Sweet friend, I have a couple of thought-provoking questions. Are you taking communion seriously with the right motives and heart attitude or do you give yourself a spiritual pass? Unsure? My Pastor did this sermon a couple of weeks ago and I don’t see how anyone could possibly walk away unchanged.
I love the way God’s will works. I had planned to do another post pertaining to love but the Holy Spirit led me another direction.
Let me explain
I downloaded a dictation app so I could use this tool for a sermon my pastor did on the importance of communion. Guess what friends? Nothing would work! I have a friend who will remain anonymous unless she chooses to comment on this post.
God laid it on my heart to contact them (their job is dictating) to see if they would type out this sermon for me. I was thrilled when they agreed to do so. Now, I had no idea at the time how this would play out…BUT GOD DID! Listening to Pastor Jon’s message really convicted their heart and left them in tears. I truly believe this was a GOD THING!!
What is Your Heart Preparation Before Taking Communion?
Pastor Jon’s Sermon below:
Years of sermons of preaching, have given me a lot of sermons to preach and as I was reflecting on what I might preach today, I could draw upon that arsenal of sermons but the Lord actually led me to write a brand new sermon.
After consulting with my prayer partner who prayed for me and after seeking the counsel of a couple of elders and pastors, the Lord made it clear that I was going to preach a new sermon today.
After all, it is a communion Sunday and as I was thinking about it I have never had a sermon that explicitly taught how to be prepared for communion. This led me to a study in 1 Corinthians 11 and I trust this message will prepare us for our Heart preparation for communion:
Before we read the passage together let me ask you the same questions that I asked my own heart in preparation for taking communion:
- What preparations do you make in order to receive the Lord’s table when taking communion?
- How do you prepare during the week leading up to the Lord’s table for taking communion?
- Is taking communion something you view seriously or do you give yourself a spiritual pass when it leads to preparation?
I will be the first to confess that I had no idea how much God was going to rock my world when I put this passage under the microscope. How is this for a sobering thought? Believers have gotten severally sick and even died as a result of taking communion in an unworthy manner.
Now it isn’t my goal to discourage or scare you, but I do think there is a certain level of caution and reverence that the Lord would have us take to heart as we consider what he has ordained for us.
We must honor God in taking communion so it’s done in a manner that draws us closer to him and draws us closer together just as he designed and intended it to.
At the heart of the present significance of the lords’ supper is our communion or fellowship with Christ.-James M. Boyce
Hence the term communion service in coming to this service the believer comes to meet with Christ and have fellowship with him at his invitation. The examination takes place because it would be hypocrisy for us to pretend we are in communion with the holy one while carrying sin in our hearts.
This provides insight into the serious instruction that the apostle Paul gives us in God’s word:
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. I Corinthians 11:23
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.” I Corinthians 11:24
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.” I Corinthians 11:25
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. I Corinthians 11:26
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. I Corinthians 11:27
Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. I Corinthians 11:28
For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. I Corinthians 11:29
That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. I Corinthians 11:30
But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. I Corinthians 11:31
But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. I Corinthians 11:32
So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. I Corinthians 11:33
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. I Corinthians 11:35
A Beginning Prayer at Communion
The infallible word of God Prayer at Communion…Heavenly father as we bow our heads together as a church family recognizing that you have drawn us together to celebrate. I pray as we place this passage under the microscope that you would allow us to draw out a greater understanding of how you would have us celebrate it.
We pray for you to illuminate our path and our understanding so we can have a clear direction on what is communion and what is truly all about? We want to be prepared to worship you. We thank you we got to sing beautiful songs.
We pray now that as we turn to the preaching of your word that we will be drawn closer to you as a result of our understanding of what this celebration is for. We commit it to you and ask that you bless it in every way in Jesus’s way – Amen.Pastor Jon Krick
What is the Importance of Communion?
The importance of communion is that we should come adequately prepared for the celebration. The first point for us to remember is to look up to your sinless savior. Vs: 23-26
Paul lets us know why we celebrate communion?
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you:
- God instituted it
- God ordained it
- God gives instructions on how to celebrate it
This was not Paul’s plan or idea. He makes that clear. But he received this ordinance from the Lord and if Christ instituted it we can be sure and we can have confidence that his word adequately prepares us.
What are the Two Ordinances Jesus Leaves for Us to Follow?
Baptismal is a symbol of being buried in Christ’s death and being raised in newness of life in Christ through the power of resurrection.
Buried in his death and who died paid the penalty on our behalf and we come out in the water with newness in life when raised.
What is Communion and Why Do We Take It?
Taking communion is an ordinance and remembrance of the Lord’s Supper. It’s also a symbol of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. Depending on your background, you may have heard referred to as sacraments.
In the concept, the Sacrament came from the mysteries and then translated into Latin Sacrament and then the Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox and Baptist have all used the terms sacrament with different meanings.
The ordinance being something that God commanded or ordained believers to do. This is a help to see a reference to historical theology and assist in understanding. Especially if you are like me and raised with a Catholic background.
What is the Significance of Taking Communion?
The significance is symbolic for “why” we are taking communion (remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice for us) Let’s go straight to the word of God for answers!
Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread. Vs 23
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.” Vs 24
In the same way, He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” Vs 25
We know that Jesus was intentionally instituting the new meal which would supersede the old.
Taking Communion in the Old Testament?
Traditionally the Jewish Passover meal would consist of four cups of wine during the meal. There’s also a symbolism of bread in the bible. After the host would give thanks, he would pass a cup of wine and everyone would partake and have their own cup. (or have their own cups).
Then they would eat bitter herbs that were dipped into fruit sauce as a message about the Passover was shared with them and they would begin singing a portion of psalms called the Hallel (Praise).
After the second cup was passed the host would pass around the unleavened bread. Then the main course of the meal roasted sacrificial lamb would be served. Seder meal.
After the third cup of wine was passed a brief prayer would be shared And and the rest of the Hallel would be sung. It was this third cup at the last Passover and first communion that Jesus blessed and gave his disciples to drink.
Only later would the disciples understand what was taking place. At this point in time, they did not have the Gospels to refer to.
What is the Reason for Taking Communion?
Taking communion is done in remembrance of the life and death of our sinless Savior. The Savior said, “This is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me”.
Then the cup. This cup is the new covenant of my blood and do this as often as you drink it again in remembrance of me. The word remembrance used here can also be translated as a calling to mind.
Taking Communion Should Never Be Done Casually
If we’re not careful we can view taking communion in a very casual sense such as…”Such as don’t forget to brush your teeth.”
Communion is a call for us to remember by remediating the One that saved our souls. Everyone has lost a loved one right? This can be a grandparent, mom, dad one of your siblings, a close friend or someone you deeply loved.
What happens when you visit them in the cemetery? You would NEVER dream of just walking by casually their tombstone of just walking on by it right? You look down at the headstone and you meditate on the memories you shared. It literally stops us in our tracks.
Many war veterans likewise have gone to the graves of their killed comrades and they reflect on the fact they are standing at the foot of the grave as a result of someone who laid down their life for them.
We remember; the common theme. Memorial day we remember. When we celebrate communion spiritually we are literally walking by the tombstone of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are walking by the grave of the sinless savior where we would be if he had not given up his perfect life for us? Where would we be if we were not grounded and rooted in the gospel?
The beauty of it all is that we know the tomb is empty. We know that the tomb is empty. In reality, when we reflect on the tomb of the Lord Jesus Christ we would know without a fact that he lives.
You want to share this Gospel with someone. Tell them about the one who died for you. Let me tell you about who died for me. There is a Segway to the Gospel.
By the way, Jesus is no longer in the grave and is perfect and still is. If we want to have our hearts prepared we must lookup. But the preparation does not stop there. Brother Paul continues
Why Taking Communion In An Unworthy Manner is Dangerous
Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. Vs 27
But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. Vs 28
For he who eats and drinks eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. Vs 29
Importance of Communion and Why We Shouldn’t Just Go Through The Motions
We can summarize. Man must examine himself for he who eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.
Summarize with the second point. Remember to look into your spiritual mirror. After you are done looking up we are to look inward to our sinful hearts.
The penalty of sin has been paid completely but continues to show up on the field of battle. We are to be renewed by the gospel.
Communion is a God-ordained celebration and is renewed in Christ. But as Vs 28 states, a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
It is so easy for us to go through the motions without ever engaging our hearts and minds.
Our sin can blind us to the serious nature of what God is calling us to do. We are all guilty in preparation for this sermon.
I am thankful that the Lord allows me to be here today as we will learn later we could all have suffered severe consequences as a result.
I’m sure I am not alone in thinking this right? We need the mirror of God’s word to expose our sin so we can repent sin.
“I commend solitude to any of you who are seeking salvation. First you may study well your case in the sight of God. Most people have seen themselves in a looking glass but there is another looking glass that gives true and carefully examination inward and outward sins in using all but how very few care to go through it.”-Charles Spurgeon
We are summoned. Even going back to the old testament to search your heart and see if there is any hurtful way.
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 2 Corinthians 13:5
Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Timothy 4:16
There is a disconnection. How well would you say you know yourself?
Pride says we know ourselves very well. Proverbs says all of the ways are clean in our own site. We are masters of manipulation. We are masters of giving ourselves a pass for who we are.
Who can say, “I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin”? Proverbs 20:9
“It is easier to cry against 1000 sins of others than to kill one of your own” Why is it so hard?
What Does It Mean To Examine Yourself Prior to Taking Communion?
We can NOT do it without Christ, his word and the Grace of God. Understand the true motive of “we should never be afraid to examine ourselves.”
It is a measure of grace that God gives to the believer that he has even called us. God may reveal some things we may have to cut out in our walk. But we should never be afraid to examine ourselves.
When doubts do arise the solution is not to try hard to prove we are believers; the solution is to look to Christ alone to deal with the areas of our life that cause doubt.
Who are we to look up to first; The Sinless Savior – we are to look up to the Sinless Savior Christ. It is not a call for self-improvement – it is to look up to Christ to realize you could never fulfill his law until you come to faith.
Now we can self-examine, in light through the Gospel and examine our hearts them before God calling us to faith for self-examination.
We look up to Christ first for motivation and fuel and fountain of grace who examines our walk to walk in a manner worthy of our calling. In his righteousness.
Our pursuit of his image or promoting an image of self-rightness. If Christ is not the reason, we are not really examining ourselves as he wishes us to do so.
He calls us in faith for self-examination and we must desire to examine our walk worthy to our calling. This is our source of motivation. If Christ is not our motivation for the examination then we are under false pretenses and we are not being motivated to examine ourselves at all.
Should Non-Believers Take Communion?
The following scriptures talk about taking communion in an unworthy manner:
Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. Vs:27
But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. Vs:28
For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. Vs:29
We trample upon the body and blood of Jesus Christ. To come unworthily to communion dishonors the one who in whose honor it is celebrated.
Are you Guilty of Taking Communion in an Unworthy Manner?
- Are there any prevalent sins in your walk you are cherishing or sins in your heart that you are unwilling to repent of?
- Have you grown comfortable with compromising your faith by living in the sin?
- Will today you finally give it up and request the Lord to transform you?
- Will you remember to look into the spiritual mirror to see if your heart prepared and clean to take communion today?
For this reason, many among you are weak and sick, and a number have died (sleep). Vs:30
But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. Vs:31
But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world. Vs:32
Did you pick that up?
God’s love is so profound for a believer that he would rather to the point that he would bring sickness on their life and possibly have them sent to the grave. To save the testimony of their faith.
Are you not blown away? Like fire, we are disciplined by the Lord so we will not be condemned along with the world!
God sends his chastening hand to pursue some believes who are clinging to sin and who need to pursue holiness. Even death to encourage them to choose holiness than pursue sin. This is divine love and intervention.
Should Communion be taken with Unconfessed Sin Towards Brothers and Sisters in Christ?
The bible is very clear when it states to allow the elements to pass you by if you have an issue against a fellow believer within the Church body.
So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. Vs:33
If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home so that you will not come together for judgment. The remaining matters I will arrange when I come. Vs:34
Would it be like what is going on here Paul? Let me tell you the Corinthians were a mess. This is all about correction. They were identifying more with men than they were with Christ and the church even knew about it and the church was not dealing with the facts and division across the board.
One of the biggest areas of trouble when they would gather for an agape meal together, was how some of the people behaved during that time. Some were getting drunk on the wine; some who were poor and were eager to eat because they had to eat right away before everyone got there in the right manner.
Paul had to address all of these things in this closing address. Just like the Passover was a meal in the old testament the new testament (communion) took the form of a meal. In eating they need to show respect by waiting for each other and eat together instead of satisfying themselves.
If they came to only to satisfy their physical hunger and not for communion with God, then they need to eat at home or they will be judged in some way. The purpose is to be vulnerable as we can celebrate communion and be completely disconnected from the spiritual benefit from what we just received.
It has for all of us who are trusting in Christ. The point Paul is trying to make is don’t let that happen and have an opportunity to have your heart fully calibrated and focused on communion.
By focusing on the Lord looking inward at your own heart and your personal relationships to make sure you have not been doing something selfish. At the heart of communion, is our fellowship that God desires for us to have with him and each other within the body of Christ.
The application of the Gospel is what allows us to preserve and be diligent. The church family is your family and God-ordained communion to deal with all the sin that would take place in our relationships.
There is no prescription for communion, but it is set up and ordained by God so there is ongoing maintenance for this. Just like in your marriage; you can use communion for maintenance in your marriage for sin and conflict.
That is exactly what it is designed to do in marriage and with your children. Wives go to their husbands and husbands go to their wife, I have gotten upset with you, please forgive me for whatever is bothering you.
The same is true as we ask our children to forgive us for impatience or whatever with the family. We model the Gospel. If you believe that a person has sinned against you, then we go to that person.
We must be willing to bring it to our hearts. If there is anything anyone has done and that is how we prepare for communion. We prepare our hearts by forgiving everyone. And we ask God to forgive us and forgive them.
If we do not address it; it will grow and it will be much more painful. Often times believers don’t even know they have sinned against someone and therefore the person who has been wronged needs to go to the person who has wronged them.
You feel so much better after you do. The Lord will be honored and unity will be maintained. The Lord would continue to follow through so Christ and the Gospel will be honored.
Remember the importance of communion and that Jesus is the Passover Lamb. Pray as a family and as a church family. If you are unsaved and believe God is calling you to come down to pray: If you are saved and things have you weighed down.
Ask God to use the preparation from today to honor and truly reflect and look inward at our own heart:
A Final Prayer at Communion
Heavenly Father, we acknowledge the reality of what you have instituted for our church family. Thank you for your kindness to lead me to preach this passage and praise you for giving me a clear understanding of the serious nature of our celebration and I pray that was a blessing to those that heard this message today. How beautiful is it that we have a direct application.
Often times we have to wait to apply a message that we hear but now you have given us the opportunity to bow our heads and bow our hearts and know that we can approach you even in a symbolic fashion to come in your presence and just pray and ask that you will continue to allow us to understand Psalm 32 about how blessed are those who sin is forgiven and how blessed are those who are washed in newness of life; Lord hear our hearts and hear our prayers as we pray to you now, we ask this in Christ’s name – Amen.Pastor Jon Krick
Taking Communion? My Final Thought and Confession
I’m gonna place myself on the chopping block so to speak. During this sermon when the ushers passed out the bread and cup my heart was waging war. I was so convicted by this sermon and old fears crept its way into my heart. I realize as humans we are nowhere near perfect and we do communion in remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice.
If you will take the time to read the link above (in remembrance) it’s my story of how hard it was for me to take communion for the first time. I was brought up Pentecostal/Holiness and taking communion was very sacrilegious. I had the misconception I had to be “perfect” which is impossible by the way. I had months of counseling on the subject as well as leaving an abusive marriage of fifteen years.
10 Things to Remember When Taking Communion
- 1. It’s about remembrance
- 2. It’s a commandment
- 3. It stirs our hearts and minds to remember Christ’s sacrifice
- 4. It’s a personal reflection of remembrance of your salvation
- 5. It’s a reminder of confessing sins to our Savior
- 6. We’re proclaiming Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection until he returns
- 7. We must remember we’re unworthy apart of salvation when taking communion
- 8. Taking communion is sacred and for born again followers of Christ ONLY
- 9. We MUST remember to examine our motives and attitudes
- 10. Remember the fact we may receive chastisement and discipline from God
MY PERSONAL RECOMMENDATIONS