Originally scheduled for June 9
Suppose you went about the room today taking
everyone’s temperature with a thermometer. You would find that most
of us are somewhere around 98.6°; a few this might be a bit higher
with a fever. But he discovered someone with a temperature around
70° — in other words, room temperature – you would be forced to the
conclusion that they were dead. Living human beings have temperature
of around 98.6°; dead ones don’t.
But notice, please, that the temperature is
just a symptom. If you take that body and heat is up to 98.6° that
person does not suddenly come alive again. Heating up the body might
fix the symptoms, but not the problem. May I suggest to you that
this is somewhat of an analogy with regard to faith? The Scripture
informs us that faith without works is dead. We all know this. So it
should be obvious to us that going through the motions of taking
communion without any real, living and working faith is nothing but
an empty ritual.
Just what does it mean when you take communion?
First, it means that you believe in
the death, burial and physical resurrection of our Lord Jesus
Christ. You believe that this death atones for your sins, and that
you have accepted that atonement.
Next, you believe that this is — in
some sense – the body and blood of Christ. That implies that you
wish to be like him; spiritually, you are what you eat. So this says
you are trying to imitate Christ.
Finally, as we are told to do this in
remembrance of him until he comes again, it means that you believe
that he will return as he promised and bring with him judgment —
four reward or condemnation, as deserved.
So this is serious business. How do we go about
taking communion in a truly serious way? Paul gives us an outline in
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. But a
man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread
and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks
judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this
reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if
we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are
judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be
condemned along with the world.
(1 Corinthians 11:27-32 NASB)
May I point out two things:
First, you are to examine yourself.
Take stock of your life, see where you have failed, ask forgiveness
for it and also ask for the Lord’s help in keeping it away from you.
Second, you are inviting the Lord’s
discipline in your life. If you tell them you have a problem, you
should expect him to help you overcome that problem. He does this by
his loving discipline.
Therefore, you should be completely truthful in
your self examination — and expect appropriate discipline to help
you in your failings. Whom the Lord loves, he disciplines. If he
disciplines you, then, considered a sign of his love.