Reverent Fear and Joy

The Command for Reverent Fear and Joy

A look into the Lord’s Supper

Intro:

  • It’s very simple to allow this to become an empty ceremony. It’s just how we are. We forget easily, and unless we are purposeful about keeping our hearts in something, it just becomes meaningless repetition.
  • Ordinance instituted by Christ our Savior Himself.
  • Is the New covenant version of the Old Covenant Passover.
  • For REMEMBERING
  • How should we remember:

With Reverent fear (Exodus 12:14)

  1. Passover was a permanent memorial for remembering YHWH’s deeds in bringing the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt and into the promised land
  2. History of Passover – How did Israel get into Egypt and why were they enslaved? What did it take to get them out of there?
    1. Abraham receives the promise
    2. Isaac is spared on the altar
    3. Esau sells his birthright to Jacob and Jacob receives his father’s blessing
    4. One of Jacob’s sons, Joseph, ticks his brothers off with his dreams about them bowing down to him, so they sell him to a caravan, who sells him to an Egyptian.
    5. Joseph goes from Potiphar’s house, to the dungeon, to the throne room, and becomes (basically) ruler over Egypt
    6. During the famine (which Joseph predicted and prepared for) his brothers come to Egypt, bada bing, bada boom…the whole family is living there.
    7. God prospers the people of Israel so much that the Egyptians get scared and enslave them all.
    8. A couple centuries later, God sends Moses to remind Pharoah that he’s insignificant and tell him to let Israel go, but Pharoah gets all prideful and won’t let the people go. SO God sends frogs and gnats and flies and locusts, and bloodies the Nile, and blots out the sun, and then kills EVERY firstborn in Egypt, even of the livestock.
    9. The night before God kills all the firstborn he institutes the Passover so they will remember His mighty acts and that the blood of the sacrifice protected them

With Joy (1 Cor 11:25-26)

  1. Christ says do in remembrance of Him. Why? Because we are Israel, and He was the final Passover lamb. We were saved by Him! God’s greatest deed in all of time was the eternal salvation of His people by the death of His son on the cross.
  2. Setting of Lord’s supper – What was going on? What was about to happen?
    1. Christ is at the end of his short years of earthly ministry and has come into Jerusalem for the last time to celebrate the Passover with His disciples.
    2. He enters Jerusalem on the day Israel sets aside to choose the sacrificial Passover lamb (4 days before the feast)
    3. During the Passover meal, Christ institutes the Lord’s supper, commanding to eat the break and drink the cup in remembrance of HIM. Thus He declares several things:
      1. i.    He himself is God (He commands memory of Himself the same way God commands memory of Himself at the first Passover)
      2. ii.    What He has done and is about to do is far better than what the Passover celebrates

How should we respond:

  1. Proclaim WHY we do this
    1. Ex. 12:26-27 : command to teach children the meaning and bring them up in the knowledge of the Lord’s mighty acts
    2. 1 Cor 11:26 : As long as we keep the ordinance (until Christ comes) we are to proclaim WHY we do it
    3. This is evidence before the world that we belong to Christ, that we celebrate Him, that we trust fully, and only in His salvation
  2. Matthew Henry quote – “The ordinances of Christ, if they do not make us better, will be very apt to make us worse…”
    1. Better – more thankful, humble, joyful, at peace b/c of our great God
    2. Worse – More callous to glorious sacrifice of Christ, unfeeling, unmoved by eternal joy, prideful
  3. Partaking in unworthy manner means you’ll be guilty of the blood of Christ instead of cleansed by it
    1. Not to scare believers: “Perfect love drives out fear.” “There is now no condemnation”. Even if you’ve come up until this point today and lived in a manner not worthy of Christ, the greatness of the New covenant is that you can repent RIGHT now and Christ will renew you and forgive you completely!

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Though we’ve talked so far all about remembering, let us not miss this INCREDIBLE truth. Matthew 26:29 — “… 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.”

What we do now, this ceremony to commemorate all that God has done for us as His people, we do knowing that it is only a shadow and foretelling of what is to come! We will, one day, feast in glory with the King of King and Lord of Lords! He will gather us to His table, and in that moment EVERY joy or happiness we ever had here will seem as though it were dull and meaningless compared to the riches of God’s awesome love for us.

So watch this progression: in the Old Cov they had the Passover. In the New Cov we have the Lord’s supper. One day we’ll have the banquet with Christ! Physical salvation from Egypt. Spiritual salvation from sin. Eternal salvation from death. God calls His people, redeems His people, and glorifies His people. Awesome!

  1. Reverent fear – Isaiah 6, Revelation 4. We will live in the presence of the King one day!
  2. Joy – Romans 8:18 – Yes, our sufferings aren’t worth being compared to what’s to come, but even our greatest joys here on Earth will be as nothing compared to the abounding riches of glory.

Application:

  1. As you eat, seek to be satisfied in Christ and not this world. The best this world has to offer will be just about as valuable as dirt one day. Actually, Paul says that he counts everything here as…well…excrement. Cowpies. Dung. That’s the word he uses. But as we celebrate the Lord’s supper we are reminded that we should be willing to give up EVERYTHING here, and that it will not be any loss whatsoever. You have Christ, and you should trust in Him to provide for your physical needs. But even if God calls you to the mission field (yes, you!) and you die of hypothermia and starvation in the snow of Russia because God allowed the wicked people of the town you were proclaiming the gospel in to beat you and throw you into the wilderness…even THEN, God has promised us gifts us such surpassing greatness that when you stand in His presence you’ll say, “I never lost a bit. I never gave too much. God never withheld anything good from me.” This world is passing away…but we are not citizens of this world. We are children of heaven, and that promise is so precious that nothing here is even comes close. Be satisfied in Christ above all else.

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How should we prepare for observing this ordinance:

  1. “Only as it assists remembrance can it be useful. Seek grace lovingly to remember your Lord.” –Spurgeon
  2. “To be exact and severe on ourselves is the most proper way not to fall under the just severity of our Heavenly Father.”
    1. If you’re a believer, stop lying to yourself saying, “(xyz sin) isn’t a big deal.” (Hebrews 10) It IS. God demands your repentance; your holiness. The day we remember the cross is NOT the day to be a liar about your sin. REPENT, drink deep from the cup of Christ’s mercy and grace, and be joyfully satisfied in Him! Partaking of this ordinance heedlessly is a wicked intrusion, as a filthy criminal barging into a wedding reception and throwing himself to messily eating the catered food. Here are some questions for you to ask yourselves
      1. i.    Christ bids us proclaim His death: Do I have faith in His death? Do I live by His death?
      2. ii.    We use bread in this service: Is Jesus really and truly the food of my soul, or do I feed myself with other things?
      3. iii.    We do so in unity as the body of Christ: Am I one of God’s people? Am I dwelling in love with ALL of His people?
      4. iv.    The cup is Christ’s new covenant: Have I made my covenant with God by Jesus Christ? Do I rest in that covenant for all my hopes?
      5. v.    Jesus calls His people to remember Him: Do I KNOW Christ so as to be able to remember Him? Do I so love Him that remembering His sacrifice is sweet?
    2. If you’re not a believer – having never confessed your sins to God and brought your life to Him saying, “You are my Lord. I will follow you. Forgive me my sins!” If that’s you, then you have no reason to celebrate this ordinance. It is meaningless for you right now, and will gain you NO FAVOR with God…just the opposite actually. I ask 2 things of you:
      1. i.    Come and take hold of these great and eternal promises we are about to celebrate as the family of God! Confess your sins and take your place among the ones who God will glorify!
      2. ii.    If you have not, or will not, please let the plate pass you by. The people around you will appreciate your honesty and will not condemn you or look down upon you. But more importantly, you will not receive the wrath of God for pretending to be one of His own when you are not.

So, let us remember Christ. Let us remember the God of Heaven, Yahweh, the Creator, the glorious Beginning of all things. Let us do so with GREAT reverence, for as Hebrews 12:28-29 tells us: “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”

Let us be honest about our sins and confess and seek to repent, so that our Lord’s anger will not burn against us for approaching His divine table in an unworthy manner.

Let us, finally, overflow with joy! We are the people of God! By His mighty acts He rescued the people of Israel from Egypt and brought them to the promised land. By His GREAT mercy He has forgiven the sins of His people by the blood of His son on the cross. And with SURE promises, He has told His people that He will bring us to His table in glory one day. We eat this ceremonial meal in remembrance of the great acts God has done, and in anxious anticipation of the great things to come.

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