Communion Part 3

My third communion sermon is posted. I discuss what communion teaches us about fellowship with the body.

The Corinthians’ sin which so concerns Paul in 1 Corinthians 11 is that they used communion to divide the Lord’s body, which is why therefore Paul refuses to call what they do the Lord’s Table. The Lord’s Table should be doing the opposite of that, uniting the table.

We see from Scripture that the kingdom of God is a dividing force in the world, separating families, cities, and nations. From Luke 12:

51 “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.
52 “For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three.
53 “Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

And from Matthew 12:
47 Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.”
48 But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?”
49 And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers!
50 “For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

Other passages could be cited, like Luke 14:25-33, but the message is clear- the kingdom of God and the relationships it creates transcends all other relationships. And we celebrate that relationship in the Lord’s Table. This is therefore not an abstraction; not just a mystical relationship with the invisible church. Mystical abstract relationships create no responsibility in me. This is a concrete relationship with the members of my church, with concrete responsibilities.

The modern age, and the modern experience of Christianity, wants to be free to maintain only the relationships that suit me. We want to pick and choose who we love, who we regard as our neighbor. And so we retreat to megachurches or out of “organized religion” altogether. The criticism of organized religion is the same as the modern tendency to cohabitate without marriage- the benefits with no responsibility. I can feel religious because I go to “church” with thousands of other people where I’m treated to a great concert but have no responsibilities at all to my congregants, or go to a church that looks like a coffee shop and talk about how I feel, or not go to church at all and just think about reading my Bible and praying some time. In each case there is no responsibility to the brethren, and that is what church is all about. And so church membership is on the outs in so many churches today. People want to be free to come and go. They want to be a Methodist one week and a Presbyterian or Catholic the next. Whatever suits their whims.

But the real church, the real fellowship, is a body of people bound to each other and to Christ by Christ’s blood, who have responsibilities to each other, who are part of each other’s lives. We ought to be striving to make our church family even more our real family than those related by blood. For ultimately, it’s not natural blood that binds us, but Spiritual blood. The natural blood will bind us only on this earth, but His blood will bind us for eternity.

The whole sermon is here.

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