If you’re a growth group leader at New Day, here’s just one way you can lead your group through taking Communion…
When God brought about a great deliverance for the Israelites from their slavery to Egypt (through Moses), He instituted a commemorative ordinance called Passover.
In the same way, when God brought about an even greater deliverance for us from our slavery to sin (through Messiah), it was appropriate to institute another commemorative ordinance we now know as Communion.
In 1 Corinthians 11 the apostle Paul records the three things Jesus says we’re to remember when we take communion:
1. We’re to remember his body. We read in 1 Corinthians 11:24 that “…on the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In other words, Jesus was saying: When you eat this bread, remember that it represents my body. And remember what I endured in my body for you and for the forgiveness of your sins. Ok, #2…We’re not just to remember his body. Secondly…
2. We’re to remember his blood. We read in 1 Corinthians 11:25, In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.” In other words, Jesus was saying: When you drink this wine, remember that it represents my blood. And remember that it was poured out for the forgiveness of your sins. Ok, #3. When we take communion we’re to remember his body, remember his blood, and now thirdly…
3. We’re to remember his return. Jesus also said, “For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.” (1 Corinthians 11:26) This means that when we take communion, we’re not just to remember Jesus’s first coming where he came to die for our sins, we’re also to remember that Jesus will one day come again! When Jesus came the first time he gave his body and his blood as God’s suffering servant. He came to die for the sins of the world. But when he comes again, it won’t be as God’s Suffering Servant, rather as God’s Conquering King. When Jesus comes he will rule over an eternal kingdom. This kingdom will begin on earth for 1,000 years and will then continue indefinitely into eternity. How do we find the strength to keep living for God in a culture so antagonistic towards him? We remember that one day Jesus is coming again to set things straight – to make things right – to rule with justice and mercy over his eternal kingdom, of which we are citizens forever.
Now according to 1 Corinthians 11:27 to fail to remember these three things (i.e. his body, his blood and his return) is to celebrate communion in an unworthy manner. So as often as we take communion, these thoughts ought to be at the forefront of our minds.
- So as we now partake of the bread, let’s remember what it represents – Jesus’ body which was given in service for us – for the forgiveness of our sins…Let’s take the bread with grateful hearts.
- And as we now partake of the drink, let’s remember what it represents – Jesus’ blood which was poured out on the cross for us. Jesus’ blood spiritually speaking covers our sins. When God looks down from heaven upon us, He doesn’t see our sin – the blood of Jesus covers our sins and in fact cleanses us from sin. So when God looks at us He sees us with the very righteousness of Christ…So as we take the cup – a symbol of Christ’s blood – let’s remember with grateful hearts what the blood of Jesus has accomplished for us – the covering and cleansing of our sins.
- Finally, before we pray, let’s remember that one day Jesus is coming back again. At his first coming, he came to suffer and die. At his second coming, he’s coming to rule and to reign over an eternal kingdom, of which we are citizens. As hard as it is to live for Jesus at times, we must keep in mind that he’s coming back to set things right. So let’s not live for the temporary pleasures of sin, rather for the eternal joys of living in his kingdom forever.
Suggested prayer: Heavenly Father, today we remember how Jesus surrendered his body to your will – even unto death – even unto death on a cross. Today we remember how he willingly shed his blood – so that we could be forgiven of our sins. And today we remember with great anticipation, that one day, Jesus is coming again. God, thank you for loving us so much, and thank you for all you have done for us and continue to do each and every day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.