Lord's Supper Service • 1-2-22

Series: Special Occasions

January 02, 2022
Brad Shockley

Episode Notes

Lord’s Supper - January 2 2022

Yet again we find ourselves at the start of a new year and with that comes the inevitable RESOLUTIONS.

At the beginning of 2021, these were the top ten resolutions.[1] I bet you can guess the first one.

1.      Getting fit/exercising more

2.      Losing weight

3.      Saving more money

4.      Improving diet

5.      Pursuing an ambition

6.      Spending more time with family

7.      Taking up a new hobby

8.      Spending less time on social media

9.      Giving up smoking

10.  Renovating a part of the house

This year’s resolutions are probably not much different.

Now, making resolutions isn’t a bad thing for sure, but we have to be careful to use resolutions as a means to an end and not make them an end in themselves. When we make healthy habits an end in themselves, we run the risk of creating a very unhealthy environment. We start gauging our worth or effectiveness on how well we measure up to our performance. In other words, we tie up our identity in how well we achieve our goals. So if you gain a pound you lower your self worth, etc. It’s vicious cycle.

Christians are especially susceptible to this trap because our resolutions almost always involve doing better at spiritual disciplines like reading our Bible, praying, reading books on discipleship, and the list goes on on. We equate our worth before God on how well we perform.

Justin Earley, author of The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose in an Age of Distraction, describes a breakdown he experienced some time ago. He had been passionately pursuing a career as a lawyer, with the long hours and hard work that came with that when he found himself paralyzed with anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia. He writes…[2]

“I see now that my body had finally become converted to the anxiety and busyness I'd worshiped through my habits and routines. All the years of a schedule built on going nonstop to try to earn my place in the world had finally rubbed off on my heart. My head said one thing, that God loves me no matter what I do, but my habits said another, that I'd better keep striving in order to stay loved.

In the end, I started to believe my habits–mind, body, and soul.”

Earley committed to getting his “heart to believe the peace that [his] mind professed but [his] body refused." "I had no idea how much my life was being formed by my habits instead of my hopes," writes Earley.

Jonathan Rogers, a Christian author commenting on Earley’s insight writes:

That's a really important insight. We think of ourselves as being shaped by our ideas and beliefs and hopes–and, of course, we are—but we grossly underestimate the power of habit in our lives. We aren't just what we think; we are also what we do.

As you think about your goals and hopes and resolutions for 2022, I hope you'll think in terms of [healthy] habits. A resolution is something that happens between your ears. A habit is something that happens in your life. The right kind of habits create healthy grooves that your life can run in—grooves that align with Reality (and, therefore, productivity, joy, peace, rest, etc.).

Good habits, according to Justin Earley, are a trellis for love to grow on.[3]

Now that puts resolutions for the Christian into perspective. Things like reading our Bible and praying are not the way we please God, they are a trellis his love for us can grow on.

One healthy habit, a groove I’d like for us to start 2022 off with, is the Lord’s Supper. I pray it sets the year’s tone for us individually and corporately. Why? Because it represents the core of who we are and what our faith is about. And because it’s possible it even dispenses a measure of God’s grace to us. In other words, God blesses us just for partaking.

The Lord’s Supper is called an ordinance because it’s something Jesus ordered us to do…

26 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.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”  Matthew 26:26–29 (ESV)

This is why we do this. But it’s good to answer a few questions the Lord’s Supper raises. The first is…

What does it mean?

Paul tells us very clearly in his words to the Corinthian church…

26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.  1 Corinthians 11:26 (ESV)

This is infused with more meaning than we have time to cover today. But at the very least Paul tells us every time we have the Lord’s Supper we proclaim the good news of Jesus’ living the life we should have lived and dying the death we should have died. And the even better news that he’s coming again (which means he didn’t stay dead)., And we know that when he returns it is to conquer evil and set this world back to rights. 

Another important question we need to answer is… 

Who is it for?

It’s exclusively for Christians, for those who have believed in Jesus and received like a gift his living the life they should have lived and dying the death they should have died.

This isn’t meant to sound exclusionary or make anyone feel bad for being here (maybe you’re checking this Jess thing out. I’m so glad). Here’s the issue: the Lord’s Supper points to something so special and precious — the crucifixion of Jesus, his resurrection, his return, and the new covenant sealed by his blood  —  it would be crazy inappropriate for people who haven’t become a part of that covenant to participate.

If you’re here today and you haven’t yet become a Christian on your faith journey, don’t feel awkward at all to let the plate pass you buy without taking a little cup. I mean that.

Another question we should ask and answer is…

How do we prepare?

Listen to what Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians about the Lord’s Supper…

1 Corinthians 11:27–28 (ESV) — 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. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

Even in the early church, there were those who lost sight of its meaning. They took it lightly and abused what was supposed to be a cherished time for God’s people.

Paul warned them and us to examine ourselves first.

He wasn’t saying the Lord’s Supper is only for those walking in perfect fellowship, only for those not struggling with failures. Good gracious alive no.

Paul spoke here of those who claimed to know Christ yet lived in open rebellion against Him. They weren’t convicted of or sorry for their sin. They came to the table callously.

If you are here today and there is failure, there is conviction and sorrow, the Lord’s Table is for you!

We prepare today by examining ourselves and confessing our sins. By coming to the table boldly, but humbly.

Conclusion: I’ve got one last question and it’s one I can’t answer. Only you can.

If you’re excluding yourself from celebrating communion with us today because you’re not a Christian, you’ve never come to God through faith and repentance… 

Why wouldn’t you do something about that?

I admire and appreciate you taking communion seriously. Paul would too because you have a better understanding of how important it is unlike some of those who claimed to be Christians back in the church at Corinth.

But even though the Lord’s Supper is exclusive, it’s only for Christians, becoming able to partake is unbelievably inclusive. The Bible says, God promises…

13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  Romans 10:13 (ESV)

You see what Jesus did in living the life we should have lived and dying the death we should have died is something he wants to give you like a gift. It’d have to be because none of us could ever earn something like that. Look at what Paul wrote to the Ephesians…

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  Ephesians 2:8–9 (ESV)

Okay, so right now Pastor Rob is going to come up and play softly. While he does that those who are Christ followers need to prepare their hearts. Confess any unconfessed sins. Plead God’s mercy. Ask him to dispense his grace as you partake today.

If you’re here and not a Christ-follower. You can call on him. Why wouldn’t you want to do that today? What’s holding you back. Surrender. And you can celebrate the Lord’s Supper with us as a brand new Christian.

Pastor Rob…


Serve the bread - instrumental

Pastor Brad:
“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.” 

PRAY & Partake

SONG —————

Serve the juice - instrumental

Pastor Brad:
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.”

PRAY & partake


For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:23–26, ESV) 


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