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Sermons about Communion
Pastor Rob shares about the betrayal and the forgiveness of sins, in preparation for communion. Jodi and Rachael Rektor share a personal testimony of how forgiveness has been lived out and changed their lives
Introduction 1) Redemption and Release 2) Exposing the Heart 3) Our Deepest Hunger Conclusion
In this sermon we look at what it means to find acceptance in Jesus.
Back in Verse 35, Jesus had told this crowd, “whoever comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” Then as we studied last week, we saw in verse 50 He added “whoever takes Me in, accepts Me in, shall not die.” We know from Revelation 7 verses 16 and 17 that we will neither hunger nor thirst in heaven as John writes, “They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” So we know that when Jesus says “if anyone comes to Me now, they shall never again hunger and shall never again thirst” what He’s talking about is this moment, this day, this life…but He’s not talking about food and drink…He would have fed this hungry crowd by now if He was…He’s talking about a much more basic hunger…a hunger for the Creator…a fundamental, foundational, infinitely powerful and even urgent need to be redeemed and restored to God. The enemy will lie and tell you this will satisfy or that will satisfy. He will use tools such as emotions, logic and reason (which we call philosophy), yet the Bible would call, “empty” in Ephesians 5:6…words and ideas without truth at their core…Colossians 2:8 warns us to beware lest we be cheated through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, which are not according to Christ. The truth is that only the filling of the Holy Spirit, only a real relationship with God the Father through His Son will quench that deep thirst and that ever present hunger…that need which is inherent in every man, woman and child…Lest we turn to Jesus, forsaking all else, the hunger remains like a cancer that eventually consumes us… But Jesus adds there in verse 50 of Chapter 6 that whoever comes and believes shall not die. Jesus is not talking about physical death here. He’s not talking about the ‘here and now’ with this statement as He was before. He’s talking about what the Bible calls the Second Death. Revelation chapter 20 verses 14 and 15 tell us of the death Jesus is speaking of…”Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” So Jesus says I have come so that you may have life, both now and forever, but as we talked about last week, these folks believed in Him…they believed He existed, I mean He’s standing right in front of them…but they did not believe Him. They did not accept His word…and now they are especially twisted as Jesus remarks in verse 51, “I am the living bread; if anyone eats of this bread they will live forever, and the bread that I shall give is My flesh.” He’s speaking of the cross but their disbelief has blinded them. Why do I say that? They have all studied and accepted the Law and the Prophets, what we today call the Old Testament. In fact, the Jews considered the study of the Torah to be more important and prioritized in their lives above such things as visiting the sick, honoring their parents and even making peace between people. The Jews had a saying regarding the study of the Law and the Prophets and it went, “whoever learns the Torah at night is granted grace during the day and whoever neglects it will be fed burning coals in the world to come.” By age 10, Jewish males were required to memorize the Torah…so why do I say that they were blinded? Because the Old Testament, the Law and the Prophets, it all points to the life, death and resurrection…the person of Jesus Christ…the Messiah being sacrificed, His flesh being broken, His blood being poured out as an offering for the transgressions of the people. Genesis 22:8 says, “God will provide Himself a sacrifice.” Psalm 22 says, “I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it has melted within Me. My strength is dried up and My tongue clings to My jaws….they pierced My hands and My feet” (5th century BC crucifixion invented, this was written in the 10th century BC). Isaiah 53 says, “He was wounded for our sins, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement for our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed…the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” And so yes, the bread of life that is able to satisfy our deepest need, able to strengthen us and give us everlasting life is indeed the flesh of Jesus…He is the atoning sacrifice for mankind…just as it was written of centuries before. And Jesus doesn’t mean we should grab our knives and forks and dig in…He means take Me in, consume Me into your lives, accept the only sacrifice that is able to make you whole. But they did not believe…And so we pick it up today in verse 52 of Chapter 6. Verse 52, The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” They scoff! They say, “foolishness!” But that’s typical…we know that 1 Cor 1:18 says that the message of the cross (even God’s will for a matter) is foolishness (moria) to those who are destructing (apollymi a-pol-lu-me – present tense), but we who are being saved know it is the very power of God! Interesting how they turn to one another…as John says here they quarreled among themselves…bunch of suckers, they did not ask Jesus what He meant, they turned to men…but philosophy, finite factoids…emptiness the Bible declares! Suckers! Anyone who believed Jesus is who He said He is would have looked to Jesus to explain…If you believe that Jesus is the true bread come down from heaven to give you life then something like this which was a bit absurd (eat the flesh of a living man) would have to be met with an attitude of “there must be more…there must be a deeper meaning…and I must find it…” That’s a seeker! Verse 53, Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed and My blood is drink indeed. (He slips the meaning in here, watch this…) He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in Him. Those listening intently, looking for the meaning of what the Lord is saying would have caught that right there as He gives the meaning, the underlying statement of what He is saying to them. Those that take Him in, those that accept Him as the Christ, those that commune with Him, will live (both now and forever). Look at verse 57, As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. Because I will give Myself for you…because I will get up there on that tree for you child, you will live…if You come to Me and believe Me. To come to Him means you must leave the rest…walk away from whatever else you have come to…and He says “feed on Me.” Interesting because this is a reference to Psalm 22:6 where we read the suffering Savior say “I am a worm (Tola) and no man, scorned for humanity.” The Tola was a worm that climb a tree and would burst in bearing offspring and the little worms would hatch and feed off of the dried blood of the mother and grow strong and then drop down living. And so Jesus is speaking here of the cross. How He would get up there on that tree and His body would be broken for us. Bread is cut down and then crushed. Jesus was struck in the face before the Sanhedrin after the Garden of Gethsemane. He was punched in the face repeatedly while blindfolded by the Roman guards to the point that the bible says He could not be recognized even as a man. He was slapped in the face, spit upon, His beard was pulled out, His back was lashed, scouraged with a flagrum consisting of leather straps embedded with metal and glass fragments with small metal balls sewn into the end of each string. Lashed over and over and over…yet He says in Is 50:6 “I did not cover My face…I did not turn My back Is 53:7 says, “He did not open His mouth…” Why? Because God is Love! His love is so powerful that nothing could stop Him! He wanted so badly to buy us back…He wanted so badly to free us…to give us life! Is 50:1 says “we have sold ourselves for our iniquities” Sold! Past tense. Transaction completed! We were goners and God knew it! And so He shows His love, that while we were lost to Him, estranged from Him, even enemies of Him, He gave Himself for us… Is 49:25 God says “I will contend with him who contends with you…” because you are in a fight you cannot win. You are in prison now, living lost, and you will lie down in torment Is 50:11 says, in everlasting prison because of sin. But I will accept the tat of your prison numbers. Is 49:16 says, “I will inscribe you on the palms of My hands.” I will give My body to be broken, I will give My blood, My life to be poured out as atonement, as payment for your redemption. Jesus may have even been trembling as He spoke these words recorded for us in John 6. Knowing what awaits Him. That last night He spent with His besties, having a meal, right before setting out to cross the Brook Kidron and meet one last time with His Father before enduring the cross, He arose, removed His outer robe and wrapped a towel around His waist…signifying the laying down of His position and accepting the position of slave…then He washed the feet of the disciples saying to them, What I do now you do not understand, but you will… 1 Cor 11, verses 23 – 25 reads, “On that same night, Jesus took the bread and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after the supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” How He must have been trembling as He broke the bread…trembling as He poured the cup…knowing what was to happen to Him shortly…knowing that it would make you and I free…that is what we honor, that is what we acknowledge when we, as the children of God, come to His table of communion. Jesus said here in verse 58, take and eat and you will live forever…compare that with verse 47 as Jesus says most assuredly, he who believes in Me has everlasting life…will live forever…He doesn’t mean literally eat Him, that’s preposterous…He is alive forevermore…He means believe, commune with Me…you think I don’t love you? Look at the cross! Look at the trial! Come to the table of the Father because I, Jesus, have prepared a place for you. Verse 59, These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” (WE CAN! – Us!) When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? (Do you not believe?) It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. (You must believe…different from understanding. Understanding will sometimes even rip you off…I love the fact that my kids simply have faith that Daddy will provide…if they understood then that would cheapen it in a way, ya know…and with God, the things of God many times are not comprehendable…faith is required). The words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life (That’s His word!). This statement is precisely why we do not turn to the traditions of men or the ways of this world system for truth, because it is only the Word of God that bears life. But there are some of you who do not believe. So Jesus says, guys you’re trying to reconcile this in the flesh, in logic, in reason…but I’m not speaking of you eating my body and drinking my blood literally…He tells them right here, the words that I speak to you are spirit! There is a deeper meaning… Verse 64 continues, For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father. Water will not flow uphill ya’ll. Verse 66, From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Chapter 6, verse 66, the sixth word…fakers. False disciples. They walked with Him no more, why? Because they didn’t believe Him. The Lord says something difficult, does something that they cannot understand or agree with, and they turn their back to Him…the mark of disbelief. When the going get tough, the fakers split! The fakers grumble. The fakers fill with anger, bitterness, pride, strife…all works of the flesh…but someone truly who trusts in the Lord…well look at verse 67… Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Awesome, Peter says we believe, and because we believe, we know…knowledge has spawned…You are Lord, You are the Way… Oh how the world lies…tells us seeing is beleiving…study the details, study the particulars and that will lead to the higher truth, the absolute truth…but truly believing is seeing! Accept absolute truth by faith, and all of the particulars will be understood…all the small things…Matthew 6:33… Verse 70 as we finish up, Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is the devil?” He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve. I have come that you may have life…that you may no longer thirst, no longer hunger and so that you may live forever…but one of you, even one of you that remain, will not accept the free gift of grace…one of you even one of you that remain, does not believe. A gift is incomplete unless the recipient receives it…God calls out to us day and night, God calls out to this community, this world day and night, to simply receive the free gift secured for us by the love of Jesus, the love of God Himself…sacrificing all that He had…but if you don’t step forward and take that gift…then truly it’s not yours. God would say to you today, come to My table, receive freely from Me…buy milk and honey without money and abide forevermore.
In Mark 1:35 Jesus teaches us that Gospel Driven Ministry must be: 1. Directed Prayerfully
There tends to be a degree of confusion regarding the Lord’s Supper. There are some folks who esteem the Lord’s Supper very highly. There are some folks who do not give it much consideration. There are all sorts of debates about how the Lord’s Supper should be performed. It is very important to consider the Lord’s Supper in the context within which it was given. That context is the Passover. A good understanding of the Passover is very help in giving us the meaning behind the instruction that Jesus was giving us. Our study will strive to overlay the events of the Gospels against the historical background of the Passover. The Lord’s Supper is foundationally about remembering. We just need to recall what we are supposed to be remembering.