Text: 2 Corinthians 13:5-7 (HCSB)
5) Test yourselves [to see] if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you not recognize for yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you? - unless you fail the test. 6) And I hope you will recognize that we are not failing the test. 7) Now we pray to God that you do nothing wrong, not that we may appear to pass the test, but that you may do what is right, even though we [may appear] to fail."
Intro: Be Sure You Are Saved
The Corinthians were spending a great deal of time examining Paul; now it was time they examined themselves. Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” A true Christian experience will bear examination. “Are you even in the faith?” asked Paul. “Are you truly saved?” Every believer must prove his or her faith; no one can tell others whether or not they are born again.
A true Christian has Christ in him.
Application: Are you even in the faith!
To be in the faith this is a:
1. Physical Act: The Lord’s Supper is an act of worship taking the form of a ceremonial meal, in which Christ’s servants share bread and wine in memory of their crucified Lord and in celebration of the new covenant relationship with God through Christ’s death.
In the Westminster Confession XXIX. it states: Our Lord Jesus, in the night wherein he was betrayed, instituted the sacrament of his body and blood, called the Lord’s Supper, to be observed in his church, unto the end of the world, for the perpetual remembrance of the sacrifice of himself in his death; the sealing of all benefits thereof unto true believers, their spiritual nourishment and growth in him, their further encouragement in and to all duties which they owe unto him; and, to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other, as members of his mystical body.
The Lord’s Supper. This ordinance is, like baptism, a physical act picturing a spiritual truth. In this case the invisible reality is our ongoing life with Christ, derived from His death and resurrection. The Lord’s Supper is described as a proclamation to be repeated throughout this age, picturing Christ’s death. It actually looks forward as well as backward, anticipating the enjoyment of His presence. Clearly one of its functions is to remind us of what Christ has done, is doing, and will do for us. As such it is an aid to our memory and a stimulus to our spiritual senses. We get a good idea of its importance when we see that it was the focal point of the meetings of the church in the apostolic age. According to Acts 20:7 the purpose of meeting together on the Lord’s Day was to “break bread” Luke’s phrase equivalent to Paul’s “the Lord’s Supper.” The fact that it is commanded in 1 Corinthians indicates that the believer cannot view it as optional. As the focus of worship – we can hardly regard it as in any way secondary to other things we may do in meeting together as a local church.
1 Corinthians 11:25 (HCSB) “In the same way [He] also [took] the cup, after supper, and said, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
To be in the Faith the breaking of bread is a physical act!
Without being in the faith this is a:
2. Counterfeit Act: The word “reprobate” means “counterfeit.” The word literally means “not passing the test.” His enemies had charged Paul with being a counterfeit (a false apostle), a charge that he denied in v. 6. He begged the Corinthians to turn away from evil living and speaking, not simply that they might thereby prove that Paul was a true apostle, but for their own good. If they repented, he would not have to prove his apostleship by coming to discipline them. He was willing to set aside this privilege for their sakes. Paul would have rather lost his reputation to see them helped spiritually than to have them continue in sin and force him to exercise his apostolic authority. The warning of discipline is always for leading the offender to the place of repentance. In this day of satanic counterfeits, it is important that professing Christians know that they are saved. Remember the warnings in Matthew 7:15-29 (HCSB)
15) Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. 16) You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17) In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18) A good tree an’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19) Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20) So you’ll recognize them by their fruit. 21) “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but [only] the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22) On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’ 23) Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!’ 24) “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. 25) The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. 26) But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27) The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!” 28) When Jesus had finished this sermon, the crowds were astonished at His teaching, 29) because He was teaching them like one who had authority, and not like their scribes.
To be in the Faith the breaking of bread is a physical act! Without being in the faith and having a real relationship with Christ you are a Counterfeit.
To be in the faith this is a:
3. Faithful Act: This is the faithful act! John 6:35-58 (HCSB)
35) “I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again. 36) But as I told you, you’ve seen Me, and yet you do not believe. 37) Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out. 38) For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39) This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise them up on the last day. 40) For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” 41) Therefore the Jews started complaining about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42) They were saying, “Isn’t this Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can He now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43) Jesus answered them, “Stop complaining among yourselves. 44) No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day. 45) It is written in the Prophets: And they will all be taught by God. Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to Me – 46) not that anyone has seen the Father except the One who is from God. He has seen the Father. 47) “I assure you: Anyone who believes has eternal life. 48) I am the bread of life. 49) Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50) This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that anyone may eat of it and not die. 51) I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” 52) At that, the Jews argued among themselves, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” 53) So Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves. 54) Anyone who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day, 55) because My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink. 56) The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood lives in Me, and I in him. 57) Just as the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58) This is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the manna your fathers ate – and they died. The one who eats this bread will live forever.”
If you come to Him and believe this is the faithful act!
All who accept the invitation to the gospel supper, are sure to be present at the marriage supper of the Lamb, and they have the privilege of enjoying the Lord’s Supper in the meantime. At this communion service, they participate in a present activity which commemorates a past event and looks forward to a future consummation. It is a feast of love, a memorial of faith, a prophecy of hope. Believers meditate on a crucified Saviour’s love, a living Saviour’s intercession, and a coming Saviour’s glory. Believers take the cup of remission, the cup of remembrance, the cup of the Lord’s return.
When we remember that worship is a response to grace, then we should approach this activity that is at the core of our response to grace with a grateful heart. The personal requirements for participation in the Lord’s Supper are given implicitly and explicitly in the New Testament. Since the ordinance portrays our ongoing life with Christ, it makes no sense for a person who does not possess that life to partake. The Lord’s Supper is thus for believers only. Paul adds a further explicit qualification: the person partaking should have first searched himself for sin. Coming to the Lord’s Table with unconfessed sin is an offense to God, since it indicates that the individual does not take the ordinance seriously.
Breaking break is a physical act, to approach this without faith and a relationship with Christ you are a counterfeit and this act is not real.
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night 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, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
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