laid down his life as a sacrifice for sin. His body was broken - his hands, feet, brow, side. The bread is a symbol. It does not become the body of Christ, but is a reminder of his substitutionary atonement for our sins.
Wine - used by Christ, this is symbolic of the blood of the covenant. The covenant goes all the way back to the book of Exodus. God made a covenant with Moses and the people of Israel. To ratify the covenant, the blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled on the altar and the other half on the people. It was through the blood fo sacrifice that the promises of God were sealed. This is true for the blood shed by Jesus on the cross. His blood was poured out on the cross for the "remission of sin".
Every time we partake of the Lord's Supper, we proclaim the second coming of Christ.
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:26 (ESV)
There are two ordinances in the Baptist Church, the Lord's Supper and Baptism. Baptism is to be observed once in a believer's life. The Lord's Supper regularly throughout the believer's life.
All too often, as shared by our pastoral team this weekend, we enter into the observance of the Lord's Supper in a casual, almost nonchalant way. Our intent this weekend was to slow down, come prepared and focus on the meaning of the ordinance.
Consequently, we ordered the service differently. Our first stop was to prepare spiritually for partaking of the elements. Paul addressed this to the Corinthian church. . .
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 (ESV)
Following a time of prayer, repentance and reflection, we moved into distributing the elements of the Lord's Supper and celebrating, while remembering, what Christ has done.
Some comments I've received since yesterday reflect that this focus was needed:
Thank you so much for reminding us of the importance and the meaning of the Lord's Supper this morning.
Amazing. That's what comes to mind when I reflect on today's service.
I have been praying for a service that would enlighten the church members on the importance of cleansing ourselves of sin and getting straight with God. . .Everything was so perfect about it [the service.]
Amazing service this morning.
This morning's service caused us to refocus our hearts and see the real meaning of the Lord's Supper.
The most powerful and meaningful observance of the Lord's Supper worship time I have ever been a part of.
I've been to a lot of services where we observe the Lord's Supper, but this was, by far, the most incredible.
Thanks for allowing us time to refocus this morning.
There's more, but you get the picture. We need this time of remembrance. We have to slow down to think on these things. May the observance of the Lord's Supper never become routine.