1 Corinthians 11:23
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: that the Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread,
Sermons
St. Paul's Claim to Direct RevelationR. Tuck 1 Corinthians 11:23
Special Consideration of the Lord's Supper; Uses of Self JudgmentC. Limpscomb 1 Corinthians 11:17-34
Christ Taking Bread, and Our Taking it from HimT. Fuller, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Expressive SymbolsH. W. Beecher.1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Giving as We Receive1 Corinthians 11:23-26
The Doctrine of the Holy CommunionC. W. Furse, M.A.1 Corinthians 11:23-26
The Lord's SupperD. Thomas, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:23-26
The Lord's SupperJ. Waite 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
The Lord's Supper, a Simple Memorial1 Corinthians 11:23-26
The Purpose of the Lord's SupperDean Bradley.1 Corinthians 11:23-26
The Remembrance of ChristH. W. Beecher.1 Corinthians 11:23-26
The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper of Divine InstitutionBp. Beveridge.1 Corinthians 11:23-26
The Sacred FeastE. Hurndall 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
This Do in Remembrance of MeLyman Abbott.1 Corinthians 11:23-26

I. THE PASSOVER AND THE INSTITUTION OF THE SUPPER.

1. Comparison of the records. The memorial Passover differed from the Egyptian or original Passove







For I have received of the Lord Jesus that which also I delivered unto you.
At a sailors' meeting a seaman prayed, "Lord, make us ships with two hatchways; one to take in cargo, and the other to give it out." A good prayer; Paul knew its answer, "I have received of the Lord that which, also I delivered unto you" (1 Corinthians 11:23). We are not storehouses; we are ships intended to trade with the heavenly country and bring supplies for a needy world. Always loading ends in overloading; if we unload, we shall soon be reloaded. He who keeps his talent in a napkin, will lose both napkin and talent; one will rot, and the other rust.

Four things strike us with amazement: —

I. THAT ANY SHOULD DOUBT THE GENUINENESS OF CHRISTIANITY. Here is an institution that was started the night previous to our Saviour's crucifixion, and which from that to this hour, through eighteen long centuries, has been attended to by all the branches of the true Church. Since its origin thousands of generations have passed away, many systems have risen and disappeared, nations have been organised, flourished, and broken up, but this ordinance continues. And what for? To commemorate the great central fact of the gospel, viz., that Christ died. Is there any other fact in history sustained by evidence half so powerful as this?

II. THAT ANY SHOULD MISINTERPRET THIS ORDINANCE. It is to "show forth the Lord's death." There are three abuses of this institution which imply the grossest misinterpretation.

1. The gustatory. The Corinthians thus abused it. Hence, in the preceding verses he says, "When ye come together, therefore, into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper," etc. They had been accustomed, in their heathen festivals, to give way to gluttony and intemperance. Many of them, from the force of old habits, were tempted to use the Lord's Supper in this way, hence they were guilty of profaning the institution. Thus, they ate and drank "unworthily," and by so doing ate and drank condemnation to themselves.

2. The superstitious. There are some who believe that after the words of consecration pronounced by the priest over these elements, the elements become carnally the "body and blood of the Lord." This is transubstantiation.

3. The formalistic. There are those who partake of the bread and wine merely as a matter of ceremony. It is regarded as the proper thing to be done, and is done mechanically. We evangelical Christians are not guilty of the first nor the second, but we may be of the third. Let us "examine ourselves"; so let us eat, etc.

III. THAT ANY SHOULD SAY THE INSTITUTION IS NOT PERMANENT IN ITS OBLIGATION. The apostle tells us distinctly that it was to show forth the Lord's death till He come. On to that distant point the obligation is binding. There are some professing Christians who think themselves too spiritual to observe such an ordinance. These very spiritual ones, to be consistent, should avoid all scientific studies, for science has to do with material forms. They should also avoid all Biblical studies, for Biblical truths are, for the most part, embodied in material facts. Christ Himself was flesh and blood.

IV. THAT ANY ACQUAINTED WITH THE BIOGRAPHY OF CHRIST SHOULD NEGLECT IT. Consider —

1. That it is to commemorate the world's greatest Benefactor that has served the world —

(1)In the highest way, effected its deliverance from sin and hell.

(2)By the most unparalleled sacrifice.

(3)With the most disinterested love.

2. It is enjoined by the world's greatest Benefactor, under the most touching circumstances. How amazing it is that men should neglect it!Conclusion: The excuses that men make for neglecting this are singularly absurd.

1. A man will sometimes say, "I can be saved without it." We ask, who told you so? What is damnation? What but disobedience to Christ? And he who neglects this institution disobeys Him.

2. Another man will say, "I am unfit for it." We say, if you are unfit for this you are unfit for any other religious observance; unfit to read the Bible, sing, or pray, nor can you ever become fit by neglecting your duty.

(D. Thomas, D.D.)

I. WHAT IS A SACRAMENT? In general, the visible sign of an invisible grace.

1. As God hath used covenants, so also sacraments always.

2. They are part, not of His natural, but instituted worship.

3. They are all pledges of the covenant of grace.

4. They all represent Christ the Mediator —

(1)To suffer.

(2)Or having suffered.

5. In all sacraments there are two parts.(1) The thing signified.

II. WHAT IS THE LORD'S SUPPER? A sacrament, wherein the outward signs are bread and wine.

III. WHAT ARE WE TO UNDERSTAND BY DIVINE INSTITUTION? That it was instituted of God, as the others were not, which the Church of Rome maintains to be sacraments, viz., confirmation, orders, penance, matrimony, and extreme unction.

IV. HOW DOES IT APPEAR TO BE OF DIVINE INSTITUTION (Luke 22:19, 20).

V. WHEREFORE WAS IT INSTITUTED BY GOD?

1. When God had made man, He entered into a covenant of works with him (Leviticus 18:5).

2. This covenant man broke, and so became miserable.

3. Hence God, of His mercy, enters into a covenant of grace (Jeremiah 31:33).

4. This covenant of grace was established in Christ (Hebrews 12:21; 2 Corinthians 1:20).

5. This covenant man is also apt to miscarry in; so as —

(1)To be forgetful of it.

(2)Not to believe in it.

(3)To receive no benefit from it.

6. Hence God instituted this sacrament.

(1)To make us mindful of this covenant and Christ (Luke 22:19).

(2)To confirm and seal it to us (Romans 4:11).

(3)To convey the benefits of it to us.Conclusion:

1. Be thankful for this sacrament.

2. Do not neglect the use of it.

3. Prepare yourselves for it.

(1)Acquaint yourselves with the nature of it.

(2)Repent.

(3)Act faith in Christ.

(Bp. Beveridge.)

I. It is A MEMORIAL OF THE SACRIFICE OF THE DEATH OF CHRIST.

1. See how closely it is connected with that death. Consider —(1) The time; Christ and His apostles had met for the last time before He died.(2) The action; the breaking being a sign of the dissolution of the body, the separation of body and soul in death, and also that His death was an act of free-will. He had power over His life to take it up and lay it down, just as of His own accord He took up from the table the bread, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples to eat.

2. To this picture the three Evangelists and St. Paul all describe the Lord as "blessing," or "giving thanks," as He brake the bread. And so this also afterwards passed as a synonym for the sacrament. St. Paul calls it "the cup of blessing," and among us it has the name of "Eucharist."

3. Since the sacrifice of the death of Christ is the cause of our justification, our chief concern must be to make sure of our partaking of it. It is one thing to say "Christ died for all"; another, "Christ died for me." Therefore every man for himself must stretch forth this hand of faith and take to himself, appropriate, his part in the atoning sacrifice. The sacrament is an instrument for such an appropriation.

II. A MEANS OF PRESENT COMMUNION WITH CHRIST. As it was the work of Christ of His own free-will and grace to offer His body upon the Cross, so now every fruit of that sacrifice which we gather in His Church comes fresh from His living hand, and His work, and is nothing less. "Lo, I am with you always," is the secret of our life in the Church; and nowhere more effectually than in the holy sacrament is His presence made real and true to the eye of faith. The manner of our Lord's presence cannot be explained, but His presence in some supernatural form is there, or the text has no proper sense.

III. THE HIGHEST ACT OF WORSHIP IN THE CHURCH.

1. The faithful Christian, in preparation for this holy act, examines himself, and confesses his unworthiness.

2. Then we make an offering of our stores, which, though small, is at least a symbol of homage.

3. Then the oblation of bread and wine is blessed and taken into His service — an offering of the first-fruits, in acknowledgment that life's bounties are His gift.

4. Then comes an oblation of greater significance. The worshipper offers himself with a free heart to receive Christ, and in return gives himself to God.

5. Above all, we come nearest to the work of heaven itself, where the Church worships God in the presence of the Lamb as it had been slain. So in the Church below our highest act of worship is celebrated in that place, where the Lamb of God and His sacrifice is brought most near to us.

(C. W. Furse, M.A.)

If Christ had said, "Build Me some fine cathedral that shall stand as a memorial to Me," how we would have poured out our contributions that somewhere in this world there might stand some central temple, over which the cross on which He hung should tower throughout the ages! But the cathedral would have passed into hands of men corrupted by ambition. He made His monument of loving hearts. Only this do: Sometimes sit down together; sometimes remember that last occasion when I grasped the hands of those I loved, looked into their faces, and heard their voices. He longs to be remembered as love always longs to be remembered. He wanted not His name to be blotted out of human memory, nor His personality to be forgotten from throbbing hearts. He commands and guides you in many things. He gives you opportunity to serve His children, His poor, in many ways; but there is only one personal request He makes of you, that now and again, at some supper table, with simply bread and wine, you shall, as they that love Him have throughout all ages, perpetuate His memory and show your love for Him.

(Lyman Abbott.)

I saw behind an hotel in Switzerland a fine garden, and I unexpectedly found there American flowers, and being far away from home, and half homesick, they afforded me great pleasure. Every one of them seemed like a message to me full of affection by association. So the remembrance of Christ in the Lord's Supper rekindles our love to Him.

(H. W. Beecher.)

I cannot bring back my little child, but I can take a locket and look at his face, and he springs to life in my inward thought. There are scenes in my childhood that I cannot tread again, but a very simple memorial, a little dried flower, or some little yellow faded note brings back again the sweet sense of an early experience. And so, by some such very simple symbol, we can bring again before us the Saviour broken for us, His blood shed for us, His love so great, dying to give us life.

(H. W. Beecher.)

We soon forget objects which are removed from our sight; and our Lord, who knows and pities this weakness of our nature, has given us an abiding memorial of Himself. He has appointed an ordinance for this very purpose, to remind us of His love. "All our fresh springs" are in our crucified Lord, and therefore He brings Himself frequently before us as our crucified Lord that we may go to Him as the great source of our mercies, and take of His blessings.

(Dean Bradley.)

We need not look for great things in order to discover great truths. To those who reach after God, He will reveal His deepest secrets through things insignificant in themselves, within the routine of common lives. No event occurs more regularly than the daily meal, none, perhaps, gathers around it so many pleasant associations. Its simplest form, in Christ's time, consisted in eating bread and drinking a cup of wine. Into this act, one evening, He gathered all the meaning of the ancient sacrifices, all sacred and tender relation between Himself and His followers, and all the prophecies of His perfected kingdom.

That the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread
I. HE TOOK BREAD.

1. Why did Christ choose so cheap and common a thing to exhibit His body in?(1) Herein He graciously provided for the poor. Had He appointed some costly recipe, the poor could not procure it for themselves, and the charity of the rich would not purchase it for others.(2) Had He instituted it in some precious element, people might have imputed the efficacy thereof to its natural worth and working, not to Christ's institution. Christ therefore chooseth a thing so mean in itself, that it cannot eclipse God of His glory; none can be so mad as to attribute to plain bread itself such spiritual operation. Let us take heed how we despise the simplicity of God's ordinance. Say not with Naaman, "Are not Abana and Pharpar," etc. Is not the bread at the baker's, and the wine at the vintner's, as good as that in the sacrament? And far be it from us to seek with our own inventions to beguard that which God will have plain. Rather let us pray, that our eyes may be anointed with that eye-salve, to see majesty in the meanness, and the state in the simplicity, of the sacraments.

2. But amongst such variety of cheap elements, why was bread preferred? To show our bodies can as well subsist without bread, as our souls without a Saviour. It is called "the staff of bread"; other meats are but as "pretty wands to whisk in our hands. Without bread no feast; with bread no famine.

II. HE SAID UNTO THEM, TAKE, i.e., in their hands, and put it to their mouth; not as the custom lately introduced in the Romish Church, for the priest to put it in the mouth of every communicant. But it is pleaded, that it is unmannerly for laymen to handle Christ's body; and therefore it is most reverence to take it with their mouths.

1. There is no such clown in Christianity as he who will be more mannerly than God will have him. It is most reverence for us to do as God commands us. Ahaz tempted God in saying, be "would not tempt Him" (Isaiah 7:12). Those do little better who, more nice than wise, strain courtesy not to take Christ's body in their hands, when He reaches it.

2. Take it strictly, and our mouths are as unworthy as our hands to receive Christ's body. But, seeing it is Christ's pleasure to come under the roof of our mouth, let Him also pass through the porch of our hands. The rather because it seemeth that we entertain Christ's body in more state, and with more observance towards it, when the more servants attend it, the more members of our body using their service in receiving it.

3. The Romish custom loseth the significancy of the hand of faith. The taking Christ's body in our hands mindeth us spiritually by faith to apprehend and lay hold on His mercies and merits.

(T. Fuller, D.D.)

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