A New Covenant 2019
The Lord’s Supper
Throughout this year we have been working on the importance of Living in the New Covenant. This morning, we are going to connect the Lord’s Supper to the New Covenant. let’s begin our thoughts on the Lord’s Supper… by reading the 23rd Psalm.
Psalm 23:1-6The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
David describes a covenant he has with YHWH. David views his relationship with God as a sheep with his shepherd. This is a precious way to view his covenant…
This covenant between David and YHWH is in many ways like the New Covenant we have through Jesus. Many of the Seven blessings we have been studying are right here…
--Identity – David knows who he is… a sheep!
--Purpose – Make wool for the LORD.
--Immunity – The sheep will be herded. Sheep mistakes are not fatal.
--Holy Spirit – Dwelling in the house of the Lord!
--Protection – The Stick protects him even in the valley of death.
--Conformity – Leads me in the right paths for his name’s sake
--Life – Life in the big house forever!
What I want to pull from the 23rd Psalm, as we consider the Lord’s Supper, is the table part. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”
Eating with the LORD at a table is a symbol of covenant! The shepherd gathered his sheep at a table out in the wilderness, with enemies all around; those who are not in the covenant watching greedily; the shepherd, perhaps, holding the sheep in his arms; shares this meal with the sheep. What an amazing demonstration of covenant.
Meals shared have covenant meaning!
Watch this in other places in the Old Testament…
Jacob and Laban
When Jacob tricked his Uncle Laban and snuck off into the night. But then Laban caught up to him. They were about to go to knuckle city, when God intervened…
Genesis 31:44-54 “Come now, let us make a covenant, you and I. And let it be a witness between you and me." So, Jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac, and Jacob offered a sacrifice in the hill country and called his kinsmen to eat bread. They ate bread and spent the night in the hill country.
Covenants were accompanied with shared meals!
The Mosaic Covenant
Exodus 24:7-11 Then Moses took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient." And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, "Behold the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words." Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.
This is the weirdest thing ever. In the presence of the God of Israel whose throne was set on sapphire stone, they shared a meal in honor of the Covenant they had just formed!
Covenants are confirmed by sharing a meal!
This covenant meal connection continues in the New Testament…
Matthew honoring his Lord had a feast; a meal in honor of Jesus.
Luke 5:29-31 And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" And Jesus answered them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.”
The Pharisees were upset because their covenant was extended to sinners. “No, we are special. We can’t share a meal with “them” because they are out.” But, Jesus at this meal incorporated “them” in the covenant!
Meals express covenant relationship.
Remember the Lost Son… when he returned…
Luke 15:22-28B ut the father said to his servants, “Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” And, they began to celebrate. Now his older son was in the field… But he was angry and refused to go in.
The older son was angry because his family covenant was offered back to the “other” brother!
The feast; the celebration welcomed the brother back into covenant!
On the road to Emmaus...
Luke 24:30-34 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?" And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!"
When Jesus broke the bread, their eyes were opened to presence of their risen Lord!
After the Day of Pentecost…
Acts 2:42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Acts 2:46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,
Acts 20:7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.
The early church expressed their newly found covenant by breaking bread… by sharing a meal!
Then, what we are all looking forward to… the Wedding of the Lamb!
Revelation 19:7-9 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure"- for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb."
We anxiously look forward to this meal. One day we will sit down with Jesus at the marriage supper.
There is a consistent understanding throughout the New Testament that within the covenant meals are shared!
With this understanding of the connection between meals and covenant… Let’s explore the meal where Jesus inaugurated the Lord’s Supper…
At the last meal Jesus would eat with his disciples, he picked two symbols of the New Covenant.
First, a loaf of unleavened bread.
Luke 22:16-19 “For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."
The sharing of bread with others is a deeply symbolic action. The sharing of bread calls up many meanings. Here are three…
--It is symbolic of Christ’s physical body which died to cut the covenant.
--It is representative of the community we call the church. The sharing of a meal is special!
--It carries meaning of hospitality of the community. When we share the bread, we unite those who share. It precludes any… racism, prejudice, exclusivity, superiority, or marginalization!
That is the point of 1 Corinthians 11.
1 Corinthians 11:20-22 When you come together, it is not the Lord's supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.
The rich were marginalizing the poor in the sharing of the communion meal. The very symbol of unity was being used to exclude. Paul was furious.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
The death which cuts the New Covenant; The death which creates his church; His body which cannot be divided.
1 Corinthians 11:27-34 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself… So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another- if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home- so that when you come together it will not be for judgment.
This bread is a symbol of the unity of the body of Christ, formed by his death! It should never be used to divide.
The Second Symbol Jesus chose in the Upper room at the Last Supper is the wine.
Luke 22:20And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”
Wine also carries powerful meanings…
--It looks like blood, sort of. It is His blood shed to create the covenant. We remember the blood of Jesus which is the sacrifice that cuts the covenant. We are thankful for His sacrifice. His blood brings us into the blessings of covenant. His blood is that!
--Remember these words were said at the Passover. Think… blood on the doorposts… think… protection. Think covering… Lamb of the Passover was offered to create covenant.
--Here is another connection that is surprising…
Genesis 14:18-20And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) And Melchizedek blessed Abram and said, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High!"
This is strange… bread and wine are connected to the blessing of Abraham. The bread and wine is blessing.
The Bread… The Wine… Are powerful symbols of the New Covenant!
Here are some take-aways as we share the Lord’s Supper.
1. Symbols are emotional reminders… Symbols are for remembering. The Lord’s Supper is a reminder of the death that opened the covenant for us.
2. We connect to the body in hospitality… a horizonal connection… sharing as siblings.
3. No marginalization of anyone… race, gender, age, poor/rich… repent of prejudice. Reconnects individuals.
4. We reconnect to our baptism… it is a time to recommit to the covenant. “I live my best for You!”
5. Our 2ndSunday dogs are also important. Sunday morning snacks and Wednesday meals connect to the sharing in the Covenant! It is intentional that we eat every time we come together. Shared meals are shared covenant.
6. We connect vertically to our blessings and to bless our God Most High.
7. We look forward to the wedding feast of the lamb.
Let’s sing “Come Share the Lord” … then we will share this Lord’s Supper, together.
October 6, 2019
Los Alamos Church of Christ