Did you know that it is a sin, to drink the cup of communion, with unconfessed sin? I am guilty, I admit of having done so.
But consider the hazard of living a double life. You appear to be living for Christ, yet you are still living the life of a habitual sinner.
Consider the story of Ananias and his wife who brought their offering of money to the new church, but lied about the amount that they had collected and thus they died for their lies.
Are we no less guilty when we drink the cup of communion and yet still live the double life, or drink with unconfessed sin?
Is God Mocked? The answer lies in scripture. Look that up in your concordance.
So, what are you going to do this week when you accept the cup of communion, or perhaps, as some churches do, only once a month. But still, is it an less sinful?
What are you going to do?
The Breaking Of Bread and The Resurrection
It is sad that the term Breaking of Bread is so uncommon in our world today. But to us Christians, it is a vital link to our fellowship and worship of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
You might find it interesting that about three fourths of the oriental population during the time that Jesus walked the earth, survived almost entirely on bread.
How important is bread Scripturally? How important, how vital is it tour our spirituality as Christians while we walk the dust of this earth.
As you may recall, when Satan tempted Jesus to turn the stones into bread, Jesus replied:
It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.. Matt.4:4 NKJV
You see, food of course is necessary for our physical bodies, but more importantly, we need to be fed daily, consistently on the Word of God to be fed spiritually in order to keep a close relationship, and fellowship with Him.
Bread was also a serious point of contention between the Pharisees and Jesus one day, when the approached Him trying to entrap Him over the issue of the disciple not washing their hands before eating bread. Matt. 15:2 The Pharisees were stewing over insignificant issues over ceremonial laws of man. Jesus, however rebuked them, telling them that though they honoured God with their lips, their hearts were far from Him. Their relationship with God was nothing more than a faced, an outward showing to appear to be religious. But they were no more religious than the pigs in the stall. They were not feeding on the true Word of God. They were feeding instead in the thousands of their own man made laws.
Bread is also the Staff of Life. It is one of the basics of our daily food intake. Jesus tells us that He is the Bread from Heaven. John 6:32 (King James Version) He is the Bread of Life. John 6:35 He tells us:
"I am the bread of Life
He who comes to Me
Shall never hunger
And he who believes in Me
Shall never thirst. John 6:35 NKJV
Those who come to Him will never hunger spiritually. He will fulfil their every spiritual need.
And of course the breaking of bread is important as it is a memorial to His death and resurrection. The breaking of bread should be the core of the gathering of the saints to worship Him. He commanded us in fact to do so until His second coming, when he will share the bread and the wine with us as Christians. Luke 22:16-18; 1 Cor. 11:26
The bread of course represents His body which was offered on the cross and the wine represents His shed blood for the payment of our sins. 1 Cor. 11:23-27
The Breaking of Bread is also a remembrance of the Passover feast of Moses, a remembrance of the great deliverance out of Egypt when Israel crossed the Red Sea. Before God took them out, He told them to bake and eat unleaven bread. Leaven, raised bread, is a symbol of sin in the Bible. The people being taken out of Egypt are a symbol of God`s people being taken out of the world of sin, into His Kingdom.
As we look forward to Easter, we need to realize that the resurrection of Christ verified everything he claimed about himself. His resurrection verified that he died and was risen again to pay for the sins of the world. His resurrection authenticated His claim that He is the Son of God, the Saviour who would come into the world and conquer sin, death and the grave, and to bring immortality and eternal life to all who believe in the work that He did on the cross.
The resurrection is importantly tied o the breaking of bread because, if he was not whom he said He was, the he would not have risen from the dead. He would have been a martyr for a lost cause. He may have been a good man, but still a sinner and not a Saviour, and certainly not the incarnated Son Of God.
And if He had not risen, we would have no need to remember Him and no need to break bread and share the wine in remembrance of Him.
With His resurrection, we have the guarantee of eternal salvation and life with him eternally in our exalted glorified bodies, where sickness, death, disease, broken bodies etc. will be no more.
With His resurrection, we have all the answers to lifes problems, because Christ answered the problem of sin and death on the cross.
We worship a risen Saviour not a dead man.
Therefore when we celebrate the breaking of bread, consider thoughtfully what an honour it is to share and to remember what He has done for us by going to the cross and rising up again to life, giving us the promise of eternal life.
Remember and share when we break the bread and share the cup, His agony and resurrection.
We worship and give thanks to a risen Saviour when we come together and Break Bread and Drink from the cup.
Except otherwise mentioned:
"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson,
Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."
October 13, 2010, stands today as a day which may well be remembered for a long time.
That was the day when the last of the 33 Chilean miners was rescued from the depths of the earth.
These miners were trapped for 69 days, 2,300 feet below the earths surface in a chamber the size of a living room. A partial collapse of the mine blocked the mines exit on August 5,2010.
What most of the secular media did not report, was that God was at work in the hearts of not only many of these miners, but also in the hearts of the miners families and many others on the surface.
Scientists and engineers worked hard for many days to design an escape hole and capsule to retrieve each man. It took 50 minutes to rescue each man.
A newspaper is reported to have a headline which read FREED FROM HELL TO HOPE.
Each time the steel cage surfaced to the earths surface, it was as if each miner was given NEW LIFE, was DELIVERED and was REBORN.
Is this not also the mission, the reason why JESUS came from heaven above and died on the cross below and then rose again to heaven above, "for the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10. King James Version)?
Did He not come to give each one who believes in the work that He did on the cross, NEW LIFE, SALVATION, DELIVERENCE and REBIRTH?
We do not know in our infinite minds how many eons ago, when God planned in eternity past to send His Son JESUS CHRIST to earth to seek and save that which was lost. By the shedding of His Blood upon a barbarian Roman Cross some 2,000 years ago. For it was God who saved us and called us with a holy calling .2 Timothy 1: 9-10
Who but God could have devised a plan such as this to give NEW LIFE, SALVATION, DELIVERENCE and REBIRTH to sinners, to a lost human race?
To the average unsaved human mind it is foolishness. As the apostle Paul wrote, For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." 1 Cor 1:18 (King James Version)
After the last man was rescued people began to openly express their gratitude to God for the salvation, the rescuing of all was the name given to the place above were the 33 men.
One Jose Henriquez, who was one of the 3 evangelical Christians among the trapped miners, sent word above to have an evangelistic minister to minister to their families above.
Camp Hope (Esperanza) in Spanish, was the name given to the place above where the rescue workers and the families above had gathered together in the hope of rescuing these miners.
What an appropriate name this was, where people gathered to rescue the men below, but also where God in His providence gave hope to the people above who heard the Gospel message and of which many were saved, both above and below.
In an effort to have the Word of God given to the men trapped below, 33 New Testament Bibles and 2 Entire Bibles were sent down to these men, along with MP3 files of sermons from Adrian Rogers in Spanish, as well as Christian music and audio versions of the Jesus Film.
The pastor above sent a note of encouragement to Jose Henriquez on October 11 to remember the promises of the Lord, to have hope and confidence, and to also convey to the other 32 miners the message that this same God who has guided them is the one and same God who is going to guide them in the rescue. This helped to dissipate any anxiety with prayer and confidence in God.
Christian Maureria, the National Director of Campus for Christ in Chile had t-shirts sent to the miners with the words GRACIAS SENOR (Thank You Lord) printed on the t-shirts.
On the back of the t-shirts was a reference to Ps 95:4 which reads : In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. (King James Version)
Several of the miners were televised emerging from the raised capsule wearing these t-shirts, so that the whole world could see that these miners gave thanks to God for this rescue. God received the glory.
This could have been a tragic event, yet God had a plan, to rescue these miners, to save the souls of many, not just in Chile, but from around the world.
God has from the beginning of time till now, been in the business of giving NEW LIFE, SALVATION, DELIVERENCE and REBIRTH through one and only one way, and that is through the shed blood of JESUS CHRIST.
There is no other way to escape the depths of hell and get a passport to heaven, except by the blood of JESUS CHRIST.
No one can enter by the backs of parents or grandparents, or, by simply attending church.
Salvation comes to each individual on an individual basis when each accepts the shed blood of JESUS Christ as the only method to pay for the penalty of ones sins.
One must be born again JESUS said in John 3:3 to see the Kingdom of God.
JESUS said I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6 (King James Version)
Just as these Chilean miners had but one choice to be saved by entering the tiny capsule which would raise each one individually to the surface, each one of us also has but one choice to be saved.
And that is as the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved (King James Version). For with the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved"! Rom 10:13 (King James Version)
JESUS likewise referred to the time when God sent the fiery serpent to the Israeli camp as a judgement against the people because of their complaining. The only way to be saved from death was to look up at the bronze serpent. Numbers 21: 5-9
Jesus said; And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up". John 3:14 (King James Version)
It is because of the shed blood of Jesus that we have the promise of NEW LIFE, SALVATION, DELIVERENCE and REBIRTH.
Therefore let us give thanks today as we gather together at the Lords supper, and remember that just as the Chilean miners had but one choice to be saved, we also have but one choice to be saved, that by only by the blood of Jesus Christ.
The Importance of Bread in Lords Supper/ Through Semitic Eyes
The last time I spoke, I spoke on the importance of the wine to the Christian, particularly in regards to the Lords Supper.
Today I want to have a look at the importance of the bread in the Lords Supper, looking at it through Semitic (Jewish) eyes.
This study is quite extensive, and will me a long time to go through it.
So I will be introducing this subject briefly today, looking back to earlier times, back in a sense to the beginning in Genesis.
Genesis after all is the Book of Beginnings.
If we were to go back in time just a little bit to the days when Jesus walked the earth, we would see that grain was the most important commodity to mid-eastern culture.
For without it, there would be no bread, and without bread, there was no life. For bread was the major source of food for the people of the day.
In those days, there were no super markets like we have today where you can buy all kinds of food from all over the world.
Whatever was available in the area was what you ate. There was no driving to the local A & P or anywhere else to get food.
If you could not grow your own grain, you were at the mercy of local famers to get your daily ration of grain to satisfy the needs of your family. And to do that you often had to walk many miles just to get enough grain for one days feeding.
A quote from The Syrian Christ by Abraham Rihbany published in 1916 shows how much bread was revered by the mid-eastern mind.
As the son of a Syrian family I was brought up to think of bread as possessing a mystic sacred significance. I would never step on a piece of bread fallen in the road, but would pick it up press it to my lips for reverence, and place it in a wall or some other place where it would not be trodden upon. What always seemed to me to be one of the noblest traditions of my people was the reverence to the aish (bread; literally the life giver). While breaking bread together we would not rise up to salute an arriving guest, whatever the social rank. Whether spoken or not, our excuse for not rising and engaging in cordial (near eastern) salutation before the meal was ended, was our reverence for the food (hir-metal-aish). We could however, and always did invite the newcomer most urgently to partake of the repast. The aish was something more than matter. Inasmuch as it sustained life, it was Gods own life made tangible for his child man, to feed upon. The most High Himself fed our hunger. Does not the Psalmist say, Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing (Ps 145:16. King James Version).
End of quote.
In ancient times the Semite would thank God for everything they did. Everything they did was done in the name of God.
They thanked God when the seed was planted. They thanked God when they harvested the crop, when the grain was ground, the dough was kneaded and baked into bread.
Perhaps this is why Jesus taught His disciples to pray; Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. (Mt 6:9-11. King James Version [emphasis added])
Normally throughout Scripture the word bread is used to refer to food in general.
Looking back to the idea that the grain, bread held such value as the main source of food, we need to also realize that when Jesus said, I am the bread of life (John 6:35. King James Version).
He was referring of course, to Himself as the main source of l ife, not only for our physical needs, but more importantly that He was referring to Himself as the source of our lives spiritually.
To understand this more in the mindset of the Semite mind, we need as I said earlier to go way back in the books of Genesis and Exodus.
God ordained Moses to build the first tabernacle, temples, Holy feasts, sacrifices etc.
All these served to point forward to what was to come in Jesus Christ who is the temple, the true sacrifice, the true Bread of Life.
All the events that God led Israel through would find their true fulfillment in the life of Christ.
For example during Israels 40 year sojourn through the wilderness, God supplied the people with a food called manna meaning in the Hebrew tongue, What is it.? Exodus 16: 15 ( Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved)
It was bread from heaven (John 6:32. King James Version), supplied by God.
Let us read John 6:32-40 in your Bibles.
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (King James Version)
Did you see that?
The manna from heaven, was not the true bread of life.
Though this food was a miracle in itself, it was a miracle pointing to the true bread of life.
The true bread of life is Jesus Christ provided by God the Father.
Now, in what way is, was Jesus the true bread of life?
Follow along with me as we read the words of Jesus in John 6:53-58
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. (King James Version)
These were terribly gruesome and awful words as understood by those around Jesus when He spoke these words.
The people thought that Jesus was rather insane to suggest that to have eternal life you must eat His flesh and drink His blood.
Many of His followers left Him that day, but his main core of followers stayed with Him because they believed that Jesus had the words of life.
Is the flesh and blood of Jesus the actual food from heaven?
If not then, where does one find the true food from heaven and how does one gain eternal life?
All scriptural truth is found in none other than in Jesus Himself.
Is He Jesus the true manna, the true bread that comes from heaven?
To understand this more clearly we look at John 4:31-38 where Jesus has had an encounter with a Samaritan woman.
His disciples had gone to fetch some food and upon returning;
In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours. (King James Version)
Jesus in this passage tells us that His meat, His food is to do the will of the Father and to finish His Work.
If we look back to the role of the High Priest in the Old Testament, we find that the High Priest had a mitre on his head with the words in Hebrew saying, Holiness unto the Lord.
Meaning Separated unto Yaweh.
The people of Israel were also commanded to wear the Words of God on their foreheads and on their arms.
This symbolized that The Word Of God was to be constantly on their minds.
When we have the Words of God etched in our minds, it produces the works of God through the labors with our hands and feet.
Jesus of course had the Words of God in His mind and was continuously doing the will of God.
It is only when we receive and stay focussed, hungering towards the things of God, that we produce the works and fruit of the Spirit.
As followers of Christ, 1 Cor. 2:16 tells us we also have the mind of Christ.
We must not just have the mind of Christ but we must also like Jesus hunger after God, living our lives for Him.
Jesus strived for, hungered for, and had a passion to live and do the will of the Father.
Should we do no less?
In so doing then, the Father fulfills that hunger.
In so doing the Father fulfills that hunger blessing us with the fruits of the Spirit such as joy, peace, mercy etc.
Christs hunger for righteousness was fulfilled by the Father.
Are you also hungering for righteousness?
There is a work prepared for each one who walks in obedience to the will of the Father.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
(Eph 2:8-10. King James Version)
So then, what is the true Bread?
The true Bread is the Word, The will and the work of God the Father,
which is found in and through no other than Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God (Heb 10:7. King James Version)
"Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. (John 4:34. King James Version)
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. (Mt 26:42. King James Version)
The work of Jesus was fulfilled and completed when He went to the cross doing the will of the Father.
His Bread, His meat was brought in perfect obedience when he hung on the cross.
Let us remember then whenever we participate in the Lords Supper that Jesus fulfilled the will of the Father on the cross.
It is through Him and because of Him that we have and can enjoy till His coming and beyond the true Bread of Life.