Today’s sermon title was actually the title of book written by Chuck Colson in 1999, and I believe that he adapted it from Francis Schaffer’s “How Should We Then Live?” written in 1976.
Ultimately, both of those authors borrowed the thought from Peter here in 2 Peter 11-12. Peter said in verse 11, “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of person ought you to be?”
It was a rhetorical question but one that Peter answered in today’s text. This the final message in our study of 2 Peter, and we’re asking that question this morning, “How Now Shall We Live?”
The NT often teaches the truth that moral imperatives follow eschatological indicatives. Do what? The commands we live out depend on what we believe to be true about the end times. Our conduct is determined by our convictions. Our behavior is determined by our beliefs.
In verse 11, since the Day of the Lord is coming like a thief in the night, and the Lord will destroy the present heavens and earth with fire before He creates a new heaven and new earth, you should be characterized by hopeful looking and holy living.
Notice “therefore” is used three times in these closing verses: 11, 14, and 17. Because of what we know, a certain behavior should follow.
First is looking forward with hope that Jesus will return. Verse 12 says looking for and hastening the coming day of God. Verse 13 says we look for new heavens and a new earth. Verse 14 says looking forward to these things.
Second is holy living. Verse 11 uses the words holy conduct and godliness. Holy means set apart from sin and set apart to the ways of God. Godliness means imitating and following the way God would act.
Therefore, because Jesus is coming again, our lives in the last days should be characterized by hopeful looking and holy living. However, specifically, what does that look like in daily living?
The remainder of today’s text is built on four imperatives or four commands from Peter to these first century Christians and us. Because Jesus is coming again, work hard in being saved, remember the Lord is patient, be aware of false teachers, and grow in your relationship with Christ.
- Because Jesus is coming again soon, work hard in being saved, 2 Peter 3:14.
14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.
In verse 14, Peter said be diligent or work hard to be found by Him in peace. He is talking about being in peace or at peace with God.
What does that mean? Paul tells us in Romans 5:1.
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
To be justified means to be made right. Every individual has that need because our sin has separated us from God.
How does it happen? It happens when you put your faith and trust in Christ to save you and not yourself. Nothing else and no one else can save except Jesus.
When you make that personal decision, you are justified. You are made right. You are saved. You are at peace with God through His Son, Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
Make sure you have made that personal decision. Work hard at it. No one can make it for you, and it doesn’t happen because you’re good enough or smart enough or come from a certain family.
Consequently, and don’t this, when you are at peace with God through Jesus, you are without spot and blameless. It isn’t because of you and your behavior. It is because of Jesus and His Sinlessness in you.
However, if you are saved, at peace with God, born again, your behavior ought to be without spot and blameless. As Christians, that is what we are called to brothers and sisters.
If the word is characterized by fighting and bickering, we should not be. If they world is characterized by immorality, we should not be. If the world is characterized by alcoholism, we should not be. If the world is characterized by consumerism, we should not be. Our position in Christ should dictate our practical and daily living.
- Because Jesus is coming again soon, remember that the Lord is patient, 2 Peter 3:15-16.
15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
Notice if you will, in 3:15, this is not only what Peter taught, but this is also what Paul taught. Peter may have been thinking about Romans 2:4 that we saw last week.
4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
Peter said remember God’s patience with you, and He is tarrying and remember that the apostle Paul reminded you of the same truth. However, the false teachers have twisted this truth.
The “untaught” and “unstable” are the false teachers. They say He isn’t coming back or you have missed His coming. They twist and distort the truths of God’s Word.
Let me take just a side street here and make a comment on a golden nugget here in 3:16. Notice the phrase, “the rest of Scripture.” What is Peter including as Scripture? He is including the writings of Paul.
This is monumental that Peter under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit affirms that Paul’s writings are authoritative as Scripture. This is a big deal on a major issue in our country right now.
When talking about same-sex relationships, have you ever heard anyone say, “Jesus never spoke to the issue.” Actually, that isn’t true, but even if it was, Paul spoke to the issue in Romans 1, and Peter said that was Scripture.
Brothers and sisters, don’t be duped by the logic of the world. 2 Timothy 3:16 said that all Scripture was breathed out by God and therefore authoritative. Of course that includes the gospels, but it also includes the OT and the rest of the NT.
God’s Word speaks authoritatively on many more issues than the world thinks. Therefore, for Christians, that should settle many cultural issues.
- Because Jesus is coming again soon, be aware of the false teachers, 2 Peter 3:17.
17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked.
We saw this last week with the false teachers, but in the last days, we must be aware lest they lead us away. Peter warned that the false teachers wanted to lead us in to error.
Does this mean we can lose our salvation? It doesn’t if you’re truly saved. However, there are plenty who profess God but aren’t possessed by God.
If you’ve been truly and genuinely saved, you cannot and will not lose your salvation. However, if you haven’t been, you will. John said it like this in 1 John 2:19.
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
- Because Jesus is coming again soon, grow in your relationship with Christ, 2 Peter 3:18.
18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
In this last verse, Peter encourages us to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. We must grow in grace and give Him glory.
One commentator wrote, “The Christian life is like…riding a bicycle. Unless you keep moving, you fall off!” Friend, if you don’t keep growing in your knowledge of Christ, you will spiritually dry up and wither away.
Every day, I read God’s Word, and He speaks to me. Every day, I pray, and I speak to Him. I do this not because I am a pastor. I do this because I am a Christian who wants to grow in my relationship with the Lord.
Brothers and sisters, because Jesus is coming again soon, let us be busy with our hopeful looking and our holy living.
If you have your Bibles, please take them and find 2 Peter 3:1. I want to share a message with you this morning entitled, “The Lord Uses a Different Watch!”
Today is our next to last message in 2 Peter. We will finish this short book next Sunday morning.
I hope you remember that 2 Peter is primarily about false teachers within this church. They were guilty of denying the Lord. That may have meant they denied His deity or humanity or Lordship. Regardless, they were heretics.
Peter uses this letter to warn these first century Christians and remind them of the truth. If you go back to chapter 1, you will find this idea or remember or reminding in 1:12, 1:13, and 1:15.
He is going to do that again in today’s text. You find the word “remind” in 3:1, the word “mindful” in 3:2, and the admonition, “do not forget” in 3:8, and he does this because they were prone to forget as are we.
Peter’s reminders for today are three. First, remember that the false teachers will mock. Second, remember that the Lord is patient. Third, remember that the day of the Lord is coming.
- Remember that the false teachers will mock, 2 Peter 3:1-7.
1 Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), 2 that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, 3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
Peter’s reminder are certainly friendly reminders as evidenced with “Beloved.” We also are reminded that this is his second epistle. The first is called 1 Peter.
Peter’s first reminder regarding the false teachers and their mocking was originally said by the holy prophets of the OT and the apostles of the NT. Again, we are prone to forget. Therefore, we have to be reminded of what we have been taught by those that have gone before us.
What did those prophets and apostles say?
Malachi 4:1-2, 1 “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” Says the Lord of hosts, “That will leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; And you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves.
1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
There will be scoffers or mockers in the last days. The last days is the time between Jesus’ first and second comings, and to scoff or mock meant to doubt or disparage or make fun.
Specifically, these false teachers were doubting that Jesus was going to return, and they were also living like it. Notice verse 4.
Essentially, they were saying, look around. Nothing has changed. Jesus is not returning. It is a farce. You’ve been duped.
Furthermore, not only were they saying Jesus wasn’t coming, they were also living like it. Verse 3 says they were walking or living according to their own lusts. They were living as if there were no moral consequences to their actions, specifically to their sexual immorality.
Finally, about these false teachers, in verse 5, Peter rebutted their argument that nothing has changed. He reminded them of the global flood in Genesis 7.
God created the world and judged the world with a global flood. In the future, He will judge the world again. However, this time, it won’t be with water but with fire.
This truth was also testified by the holy prophets.
Isaiah 66:15-16, 15 For behold, the Lord will come with fire and with His chariots, like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire. 16 For by fire and by His sword The Lord will judge all flesh; And the slain of the Lord shall be many.
Daniel 7:9-10, 9 “I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire; 10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, And the books were opened.
- Remember that the Lord is patient, 2 Peter 3:8-9.
8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Again, Peter used that term of endearment in giving this second reminder. The Lord uses a different watch than we do. Therefore, is very patient in spite of how it seems.
In verse 8, Peter quoted Psalm 90:4. Some have taken this verse and applied in too many places. I don’t think you can use this verse to say that God took 6000 years to create the earth because one day is like a thousand years. I also don’t think you can say that Jesus has really only been gone two since one day is like a thousand years to Him.
Peter is simply saying that the Lord doesn’t measure time necessarily like we do. We look at time linearly. He looks at time eternally.
Regardless, He is not slack or slow. Instead, He is patient. That is who He is and who He has always been. Both testaments confirm this truth.
Psalm 86:15, 15 But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious,
Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.
Romans 2:4, 4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
John Calvin in his commentary on 2 Peter said this, “So wonderful is his love towards mankind, that He would have them all to be saved, and is of His own self prepared to bestow salvation on the lost” (Epistles of Peter, p. 419).
Therefore, the Lord hasn’t returned not because He is slow. The Lord hasn’t returned because when He returns, there will be no more chances to turn to Him. His not returning is because of His patience and His desire for you to be saved.
- The day of the Lord is coming, 2 Peter 3:10.
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.
Peter says the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. That simile is used all throughout the New Testament to describe the return of Christ.
Matthew 24:42-44, 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
Revelation 16:15, 15 “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”
Simply put, Jesus is coming back at a time when you don’t expect in the same way you do know when to expect a thief.
So what does all this mean for us today? First, if you’re not saved, the Lord is patient, but His patience will be coming to an end. Call upon Him today, this morning to be saved from your sins. Stop taking advantage of His patience.
Second, if you are saved, quit living like Jesus isn’t coming again. Let that truth motivate and inspire your gospel sharing and your tithing giving and your holy living.
This morning is a special morning as it is our annual Back in the Game Sunday. In the next few minutes, we are going to be looking back at the previous 10.5 months and looking forward to the next church year that will begin in October.
In addition to looking back and looking forward, I will also be asking this question, “Why Does EBC Exist?” We will answer that question from Matthew’s Gospel, and I will be encouraging you to get “Back in the Game!”
When we look back, your initial thought might be that you prefer not. I understand. 2020 was a hard year for everyone, and 2021 is turning out to be only slightly better.
However, at EBC, God was still kind. God was still good. God still blessed us, and we need to celebrate that. Specifically, we need to celebrate some individuals and some families.
In today’s bulletin, you will find a Back in the Game Brochure. Please find that and notice on the very back panel. In 2020-2021, God added 23 new members to Emory Baptist Church. Of those 23, 6 were baptized by immersion and after salvation. Praise the Lord!
Not only do we want to look back, but we also want to look forward. In that same brochure from your bulletin, you will find some ministries and events that we hope you will consider joining.
First, our largest and in many ways, our most important ministry is our Sunday School Small Groups.
In this next church year, we will have 22 Sunday School Small Groups. I cannot say enough about the importance of you as an individual and family, as adults and teenagers and children, of being a part of one of these small groups that meet every Sunday morning at 9:15 all over our facility.
Beginning in September, almost all of those adult options will be studying Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about different classes teaching different subjects. You simply decide on which teacher and which class members you like the best.
I have also given you a preview of what I will be preaching and teaching this fall. That includes Sunday mornings and Sunday nights and Wednesday nights.
I am not going to be going over every detail of this brochure. However, please notice some ministries that are beginning today. Both of them are children’s ministries beginning this afternoon. That is Bible Drill for 4-6 graders at 4:30 PM and KidzPraize for K-3 graders at 5:15 PM. Both will take place in the children’s building with Bible Drill upstairs and KidzPraize downstairs.
Also, please notice some immediate ministry needs as these will be a wonderful transition to my encouragement to get back in the game. All of these ministry needs are in our children’s ministry. We cannot say we want to be an alive church with young families if we will not volunteer to minister to children. That is hypocrisy, and God will not honor it. Therefore, consider this as your sign from God to step up and get back in the game.
Why Does EBC Exist and Get Back in the Game
More than informing you about calendars and schedules, I want to answer this question of why we exist and challenge you to get back in the game at Emory Baptist Church. God’s Word tells me that EBC exists for three reasons, and these three reasons could also be considered or called our purposes.
However, they aren’t just the three purposes for our church. They are also the three purposes for every EBC member.
Therefore, we exist and you exist to love God, love people, and make disciples. Summer is over. Vacations are done. School is starting. Sports and band have begun so get back in the game.
- Love God, Matthew 22:36-38
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment.
Our first purpose and expectation is to love God. In Matthew 22, Jesus was asked by a lawyer what is the great commandment in the law. In short, Jesus responded with love God. You are to love Him with everything you are. You are to love Him with your heart and your soul and your mind. Consequently, this is the first and greatest commandment.
How do we love God? The answer is worship. We love God by worship individually and worshipping collectively as a church.
Paul called every follower of Christ to worship God individually in Romans 12:1. The NLT translates it this way.
1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
Monday through Saturday, my challenge to you is to love God by worshipping Him individually with your daily living. That includes your job and your marriage and your family and your school and your games and your entertainment and your finances and your health. Love God.
We are also to love God by worshipping collectively as a church. Hebrews 10:25 contains a warning for me and you.
25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
This verse contains a command not to forsake the assembling of the saints in worship when they meet. In other words, make sure Sunday worship is a priority for you and your family.
May I also say this? Regular worship attendance today has dropped to twice a month. That’s not how you would play a game. You don’t just play half the game. As a player, you should be ready to play the entire game.
Therefore, don’t settle for twice a month or even three times a month. If you are a member of EBC, I want to challenge you to be here when EBC meets. Don’t forsake the assembly.
Come and worship the Lord with this body of Christ, and don’t just do it on Sunday mornings. This church meets on Sunday nights and Wednesday nights.
I know…you’re busy and tired. Guess what? You’re in good company, and moms and dads, dropping off your kids while you go and run errands or do whatever is sowing seeds that don’t want to reap.
The bottom line is that you need this church and this church needs you. Love God by worshipping Him individually and worshipping Him collectively.
- Love People, Matthew 22:39-40
39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
In answering the lawyer in Matthew 22, Jesus didn’t stop with love God. He added love people too. He said the second is like the first. In addition to loving God, you must love your neighbor as well. In other words, love people.
By the way, if you struggle in loving people, the problem isn’t the people. The problem is your life for God because if you love God, you will naturally love the people that God created in His image the same way He created you.
How can you love people at EBC? You can be a part of those 24 small group Sunday School classes. You can love people through fellowship. You can love people through life experience and discussion and learning of God’s word. I said this previously, but the fact is that we need one another. See 1 Corinthians 12:14-18.
14 For in fact the body is not one member but many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.
This is the body of Christ. You can love people through your participation in one of our small groups.
You can also love people by serving them through ministry. Did you know that if you have been born-again, God has given you at least one spiritual gift that is to be used in serving this body of believers? You can love people by your service to them.
1 Corinthians 12:7, 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.
God has given each member a gift or manifestation of the Holy Spirit to be used in serving or for the profit or benefit of all, the entire body.
Brothers and sisters, how are you serving? Please consider our children’s ministries again. We have needs, and we need you.
However, you could also serve in the choir. You could serve in our youth ministry. Our women’s ministry needs concession stand workers for the Rains Wildcat Football Games starting in September. You could serve in our Prayer Room or Backpack Buddies or a new ministry called Little Food Pantry.
How are you loving people through service and ministry? Don’t just come and sit. Come and serve.
- Make Disciples, Matthew 28:19-20
Matthew 28:19-20, 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
You can know what Jesus said in Matthew 28 was important because it was the last thing He said to us. Not only do we exist to love God and to love people, but we exist to make disciples.
That starts with sharing the gospel, and that is not just the responsibility or obligation or ministry of some but of all.
If you’ve been saved, the power of the Holy Spirit has come upon you. If that is true, you are to be His witnesses. Every believer is to be a witness.
On Sunday mornings in September and October, I will be preaching on “Every Believer a Witness.” We will also be offering Evangelism Equip once quarter on Saturday mornings.
We also make disciples by small group Bible studies. Again, you need to be, and please hear me, one of the best places this can happen is through a Sunday School Small Group.
Furthermore, you can see we have other small groups that meet throughout the week and throughout the month where you can be a disciple and where you can have the opportunity to disciple others.
So I want you to leave this morning informed and challenged to get back in the game at EBC by loving God, loving people, and making disciples. Not only is this information and a challenge, but this also why we exist as a church and church members.
This morning, we are taking a break from your study of 1 Peter, and I want to take the opportunity not only to lead us in taking the Lord’s Supper in just a few minutes but also understanding the Lord’s Supper before we take it.
Today’s sermon will be more of teaching than preaching as I attempt to answer some of the most important questions regarding the Lord’s Supper. As a matter of fact, you might call them our Top 10 Questions about the Lord’s Supper.
- Is the Lord’s Supper a sacrament or an ordinance?
Our friends from liturgical congregations, such as Catholics and Episcopalians and Methodists and Presbyterians call it a “sacrament.” When I say, “liturgical,” I mean related to liturgy or ritual in a worship service.
Those in the free church tradition, meaning there is no pope over us or hierarchy for that matter (autonomous), have chosen not to use the word “sacrament” because not only does it mean what is sacred, but also it has come to mean dispensing or giving out of grace or a tool or vehicle for salvation. In other words, it saves you.
Baptists believe that salvation is through grace alone and faith alone in Christ alone. Therefore, we have chosen to use the word “ordinance” which means ordained or ordered and specifically ordered by the Lord Jesus.
When we baptize here at EBC, we are practicing one ordinance. In a few minutes, we will practice what we see as the other, the Lord’s Supper.
Therefore, Baptists recognize only two ordinances in the NT for the local church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
- What should we call this ordinance that has many names?
There are actually several of what I would call biblical names for the ordinance that we most often call “The Lord’s Supper.”
In Acts 2:42, Luke called it “the breaking of bread.”
Acts 2:42, 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
In 1 Corinthians 10:16, Paul used the term, “communion.”
1 Corinthians 10:16, 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
By communion, we mean a mutual participation or sharing or fellowship with one another. As the body of Christ, we commune with the Lord and one another.
In 1 Corinthians 11:20, Paul used the term that is probably most common in Baptist churches, but this actually an indictment to the Corinthian Church.
1 Corinthians 11:20, 20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper.
They were coming together to sin rather than to take the Lord’s Supper.
Another term that is often used in more liturgical churches like I mentioned previously, Catholics and Episcopalians and Methodists and Presbyterians, is the word “Eucharist.”
It comes from a New Testament word that means to give thanks. Listen to 1 Corinthians 11:24.
1 Corinthians 11:24, 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
A final term that I want to mention that does not have its origin in the Bible is the term “mass.”
It was used as the closing blessing or benediction of any worship service.
In the Roman Catholic Church, it eventually was applied to the liturgy of the Word or preaching and the liturgy of the Eucharist or Communion.
- Do we understand the Lord’s Supper to be a “Christian ordinance” or a “Church ordinance?”
In other words, are the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper given to any Christian to observe on any occasion and in any circumstance or were they given to the local Church to administer?
Historically, and I believe biblically, these ordinances were given to the local church, and here’s why. Listen to the 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 and notice the repetition of a particular phrase.
17 Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. 18 For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. 20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. 21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you. 23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. 27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. 33 Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.
On five occasions, Paul speaks of coming together. Individual Christians don’t come together. Churches come together.
Therefore, again, I would contend along with Baptists through the years, that believers are to participate in baptism and the Lord’s Supper under the authority and administration of a local church.
Consequently, when we take teenagers to youth camp and preteens to children’s camp, we don’t go to camps that baptize and take the Lord’s Supper. Why? Because that is not the local church.
Furthermore, the local church is also not your uncle Joe and your aunt Mary and your cousins. Therefore, we don’t recommend being baptized by your uncle in his pool or taking the Lord’s Supper on vacation with your grandparents.
Why? Because they aren’t Christians. No, because they aren’t a local church.
- When did the Lord’s Supper begin?
The Lord’s Supper began with Jesus and is recounted for us in Matthew 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22.
Let’s look at Mark’s account beginning in Mark 14:12.
12 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover lamb, His disciples said to Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare, that You may eat the Passover?” 13 And He sent out two of His disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him. 14 Wherever he goes in, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’ 15 Then he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared; there make ready for us.” 16 So His disciples went out, and came into the city, and found it just as He had said to them; and they prepared the Passover. 17 In the evening He came with the twelve. 18 Now as they sat and ate, Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you who eats with Me will betray Me.” 19 And they began to be sorrowful, and to say to Him one by one, “Is it I?” And another said, “Is it I?” 20 He answered and said to them, “It is one of the twelve, who dips with Me in the dish. 21 The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born.” 22 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 23 Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many. 25 Assuredly, I say to you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” 26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
As you can see from Mark 14, the Lord’s Supper is closely tied to the Passover. However, do we remember what the Passover was?
- What is the Passover?
The nation of Israel was being held captive by Pharaoh of Egypt. The Lord had brought nine plagues on Pharaoh and his people in an effort to force him to let His people go. However, he still refused.
The Passover is then introduced in Exodus 11 and described in Exodus 12:12-14.
As a tenth plague, God had announced that He would take the life of every first-born Egyptian male child and animal.
Consequently, each Jewish family was to sacrifice an unblemished lamb and mark the doorway of their home with its blood.
The Lord would then see the blood and pass over that home in His looking for the first-born Egyptian male children and animals.
Exodus 12:12-14, 12 ‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. 13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. 14 ‘So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.
Therefore, the Passover and the Lord’s Supper are tied together in that the Lord Jesus is the perfect Lamb whose blood was shed. When that blood is applied to your heart by Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the judgment of God passes over you and gives you eternal life in heaven.
- What elements should be included in the Lord’ Supper?
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 mentions two: the bread and the cup.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26, 23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
Therefore, we normally offer unleavened bread and grape juice.
Why unleavened bread? Leaven in the Bible is most often used to symbolize sin.
The first church probably used a single loaf of a bread, and drank wine from a common cup.
When church members ask me about using real win so we can be more biblical, I ask them if they want to use a common cup as well to be more biblical.
For some reason, they usually reconsider.
Christy and I, have actually used a common cup and real wine when taking the Lord’s Supper at a Baptist church in Kiev, Ukraine. I don’t recommend it.
- When should we take the Lord’s Supper?
Some of you will probably be surprised at my answer to this, but the Churches of Christ got it right.
In the New Testament, the Lord’s Supper was taken weekly…every time the church met…and probably on Sunday night.
When my family and I were in San Antonio a few weeks ago, we attended a non-denominational church that celebrated the Lord’s Supper every Sunday.
Acts 20:7, 7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.
My experience growing up at FBC Venus and FBC Alvarado, the Lord’s Supper was observed on a quarterly basis.
I think that has also been true here at EBC in the past.
Personally, I prefer monthly compared to quarterly, and I understand but don’t completely agree with the argument against weekly.
- What does the Lord’s Supper mean?
The answer to this question is what separates denominations.
By the way, I don’t think having denominations is bad when we separate over Biblical interpretation.
While it won’t be that way in heaven, I don’t think it is bad here on earth…especially since we can’t interpret perfectly here, but we will there.
Our Catholic friends hold to what is called transubstantiation. Transubstantiation “simply means ‘the bread and the wine actually become (or are transformed into) the body and the blood of Christ. This happens at the moment the priest says, ‘This is my body’ during the celebration of the mass’” (White, 144).
Where did this idea originate? See John 6:53-56.
John 6:53-56, 53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.
Our Lutheran friends differ just a little from the Catholic Church. They hold to what is called consubstantiation. This means “that the bread and the wine contain the body and blood of the Lord but the elements themselves are not substantively changed” (White, 146).
Our Presbyterian friends hold to the Spiritual Presence view of communion.
They believe that Christ is present in the Lord’s Supper, but it cannot be His literal body and blood because He ascended into the heavens.
Most Baptists believe in what is called the Memorial or Symbolic view of Communion.
This view is credited to Ulrich Zwingli who said the Lord’s Supper is taken in memory of what Christ has done, and the elements are symbolic of the Lord’s spiritual presence (Hammett, 280).
In other words, the bread symbolizes Jesus’ body. The cup symbolizes Jesus’ blood, and we do this in remembrance of Him.
- Why do we take the Lord’s Supper?
We find our answers to this question from 1 Corinthians 10-11, and there are four.
First, we take the Lord’s Supper to renew our commitment to Christ and to one another, brothers and sisters in Christ who are mostly committed to one church, Emory Baptist Church.
1 Corinthians 10:17, 17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.
Second, we take the Lord’s Supper to give thanks.
1 Corinthians 11:24,…24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
Third, we take the Lord’s Supper to remember what Jesus did for us through His death on the cross.
1 Corinthians 11:24-25, 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
Fourth, we take the Lord’s Supper to proclaim the message of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:26, 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
- Who should be invited to take the Lord’s Supper?
The answer to this question will be different depending on how you interpret the Bible.
From my understanding of the Scriptures and as pastor of this church and not any other church, I believe the Scriptures speak to two general qualifications for taking the Lord’s Supper.
First, you should be a follower of Jesus Christ. It makes no sense for a lost person to take the Lord’s Supper. See 1 Corinthians 10:21.
1 Corinthians 10:21, 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s Table and of the table of demons.
Keep in mind moms and dads that this applies to children as well.
Caleigh and Sarah didn’t start taking the Lord’s Supper until they were in the fifth grade, and Caroline started taking it when she was in the third grade.
That is not meant to be mean or insensitive. That is an effort to be biblically responsible.
Therefore, don’t neglect the opportunity that taking the Lord’s Supper brings for you to share the gospel with your young children.
The second requirement for taking the Lord’s Supper is that you be in right standing with the Lord and with your neighbor. See 1 Corinthians 11:27-30.
1 Corinthians 11:27-30, 27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.
What does it mean to be in right standing with the Lord and with your neighbor?
- Is there any unconfessed sin in your life?
- Is there any unrepentant sin in your life?
- Are you fighting with your spouse?
- Are you fighting with your parents?
- Are you unforgiving and bitter toward your neighbor?
These are the types of questions that you should ask every time you take the Lord’s Supper, and on some occasions, it would be better if you don’t take it all.
Why? Look again at 1 Corinthians 11:29-30.
29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.
In Corinth, these Corinthian Believers were using the occasion of the Lord’s Supper to engage in sexual and drunken debauchery.
As a result, the Lord disciplined them with sickness and even death. Don’t run that risk when you take the Lord’s Supper.
There is one last thought I need to share regarding being in right standing with the Lord.
I don’t think you have to be a member of EBC to receive the Lord’s Supper.
However, as Baptists, we understand believer’s baptism to be an act of obedience for every Christian, for every follower of Christ.
In the same we way that we invite those who are saved and baptized to join EBC every Sunday morning, we invite those that are saved and baptized to take the Lord’s Supper.
To require baptism for church membership but not to take the Lord’s Supper would undermine our commitment to baptism and an act of hypocrisy.
We invite anyone who is a member of EBC and anyone who could be a member of EBC to take the Lord’s Supper.
You can be Baptist or Catholic or Lutheran or Methodist or Pentecostal or Presbyterian as long as you have been born-again and are in right standing with the Lord and have followed through with believer’s baptism by immersion.
But before we take the Lord’s Supper, I invite you to repent and be saved from your sins? If you’re without Christ this morning, would you answer the call this morning to put your faith and trust in Him as Lord and Savior of your life?
Would you unite with Emory Baptist Church this morning if you are guest and the Lord is leading you formally join this church?
Our invitation is for you!