Understanding The Christian Holy Communion Service
5/6 September 2020 | Traditional and Prayer & Praise Services
Rev Stanley Chua
Scripture Passage: 1 Corinthians 11:17-34; Luke 22:19-20 (NIV)
WATCH | SERMON (Video)
(Click on video below)
READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary | Holy Communion encompasses commemoration of an event in the past, current tangible communion and future consummation.
The sacrament of the holy communion, called The Lord’s Supper, Eucharist, Mass is understood differently in the larger body of Christ but its importance and meaning largely hangs on the fact that Jesus commanded it, and it references the past, present and future.
1. Commemoration (Past) -Jesus commanded us to ‘do this in remembrance of me’ (Luke 22:19; 1 Cor 11:24). Remembrance comes in various forms – pictures, progeny, etc. Jesus chose nothing but two everyday objects, a broken loaf, and wine poured – symbols visualising the agony of his death. Nobody ever before or after has given his broken body, shed his blood, to buy our freedom at the cost of his own life. Hence this remembrance of the biggest thing Jesus did, out of love for you and me. In Deuteronomy, the recurrent is: ’Do not forget…’ after deliverance from Egyptian bondage.
2. Communion (Present) – is it a memorial (symbolic meal) or a transubstantiation meal (bread becomes the body of Christ)? Neither is helpful, but 1 Cor 10:20-21 states that sacrifice to idols is to have fellowship with demons. Therefore as unholy sacrifices and other practices such as Ouija boards create direct contact with demonic powers, so Holy Communion is a positive point of contact with Christ. Methodists affirm that the sacrament of Holy Communion is a means of grace through which the real presence of Christ is communicated to the believer. The very act enables a Christ experience and a soul-nourishing one. Christ’s presence affirms the personal command. Conversely, partaking unworthily invites punishment (1 Cor 11:27). Barclay defines ‘unworthily’ not as sinless, but the 2-fold non-discernment of the body of the Lord, meaning of the sanctity of the elements, (v29) and the church as a body (1 Cor 12:27)- a selfish disregard of others in celebrating Holy Communion (1 Cor 11:17-33). While we cannot explain the how, in Christ, we are truly nourished through experiencing his tangible presence. God takes the abuse of Holy Communion very seriously. We must have reverence, understanding, and ensure restored fellowship with fellow believers.
3. Consummation (Future) – Proclaim the Lord’s death till his return. (1 Cor 11:26). There is an anticipation of a certainty.
In summary, we observe Holy Communion to commemorate what Jesus has done for us, to enjoy communion with Christ in a real way, and to look forward to a future consummation when we will be with Him forever.
(Sermon Notes by Kwun Pillai )
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
1. What are the other names for Holy Communion?
2. Why is Holy Communion important to all Christians? What is the biblical basis for the conduct of Holy Communion?
3. Explain the three meanings of Holy Communion according to the speaker. Importantly, what are the 2 extreme views of Holy Communion mentioned by the speaker?
4. What does it mean to partake of the Holy Communion “unworthily?” What was the context of 1 Corinthians when Paul charged the Corinthian Church for partaking unworthily?
5. What is the proper attitude and posture that we should take in partaking the Holy Communion?