Sermons on Communion
“It is finished” (John 19:30). What was finished? Christ’s sacrifice for our salvation – the satisfying of the wrath of God. The cross was necessary because we have sinned against a holy God. God’s wonderful love for us is always linked in Scripture to the cross. Salvation through faith in the crucified and risen Christ is free and available to all.
In Colossians 1:12-14, Paul expresses gratitude to God for many reasons, all related to Christ’s sacrificial death on our behalf. We have been qualified for heaven, delivered from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of light. We are eternally forgiven and redeemed from our sins. Our expressions of gratitude should be natural and habitual. Thanks be to God!
In Christ we are saints, not because of what we do, but because we are set apart for God, His treasured possession. We are faithful brothers in Christ, sharing a deep family bond with all who have put their faith in the Lord. Where are we? We are in Christ, part of a new kingdom, a new mindset. Yet we are also still “in Colossae,” part of a particular earthly community. We are called to engage with the world in order to win it for Christ.
As we look intently at the identity of Jesus, we will be awestruck, humbled, and our love for Him will increase. The author of Hebrews opens the book with a wonderful description of Christ, God’s final and perfect communication to us. Jesus is the heir of all things, the creator, the radiance of God’s glory, and the sustainer of the universe. Christ has purified us from our sins and now sits on high. This majestic Jesus is who we need and all we need.
As Jesus hangs on the cross in darkness, He cries out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” He is quoting from Psalm 22:1, a psalm which foretells the future suffering of the Messiah. Jesus is not only enduring the agonies of the crucifixion, but is also experiencing being abandoned by God the Father as He bears the sin of the world. Jesus is absorbing the judgement of God we deserve.
Faith alone is the key to forgiveness and salvation. We all know and feel our guilt and brokenness before a holy God. Jesus Christ alone must be the object of our faith that brings justification and peace with God. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit, not a feeling. It can be increased through prayer and the study scripture. Faith is not a work, but spurs us on to good works as we serve as the representatives of Christ.
In the verse above Jesus makes this promise to all believers that not only will we carry on His work, but we will do His work in a greater way than He did. What could this possibly mean that we could do greater works? Pastor Gregory breaks down this verse for us and shows us how the work of spreading the gospel to reach others is an even greater work.
Why does our celebration of the Lord’s Supper matter? Jesus commanded us to celebrate communion. We should share Christ’s fervent desire to participate because it represents Christ’s death that brings us forgiveness and salvation. It’s a memorial meal that looks back at Jesus, and a family meal that reminds us to look around at those with whom we share unity in Christ. Communion is a victorious meal where we look forward to Christ’s return in glory, and it is a time to give thanks and worship.
Love binds us together as believers and is a witness to the watching world. Paul reminds us that during the Communion, we mutually participate in the cross. We identify with Christ and proclaim that He died in our place to give us His righteousness. Unity must be guarded by excluding ungodly affiliations and divisions.
Without hope in Christ, the fear and denial of death are very real. 1 Corinthians 15 tells us that the Gospel frees us from the fear of death. When the disciples and over 500 others saw the resurrection of Jesus, they believed that He was the Messiah. When we believe the truth of the Gospel, we experience salvation. We also can agree with the writer, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55 (ESV)
On the cross, the wrath of God was satisfied and the love of God was magnified. God was not take by surprise; rather “God did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all.” The fulfillment of many prophecies during the crucifixion underscores that Jesus was the one sent by God’s foreknowledge and plan to take away the sin of the world. So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place…
Romans 4:7-8 Quotes the psalmist, King David, after he cried out to God for forgiveness. These verses include three different Hebrew words for sin, including the idea of having a twisted, rebellious nature, crossing the line (transgressing), and falling short of God’s commands. Because of Christ’s substitutionary death on our behalf, we can be forgiven of these sins and credited with righteousness as a gift of grace. When this happens, we are truly and eternally blessed.
Jesus, the King of glory and grace, willingly submitted to suffer and die so that we could be reconciled to God. Matthew 27:27-31 details the intense physical and verbal abuse that Christ received from the soldiers as He was scourged and mocked before His crucifixion, fulfilling each part of the Messianic prophecies in Isaiah. Someday even these callous soldiers will bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Let us acknowledge His kingship now and grant Him control of every area of our lives.
From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are…
The writer of Psalm 130 does not take the mercy of God for granted. His heart is overwhelmed by a flood of guilt and sin before a holy God. Like the psalmist, we can find that God’s forgiveness is total and freely available today if we confess our sin and cry out to Him.
At the end of history there is a scene where Jesus, The Lamb of God, is standing triumphant and victorious. He was the Lamb that was slain, but now He is alive and He is receiving praise from angels and people from all languages and nations for His great suffering. The great question for today is, “has Jesus, our redeemer, received the reward of His suffering from our lives?”
In Psalm 145, David is resolved to live a praise saturated life every day. His praise is fueled by great thoughts about God. When we extol God, we elevate Him to a high place in our thinking and view Him as glorious. In response to God’s transcendence, David humbly praises God for His attributes and His acts.
Pastor Gregory surveys the cross and reminds us of what Jesus meant when he said “It is finished.”
Isn’t it easy to justify ourselves and our lack of compassion for others? The parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke chapter 10 challenges us to demonstrate the love of Christ when it is not convenient and when it requires sacrifice. As we grow to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul, we will also love our neighbors as ourself.
How can we know that God loves us? We know God loves us because He “loved” us by sending Jesus to lay down his life for ours.