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To Love As Jesus Loved: “Charity Endureth All Things”

SIH TOTT ICON“And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away…  

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.

(1 Corinthians 13:3-8, 13)

The Lord’s great love moved Him to willingly accept horrible false accusations, abuse and even death.

 

Christ’s Life:

 

The Characteristic of Scriptural Love: Perseveres Under A Heavy Burden

What great patience and perseverance is shown by our Lord as He withstood this abuse. Especially when we keep in mind that, at any time, He could have called legions of angels to come and rescue Him from this great burden of abuse that was placed upon Him…

Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.

But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled. (Matthew 26:52-56)

 

What was the motivating force behind Christ’s willingness to suffer long under this mistreatment? It was His love for His Heavenly Father and the people that His Father had given to Him:

 

1. His love for His Father – Christ was driven to fulfill His Father’s will for His life which included facing this horrible abuse.

But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.(John 14:31)

Christ declared His love for His Father through His obedience to His Father’s will.

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.(Philippians 2:7-11)

Christ’s submission to abuse and death did it as an act of obedience to the Father. This same faithful obedience resulted in His exaltation as Lord over all.

 

Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;(Hebrews 5:7-9)

It was through His sufferings that Christ learned of obedience. Likewise, it was through His suffering that He became the Savior of His people.

In Isaiah 53:1-12, we find a prophetic compilation of the many types of suffering that was borne by Christ as an act of love and obedience to His Father.

 

 

2. His love for the people given to Him by the Father – Christ’s great love for His people drove Him to willingly bear the horrible abuse, and in doing so, paid the price for their sins.

And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, [and] the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him [be] glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.(Revelation 1:5-6)

 

 

Our Lesson To Be Learned:

May we be willing to give of ourselves for our Lord and those around us, motivated by the love of Christ in our hearts…

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,May be able to comprehend with all saints what [is] the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.(Ephesians 3:16-19)

What Troubles Christ?

SIH STSTA ICONChrist, who is described in the Bible as the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” and “over all, God blessed for ever”, is also described as being “angry”, “grieved”, “sorrowful”, “heavy” (ie burdened), “exceeding sorrowful even unto death” and is said to have “wept”, “cried with a loud voice”, “groaned”, and “grieved”.

What could possibly have caused the Lord Jesus Christ to feel such emotions and to respond to those emotions with such deep, distressed reactions?

In this study, we will be looking at several different events in the life of Christ that show Him to be troubled and in anguish. We will attempt to come to an understanding of what has brought this anguish into the life of our Lord and how He deals with the situation…

THE SCRIPTURES:

Mat 26:36-46 – (36)  Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.  (37)  And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.  (38)  Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.  (39)  And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.  (40)  And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?  (41)  Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.  (42)  He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.  (43)  And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.  (44)  And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.  (45)  Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.  (46)  Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.

Mat 27:45-50 – (45)  Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.  (46)  And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?  (47)  Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.  (48)  And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.  (49)  The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.  (50)  Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

Mar 3:1-6 – (1)  And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.  (2)  And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.  (3)  And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.  (4)  And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.  (5)  And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.  (6)  And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.

Luk 19:41-44 – (41)  And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,  (42)  Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.  (43)  For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,  (44)  And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

Luk 22:39-46  –  (39)  And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.  (40)  And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.  (41)  And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,  (42)  Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.  (43)  And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.  (44)  And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.  (45)  And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,  (46)  And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

Joh 11:1-46 – (1)  Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.  (2)  (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)  (3)  Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.  (4)  When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.  (5)  Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.  (6)  When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. (7)  Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.  (8)  His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? (9)  Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.  (10)  But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.  (11)  These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.  (12)  Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.  (13)  Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.  (14)  Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.  (15)  And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.  (16)  Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.  (17)  Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.  (18)  Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off:  (19)  And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.  (20)  Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.  (21)  Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.  (22)  But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.  (23)  Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.  (24)  Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.  (25)  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:  (26)  And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?  (27)  She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.  (28)  And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.  (29)  As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him.  (30)  Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him.  (31)  The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.  (32)  Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.  (33)  When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,  (34)  And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.  (35)  Jesus wept.  (36)  Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!  (37)  And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?  (38)  Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.  (39)  Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.  (40)  Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?  (41)  Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.  (42)  And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.  (43)  And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.  (44)  And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.  (45)  Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.  (46)  But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.

 

Joh 12:27-28 – (27)  Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.  (28)  Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.

Joh 13:21-26 – (21)  When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.  (22)  Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. (23)  Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. (24)  Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.  (25)  He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? (26)  Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.

 

THE STUDY:

Mar 3:1-6 – “And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.   And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.  And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.   And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.  And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.  And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.”

In this text, we find Christ experiencing both anger (to abhor with passion) and grief (extreme sorrow).

What caused these emotions within Christ?

This account tells us it was due to “the hardness of their hearts” which was made manifest in their great desire to find some type of fault with Christ, as He went about fulfilling the call given to Him by His Father in heaven. They wanted to mischaracterize God’s workings among sinful man.

In other words…. it was the EFFECTS OF SIN shown by a sin-hardened heart by mischaracterizing the works of God.

 

 

Joh 13:21-26 – “When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.   Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.  Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.  Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.  He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it?   Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.”

In the above Scripture we are told that Jesus was “troubled in spirit” (agitated, stirred, anguished).

What was taking place at the time?

Christ was preparing to declare that one of you shall betray me.”  He then would identify that individual, Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon”

In other words… it was the EFFECTS OF SIN shown by the desire to oppose the work of the Lord using deceit and conspiracy.

 

 

Joh 11:1-46 – Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.  (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)  Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.  When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby…  and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.  Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.  Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.  Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.  And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him…  Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.  But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.  Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.  Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:  And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?  She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world…. Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.  When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,  And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.  Jesus wept.  Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!  And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?  Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.  Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.  Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?  Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.  And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.   And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.  And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.   Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.  But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.”

In this set of verses we find that Jesus is described as “groaned in the spirit”, “troubled”, and “groaning in himself”, all of which was displayed for all of us as He “wept”.

What was the background to this experience in the life of Christ?  The EFFECTS OF SIN shown in the existence of universal physical death affecting all of fallen mankind.

 

 

Luk 19:41-44 – “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.  For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,  And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”

In the text above, we find Christ as He “wept” over the city of Jerusalem.  Why was He experiencing such sorrow?  Because He understood the coming destruction of 70 AD that would take place annihilation the city, due to their rejection of the Messiah…  For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,  And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”

Once again, we see the EFFECTS OF SIN shown by physical destruction and death that is experienced as the direct result of sin.

 

 

Mat 26:36-46 – “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.  And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.   Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.  And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.  And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?  Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.  He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.  And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.  And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.  Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.”

Luk 22:39-46 – “And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.  And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.  And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,  Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.  And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.   And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.   And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,  And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

Joh 12:27-28 – “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.   Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”

In the above three passages, we find Christ described as being “sorrowful”, “very burdened”, “troubled” and “in agony”.   Especially, please notice He is said to be “exceeding sorrowful, even unto death”.  This was made clear to all when we are told that “sweat was as it were great drops of blood”.

What was the event that was causing this tremendous emotional occurrence in the life of Christ?  In all three of these accounts, Christ is thinking upon His upcoming death on the cross.

Here, as before we can see the EFFECT OF SIN on display in two different ways:

First, His upcoming sufferings were a necessity because of sin devastating effects upon His people whom He loved.  This is what motivated His Father to send Him to the earth and motivated His own willingness to die on the cross as payment for their sins.

Secondly, the very suffering and terrible death of Christ on the cross was the effect of sin, as He bore the judgment of His people’s sins. When He became sin for us, He suffered the agony of God’s wrath against sin as He hung on the cross…

Mat 27:45-50 – “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.  And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?  Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.  And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.  The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.  Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.”

We see Christ suffering the most horrible of all deaths as He was separated from His Father as He bore our sins on the cross.

 

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Christ, willingly, suffered this most horrible effect of sin, separation from His Father on the cross.  Why did He do this?

To protect those He loved from the monstrous effects of sin that affects the lives of all fallen mankind:
1.  hardness of heart leading to  mischaracterization of God’s workings among fallen man.
2.  opposition to the work of Christ through deceit and conspiracy
3.  physical (and spiritual) death and suffering
4.  destroyed and ruined lives

In protecting them, He had to bring upon Himself horrible physical suffering, separation from the Father and terrible death upon the cross.  He did this as He bore the judgment of His people’s sins upon Himself, so that they might be reconciled to God and given eternal security in Him.

“And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” – (2 Corinthians 5:18-21)

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth concerning this very important subject.

 

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The Importance Of The Local Church -11 “The Membership and Attendance Of The Assembly”

SIH TOA ICON“…The house of God, which is the church of the living God,

the pillar and ground of the truth.”   (1 Timothy 3:15)

In this eleventh lesson of our study on the Lord’s church, we will be looking at the teachings of the Bible concerning the importance of church attendance.

We will be looking at this subject from three different standpoints:
1.  The command to attend the assembly
2.  The examples to attend the assembly
3.  Our responsibility to others to attend the assembly

THE STUDY:

The command to attend the assembly

Perhaps Hebrews 10:25 is a command for every believer to join, and faithfully attend the Lord’s local assembly… “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” 

Here, the Christian is exhorted to not “abandon” or “permanently walk away” from the assembly of believers.  This can hold one of two meanings:

1.  This is speaking of the assembly of believers in the Lord’s church.

In this case, this text explains the need for Christians to not abandon the attendance of a local assembly where God’s people meet.  It seems to go further and explain that as the second coming of Christ draws nearer, the need for faithful attendance to the assembly will increase.

This interpretation is the historical interpretation that is held by most Godly men of the past.  Also, it seems to apply in today’s time that we see more and more Christians forsaking the assembly. This could be why we are told to attend so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Could this be said because, in the latter days, there would be a forsaking of His assembly?

If someone does walk away with no intention of every returning to the place of worship, prayer, praise and fellowship there is a real question as to whether his faith is a persevering, genuine faith.  This is the point John made in 1 John 2:19 – They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

However, there is another possible interpretation of this text as well…

2.  This could be telling the followers of Christ to not forsake belief, nor concentration, on His second coming when He will “assemble” His people to Himself. 

A true genuine faith will not lose hope in the second coming of Christ and the entrance of His saints to glory.  Col 1:27-29 makes it plain that the indwelling Spirit and His second coming are inseparably linked and a source of great encouragement for the people of God… To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:  Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.”

 

Why do many believe this is the interpretation of this text?

The phrase “assembling together” comes from one Greek word “episunagoge” it carries with it the idea of “a gathering from all areas” or “a complete gathering”.  This same word is only used one other time in the Scriptures in 2 Thess 2:1 where it is speaking of the assembling of God’s people at the second coming of Christ.  This word for assembly NEVER spoke of God’s people assembling in a church meeting. There is another Greek word “ecclesia” that is normally used to describe that type of assembly.

Lastly, Peter related a denial of His second coming to lost mankind in the days before His coming in 2 Pet 3:3-4…. Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,  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 the creation.”

 

This can explain the phrase so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

These are the basic reasons why some believe this text is speaking of not forsaking a belief in His second coming and the deliverance of His people from a sinful world.  But to further explain the confusion on this text….

3. Could this text be referring to the assembling of believers in BOTH ways we have previously described?

We need to study the root word from which we get “episunagoge” which comes from the Greek word “Episunago”  this root word is used as follows:
1. Christ gathering Jerusalem like a mother hen to protect them – Matt 23:37, Luke 13:34
2. Christ gathering His people at His second coming – Matt 24:31, Mark 13:27
3. Citizens of a city gathered to see miracles of Christ – Mark 1:33
4. Multitudes following Christ to hear His teachings – Luke 12:1

In EVERY case the Greek word “episunago” and it’s derivative “episunagoge” is used to described people gathered TO CHRIST.  There is no exception to this.   This is a very important point.

In Hebrews 10:25, a way to transliterate this verse would be “Not abandoning the assembling ourselves to Christ, as the manner of some is…”

If this is the case, then either event could apply to this text…
1.  You see, when God’s people meet to worship Him, He promises to be in their “midst” in the person of the Holy Spirit.  (Matt 18:18-20, 1 Cor 5:4).
2.  And as we have seen previously, we will all be gathered together to be with Him at His second coming. (1 Thess 4:13-18).
Could it be, that this verse is written on purpose to be vague, and both ways of understanding it are in alignment with God’s Word?  We have seen in this short section, Scriptural foundation laid that support both views.  In my own personal studies, I believe this dual-view of the text is the closest interpretation to its intended meaning.

4. Basic Principle Summarized…
To summarize this verse… Whatever was meant by the phrase “assembly” the principle is basically the same.  To encourage (exhort) other believers, and ourselves, we need to be sure we are living out our beliefs.  This can be done by not forsaking church membership and by not forsaking our hope in the second coming of Christ.  This is the last great sign of a living faith that will affect the lives of others.

 

The examples of attendance of the assembly

 
Here are a few, of many texts, that set a clear example for believers to join and attend the local assembly…

1.And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.”   (Luke 4:16)

Jesus set the example for us by consistently (“as his custom was”) attending the place of worship chosen by God. (Which was during the first stages of His ministry, the synagogue).

 

2.  “Now the first [day] of the [feast of] unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?  And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.  And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.  Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.  And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.  And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?  And he answered and said, He that dippeth [his] hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.  The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.  Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.  And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed [it], and brake [it], and gave [it] to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave [it] to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.  But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.   And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.”   (Matthew 26:17-30)

Here Jesus met with the first church members (His apostles) as they met to observe the Lord’s Supper PRIOR TO His death.  This is one of many examples showing us that Jesus continued to set the example for us of attendance to the new place of worship, the local assembly.

 

3.  “Then the same day at evening, being the first [day] of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace [be] unto you.  And when he had so said, he shewed unto them [his] hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.  Then said Jesus to them again, Peace [be] unto you: as [my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you.  And when he had said this, he breathed on [them], and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:  Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; [and] whose soever [sins] ye retain, they are retained.  (John 20:19-23)

Following Christ’s death we find the church continues to meet on the first day of the week.  Again, this is setting the example for us.

 

4.  “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls.  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.  And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.”   (Acts 2:41-43)

Following Christ’s ascension, the Lord’s church continued to meet on a regular basis.  This can be seen throughout the book of Acts and the Pauline epistles.

These verses, and others, clearly establish that the followers of Christ joined together forming an assembly and then continued to meet together for instruction, encouragement, and fellowship.

Our responsibility to others to attend the assembly

There are many texts that help us to understand that all of us have a responsibility to join a local assembly, and by doing so, show our love to our brethren (John 13:34-35).  This is done by giving them support, encouragement and strength.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.  For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:  So we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.   (Romans 12:3-5)

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ.  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.  For the body is not one member, but many.  If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?   And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  If the whole body [were] an eye, where [were] the hearing? If the whole [were] hearing, where [were] the smelling?  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.  And if they were all one member, where [were] the body?  But now [are they] many members, yet but one body.   And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.  Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:  And those [members] of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely [parts] have more abundant comeliness.  For our comely [parts] have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that [part] which lacked:  That there should be no schism in the body; but [that] the members should have the same care one for another.  And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.  (1 Corinthians 12:12-27)

As every man hath received the gift, [even so] minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”   (1 Peter 4:10)

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”   (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:  And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.  Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.  And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”   (James 5:14-18)

When we come to understand the role that we can play in the lives of our brethren within the context of local assembly, we can see it is our duty to join the assembly for the sake of our love to them.

 

THE SUMMARY:

Through these verses we are given an understanding of the importance of membership and attendance in the Lord’s local assembly.  May we all remember the Lord’s command, His example, the example of other New Testament believers, and the great opportunities that await us to show our love for others, to motivate us to find a local assembly of the Lord, enter into its membership, and serve Him among our brethren.

Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  It is an act of obedience to the Lord, and it is an act of love towards the other spiritual brethren in your area.

Just a quick note…  Please keep in mind, this study as all the rest of the studies, is only speaking about our responsibility to the Lord’s local churches that exist throughout the earth.  These principles do not apply to other houses of worship that hold to false doctrine and are not sanctioned by Christ.  The idea that “it is better to attend a false church than no church at all” is unscriptural and can actually harm a child of God’s testimony, growth and communion with the Lord.

What happens if there is no church of the Lord in my area?  The best way to handle this situation is to find the closest church of the Lord and explain your situation and your desire for an assembly in your area.  They will then examine your particular situation and find the best remedy for you.  Normally, most church will accept your membership under these conditions, minister to you through the mail or internet and also seek to establish a sound body that you are able to attend.

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.
 

For a free study guide for this series in .pdf format:

https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.pdf


For a free study guide for this series in .docx format:
https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.docx

 

 

The Importance Of The Local Church -7: “The Mission Of The Church: The Ordinances of Baptism and Lord’s Supper

SIH TOA ICON“…The house of God, which is the church of the living God,

the pillar and ground of the truth.”   (1 Timothy 3:15)

In this seventh lesson of our study on the Lord’s church, we will be looking at the second responsibility given to the church in the Great Commission.  This is the responsibility to baptize those who profess faith in Christ into the membership of the assembly….

THE STUDY:

The Second Responsibility Found In The Great Commission: Baptize Into the Assembly.

1. What Is Baptism?: A public profession of faith in Christ and His Work

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:  By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;  Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.  The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:  Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”   (1 Peter 3:18-22)

Peter now speaks of an OT event which is a picture of the ordinance of baptism.  Christ spoke to the wicked men of Noah’s day through the ministry of Noah as he built the ark.  It was a public testimony of Noah’s faith in Christ and his belief in the message that his Lord had given to him through the inspiration and illumination of the Holy Spirit.

Just as the salvation of the individuals in the ark during the flood was a living symbolic picture of salvation found in Christ.  The ark pictured Christ, those in the ark pictures the believers and the judgment of sin pictured by the flood. Baptism symbolically pictures the same truth… salvation through the work of Christ from sin and its results.

Baptism as a picture of salvation from sins:

Baptism is immersion in water…

The word “baptize” is used several times in the New Testament and is translated from a Greek word that means “to be immersed, submerged, or soaked”.   Biblical baptism is when an individual is actually immersed (picturing a burial) in water.

The steps of an individuals baptism are as follows…
1. The individual stands in the body of water.
2. The individual is lowered (until totally covered) into the water
3. The individual is raised from the water into a standing position.

These steps proclaim what Christ has done on his behalf:
1. When, first standing in the water, it is a picture of Christ standing on the earth working on behalf of his people.  His teaching, His healing, and most importantly, his arrest, abuse and crucifixion are all symbolized by this standing.
2.  When lowered under the water, it is a picture of the death and burial of Christ, done on behalf of those who are saved.
3.  When brought up out of the water, it is a picture of the resurrection of Christ, the proof that He paid the price necessary to secure salvation for His people and He is now victorious over death.

These steps of baptism also proclaim what God has done in the life of the new believer:
1. When, first standing in the water, it is a picture of the believer’s walk on earth prior to his salvation experience.  It is a sinful walk based upon selfish desires and the lusts of his flesh.
2.  When lowered under the water, it is a picture of the believer who is spiritually dead and under the bondage of sin.
3.  When brought up out of the water, it is a picture of the believers release from sins bondage, spiritual life being given to him and a new life of service to Christ beginning.

Baptism is to proclaim to all that an individual, through salvation, has a good conscience towards God:

baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,)” 

Peter makes it plain that baptism is not observed to gain salvation for an individual.. “not putting away the filth of the flesh”.  On the contrary, Peter tells us that it is “the answer of a good conscience towards God”, it is observed once the recipient recognizes his sins have been forgiven and he is now right with God.  This is why he no longer has a guilty conscience before God and makes him the ideal candidate for baptism.

2. Baptism Is A Part Of The Great Commission Given To The Lord’s Churches:

To Baptize Into The Assembly Those Who Have Made Professions Of Faith:

Matthew:  baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

The “them” referred to are those who have been made followers of Christ through receipt of the gospel message.

Mark:  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Here Christ confirms that baptism is one PROOF of a genuine salvation experience.  If someone claims belief in Christ, but is not willing to publically confess Christ is their Savior, the authenticity of their experience must be questioned.

Not only is baptism a public declaration of our faith in Christ, but it is also the prerequisite to church membership…

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ.  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”   (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)

Although a local church is made up of many members, the local church is still one, unified body. Under the leadership of the indwelling Spirit, the new believer is led of God to partake of water baptism and join into the membership of the local assembly.

The only prerequisite of water baptism is faith in Christ.  Jew or Gentile, slave or free may receive this ordinance and become members of His local assembly, as long as they have trusted in Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Along with Baptism, although not a part of the great commission, the local assembly is given the responsibility to observe the Lord’s Supper.

1. What Is The Lord’s Supper?: It is a public profession and remembrance of Christ, His work and His second coming.

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the [same] night in which he was betrayed took bread:  And when he had given thanks, he brake [it], and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.  After the same manner also [he took] the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink [it], in remembrance of me.  For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.”   (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

The Apostle Paul, as he instructs the local church at Corinth, explains to them the purpose of the Lord’s Supper observance, as taught by Christ Himself.  It is to commemorate the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Eating the bread reminds us of Christ’s body that was bruised and abused on our behalf.  Drinking the fruit of the vine reminds us of His shed blood on our behalf.  The Lord also commanded the church to observe this ordinance until He comes again.

2. How do we know that the responsibilities for the Lord’s Supper observance was given to the local church?

Paul, as he writes to the Corinth church says that For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto youPaul clearly said that he was delivering the instructions for this ordinance to the local assembly, the addressee of his letter.

Also, when Christ observed the supper it was with the local church at Jerusalem made up of His Apostles.  There were eleven of His Apostles present for the observance of the supper (Judas left prior to the observance following his accusation) …

Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve…  And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed [it], and brake [it], and gave [it] to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave [it] to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”   (Matthew 26:20-28)

And in the evening he cometh with the twelve…  And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake [it], and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.  And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave [it] to them: and they all drank of it.

And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.  Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”   (Mark 14:17-25)

And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.  And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:  For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide [it] among yourselves:  For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake [it], and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.  Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup [is] the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

 (Luke 22:14-20)

 

THE SUMMARY:

As we studied the local churches commission we have seen:
1.    That great commission was always given to the assembled Apostles that made up the first local church (church at Jerusalem).  (Please note the exception: In John, we saw that Thomas was missing but the rest of the eleven were present.)
2.  There are three basic responsibilities involved with the Great Commission:

To evangelize the lost; to baptize into the assembly those who profess faith in Christ; to indoctrinate church members to equip them for the service of Christ.

As we studied the first part of the Great Commission that is given to His assemblies we have seen:
1.  The content of the gospel message: Christ’s Death; Christ’s Burial; Christ’s Resurrection; The Witnesses To The Resurrection
2. The Responsibility to take the gospel to the lost is given to the Lord’s local assemblies is described as: To make students Of Christ; To declare the good news of Christ; To reveal man’s responsibility to receive the gospel message; To be sent as Jesus was sent; To share our experience of Christ with others
3.  The priority of taking the Gospel into the world

Jerusalem, the CITY where the church is located; Judaea, equivalent to the state in which the church is located; Samaria, the other states that make up the nation where the church is located; uttermost parts of the world, the other nations of the world.

As we studied the second part of the Great Commission we have seen that the Lord has given to His assemblies the responsibility to observe both Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
1. Baptism is a public profession of faith in Christ and His Work
2. Baptism pictures the work of Christ on our behalf
3. Baptism is a picture of our salvation from sins
4. Baptism Is A Part Of The Great Commission Given To The Lord’s Churches:
5. Baptism is a prerequisite to church membership
6. The Lord’s Supper observance is also the responsibility of a local assembly.
7. The Lord’s Supper is to commemorate the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  It is the ONLY organization that has been given the responsibility to observe the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  To properly partake of these, they must be regulated, supplied and observed by a local assembly of the Lord.

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

 

For a free study guide for this series in .pdf format:

https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.pdf

For a free study guide for this series in .docx format:
https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.docx

 

 

What Must We Do To Be Saved? Part 6 – What about the Lord’s Supper?

SIH STSTA ICONTHE most important question that anyone can ask is the question posed by the keeper of the prison in Acts 16:30… “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”.

The answer to this question is more valuable than gold, silver and all the wealth this world has to offer.  This answer will reveal to us the path that leads to the forgiveness of our sins, the receipt of the indwelling Holy Spirit, fellowship with the Only True and Living Creator, and eternity in paradise with God Himself.  Our very spiritual life and  eternal destiny rely upon finding the answer to this question.

This question is of such importance we will be taking several blog entries to carefully  answer this question…

Blog Entry #1 Salvation

Blog Entry #2 Repentance

Blog Entry #3 Faith / Belief

Blog Entry #4 What about good works?

Blog Entry #5 What about baptism?

Blog Entry #6 What about the Lord’s Supper?

Blog Entry #7 What about church membership?

We now begin our study with blog entry #6…. What about the Lord’s Supper?  ….

THE SCRIPTURES:

Matt 26:26-29 (KJV)

26) And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed [it], and brake [it], and gave [it] to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

27) And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave [it] to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

28) For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

29) But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

 Mark 14:22-25 (KJV)

22) And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake [it], and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.

23) And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave [it] to them: and they all drank of it.

24) And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.

25) Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.

 Luke 22:17-20 (KJV)

17) And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide [it] among yourselves:

18) For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

19) And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake [it], and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

20) Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup [is] the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

 1Cor 10:15-17 (KJV)

15) I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.

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?

17) For we [being] many are one bread, [and] one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

 1Cor 11:23-34 (KJV)

23) For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the [same] night in which he was betrayed took bread:

24) And when he had given thanks, he brake [it], and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

25) After the same manner also [he took] the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink [it], in remembrance of me.

26) For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

27) Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink [this] cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

28) But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup.

29) For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

30) For this cause many [are] weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

31) For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

32) But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

33) Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.

34) And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

 THE STUDY:

Continuing with our study to find the answer to the question “What must I do to be saved?”, we now turn our attention to the church ordinance of “the Lord’s Supper” or “Communion”.   These are the only two Scriptural names for this ordinance.  We find the title “communion” given to this observance in 1 Cor 10:15-17.  We find that the Lord personally instituted this observance in Matt 26:26 and Mark 14:22, hence the name “The Lord’s Supper” (ie The Supper Began By the Lord).

What is “Communion” or “The Lord’s Supper?  It is when a local assembly of believers partakes of unleavened bread and fruit of the vine.  As they are partaking of this “supper” it is being used as a reminder of Christ’s sufferings, His shed blood, and His death for the sins of His people.  It also is a reminder of the promise of His second coming. (1 Cor 11:26)

Other observances SIMILAR to that of the Lord’s Supper are commonly called “The Eucharist”, “The Blessed Sacrament”, or “The Sacrament of the Altar”.

A common teaching existing throughout the ages is the need to partake of this observance to gain, or keep, salvation from our sins.  Let’s take a moment to see if this belief has Scriptural foundations.

The historical accounts of the institution of the supper…

Matt 26:26-29 – And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed [it], and brake [it], and gave [it] to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave [it] to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.  But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

 Mark 14:22-25 – And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake [it], and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.  And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave [it] to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.  Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.

 Luke 22:17-20 – And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide [it] among yourselves:  For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.  And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake [it], and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.  Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup [is] the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

 1Cor 11:23-26 – For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the [same] night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake [it], and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also [he took] the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink [it], in remembrance of me.  For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. 

 In the above four texts, we find the origins of the Lord’s Supper.  All four are very similar in their accounts of the supper.

When Christ served the bread, He referred to the bread as “my body”… “Take, eat; this is my body” and “ This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me”.  Likewise, when serving the fruit of the vine he described it as “my blood” … “ For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins”, “This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.”, and “This cup [is] the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. “

When Christ described the bread and fruit of vine as “His body” and “His blood” respectfully, what did He mean?  Did He mean that they mysteriously, literally, became His body and blood?  Or did He mean that they symbolized His body and His blood?

Both Christ and the Apostle Paul help us to come to answer these questions:

Note that Christ used the phrase “this do in remembrance of me.”  Here, we are clearly told the motive of our taking the supper is not to partake of His literal blood an body but to simply remember what He has done on our behalf.

In 1 Corinthians 11:, Paul described the observance of the supper in this way… “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.”

Here he says the observance is to “shew the Lord’s death” which should continue until Christ comes at His second coming.  In other words, Paul’s emphasis in on the public declaration of the death of Christ that the supper produced.

Please notice, in both examples… neither Christ, nor Paul said anything about the act causing a gain of, or a retention of salvation. Both clearly declared that the Lord’s Supper was a symbolic act.  It was done to remember and declare what He has done for us through the use of symbols.

When the bread (a symbol of His body) was chewed it symbolized the abused and mistreatment that the body of Christ suffered.  His beatings, plucking His beard, being spat upon, the spear piercing His side, the nails being driven in His hands and feet; all of this abuse is pictured by the biting, chewing and tearing apart of the unleavened bread.

When the fruit of the vine (a symbol of His shed blood) was poured from the cup and running over the lips, gums and throat, it symbolized the blood pouring from His body and running down His body, and the cross.

This entire process of His physical abuse and His shed blood resulted in His physical death.  In this way, the supper declared and symbolized His death.  This is what Christ and the Apostle Paul were speaking of.

When Christ described the elements of the Supper as “my body” and “my blood”, He was referring to their symbolic significance, not any literal transformation that took place.

Paul continues in 1 Cor 11:27-34 – Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink [this] cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup.  For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many [are] weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.  For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.  Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.  And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

 These verses help us to understand the need to understand and prepare ourselves properly for the observance of the supper.  Paul makes it plain that the proper observance of the supper is A BIG DEAL.  Paul explained that if an individual, or the church as a whole, observed the supper in an unworthy fashion they could suffer sickness or even death.  Contextually, observing the supper unworthily involved not recognizing the proper symbolism of the supper by “not discerning the Lord’s body”.  The word for “discerning” carries with it the meaning of “to discriminate, understand, or separate thoroughly”.

In other words, if those partaking of the supper fail to understand it’s symbolism or purpose, they are abusing the supper and therefore, symbolically, guilty of “the body and blood of Christ”.

In Hebrews 10:10-13, Paul emphasizes that the sacrifice of Christ’s body was a one time event. It was not only unneeded, but actually, heretical, to speak of a need to be continually sacrificing His body for the forgiveness of sins.  This is another reason why we know that the bread does not mystically become His body, nor is it offered continually for the forgiveness of sin… Heb 10:10-13 – By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once [for all]. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

 In John 6:32-51 we find Christ as the Bread of Life being discussed.  In verses 53-58  we read… Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.  Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.  For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.  He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.  As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.  This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

Is this teaching us that we must literally partake of His body and blood for salvation? If so, then the obvious reference must be understood of the partaking of the Lord’s Supper and the mystical transformation of the bread and fruit of the vine into His literal body and blood.

 To fully understand these verses, we must see the context in which Christ was speaking… John 6:28-31 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.  They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

 Contextually, Jesus is answering the question “What shall we do to work the works of God?”  He then clearly explains that the work of God that is man’s responsibility is to “believe on Him, whom He hath sent”.  In other words, it is to believe on the Messiah, the Lord, Jesus Christ.

The hearers then desired proof that Christ was the One they were to believe upon… they point out to Christ that God was able to perform miracles in the desert, assuring the Israelites He was with them.  One of those miracles was the miracle of manna from heaven.  If Christ was truly the Messiah, surely He could do miracles as well and prove His claims.

Christ then uses the picture of the manna and the partaking of it to symbolically help them to see the need to BELIEVE in Him for spiritual life.  He was the bread sent from God.  They were to turn to Him, in faith, and receive Him into their life, just as the Israelites of old, had turned to the bread and received it as their source of physical life from God.   We see this teaching summarized in vs 57 –  As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.  This is why Christ used the symbols of bread and eating to describe securing salvation through belief in Him.  It was a continuation of a subject brought up by the HEARERS who was seeking authentication of His person and message.

Before the subject of eating manna was brought up to Him, He described the act as “believing”, however, once the hearers brought up the subject of the OT manna from heaven, Christ simply turned the OT account of the manna into a wonderful lesson of our need to receive Him (the wonderful manna from God) into their life, and in doing so, secure their spiritual life.

Finally, we will take a quick look at 1Cor 10:15-17 – I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.  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? For we [being] many are one bread, [and] one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

Here, we are told that partaking of the Lord’s Supper is an act of communion with Christ and His work on the cross.  The word communion carries with it the idea of “fellowship, association, and relationship”.  In other words, when we observe the Lord’s Supper we are associating ourselves with Christ and His work.  We are saying that we have a relationship to Christ and His work on our behalf.   It is much like the public declaration of faith that we make when we are baptized.

SUMMARY

In this blog entry we have seen the clear Scriptural declaration that the Lord’s Supper is a very important way to remember Christ’s work on our behalf and make a public profession of our faith in Christ.  However, the Lord’s Supper is not necessary for the receipt of salvation.  The Lord’s Supper should always follow salvation.

In the following blog entries we will continue to study, in detail, the answer to the question “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

If you have any questions about your condition or the salvation that the Lord so graciously offers,  you can look to several sources for further information:  A local Bible-teaching church in your area, or you are welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com, or you can refer to my blog page entitled “How to have a relationship with God” for more teachings on the subject of salvation.

 May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

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