Monday, July 12, 2010

The Mystery and Power of Communion: Part IV

As Jesus and His disciples celebrated the Last Supper . . . as the early Church celebrated the Lord’s Supper . . . as we celebrate today: We participate, rejoicing that the fulfillment in Communion ~ that fourth cup, consummation ~ will be celebrated at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” (Revelation 19:6-9)

The Wedding Feast of the Lamb was on our Lord’s mind that awesome and preordained night of the Passover just before the Crucifixion. For I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 22:16) for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” (Luke 22:18) And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Luke 22:29-30)

When we enter into Heaven (through death or through the return of our Lord), there will be no more pain for us . . . no sorrow . . . no sickness. At the appointed time, we shall all sit down with the Bridegroom and feast!! Until then, we will continue to drink from the Cup of Redemption and eat of the presence of the Lord.

As we partake, we are to do so with holiness and a pure heart and in orderly and reverent fashion. Communion is not to be an afterthought of our service – there is to be a celebration at the heart of it. One of my absolute favorite Bible teachers is Perry Stone. In his book, The Meal that Heals, Perry lays out Four Steps for Receiving the Lord’s Supper. They are (my paraphrase):

Look Inward! Deep into your heart and your spirit. Ensure that you have no hidden or un-confessed sin. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. (1 Cor. 11:28) Is there a bondage or “pet” sin you struggle with? If so, repent before you receive communion. If you want to hang on to that sin, don’t partake of the Lord’s supper. Keep your spirit pure before God.

Look Outward! At your family, friends, fellow believers, neighbors or acquaintances. If you hold something against any one of them, your offerings cannot be blessed until you make amends. Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24)

Look Upward! Remember Christ’s redemptive work on your behalf with holy gratitude. Dwell upon who He is, who you are in Him. Meditate on His goodness and mercies. Think about the time to come. Jesus is coming again at an hour when none of us know. Are you ready?

Look Onward! Live your life expecting to fulfill God’s plan and purpose for your life. EXPECT to receive the power and the healing that are yours in Communion! EXPECT to receive the benefits and inheritance that are yours as a child of the King! EXPECT to declare the Word of God over you and your family and see the promises of God fulfilled! The price for all these benefits has been paid through the shed blood of our Lord! EXPECT to live out all of your days. With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.” (Psalm 91:16) Remember that Salvation is a complete work of making a person whole in spirit, soul and body.

In closing, there is no place in scripture that gives a specific age at which one should begin to partake of communion, just as there is no specific age at which one can be saved. Both Communion and Baptism are Holy Sacraments of the believer. Parents should judge whether or not their child really understands the message of salvation, the message of Baptism, the message of Communion . . . and decide accordingly whether they should participate.

Don’t take any Sacrament of the Lord lightly . . . consider the price that was paid through the Cup and through the Bread that represent the Blood and the Body of our Lord. Consider all that has brought you to the point of partaking in the holy remembrance of the Lord. Examine yourself with prayer and honesty; and ask yourself if you do, indeed, desire to come before God in obedience and righteousness. If you are then led, celebrate with joy and receive all that the Lord has prepared for you at His table!!

It is my prayer that you have been blessed by something in this study. Everything the Lord has taught me about his Word has come through the quickening of the Holy Spirit or through the teachings of great men and women of God who desired to share the Good News!! I have always been very grateful for the teachings of Perry Stone, who has been such a powerful vessel in helping me understand the Hebraic roots of my faith. I am especially grateful for his teaching on Holy Communion. Of course, more than anything, I bow in gratitude to our Lord who completed all things for me on the cross, to my Father who desired from the beginning that I would fellowship with Him eternally, and to the Holy Spirit who breathes life into His Word and into my spirit!!

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