By Bruce Blakey on November 21, 2022
1 Corinthians 11:17-34
By Bruce Blakey on November 21, 2022
1 Corinthians 11:17-34
I invite you to take your Bibles at this time and open up to First Corinthians chapter 11. First Corinthians chapter 11, verses 17 through 34, for our time in God's Word here this morning. And today, we're going to do one of the most important, one of the most significant, one of the most special things that we ever get to do together as a church. Today, we're going to observe communion, or as some people might refer to it as the Lord's Supper, or the Lord's table. Or you might even come from a church background where you would call it the Eucharist, which is a good word, it comes from the Greek word to give thanks. And that's what we do at communion. And so, I want to start by reading the passage. So, in honor of God's Word, if you'd please stand, as I read 1 Corinthians 11:17-34. The apostle Paul writing, and he says,
“But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. When you come together, it is not the Lord's supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not. 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. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning 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. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another— if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come.”
That is God's Word, please be seated. Anybody just reading that passage carefully and reading it thoughtfully, you would have to conclude that the Lord takes communion very seriously, very seriously. And the communion has been a big serious issue all throughout church history. Just to give you a couple of examples. John Calvin, when he first went to pastor in Geneva, after two years, he was run out of town. And the reason was because he didn't think that people who are living an openly sinful life should partake of communion. And it was three years before they decided, yeah, you're right, and invited them back.
Jonathan Edwards after pastoring his church in Northampton, Massachusetts for twenty-two years, was voted out by the congregation. And the vote was 90% to 10%. 90% of the people wanted him to leave. The man who had been at the center of the Great Awakening! They wanted him to leave. What was the issue? He didn't think unbelievers should take communion.
Charles Spurgeon, when he started pastoring in London, and his church started growing, and they were starting to have space issues. They didn't have multiple services back then. So, he was concerned, we’ve got to have a place that's big enough for everybody to come together and partake of communion together. And if we can't do that, then I'm going to stop being a pastor and just go be an evangelist. They said, no, no, no, don't do that. And they built a 6000-seat auditorium called the Metropolitan tabernacle, because that's how important communion was to Charles Spurgeon.
One time, when the seriousness of this whole issue was really highlighted, was during the reign of Mary Tudor, Queen of England. As she became queen in 1553, she was determined to make England a Catholic nation and impose Catholic practices on all the churches. And there were obviously people who opposed her. There was a reformation going on at that time, and there were people who weren't going to agree with. And this was the issue, that the bread and the cup become the literal body and blood of Jesus Christ, which is what the Catholic Church teaches in the mass. They would not go along with that. One of the leaders was a man named John Rogers, I'll tell you more about him later. But eventually, Queen Mary got parliament to change laws so that she could kill those who are opposed to her programs. And from 1555 to 1558, she had approximately 300 people, men, women, and children executed by being burned at the stake because they disagreed on this issue of communion, and what it's all about, and what it represents. And so, you may know her by another name, Bloody Mary. That's the lady we're talking about. For all the people that she executed, I don't think to the average person going to church and walking into a communion service understands what a potentially dangerous situation they're walking into. Because it's important to the Lord how we do this. And then like I just said, there were some people who have died rather than take it in an unworthy manner.
While in the passage we're looking at, there's people in the church in Corinth who were dying, because they did take it in an unworthy manner. That's what verse 30 was telling us there. So, what should be a joyous remembrance of what Christ has done to save people can result in something altogether different if you don't take it seriously, like the Lord does. And the reason for the unworthy practice in Corinth was because there was division and lack of love amongst the people in the church.
So, as we prepare to take communion here today, we need to understand what is necessary to partake in a worthy manner. What is worthy communion, that's what we want to answer here today. So, let's begin by going back to the passage here and look at the first section there, 1 Corinthians 11:17-22.
And if you're taking notes, you could put this down for number one: “We need to take division seriously. Division in the church, that was the issue there. Listen again, to what he says in verse 17, “But in the following instruction, I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse.” You can tell Paul's not very happy. And because we understand that it's the Spirit of God that's working through Paul to write this letter. What that tells us is the Spirit of God is not very happy with what's going on in their church. The Corinthians were practicing something that was common in the early church. It was called the Love Feast. See it referred that way in Jude 12, a Love Feast where they would come together and share a meal, kind of like a church potluck. And everybody would come and bring something, and they'd share a meal together. Which sounds great, you know, and that's why it's called the Love Feast. We're all going to come together and express our love for one another in our love for the Lord. And then they would end that meal by observing communion or the Lord's table, the Lord's Supper. That's what they were doing. And it was a great thing that they were wanting to do. But Paul says this at the end of 1 Corinthians 11:17, “when you come together, it's not for the better it's for the worse.” That is not what you want to hear at the end of your worship service. That was for the worse. That was a waste of time. And the reason he says that is because of the divisions that existed in the church. You see him talked about that in 1 Corinthians 11:18-19. He says, “For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.” This issue of division was a major problem in the church at Corinth and Paul addresses it throughout the letter. He started it that way in chapter one if you want to turn back and look at chapter one. 1 Corinthians 1:10-12. He addresses this issue right off the bat. As he starts this letter, he says, “I appeal to you,” brothers, “by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each of you says, ‘I follow Paul’ or ‘I follow a Apollos,’ or ‘I follow Cephas,’ or ‘I follow Christ.’”
So, they're all lining up behind their favorite leader, their favorite teacher. I listened to his podcast, why are you wasting your time listening to that guy, you should be following my guy, and they were contentious about it. That same kind of thing goes on today. They were contentious. They were divided, and divisions and factions like that is something that the Lord takes very seriously. If you just go forward to chapter 3, they're in First Corinthians, you'll see this being addressed in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17. Verse 16, Paul says, “Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?” Now, a lot of people when you read that, you might think that he is talking about you personally. And it does say it that way in 1 Corinthians 6:19, but this view here is a plural. So, he's talking to everybody. If we are in Texas, we be saying all y'all. So, do you not know that all you all as a church are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? And then here's the point for 17. “If anyone destroys God's temple, anybody causes division trouble, seeks to destroy God's temple, God will destroy him, for God's temple is holy, and you are that temple. And so, God sees these kinds of things as efforts to destroy the church. And he says, you do that, I'll destroy you. He takes the church seriously. And because he is the Lord of the church, he cares about the purity of his church, he cares about what goes on in the church, but because he also is the Lord and he's Sovereign overall, he's even able to use things like that for his good and his glory.
If you go back to 1 Corinthians 11 and look again at verse 19. He makes a statement, he says, “for there must be factions among you.” This is a divine necessity, there must be factions among you. Why? In order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. See, these divisions of factions have a way of sorting things out and showing who's for real, and who's just in it for themselves. But the bottom line here is that whatever the Corinthians think they're doing, they are not rightly observing the Lord's table. 1 Corinthians 11:20-21 says, “When you come together, it's not the Lord's supper that you eat. For in eating each one goes ahead of his with his own meal, one goes hungry, another gets drunk. What? Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God, and humiliate those who have nothing? There's some serious selfishness going on in the church there, particularly by those who are the haves. Somehow, they're organizing themselves to get there early and share together and eat all their good food and plenty of it. And it's all gone. By the time the other people show up who don't, some of them don't have anything. And so, there's a lack of love being demonstrated at the Love Feast. And he uses strong words here, like, do you despise the church of God? Are you out to humiliate people? These are strong words that he's used in here. This is a serious word. I would think for some people here today, who may be at odds with somebody else in a ministry where you serve together, or you're at odds with somebody just in your personal relationship. In fact, it could be somebody that you live with. You're at odds with them, you're divided with them, they're causing factions. In that situation, we need to take division seriously. We need to take it as seriously as the Lord does if we're going to partake of communion in a worthy manner. Paul can't commend the Corinthians there as he says at the end of verse 22, because what they're doing is inconsistent with what he has taught them. This is the transition into 1 Corinthians 11:23 and 24. “For I received from the word what I also delivered to you, I can't commend you and what you're doing because it's inconsistent with what you've already been taught.” And what follows in verses 23 through 26, is the cure for division. And that is that unity is found in Jesus Christ.
So, you can put that down for number two: “We need to remember Jesus frequently.” And 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, he says, “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you,” the main correction to their conflict, Paul focuses their attention on Christ. And he points to the revelation, something I received from the Lord. And that is, the reminder here in this text is that our unity is found in Christ, we all need to be tuned into him. If we had one hundred pianos here in the room, and we started with piano number one, and then we tuned number two to number one, and then number three to number two, by the time we got to number one hundred, it wouldn't sound a whole lot like number one. But if we tuned them all to the same tuning fork, they'd all sound the same.
I think a lot of times in the church, we're all trying to get everybody in tune with one another. And the real issue is, we all need to get in tune with the Lord Jesus Christ. And that's what he's highlighting here in this passage. And Paul points us specifically to the Lord's table which he instituted, as it says here on the night that he was betrayed. See that there in verse 23, when he was observing Passover with the disciples in an upper room in Jerusalem, he instituted, he started this thing that we call Communion. And just as a footnote, that's an interesting timestamp there. This happened on the night he was betrayed. I mean, he could have said that a lot of other ways. But he chooses to say it, it was done on the night that he was betrayed. And that reminds us of Judas and his betrayal. Judas would have already left the room before this started. And he's out to lead them to Christ so that they can arrest him. Satan is using Judas to accomplish his purposes at that time. And it's just a reminder that while Satan was doing his worst, God was doing his best.
And the truth communicated here is something that we need to be reminded of frequently. So, let's take a look at it here. And the first thing we're told is that Jesus took some bread. It says at the end of verse 23, he 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.” The bread symbolically represents Jesus's physical body. This reminds us that Jesus came in a physical form, he came as a man. The bread speaks of his incarnation, the very Son of God, took on human flesh. That's an amazing thing. You might want to ponder that over your Thanksgiving dinner, how God took on human flesh. And in that body, he bore our sins. He gave himself, as it says there, for you. For you. You should circle those words, highlight those words, put stars in the margin, he did this for you. Those are two of the most beautiful words in all the Bible, he did it “for you.” He came for you; he died as a substitute in your place for you. The penalty for your sin was placed on his body. The sinless one died in the place of sinners. The Lord has caused the iniquity of all of us to fall on him. Bread symbolizes his body that he gave for you. He gave it for you, which means he did it on your behalf. He did it for your benefit. Those are great words. And he says, “This is my body, which is for you, do this.” Do this. He's obviously saying, partake of this bread. Do this. And he's not giving you permission there. That is a command. He's making a command. This is a command to all believers to partake of this bread. It's not an option. So, if you don't do it, what's that? Disobedience. Or another word would be sin. He's given us a command, do this. And he's saying you “do this in remembrance of me” too. It's the way he wants us to remember him. And he's not just saying, you know, bring me up in your memory. That's not what he's getting at. It's more like you would remember an anniversary and celebrate an anniversary. You're remembering something of great significance. And you're appreciating it and you're enjoying it. You're remembering that Jesus took God's wrath in my place. He carried away all of my sin. If you're thinking about something that you want to give thanks for this week, here's a good suggestion, give thanks that he gave his body for you. He took your sin on himself.
Second, we're told that he took a cup, 1 Corinthians 11:25. In the same way, he also 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.” Now, they're doing this during their Passover meal, we won't go into all the details of that meal, but this would have been the third of four cups during that meal. And at this time, what he's instituting here, Communion. It is meant to replace the Passover meal. This is the new thing, Communion. And the cup, it represents his blood which is shed for you. It speaks of his death. So, the bread speaks of his incarnation, and the cup speaks of his death. but look at the significance that he gives to the blood. This cup is the new covenant. In my blood, the New Covenant. Through the shedding of his blood. Jesus inaugurated the New Covenant. And just like blood was shed and sprinkled on the people of Israel when they inaugurated the old covenant made under Moses, so blood is shed at the inauguration of the new covenant. And this blood washes away all of our sins forever. We can say a lot about the new covenant. But let's just look at what Jesus says as is recorded in Matthew 26, as Matthew gives us his account of what happened on that night, in that upper room in Jerusalem as Jesus Institute's the Lord's table communion, Matthew 26:26-28 says, “Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’” Here it is, for the forgiveness of sins. For the forgiveness of sins. The key feature in this New Covenant is that there's been a final sacrifice made, a final shedding of blood, which provides forgiveness for all of your sins. That's the significance of what he's saying here.
This is the key feature in the new covenant. And Jesus ratified this covenant by shedding his blood and how many times did he have to do that? You can speak up here. So, it's okay, we're at church, we can talk one time, and that's highlighted throughout the book of Hebrews. Let me just show you one example. This would have been another point of contention between the reformers in the Catholic Church, not only does the bread and the cup not become the body and blood because Christ's body wears his body right now at the right hand of the Father. And how many times did he have to die? One time. The Catholic Church, by making it become his body and his blood, they are recrucifying Christ every time they take the mass. So, Hebrews chapter 10 gives us clarity on that. Look at Hebrews 10:11. Which says “And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.” But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering, he has perfected for all time, those who are being sanctified. A single offering, and everybody who trusts in him has all their sins forgiven forever. Do want to include that in your Thanksgiving this week? I don't know if you're thankful for what he has done. And that's what's being highlighted here, all the previous sacrifices were a picture. They were done in anticipation of Christ's final and complete sacrifice.
And again, going back to First Corinthians 11, and that verse 25 accurately talks about the cup. Again, we have the command, do this, do this. It's a command. Jesus wants us to remember him by partaking of communion. And doing this together is meant to unite the church as we all come together, as it says in verse 26, to proclaim his death, For as often as you eat this bread, and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. We make a powerful and profound proclamation just by being here today and partaking of communion. We are proclaiming that Christ has come and has been crucified, we're proclaiming Jesus Christ and him crucified. And how long are we supposed to do this for? until he comes? Do you know when that is? Neither do I. But this is meant to be an important element in uniting the church, the same Christ came for all of us, the same blood was shed for all of us. And when we remember that it unites us, we're united in him. And as we draw closer to Christ, we will draw closer to each other.
A lot of times in marriage counseling, we use a diagram of a triangle. And you know, the husband is at one corner down here, the wife's at another corner down here, and Christ is at the top. As the husband or wife move up the sides of the triangle closer to Christ, they get closer to each other. And that's the idea. That's the picture here, Paul's wanting everybody to get focused on Christ, draw closer to Christ, appreciate Christ. And that way you'll get closer to each other. Communion is meant to fire up our hearts with gratitude for our great Savior. And I think it's important that we take note that this is the way Jesus told us to remember him. This is what he wants us to do. This is his way for us to remember him. And you know what we need to remember. We need to remember, because there are a lot of times during the week when we're living like we're not remembering. We need to be reminded. We need to be reminded frequently. We need to remember Jesus frequently. And doing this also provides a needed accountability within the church. And that leads us to the second the last section door, Paul goes into this starting in verse 27, to the end of the chapter.
And you could title this section number three: “Examine yourself honestly.” Examine yourself honestly. 1 Corinthians 11:27, says, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.” You've got to examine yourself, or you may be guilty of partaking of communion in an unworthy manner. Paul doesn't define what he means by unworthy here, but in the Corinthian case, it would have been the division and lack of love for one another. I mean, they're making a mockery out of the Lord's Table by what they're doing right before it at the Love Feast. But other ways would be anything. If you're doing anything that is inconsistent with your Christian profession, if you're saying that you're a Christian, but you're not living like it in some way, then that's going to be bringing you to the table in an unworthy manner. You know, in Ephesians 4, we're told to walk in a manner worthy of the calling. And if you're walking that way, then you'll come to the table in a worthy way. If you're not, then you're going to come in and unworthy way. Some other maybe specific ideas of how to do it in an unworthy way would be to see it as just a ritual.
This is just something we do. Not sure why we do it. We just do it or to see it as a means of Saving Grace like somehow taking communion earns me merit with God. Or to do it while you're harboring some unconfessed sin. And you know you are, that would be kind of the height of hypocrisy, wouldn't it? I'm here to remember Christ's death on my behalf the forgiveness of all my sins, but over here I'm holding on to this sin. That'd be the height of hypocrisy; that would be an unworthy practice. Being unthankful would be another unworthy way. And, and obviously, to partake of it as an unbeliever, what is the unbeliever remembering? Like, because they're not trusting in Christ, they're not trusting in his blood. That may be you here today, you're wondering, what did I walk in here to hear today. But the good news is that Christ died for you. And by trusting in him, you can have all of your sins forgiven forever. And then you can partake in a worthy way, you're not just doing what everybody next to you is doing. We don't want to partake in an unworthy manner. We don't want to promote that. And to partake of it in an unworthy manner is guilty of a serious sin. You see that in 1 Corinthians 11:27. “Whoever therefore eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.” Guilty. Held liable. The Lord is not going to just overlook this, you're going to be held liable for what you've done. And when it says guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord, probably the best way to understand what he's referring to there is to do it in an unworthy way puts you in the crowd of people who are yelling for his crucifixion. So, if you're going to take it in an unworthy way, you might as well just stand up and say crucify him. Because that's what you're guilty of. It's a serious thing. To disrespect the symbol is to disrespect the person.
So, to prevent partaking in an unworthy manner, 1 Corinthians 11:28 tells us to examine ourselves. “Let a person examine himself, then and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” Examine yourself. The one thing you need to know there is that of that examined thing. Is it just something that you do on Sundays while we're taking Communion? It's a present tense command, you should be examining your life all the time. Confessing your sins should be a regular part of your practice. As a Christian, you need to examine your hearts, confess any unworthy attitudes, confess any sin that you're holding on to and deal with it. Turn from it. You could ask yourself, what's the status of your relationship with the Lord? Or are you living like he is the Lord? Those would be questions to ask yourself, as you examine yourself. And notice that it says to examine yourself and then eat of the bread, and drink of the cup. I've been in a lot of church services where they say, hey, if you've got unconfessed sin in your life, you're holding on to some sin in your life, you should not partake of the elements. Well, now you're sinning even more. Because you're commanded to do this.
And here is the solution, examine yourself, confess your sin, and then partake of the elements. See, this is bringing you to a point of accountability. To examine yourself, you should examine to confess and partake. Communion helps to force the issue here. And that's what the Lord's wanting us to do. You know this kind of examination was what David was talking about at the end of Psalm 139. He says these words, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!. So, to examine yourself is to invite the Lord to reveal to you what's really going on in your heart. And it's not asking the Lord to find out something that he doesn't already know. He already knows what's going on in your heart. This is you asking him to make it known to you so that you can turn from it. That's the kind of invitation you need to give the Lord. That's the kind of examination that you need to partake of in your own heart, where you're opening up your heart to the Lord, and asking him to show you if there's something that you need to deal with. And then you got to follow through on what he shows you. And that's what Paul does at the end of the chapter in 1 Corinthians 11:33, where he gives some practical instruction for this is how you can correct what you're doing there, where he says, “So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another, if anyone's hungry, let them eat at home, so that when you come together, it will not be for judgment. So, you need to do the examination with a commitment to following through on what you confess. And in 1 Corinthians 11:29 there it stresses the importance of this examination, by reminding us how dangerous taking communion can be. a verse 29 says, “For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.” On himself. It's a self-inflicted thing. You bring it on yourself. It doesn't have to happen. But if you partake in an unworthy manner, if you don't examine yourself honestly, then you bring this on yourself. You bring it on yourself. So, you either judge yourself, or the Lord will judge you. And you can't hide your sin from God. And he's offering to forgive you. Confess it, he'll forgive you. That's the offer. Why? Why try to hide it? Why try to keep it secret? Proverbs 28:13 is a good verse to remember in this context, where it says, “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
So, it's up to each one of us. Do we want to not prosper? Or would we rather obtain mercy? The Communion brings us forces that issue on us. And as you look there at 1 Corinthians 11:30. You can see what the unworthy practice in Corinth was producing. Where it says that's why because you're not doing this rightly, you're doing it in an unworthy manner. “That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.” Many were weak, that might talk to some kind of temporary illness that they're dealing with. Others are sick, that's a stronger word, maybe talking about failing health that you might not recover from. And some are dying. Some are dying. The original word is to sleep. But that's just a word that's used to describe a believer’s death. It's like going to sleep. But it's a real death. They're not going to church anymore, because they're in the graveyard.
Now some of you might be thinking right now, you know, I haven't been feeling too good lately. I'm kind of wondering about this. Is it because I've been partaking in an unworthy manner? Maybe. But that's not always the reason for sickness or death. But this is a warning. And I would consider it a gracious warning. Because the Lord is saying, hey, examine yourself, confess your sin, I'll forgive you. You can partake in a worthy manner, and it'll be a good thing. But if you don't want to do that, there could be serious consequences. The remedy is again stated in 1 Corinthians 11:31, to judge yourself, honestly. “But if we judged ourselves truly,” honestly, “we would not be judged.” And again, this timeout habitually judging yourself so it's not like you just do this on Sunday when you come to church. This has to be the habit of your life, that you're repeating those words of David, Lord search my heart, show me. I don't want to dishonor you, I don't want to disrespect you. I want to bring glory to your name, show me ways where I need to change. And again, the emphasis here is on ourselves if we judged ourselves you know, one of the problems common problems is people are busy judging everybody else. Though the call here is to judge yourself. This is between you and God. Judge yourself is what the call is here. And in case you're wondering what this judgment is all about, well, 1 Corinthians 11:32 clears that up. “But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.”
The judgment that's being talked about here is the discipline of a father with his children. He's acting for our good. This is not talking about condemnation; this is talking about correction so that you won't live like the world, which was at the heart of their division, they were thinking worldly ways, and that's what led to their division. But the Lord says, I'll discipline you so that you won't think like the world thinks anymore. It's for our good. He wants a pure church. This scripture is meant to impress upon all of us the importance of Communion, the importance of Communion. We're here to remember the death of Christ. And we can't do that in some kind of casual, sloppy, lazy, halfhearted kind of a way. That's not what the Lord's looking for. He wants people who come to it seriously.
And that brings me back to John Rogers, who I mentioned earlier, he did, he took it seriously. He refused to comply to the unworthy manner, which was being imposed by Bloody Mary and, and this guy, John Rogers was a significant guy. He had been led to salvation, led to faith in Christ by a man named William Tyndale. You might have heard of him. William Tyndale was the first man to translate the Bible into English from the original languages. And Rogers, was saved under Tyndale and started working with him. And about 20 years before Rogers is going to be executed, Tyndale was executed as well. His crime was translating the Bible into English. And, and they arrested Tyndale. He had done the whole New Testament and parts of the Old Testament. Rogers, while they're taking Tyndall away, was able to round up all the work and go off by himself and finish the work of translating the whole Bible into English from the original languages. It's called the Matthews Bible, if you are interested in that. And it was really kind of a study Bible because he put all kinds of introductions to the different letters, notes in the margins. It was kind of a study bible. This guy Rogers was a significant guy. And he's preaching in London, he's preaching in St. Paul's Cathedral, which still stands today in London. This ban, this is why Mary goes after him. She starts rounding people up once Parliament gives her okay to do that, and Rogers is one of them. And he's put in prison, he's in prison for over a year. And when he was asked if he would recant his views about Communion or the Mass, he refused. And so eventually, he was sentenced to be executed by burning at the stake. He's the first of the martyrs under Bloody Mary. His only request when they sentenced him to death was that he'd be able to meet with his wife. And they cruelly denied that request. And so, on Monday, February fourth 1555, Rogers was burned at the steak, in Smithfield, which is a section of London. And I've been to that spot and there's a plaque on a wall that says, this is the spot. And when you stand there, and you think about what took place there on that day, it's a pretty sobering experience. It makes you realize, hey, this Christianity, this following Jesus Christ, this taking Communion, it's really serious. On his last night in prison, the story tells us that he slept so soundly that the jailer had to wake him up in the morning. Kind of sounds like Peter, right, in Acts 12. Right? In Acts 12, the angels had to, Peter you’ve got to wake up, we're trying to rescue you.
But he was so confident, Rogers was so confident in Christ’s unfailing love for him that we're told that he was actually happy as he prepared to go to his execution, because he knew that no matter how much he might suffer in the fire, he's going to heaven. And he was led to Smithfield. from the jail, they kind of paraded him through the streets of London. And the streets were lined with people. You can imagine. I mean, what's going to happen here? Are they really going to do that? Is he really going to go through with this? You know, this is the question of how serious are these reformers? Are they? Is he really going to die? Or is he going to give in at the end. And so, people are showing up to see this. And they're marching through the streets where the people that he pastored lived. And so, they're all out there. And they marched with inside of the church that he pastored. And along the way, he did see his wife and their eleven children. The last one he had never met because he was born while Rogers was in jail. And he was able to briefly interact with them. But we're told that he walked calmly through the streets reciting Psalms from memory, and the streets that were lined with people. I mean, it would break into thunderous applause as Rogers came back, because everybody's encouraging him along the way, because they want to see him stand firm, and not give in. And, in fact, one of the observers there was the ambassador from France. And he was really happy that this was happening, because this is kind of kind of cement the relationship between France and England because France was totally Catholic. And so, this is going to cement them. This is showing that Mary is serious about this. And so, he's really happy. But so, he wrote a report on what happened that day. And one of the things he said was that Rogers demonstrated such peace as he walked along the way that it looked more like he was walking to his wedding, rather than his execution. That's the kind of peace that can come when a person really is walking with Christ. Man at the spot of the execution, he was asked by the sheriff in charge if he wanted to recant. He's given one last opportunity to do that. And he said, “What I have preached, I will seal with my blood.” And the sheriff said, “You are a heretic,” then to which Rogers said that shall be known on the Day of Judgment. That's a good answer. And the sheriff said, “I will never pray for you.” But Rogers said, “but I will pray for you.” So, they tied Rogers to the steak and lit the fire. Quickly it burned up his legs and got onto his shoulders. And at that point, he put his hands in the fire and kind of rubbed them together, like he's washing his hands in cold water, you know, to kind of signify Christ has taken away all my sin, I've been forgiven, I've been made clean, I'm going to heaven. And then he raised his hands up and said a prayer and died. Right there. That's the kind of peace, that's the kind of confidence that a person can have who takes Communion seriously, because they take the Lord seriously. And that kind of person comes to Communion, not in an unworthy manner, but a worthy manner.
This week, we're celebrating Thanksgiving. What we remember here, what we observe here, in remembering the body and blood of our Lord gives the most profound cause for Thanksgiving. When you can be thankful for a lot of other things, nothing's going to come close to this, what Christ has done for us. So, let's do it in a worthy manner. But let's give honor and respect to our great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, on your worksheet on the back, there are some application questions. We don't have fellowship groups this week. But you might want to work through those questions and help you think through all of this. But really, the application of this sermon is just about to happen as we partake of Communion. And so, to prepare ourselves for that, we should do what the passage says we should all examine ourselves. So, I want us just to take a couple, three minutes, and each one of you just talk to the Lord. There's not going to be any music and talking. Just you and the Lord, just you and the Lord in your seat. So, let's just take a couple more minutes or so and then I'll pray at the end and then we'll partake together so let's all go to the Lord.
We want to exalt Your name. And we hear your instruction for how you want us to remember you in by partaking of these elements, remembering your body that was given for us. And by drinking of the cup, remembering that you shed your blood for us, so that we can have our sins forgiven. Well, we want to, we want to partake in a worthy manner. And so, Lord, we're thankful that you are gracious and forgiving. We thank you that as we come to you and confess our sins, you promised to forgive us and to cleanse us. Or we know that if we come to you, recognizing that we have never trusted you, that if we do that, you will forgive us, and you will bring the sinner to yourself and make them your own. Lord, we're so thankful for your grace, your love your mercy. Lord, even this, this warning here, even though it points out how serious it is, it's full of a gracious warning to us, telling us that you can partake in a worthy manner if we would just examine ourselves and confess our sins. So Father, we thank you for this opportunity to do this. We thank you that we have a Savior, who willingly laid down his life on our behalf, in our place. So, Father, we want to give you thanks to the observing of this ordinance here, this Communion, so Lord, so that your name would be honored. We want to proclaim that Jesus Christ is the Savior who died for the world. And so, we thank you that we have this opportunity to do that. And we pray this all in his name, Amen.
Now, for some of you, those few minutes you might have been filled with thanksgiving for all that the Lord has done for you. And the sacrifice he's made on your behalf, and what he's purchased for you with his own blood. For some of you is no doubt a time of confessing some sin and dealing with that, and you can give thanks that he forgives your sins. And maybe for some of you who are here today, maybe you're just visiting, and you've never really trusted Christ. Maybe that was the time when you did it. And even if you didn't do it during those few minutes, you could still do it right now. The good news is that if you're not a person you shouldn't partake of this. This is something for Christians to do. and remembrance. But the good news is you can become a Christian right now. You could put your trust in Christ right now. And then the first thing you do as a Christian is partake of Communion. If that's you that you've got really good timing to do that. What a great way to start your walk with the Lord, I would encourage you, if you've never trusted him to do that, now.
We're going to partake of these elements. So, if you want to take out the little wafer, there and Jesus, he took bread, and he, and he gave thanks. And he said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Let's do it together. And then it says in the same way, also he took the cup, saying “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” Let's remember him together. It's hard for us to express appropriate thanksgiving for how profound this is, the seemingly simple thing that we just did, and yet it is so profound what it represents, it represents the body and the blood of Jesus christ.in the flesh, who gave himself for us who took our iniquity upon himself, so that we can be set free from that. Lord, I thank you that Jesus took it serious. And he gave himself completely for us, where I prayed that would encourage us and strengthen us to take it serious to and to give ourselves completely for him. So, we're thank you for this time that we've had here together today. Thank You that we can meet here today and remember, in a profound way that Jesus did pay it all he paid it all for me. And so, it always is right that all to him I owe. So we thank you for this time today in our great savior’s name. Amen.
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