Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Lord's Table

Where did the Lord's Table come from?

What is the Lord's Table?

Why do we do the Lord's table?

Where did it come from?

This all started in Egypt-Passover found in Exodus 12:12-20.

The History: Hebrew Children in Egypt as slaves for 400 years. Brought there during Joseph’s time as welcomed guest but things changed and they were put into slavery. Many years of suppression and cruelty by the overseers. Pharaoh’s own son died just before this as the worst of the ten plagues to hit Egypt.

1. Plague of Blood, from all the waters of Egypt. Magicians did it too.
2. Plague of Frog, magicians did the same--more frogs than before!
3. Plague of Gnats, Magicians with their secret arts could not!
4. Plague of Flies--everywhere! Egypt ruined by flies. Moses added to the request: three days trip to sacrifice as our offering would be detestable in their eyes. Pharaoh said yes...then NO! Heart grew harder.

Do not harden your heart toward God’s Way with you--when you are young or when you are old. Not when you are young because you may not make it to be older. Not older, because your heart may be too hard and to much to work through.

5. Plague on Livestock--farming society-depended on animals.
6. Plague on Boils. Men and animals--painful!
7. Plague of Hail--farms destroyed. 9:23-26.
8. Plague of Locusts-worst yet. Eat everything left in Egypt. 10:7.
Pharaoh said only the men as you are bent on evil…:10.
verse 16 Quickly summoned Moses and Aaron...but verse 20-hard heart.
9. Plague of Darkness- for 3 days-no light-except where the Jews lived.
10. PLAGUE OF The DEATH of The First Born. Symbol of darkness of not only the leader’s heart but of the spiritual darkness of the land. Bent on evil. Worship of false gods. Pressure on God’s People.

Resulting in God preparing His People/Protecting His People during a dreaded time of death.

He would PASS OVER them during the travels of the Angel of Death over Egypt. The Death of the First Born was felt in every family in Egypt. If it was not the first born infant, the first born adult. There was a first born everywhere...even in the household of Pharaoh. The Pharaoh’s life was not taken as he was not the first born child of his parents. Read Exodus 11:4-10!

Then the People got ready for a visitation of God: the likes of which had never been seen nor again. 12:29-32.

Then, about 600,000 men plus women and children plundered Egypt of their gold and silver.

The length of time the People of God lived in Egypt was 430 the very day.

Key idea here is: Obey and God will act. 12:50-51

So that is where it came from and what it is: Set up as a memorial for all time. Some things have changed over time, not wine, but juice, not unleavened bread but every day bread. But at the time of Jesus, this is what happened: Turn to Luke 22:7~20.

Why do we do it?

Most of us in this room are not Jewish. We do not have that same history as they did, so why do we celebrate this Exodus from Egypt?

In truth, we do not. Jesus changed all that.

In Jesus’ time a Day was set aside every year in Jerusalem for this holiday. Preparations made to have the meal with His Disciples. This is the Day that the Passover Lamb was to be killed/sacrificed in the Temple. Found the guest room and got ready.

Verse 14: “...before I suffer.”

First element: His Body!

Verse 17: “...He gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."

Second element: His Blood!

Remember back to His teachings in John 6 on being the Bread of Life? He also taught somethings that were disagreeable to many.

53 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains 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.”

The simple truth is, His 12 now were ready to do that but not in the way that was misunderstood by non-believers in Rome. Not cannibalism but real fellowship in Jesus.
An intimate relationship in His Name with The Person of Christ Jesus, Himself.

So then, after Jesus did all that in the upper room, the teaching was not forsaken. Paul picks it up in his first letter to the Church in Corinth. They were having a real bad time of it as a Church. Misusing this memorial service as an opportunity to party well beyond normal and decent behavior. They were using this time to get drunk, beat each other in who’d finish first, showing little respect for the poor, for each other and none for the Lord. A real bash without regard for common grace and Christian Love.

Paul needed to stop it!

In 1 Corinthians 11:1 & 2, he was soft but soon he really lets them--and us--have it!
1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
2 I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.

And now that I have your attention: WAME! verse 17-22.
17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God's approval. 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, 21 for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. 22 Don't you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not!

Then Paul gives the teaching as he got it from the Lord.

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you:

So, here it is, once again. Not to become automatic, cold, formal, but voluntary, warm and Family.

To remember.

Over the past few months, while talking to my own Mother on the phone, she has complained to me that she is forgetting things, words, topics, situations, how to do things. She knows she is getting older and this bothers her. She realizes that she can not control this memory thing from slipping away. Almost every day, I pray that her mind remains strong and open, memory in tact, but, God in His Mercy and Wisdom has not yet seen fit to answer that way for her--or for me. To remember at her age is so important because there are not a lot of things yet to happen for her. She most likely will not met another man who will fall in love with her and marry. She will not likely travel far from the residence. A number of her friends at Church have already passed on and she is becoming alone. Not much she’d want to remember about more time with them ‘cause they are no more. She remembers some important things. The names of her grandsons and granddaughters. That Joseph did wrestling last year at CAJ. That Bethany was a back ground actress. That I like to fish and eat them raw! She remembers coming to Japan and meeting the Misaki family and the Kondo family. She remembers birthdays and how much some things cost. But things are slipping.

That is what Jesus does not want to happen between us and Him! No slipping away to forget Him or forget the fact that He died for us. Not to forget the pain He suffered for our sins--the very sins we still commit today. The very sins that He died for...on that Cross.

Paul goes over what Jesus said and tells them that their worship is to be done as they remember Him and His light of what these Jewish men already knew about the meaning of the Passover.

A Memorial to Remember God’s Grace Covering Us From Death.

And as we remember Him, we need to give thanks.

Give thanks with a greatful heart
Give thanks to the Holy one
give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ His son
And now let the weak say “I am strong”
Let the poor say “I am rich”
Because of what the Lord has done for us. Give thanks.