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Communion Meditations (2018)

 

Fear the Lord

Originally scheduled for April 15

Have you ever considered what it is that we say we are when we partake of Communion? The act of taking communion tells other people what kind of people we claim to be. Specifically,

·         We proclaim the unity of the church — and our own personal unity with the church.[1]

·         Similarly, we proclaim that we are not in union with the world, or its ways. We are “in the world but not of the world.”[2]

·         We proclaim the death of Christ — and by implication we proclaim the atonement of Christ, his gracious gift of salvation. This logically includes the resurrection of Christ.

We do this in the spirit of self judgment. We are attempting to avoid the judgment of the Lord at the last day, as well as accepting his judgment which results in his discipline.[3]

We are not claiming perfection; to accept his discipline is to acknowledge that we needed it. It is this point, that we are attempting to escape Judgment Day unharmed, that also implies that we are not hypocrites but penitents.

But Judgment for what? Malachi 3:5 gives us a pretty good list:

·         His first item is adultery. If you want a sin that clearly points out the separation of the Christian from the world, this would probably be the best one today. Our society tells us that it’s not wrong; it’s just simply “an affair.” Since we have no control over our own sexuality, romance happens. The world asks, “What’s the problem?” We reply that Christians keep their promises, even those made to their spouse.

·         He next brings up the question of being an oppressor. There are two simple examples here which we can bring up to date very easily. The first is the wage earner. Perhaps you don’t know this, but immigrants are often defrauded of their wages by the simple use of the threat of calling immigration.  The other example is the widow and orphan – defrauding those who can’t afford a lawyer to fight back.

·         Finally, he brings up those who “turn aside the alien.” There are many aliens in our country; some of them are illegal aliens. Do we turn our noses up at them, or do we treat them like human beings?

All these things have one common thread: they show that the one who commits the sins has no fear of the Lord. For if you fear the Lord you know that he will hold you accountable for what you did to your wife; he is the defender of the immigrant, the alien and the widow and the orphan. If you fear the Lord then you fear what he will do to correct you.

So what should we do about it?

·         The prescription in communion is self-examination which must obviously be followed by repentance. That’s the first thing we should do about it.

·         Note please, that we are to take communion “in memory of Christ.” In so doing we recognize the atonement sacrifice and the resurrection. Do this deliberately; point your mind at the sacrifice he made.

·         As you are able, proclaim the Lord’s death, atonement and resurrection not just in communion but in your ordinary daily conversation. Evangelism is personal.

You have this morning the privilege of participating in the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a sacred privilege; granted freely to those who are in obedience, following his commands. But if you take this and still continue to be one who does not fear the Lord, then you should fear the Judgment Day to come.



[1] First Corinthians 10:17

[2] First Corinthians 10:21

[3] First Corinthians 11:28-32

 

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