Sermon preached some Sunday in 2000, exact date unknown, at Villa Morra Baptist Church, Asunción, Paraguay, South America.
Note: Since I preached this message on a Baptist church, I used the word “ordinances” instead of sacraments. I understand these words as interchangeable, but many people do not. Here, I speak of “ordinances” as being understood in the spirit of what is said in Lord’s Day 25 of the Heidelberg Catechism.
Text: 1 Corinthians 11:23–26:
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.” 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.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (ESV)
Introduction: We need to explain the Lord’s Supper. The subject has been neglected for some time. Yet, it is deep in richness of meaning. What is the Lord’s Supper? What is his purpose? How should we celebrate it in an appropriate manner?
The Supper is an ordinance of divine right (de iure divino).
Sidenote: Ordinance, or Sacrament? The words are interchangeable.
- The Supper is a sign: It denotes an invisible reality, apprehended by faith.
- A sign of Christ’s sacrificial death.
- A sign of the redemption accomplished by Christ (for all this, see Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Days 28–30).
- A sign of Christ’s second coming.
- A sign of the blessings that we receive from God. That’s why we must give thanks for the bread and wine.
- A sign of the Word of God, who institutes and announces the Lord’s Supper, and proclaims the eternal truths of God.
- The supper is a seal: A spiritual nourishment.
Conclusion: The incredible depths of the Lord’s Supper are really hard to apprehend. It is a sign that should fill us with wonder and awe. We must be very serious about this sacrament, the one that really declares us to be part of the Catholic (i.e., universal) church.
Sometimes I see Psalm 130 as a great illustration of what the Lord’s Supper accomplishes on us: we need mercy and forgiveness (v.2); God forgives us even though no one can stand before Him (vss. 3–4); we hope for the Lord’s coming, hoping in His Word (vss. 5–6); and he gives us redemption (vss. 7–8). All the cries of the Psalmist are answered in the Supper. Thanks be to God for His wonderful sacrament!