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The Table of the Lord

Point to the elements…

Bread and Drink – such simple staples of our lives.

By themselves, we take them for granted.

We rely on bread and drink to live physically.

On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus used those simple elements to reinforce what He was going to do for the world spiritually.

He invited them to recline at the table with him in the upper room and take the Jewish Passover meal with him.

The Passover meal was the oldest of the Jewish feasts. Jewish homes were told to celebrate it every year to commemorated God’s deliverance of His people out of Egyptian bondage.

The tenth and final judgment on Egypt was the death of the firstborn.

There wouldn’t have needed to be any judgments on Egypt had Pharaoh simply repented and let God’s people go. 

But when each of the first nine plague judgments was over, Pharaoh again defied God, leading up to tenth judgment, the death of the firstborn.

In Exodus 12 we read that each Jewish household was to sacrifice a lamb, and then take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and lintel of their house.

Back in Exodus 12, when the time of judgment came, judgment would PASS OVER each house that was covered by the blood. That is what happened, and that’s what Passover celebrated – God’s deliverance.

And that’s why Jesus chose the Passover Meal celebrating God’s deliverance of Israel out of Egyptian bondage to inaugurate the Lord’s Supper, which celebrates the believer’s deliverance out of Satan’s bondage.

It’s why John the Baptist shouted of Jesus, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

He knew Jesus had come to suffer and die for the sins of the world, as Isaiah the prophet had stated, “All we like sheep have gone astray, but the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all!”

And so when a sinner comes to know their need of salvation, and turns to Christ, the wrath due their sins is timelessly laid on Christ their sacrifice, and the love due Jesus as Heaven’s darling Son is laid on them.

They have PASSED OVER from death to life.

Jesus wanted all future believers to think about that a lot! 

Read Matthew 26:26-30              The Table of the Lord                    Let’s Pray!

Those first disciples must have been very confused about what was happening around them.

Events were moving toward something big, they could just feel it.

Jesus had been telling them He was going to be arrested and die for the sins of the world, and rise on the third day. They didn’t understand.

As Jesus spoke to them that night, He said, “Let not your heart be troubled.”

He said that because their hearts were troubled.

Jesus invited those first disciples to recline at the table and take the Lord’s Supper in the midst of their troubles, acknowledging their faith in Him. He is inviting us to do the same thing today! 

Many of us are confused about what is happening around us today.

Events are moving toward something big, we can just feel it!  

It is really hard to handle all that is happening in the world right now!

It is also hard to handle all the differing perspectives about what’s going on in the world right now!

It is understandable that we are confused, distracted, and even distressed!

I think of King David’s words in Psalm 23.

After saying “The Lord is My Shepherd, I shall not want,” and acknowledging God’s presence and help as he walked through the shadow of death, David said…

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”       -Psa. 23:5a

I think of when children play tag and there is a home base.

The child reaches base and says to her enemies, “You can’t tag me out right now.”

And then she sticks out her tongue at them.

All of David’s enemies surrounded him, but he told them, “You can’t get me right now, I am at God’s table.”

David pictures himself enjoying His relationship with God and being refreshed in His presence even though he was surrounded by his enemies and troubles.

Listen to me – we are surrounded by troubles in this sin-stained world.

Covid 19 has changed our 2020. Businesses are scrambling to stay afloat, parents are scrambling to figure out their kids education. Fear & uncertainty, abound, and differences of opinion over masks and other things has put rifts between people..

An important election looms. Some want to talk about it all the time, others just want to pray, vote, and move on.  

In the last month there have been earthquakes and hurricanes and other things Jesus seemed to call birth pains before the Tribulation and John the Revelator said would happen again during the Tribulation!

Many of us love Liberty University and ache at the turmoil it is going through, and the effect it will have on an already cynical world.

Over half of the population now embraces what we may call a “Post-Truth” approach, a moral relativism which makes what you feel is right the most important thing.

That is at odds with our biblical faith, that tells us what is true whether it matches with what you feel is okay or not.

In America the number of people who have a biblical world view is steadily  shrinking, while those who hold a post-truth view is growing exponentially.

We are excited that in the third world the Christian faith is growing, but in countries that simply don’t have the resources Western countries have developed through centuries of building on the Protestant work ethic.

Those who hold post-truth views in America are benefitting from what people of faith built, even as they are sabotaging the foundations they do not understand they need to prosper.

The result in the coming decades is that the United States could be like a car that doesn’t have an oil change. It may go on driving for another 20 to 30,000 miles, but eventually it will seize up and crash.

A biblical worldview leads to respecting the inherent dignity of the individual and promoting freedom for all. A post-truth ideology leads to socialistic thinking that tramples on individual freedoms and enforces what the crowd feels is right at the moment.

Everywhere socialism has been tried, the quality of life goes down for everyone but the elites, the puppetmasters who find a way to thrive in any system.

The difference is that in our system, we have fought for equal opportunity, not equal outcomes. And those opportunities have led to amazing stories of how much upward mobility can come in a generation.

Everywhere socialism has been tried, religious freedom goes quickly also. People of faith are viewed as enemies of the state and harassed and persecuted.

France, Germany, Soviet Union, China, Cuba, Venezuela

Socialism does not build up, it takes, and eventually you run out of other people’s money and demoralize your citizenry when talks of Utopia on earth turn to Hell on earth.

If things continue the way they are, by 2050 America will go from the world’s number 1 economy to number 3. And 75% of the time that happens, a war is fought with those who surpass you.

Like those first disciples, we have a lot going on!

And we haven’t even mentioned the difficult things some of us are going through in our immediate lives or families. 

In the midst of this world’s triumphs and troubles, can you hear Jesus inviting you to come to His table, and take the Lord’s Supper with your brothers and sisters in Christ?

Look again at Matthew 26:26-28

The Lord’s Supper is meant to be like an oil change for individual believers and their churches!

The Lord gave us 2 ordinances (commands). They are baptism, which believers do once after salvation, and the Lord’s Supper, which we do repeatedly. They both primarily testify that the believer has trusted Christ alone for salvation.

Look at what Paul wrote in I Corinthians 11 –

For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.                     -I Corinthians 11:26

When you get baptized you are testifying that your only hope for eternal life is Christ raising you up out of your sin and taking you to Heaven, just as the preacher took you up out of the water.

When you eat the bread and drink the juice, you are testifying that Christ is your sustenance. Just as the bread and drink keep a person alive physically, it is Christ who keeps you alive spiritually.

In the midst of so much that is uncertain, at Christ’s table you testify that Christ is your life, the one your faith is built around. That’s why…

Christians have always taught that the Lord’s Supper is also a time of self-examination to make sure you are aligned with Christ properly.

Let a man examine himself and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.      -I Corinthians 11:28-29

Do you see the genius of the Lord in these two ordinances?

Baptism once, Lord’s Supper repeatedly!

Knowing the Lord’s Supper is coming forces me to deal with any individual and corporate sins.

Tuning Fork analogy

Three questions to ask before taking the Lord’s Supper:

1.        Am I trusting in Christ alone for salvation?

If not, receive Him now!

John 3:16

Sinner’s Prayer

2.        Have I confessed all known sin to God?

I John 1:9

Allow time for this, Danny.

3.        Have I done my part to be at peace with others?

Romans 12:18

In a moment we will take the Lord’s Supper together.

But look again at Matthew 26:29

At that first Lord’s Supper only a dozen disciples partook.

Jesus soon commissioned them to reproduce faithful and fruitful followers of Jesus Christ as they lived and travelled.

Today the several hundred of us that take the Lord’s Supper together are part of a couple billion people on earth that do it regularly.

Our faith in Jesus settles us during whatever kind of days we face!

But one day Jesus Himself will lead us in the Lord’s Supper.

Turn to Revelation 19:6-9

Oh how glorious THAT day will be!

And knowing that DAY is coming should settle our hearts on this day and every day!

When you think about it, there are only three things that can happen in America in the coming decades: Revival, Ruin, and/or the Rapture

Wouldn’t it be great if God sent a revival, an awakening?

Throughout our history, revivals, have been like oil changes for the country.

If revival doesn’t happen, I believe we are heading toward ruin, because Anti-God thinking always helps Satan kill, steal and destroy what we could have had with God.

And any time the Rapture of Jesus’ church could happen, followed by 7 years of Tribulation, and then the Return of Christ where he will set up His awesome Kingdom.

Now here’s the thing that settles my heart: regardless of whether revival, ruin or the rapture comes next, my job (and yours) is the same – to be a faithful and fruitful follower of Jesus Christ.

Are you ready to come to the table?

Let’s pray!