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Come To The Lord's Table

"Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I am speaking as to wise people. Judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing that we give thanks for, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for all of us share that one bread. 18 Look at the people of Israel. Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in what is offered on the altar? 19 What am I saying then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but I do say that what they sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. I do not want you to participate with demons! 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot share in the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22 Or are we provoking the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?"
I Corinthians 10:14-22 

Holiday Catering, Christmas Catering & Party Catering | Cracker BarrelIn our culture, special occasions are often celebrated and connected with food—Thanksgiving, Christmas, anniversaries, birthdays, etc. Whenever there is such a special occasion and meal, we can’t wait to be told: "Come to the table!" Today, Jesus has set the table and He is inviting us, "Come to My Table." Now, there are several things we need to bring to the table…

The first thing, we need to do before we sit down to a meal, we need wash hands. You don’t work in the garden or garage and then come inside, sit down, and eat dinner. You wash up first. This is why the Bible tells us to examine our lives before receiving Communion. We may see something that needs to be confessed and cleaned up. When we were kids, we occasionally had to go to bed without supper because we did something that our parents considered to be a "wrong behavior". 

When we come to Jesus with remorse and repentance, we find forgiveness, restoration, and an invitation to His table. Some people get so burdened by their sins, that instead of asking forgiveness, they figure they’re too unworthy to participate, and they pass the tray without partaking. None of us are worthy, but if we’ve trusted Christ, we are eligible. He invites and authorizes us to come to the table.

The second thing we need to do before dining, we need a good appetite. In other words, we need to come hungry. What would happen if you were invited to someone’s house for dinner, and an hour before the meal you ate a sandwich, bag of chips, and a package of cookies? After all this junk food, you’d have little appetite for the good stuff that's being served! 

So, Paul tells us, in verse 21 "You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot share in the Lord’s table and the table of demons." God offers us a substantive meal—the Bread and Cup won’t fill us up physically, but will however satisfy our spiritual hunger. When we stuff ourselves with the junk food of sin, we lose our appetite for the banquet God has prepared for us. We need to "taste and see" the satisfying goodness of the Lord 

"Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!"
Psalm 34:8

At the Lord’s Table grape juice represents the blood of Christ, which cleanses our spiritual hearts of sin’s deadly effects.

We are in the world, but, we are not of the world. Therefore, we are exposed to sin, however, we can resist temptation. Do we get an appetite for what God has for us, when we’ve been dwelling on things below, rather than things above? No! In fact, when our perspective is fixed on temporal things, we can get caught up in the things of this world, that which has no lasting value. Jesus promises, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."

So, what does Jesus mean when He says we’ll be "filled"? I believe there are a lot of people, even many who claim the name of Christ, live their lives on EMPTY. They live day-to-day without much spiritual purpose or meaning, and when they reach the end, they find themselves wondering what the point was in living. Why? Because they are starving spiritually. How much different would their lives be to realize and know that God loves us individually, and has a specific plan for our lives. Jesus fills our days with a purpose, a sense of significance and satisfaction.

 The third thing we need to do when we’re dining at the Lord's Table, is we need set aside the time to enjoy the moment. In our culture, we live our lives in such a hurry, that we don’t often enjoy our food; we essentially inhale it and rush on to something else! However, when we partake in the Lord’s Supper, we come to savor the moment, to linger, to reflect and remember. I have to confess, there have been times in my life, when I’ve looked at the clock, or my watch and after the sermon, and I’ve sprinted through Communion. However, when we come to the Lord’s Table, our spiritual meal should be the focus of why we’re here. Not the other things we feel we must hurry to get to. Liturgical churches do this; they make Communion the center of their worship.

Harmony at the meal table is important. I heard many stories about families who get together for a meal, and before long the table conversation often becomes controversial. They started talking about current events, then the conversation takes a sharp turn, slipping into political differences. Now, we know that everyone shares the same viewpoint, and the harmony and enjoyment of the meal can easily become ruined as emotional conversations hit a high point. 

The same is true, for many Christians, we can’t expect everyone in the congregation to agree on every issue, and that's OK, we can have differences of opinions, however, we are expected to love one another, as Christ has loved us and get along.

In verse 17, Paul makes a point of saying that, "Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for all of us share that one bread." Conflict, tension, disharmony, ruin a perfectly good meal. One thing we don’t bring to the table is divisiveness, therefore, we are to come to the table in Harmony! We are to agree on our unity in Jesus Christ, keeping in mind, that what unites us is far greater than that which may divide us. 
Kiss the Cook (Graphic) by Amy Anderson Designs · Creative Fabrica

The next thing is we need to be grateful for this meal. I saw an apron in a gift catalogue that says: "Kiss the Cook". Those who prepare meals appreciate being told that those who have eaten, enjoyed their meal. When we come to the Lord’s Table, we need to eat with gratitude, to not take it for granted. God provided manna, miraculous food, to the Jewish nation in the wilderness, and all they did was complain. We must appreciate the cost of this meal. Jesus has prepared a meal for us that cost Him His life. We should appreciate those take the time to prepare Communion. Even more so, we should appreciate the sacrifice of our Savior; His finished word on the cross; otherwise we miss the whole point of this meal!

In other words, we want this to be a true expression of our joy in the cross, a true communion with the living Christ, Who is in our midst, a true celebration of our unity in Him, a true and honest proclamation of His death. We want it to be a true anticipation of the hope that one day we will be sharing in this table in the kingdom with Christ.

I remember when I was growing up, communion happened once in a while, and was most often a ten-minute addendum at the end of the church service. And, it somehow seemed to me that that was not the way it was intended to be. Later, when I was older, I was exposed to those who had the Lord’s Table every Sunday, every single time they gathered. And I thought to myself, how I preferred that, as opposed to the ten-minute addendum.

Because our Lord said, after introducing this memorial feast, as it were, “Do this in remembrance of me. Do this until I come. Take the bread and take the cup and show forth my death until I come. Do this." So I understood, that Communion is so very, very important. So important in fact, that the early church, did it daily. They came to the Lord's Table daily.

I soon found myself wondering, what if you had an entire service devoted to the Lord’s Table and you did it often, at all different kinds of occasions. Not just on a particular Sunday, but also sometimes in Bible study, sometimes the Wednesday evening service. If it was so important to the early church, what are we missing today? After all, there's a lot happens at the Lord’s Table.

Just think about it for a moment. Perhaps, the part most familiar to us, is part of the Lord’s Table, where we remember the Lord’s death. In the bread, we remember that He gave His body; in the cup, we remember that He shed His blood. We remember His saving work on the cross, that unique and supreme and marvelous work by which our salvation was purchased. And what is to be our response to that? Thanks, praise, humility. Thanks, praise and humility! But it’s just not what we focus on when we come to the Lord’s Table, is it?. Then, there’s a second important reality. First of all, we remember Christ’s saving work on the cross. Secondly, we see the common partaking of Christ’s presence.

I Corinthians 10:16, asks us, "The cup of blessing that we give thanks for, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?"

Communion is important, it's not to be some ritualistic religious act. We come to the Lord's Table to celebrate our common union with Christ. There is a real communion occurring here. It is a real sharing in the blood of Christ and the sharing in the body of Christ.

The Lord’s Table is the reminder of the cross, where we all are leveled to the same place, unworthy, needy sinners at the foot of the cross. This is what identifies, symbolizes and celebrates our oneness in the body of Christ, our common eternal life. At the foot of the cross, we are all equally in need of His grace, we are all equally the unworthy recipients of a salvation that is unearned and undeserved.
Yet, when we come to Christ, through His grace, we have been given the precious gift of salvation.
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So while we come to the Lord’s Table to remember His death for us, we also come to the Lord’s Table to commune in the sweet fellowship with Him, our Lord and Savior, for He gathers with His people and inhabits their praise, especially when they are in obedience to Him, doing what He has told them to do. And then, we are also communing with one another. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, we are one body, one bread, we possess one Spirit. It is here that we celebrate our common eternal life, shared eternal life, and oneness in the body of Christ.

This is where we are reminded of the importance of our spiritual unity of loving one another, of experiencing true fellowship with one another, ministering to one another, serving one another, seeking peace with one another. There’s a sense in which we come to the Lord’s Table to worship in the holiest place.

In verse 20, Paul says, "No, but I do say that what they sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. I do not want you to participate with demons!" And in verse 21, "You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot share in the Lord’s table and the table of demons.

The point here is, that there is no place for mixed loyalty, that’s what this is saying to us here.
There is no place for holding on to anything that is false, anything that is demonic, anything that is of the darkness, we come to the Table to worship Christ and Christ alone, in a singular worship.

In I Corinthians 11:28-29, Paul says, "So a man should examine himself; in this way he should eat the bread and drink from the cup. For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself."

The modern church has become a place that entertains unbelievers. I believe, this has become the death of the Lord’s Table, in the modern church today. I mean to say, you can’t have a meaningful communion service if you’re trying to appeal to non-believers, I know that sounds a bit harsh, but Scripture says they’re shut out of that. Communion is for believers.

Sometimes, I believe that children may understand Communion better than adults, with their childlike faith. There’s a big difference between being childish and being childlike. When we are childlike we come to Communion with a sense of wonder and awe. A minister asked a group of young children what they thought of this ordinance, and here are some responses: A 6-year old said, “Communion is part of God and God’s life.” A 10-year old answered, “It reminds me of Jesus and that He died for us.” A 5-year old responded, “It makes me happy to remember.” And a 12-year old stated, “It’s the closest we can get to Jesus.”

We are to come to the Lord’s Table with loyalty. We avoid the competition. For example, if your family owned a restaurant, you would likely come and eat frequently, you would tell others about it, and you wouldn’t want to eat any place else.

Paul is talking about how people try to eat at the devil’s table, yet also come to the Lord’s. We serve a jealous God, Paul says in verse 22, "Or are we provoking the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?"

God will not be replaced with substitutes. He demands our undivided loyalty. The Christians at Corinth were tempted to revert to their idolatrous practices, the ways of their former lives. We don’t see overt pagan idol worship today, yet idolatry is still prevalent issue in our society. How so? Because trusting anything for what God alone provides is idolatry. Placing money above God is one of the most prevalent forms of idolatry we see today.
How to Approach Communion in Recovery – Faith in Recovery

Eating at the Lord’s table means communing with Christ and identifying with His death. Our partaking of Communion indicates that we undivided in our commitment to Christ. Meaning He is our top priority; He has preeminence in our lives. He is never to be "Second best" in our lives! What do I mean by that? Allow me to explain; You had better not come to the Lord’s Table without a serious self-examination, in fact, I Corinthians 11:30-32 says, "This is why many are sick and ill among you, and many have fallen asleep. If we were properly evaluating ourselves, we would not be judged, but when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord, so that we may not be condemned with the world."

In Closing....

Communion is a time when we must evaluate our sinfulness, we must take an honest look at our heart, and confess any unconfessed sin and repent. However, as I read earlier, it’s also a proclamation. Let's look again at verse 26, "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes." By this, we proclaim the cross. And, I believe, this alone, ought to be reason enough for us to do it more often in the face of the unbelievers, isn't that true? I mean I can’t think of anything more powerful for an unbeliever to sit in on than a communion service that’s done biblically, where they see the reality of what the body of Christ really is all about, those who celebrate the cross of Jesus Christ, those who confront the sin in their own lives, those who, in this symbolic act, are happy to proclaim that Christ gave His body and His blood on the cross for us.

I believe that we’re going to have Lord’s Table experiences through all eternity. We’ll always be looking back upon and celebrating the cross, and what Christ did for us. The Lord only instituted two ordinances, two symbols: baptism, at the time of salvation, and the Lord’s Table, continuously until He comes.

Beloved, these truths having been brought to bear upon your heart, you need to respond by taking a good long look, an inventory of your heart, then ask the Lord to purify your heart so you don’t partake in an unworthy manner and bring down the chastening of God, but rather, His blessing.

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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