3 Easy Ways To Make The Most Of Communion – Part 2

Sacrament of the Altar

Today we continue our series on the Sacrament of the Altar. Last week, we discussed the first way of getting the most out of communion by understanding just what communion is. This week we will talk about the second way, that is what benefits we derive from receiving communion. But first, let’s review the passage of scripture we are studying:

As they were eating, Jesus took some bread. He thanked God for it and broke it. He gave it to the disciples and said, `Take this bread and eat it. It is my body.’ He also took a cup. He thanked God for it. Then he gave it to the disciples and said, `All of you drink from this. This is my blood. My blood is the blood of the new agreement. It is given so that many people will be forgiven for the wrong things they did.

Matthew 26:26-28 WEB

What are its benefits?

The above description of Communion is likely shocking or offensive to most Christians. But that is likely because they have not thought through the reason for Communion.

Many Christians in America today believe Communion to be nothing more than a sign, a memorial of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross nearly 2,000 years ago. This is not entirely wrong. For that is one of the reasons we ought to go to receive the Sacrament often (every week if possible).

The benefits of the sacrament are:

  1. So that God may teach us to believe that Christ died for my particular sins due solely to His great love for us
  2. So that we may recall the death and the shedding of Jesus’ blood in order to understand that no creature but the God-man Jesus Christ could make satisfaction for our sins
  3. So that we may learn to look with terror on our sins which caused Jesus to suffer as He did
  4. So that our faith may be strengthened against the onslaught of the evil one

The devil, our enemy seeks to ruin the faith of everyone that he can. Even if he cannot remove our faith, he will not stop until he has worn us out so completely that we renounce or become indifferent to our faith just to escape his attention. God knowing this, leaves us this great gift to strengthen us in the fight for faith. That all of the benefits of faith may become our own in us as a sure pledge from Christ refreshing us for the coming battles.

The saving faith the devil seeks to rob us of, God seeks to build and strengthen in Communion that we may not be lost, for He loves us so much that He not only sent Christ to die for us but commanded that His body and blood be given to us to strengthen us while we are in this world.

Keep awake! Watch! Your enemy the devil is walking around like a growling lion. He is looking for someone to catch.

1 Peter 5:8 WEB

Conclusion

Today we looked at the benefits that Christ gives us every time we partake of Communion in faith. We know from scripture the devil seeks every day to rob believers of their saving faith. Thankfully our loving Lord has not left us without a means to strengthen ourselves against his assaults. How can knowing this encourage Christians to receive Communion more often in their worship together?

I would love to hear from all of my readers either in the comments below or through email on my Contact Page. Also feel free to share a link to this post on Twitter, Facebook or anywhere else where content is shared.

Until then, “be a sinner and sin boldly, but let your trust in Christ be stronger”. God love you and keep you. Amen.

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3 Easy Ways To Make The Most Of Communion – Part 1

Sacrament of the Altar

The Sacrament of the Altar, otherwise known as Communion or the Eucharist, is one of the most observed and misunderstood of all of the sacraments. In Communion Jesus Christ gives us Himself to strengthen and preserve us in our journey that we may never have to “walk in darkness” for we have “seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:2). Over the next few posts we will look at the three easy ways we can make the most out of Communion:

  1. We will examine what is Communion
  2. What benefits we have from receiving it
  3. Who is to receive it

What is Communion?

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Matthew 26:26-28 WEB

The Sacrament of the Altar is nothing less than the body and blood of Jesus Christ given to us in, with, and under the species of bread and wine.

Let us be very clear. We are not talking about the Roman Catholic belief of Transubstantiation saying that the bread and wine are somehow transformed in its substance. The bread and wine remain exactly what they are, bread and wine. What we mean is that when receiving the elements we also receive the true and very real body and blood of Jesus, not spiritually, but supernaturally. Beyond our ability to perceive or fully understand it.

The reason for this has nothing to do with a special power or righteousness of the priest or pastor, nor anything to do with the faith we bring to the sacrament. It has everything to do with God’s ordinance and command. It is true because, as with baptism and the forgiveness of sins God has promised that it is so. Jesus said in the scriptures that the bread and wine are His body and blood so we may know it to be true:

  • Whether we have an unworthy minister, for what minister could ever be worthy
  • Whether our faith is weak, for this is the very purpose of Communion to strengthen such faith
  • Whether we understand it for even the theologians cannot fully grasp this mystery

Jesus is faithful and His Word will never fail, so the Sacrament is exactly what He promises.

We ask God to bless the cup at the Lord’s supper. When we drink from this cup it means that the blood of Christ is for us all. We break the bread. When we eat this bread, it means that the body of Christ is for us all.

1 Corinthians 10:16 WEB

His gift has been given to us, let us be eager to receive Him.

Conclusion

Today we talked about the first of the three ways we may get the most out of our communion experience. By knowing exactly what it is that we are receiving when we eat the bread and drink from the cup we may appreciate more fully just what Jesus gave up to save us. How can this biblical perspective help Christians today embrace the true consequences of their sin and help them stay away from it?

I would love to hear from all of my readers either in the comments below or through email on my Contact Page. Also feel free to share a link to this post on Twitter, Facebook or anywhere else where content is shared.

Until then, “be a sinner and sin boldly, but let your trust in Christ be stronger”. God love you and keep you. Amen.

Being Forgiven

Who screwed up so royally that we have all the problems we do today? Who gets the blame for messing up what was made so perfect in the beginning?

The Blame Game

As He [Jesus] passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither did this man sin, nor his parents; but, that the works of God might be revealed in him.

John 9:1-3

Christians know there is some truth behind the disciples’ question. Sin, falling short of God’s will, ultimately lead us to suffer. It is also the original sin of Adam that helped usher in the suffering we see so prevalent today. But where the disciples go wrong is in trying to apply this principle in a particular situation. They want everything to be black and white. This man is suffering because he either sinned in the womb or because his parents were scum.

Christ, as any good teacher, answers in a way to show them that they are asking the wrong question. It is not about how awful a person has been as to whether they will suffer.

For he [God] makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.

Matthew 5:45b

It is not about blame, it is about God.

Forgive Yourself

It has become very popular to say this to people who are depressed. I must firmly disagree. It is pretty easy for us to forgive ourselves. We are far more tolerant of our own mistakes then we are of others. What we really need is God’s forgiveness.

Jesus therefore said to them again, “Peace be to you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit! If you forgive anyone’s sins, they have been forgiven them. If you retain anyone’s sins, they have been retained.”

John 20:21-23 WEB

Jesus gave to His Church the power to forgive the sins of any who repent. Yet this gift is scoffed at by many Christians today. They say they need only pray and forgiveness will come. But just as God gave us the Scriptures through the words of men, so too he gives us still His words of forgiveness through the mouth of men, the pastors called to proclaim this good news to His people.

So don’t struggle to forgive yourself. Instead, strive to find the forgiveness of a God who knows exactly how messed up you are and will still forgive you anyway. That love is far greater than anything you can give yourself.

Next Time

Today we talked a little about the precious gift that God gives us. We do not need to play the blame game. Instead, we look to Christ to be forgiven and then show this same forgiveness to those who need it. By replacing blame with forgiveness we can make society just a little bit better.

Next week we will dive into one of the final Sacraments on our list, the Sacrament of the Altar. If you have any questions about forgiveness or any about communion you want to be answered let me know in the comments below or in a private email through my Contact Page.

Until then, “be a sinner and sin boldly, but let your trust in Christ be stronger”. God love you and keep you. Amen.

The Power of Baptism

Have you been born again? That is a question I have been asked by a lot of people over the years. Usually by folks who aren’t very sure what that question really means.

Born Of Water and Spirit

Jesus answered him [Nicodemus], “Most certainly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can’t see God’s Kingdom.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?”

Jesus answered, “Most certainly I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit, he can’t enter into God’s Kingdom! That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Don’t marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but don’t know where it comes from and where it is going. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

John 3:3-8 WEB

This is where the phrase “Born again” comes from (rendered in this translation as “born anew”). Yet what most people pass over, is that Jesus is talking about a real birth. They ask if you have made the decision to be born again by asking Jesus into your heart.

This, however, is rather absurd. Nowhere is asking Jesus into your heart mentioned. Also, no one asked your permission for you to be born physically. You had no say in the matter. The truth is, your spiritual birth is the same way.

The Means of Grace

But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love toward mankind appeared, not by works of righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy, he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly, through Jesus Christ our Savior; that, being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This saying is faithful, and concerning these things I desire that you affirm confidently, so that those who have believed God may be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men [that is mankind];

Titus 3:4-8 WEB

Being born again is not our choice, but God’s promise. Baptism is not our work, but His. We are reborn anew of the Spirit because God said we would be. Not because we said the right prayer with enough sincerity (for who can honestly claim to have been truly sincere), and not because we were dunked into the right amount of holy water.

It is solely because God promised and because God always delivers on His promises.

Your Faith Does not Matter

In the last few posts, we have covered the particular blessings of baptism. So here I want to cover a very important topic. Your faith or level of understanding does not make or break baptism.

So many people are wrongly and sinfully rebaptized because they think they did not understand what was happening the first time or because they did not really believe correctly the first time. They doubt whether their baptism was right or accepted because of their own shortcomings.

Guess what, that will always be true as long as you make God’s work out to be your own. You do not bring anything to baptism. Your faith does not matter, your understanding does not matter. What matters is God. That He promised baptism would mean something. That it would forgive you your sins, make you His own child, and free you from the devil. That is what matters. So in baptism, and in life, rely solely on God.

Next Time

Today we have talked about trusting in God for all of His promises, even those we are tempted to make our own. Next time we will continue this idea in the concept of forgiveness.

Until then, “be a sinner and sin boldly, but let your trust in Christ be stronger”. God love you and keep you. Amen.