Welcome to the Cornerstone Baptist church podcast. My name is Justin Wheeler, I am the preaching pastor for Cornerstone and today we are in week 28 of our journey through the Heidelberg Catechism. Today, I will be talking to you about questions 75-77.
This week, we shift our focus from the ordinance of baptism to the ordinance of Communion or the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper is a simple meal of bread and wine, taken throughout our life of faith and each time we eat it we are to remember our Lord. We are to remember his body and his blood, broken and shed for the forgiveness of our sin. But Jesus doesn’t simply want our remembrance to be an exercise of the mind, He has given us bread to eat and wine to drink.
He has given us bread, which we can see, touch, smell and taste. He has given us wine also and these elements do more than just engage our memory they make the sacrifice of Christ come alive. Jesus has given us a meal that we are to sink our teeth into and as we do this we remember the price He paid for our salvation
Lord’s Day Focus...
I want to start by asking the question, “Why a meal?” Why did God give us a meal as a way to teach us and remind us of His loving and saving grace? I think part of the answer is that God has made us in such a way that meals have a powerful way of teaching us certain truths that God wants us to learn and never forget. Let me try to explain what I mean.
The Bible opens with Adam and Eve in the Garden with God. The Garden is filled with food and God tells them that they can eat from the fruit of every tree in the Garden save one. The Bible begins with a meal. Before the fall, Adam and Eve ate their meals in God’s presence, but when they sinned that celebration of fellowship came to an end and they were no longer able to come into God’s presence at all, much less to eat. No more eating in the presence of God.
Fast forward to the time of the Exodus. God has a plan to redeem His people from their slavery and to bring them back into His presence. To kick off this redemptive event God commanded them to eat a meal of roasted lamb, unleavened bread and bitter herbs. The meal had deep meaning.
The unleavened bread was a symbol of the fact that they didn’t have time to wait for the bread to rise, their salvation would come quickly. The herbs reminded them of the bitterness of their captivity, from which Yahweh was saving them. The lamb reminded them of the sacrifice made for their sin and brushed onto their door so that the judgment of God would Passover them.
They were told to eat this meal year after year to remember God’s saving work. They would teach this to their children generation after generation. It was sin that pushed them out of the Garden and it was God’s sacrifice that would bring them back in. The Passover meal was a meal filled with the hope that one day God’s people would once again eat in His presence.
Why a meal? Because God’s plan is to bring us back into fellowship with Him, back to His table. He wants us to have fellowship with Him again. The meal is what we enjoy together but it is also the way back in. When Israel ate the Passover meal, they were rehearsing the day when they would sit with God remembering the bitterness of their lives apart from Him and celebrating the sacrifice that brought them home.
Fast forward to the NT and we see Jesus eating the Passover meal with His disciples, but in the middle of the meal He changes a few things. In the middle of the Passover Seder, Jesus broke script when He picked up a thin slice of unleavened bread and started to break it up and give it to His disciples.
Instead of saying, “This is the bread of affliction that your fathers ate…” Jesus said to the disciples, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” He picked up the cup, the third cup, and he passed it to them telling them that this cup marked the New Covenant sealed by His blood.
Jesus changed the script and by doing so, He transforms the meal altogether. This meal is no longer to be a celebration to remember the OT Passover but is to be done in remembrance of Jesus himself who in His body took upon himself the punishment for our sin.
He has forever changed the way we understand the Passover. The lambs used in Egypt and for thousands of years after the Exodus where all pointing to One Final Lamb whose sacrifice would put an end to all sacrifice.
These two redemptive events are tied together, and one fulfills the other. Just as the Israelites watched helplessly as God saved them from their bondage, so too, Christians watch helplessly as Christ rescues us from our bondage to sin.
So when we eat the Lord’s Supper, what is going on?
Question 75: How is it signified and sealed to you in the Holy Supper that you partake of the one sacrifice of Christ on the cross and all His benefits?
Answer: that Christ has commanded me and all believers to eat of this broken bread and to drink of this cup in remembrance of Him, and has joined therewith these promises: first, that His body was offered and broken on the cross for me and His blood shed for me, as certainly as I see with my eyes the bread of the Lord broken for me and the cup communicated to me; and further, that with His crucified body and shed blood He Himself feeds and nourishes my soul to everlasting life, as certainly as I receive from the hand of the minister and taste with my mouth the bread and cup of the Lord, which are given me as certain tokens of the body and blood of Christ.
The Lord’s Supper should function in two ways when we gather as a church to eat it. It should serve to remind us of our identity as debtors to God’s mercy and grace. The Lord’s supper is an identity shaping meal, it helps us to know who we are. When we come to the table we are once again accepting the fact that our only hope of being right with God and of having a seat at His table is through the broken body and shed blood of His Son. The Lord’s Supper brings us to a place of humility before God because it reminds us that we bring nothing to the table but our need.
The supper also serves as an identity declaring meal. Not only are we to recognize our inner desperation, we are also declaring that desperation along with everyone else. When we gather around the table it’s like we are looking everyone in the eye and saying my need is just like yours, my hope is just like yours. There is no room for arrogance at the Lord’s Table. The man who has learned to view himself as a great sinner before God will not see himself as a lord among men, but as a beggar telling other beggars where to find food.
Question 76 helps point this out to us…
Question 76: What does it mean to eat the crucified body and drink the shed blood of Christ?
Answer: It means not only to embrace with a believing heart all the sufferings and death of Christ, and thereby to obtain the forgiveness of sins and life eternal; but moreover, also, to be so united more and more to His sacred body by the Holy Spirit, who dwells both in Christ and in us, that, although He is in heaven and we on earth, we are nevertheless flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone, and live and are governed forever by one Spirit, as members of the same body are governed by one soul.
The Supper is an exercise in remembering the Good News through a meal. It strengthens our faith because we are reminding our hearts that Jesus did die for us, that He was raised to show our salvation was complete, that by faith in Him our sins are forgiven, and eternal life is ours.
Wayne Grudem, in His chapter on the Lord’s Supper says it well,
As I take the bread and cup for myself, by my actions I am proclaiming, “I need you and trust you, Lord Jesus, to forgive my sins and give life and health to my soul, for only by your broken body and shed blood can I be saved.” In fact, as I partake in the breaking of the bread when I eat it and the pouring out of the cup when I drink it, I proclaim again and again that my sins were part of the cause of Jesus suffering and death. In this way sorrow, joy, thanksgiving and deep love for Christ are richly intermingled in the beauty of the Lord’s Supper.
Question 77: Where has Christ promised that He will thus feed and nourish believers with His body and blood as certainly as they eat of this broken bread and drink of this cup?
Answer: In the institution of the Supper, which says: “The Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took 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 supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.”
And this promise is also repeated by the Apostle Paul, where he says, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, so we being many are one body, for we are all partakers of that one bread.”
This Lord ’s Supper is for us a celebration to remember the work of Christ. The Supper is a reminder that a New Covenant has been stuck between God and His people and it is secured by blood that cannot fail. The Supper is a memorial of the body and blood of Jesus that purchased forgiveness and eternal life for all those who believe. Each time we eat this bread and drink this cup we remember the Lord and we declare our unity as His blood bought people.
Unlike the Passover meal and others that we see in the Old Testament, Jesus doesn’t give us specific details on when to observe the Lord’s Supper. As a church we take communion once each month on the first Sunday of that month.
Jesus doesn’t tell us how often to eat this meal but he does tell us what should be our focus when eating the meal. As often as eat and drink this meal we are to do it in remembrance of Christ.
Next week we will continue our study of the ordinances and I hope that you will join me again next week as we look at Lord’s Day 29 and questions 78-79.
If you want to learn more about Cornerstone Baptist church, you can find us online at Cornerstonewylie.org. You can follow us on Twitter or Instagram @cbcwylie. You can find us on Facebook at facebook.com/cornerstonewylie. You can also subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or google play to stay up to date on all the new content.
Thanks for listening.
 Thiselton I Corinthians pg. 185
 Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology: Chapter 50 The Lord’s Supper, pg. 991