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Communion Meditations (2018)

 

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First Thessalonians 4:14-18

Originally scheduled for October 14

Paul evidently had a problem with some amateur theologian which caused him to pen these words:

For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

(1 Thessalonians 4:14-18)

 

This passage corrects either of two mistakes concerning those who are still alive and walking the planet when Jesus returns:

·         One group says that it’s basically “tough luck.” If you’re walking around alive on the planet when Jesus returns, you missed the resurrection, you miss the rapture, you don’t go to heaven.

·         Another group says that before Jesus can return, the church must completely die out. (Your author has heard this one within his own lifetime.)

Paul corrects the original misimpression: the idea is that if you’re still alive when Christ returns somehow or other you must be missing out, because only the dead shall rise. Paul says that’s not true; the rest of us who are living on the planet will rise with the dead having seen them rise first. The issue is an important one; so much so that Paul tells the Thessalonians that they are to comfort each other with these words. We still use them today at funerals of good Christian people.

Communion is a sign of the resurrection of the dead.

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)

 

Note the last three words — “until He comes.” Communion is a sign:

·         It is a sign of what he promised — victory over death.

·         It is a sign of what he proved — that he has power over death, shown at his resurrection.

·         It should also be a sign of our preparation — we don’t know the day and time, but we know he is coming and we should be ready for it.

Therefore, as you partake of communion this morning, do so in a worthy manner:

·         First, partake in remembrance of the sacrifice he made at Calvary.

·         Next, partake and fellowship with your Christian brothers and sisters. If there is anything between you, resolved to settle it as quickly as possible and remain in the unity of the church.

·         Finally, partake in hope — for Christ is your hope of the defeat of death. God’s children shall live forever in His kingdom.

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