Title: His Body and His Blood
Text: Hebrews 4,9,10
FCF: We often struggle connecting the Lord’s Supper and Easter
Prop: Because Christ is the center of both, we must commune with Christ on Easter.
[Slide 1] He is Risen! (He is Risen Indeed) Well I couldn’t hear you but I hope you said – He is risen indeed! If not here is another chance. He is Risen! (He is risen indeed)
Turn in your bible to Hebrews chapter 4.
Today is Easter, and we celebrate the Passion week culminating in the death of Christ on the cross and the resurrection of His body from the dead. But I must confess, it doesn’t feel very much like Easter. Perhaps it is fitting then, that the message is a message that is not your typical Easter message. This is an atypical Easter message for an atypical Easter.
Today serves as an Easter and Lord’s Supper message combined. As I studied for this message in light of Easter, what became quite obvious was that Easter and the Lord’s Supper belong together. I’m not sure why we haven’t done it this way before.
Your care group leader has probably contacted you already with how to join us via Zoom for the Lord’s Supper tonight. I want to emphasize this right off the bat and will probably do this again tonight. We understand that this is in no way a replacement for gathering together. We don’t have any plans or desires to continue the practice of a ZOOM Lord’s Table. In many ways it does not accomplish the togetherness that this fellowship meal ought to. However, with it being Easter, us not desiring to wait any longer to have our first Lord’s Supper of the year, and because Zoom does give us the opportunity to look one another in the eyes and hear each other’s voices – it makes sense for us to meet together in this way, as a special circumstance.
All that being said, let’s dive into our Atypical Easter message. Look at Hebrews chapter 4 with me. I’ll be reading from verse 14-16 from the NET.
You may be thinking that Hebrews is an odd place for us to start on an Easter/Lord’s Supper sermon. I agree. Let’s not start with the text this morning. Instead, let’s start with some review.
I.) [Slide 2] What have we learned so far?
a. We have had two very important messages on the Lord’s Supper that if you have not heard them, I would really desire that you do so before hearing this message. Providentially, that is entirely possible for you to do. If this were a normal Sunday, and you were sitting here with me today, I could not very well ask you to leave and return when you had heard the previous two sermons.
b. [Slide 3] However, since we are not able to be together at this time – I can advise you to stop watching, go to our website columbusbc.com and go back to two dates.
i. October 27,2019 a message titled The Lord’s Supper. This one is primarily a deep dive into what the Lord’s Supper actually is. This will probably be the one you want to start with. It is primarily a defense for why I have changed my beliefs regarding the Lord’s Supper and why I think you should too.
ii. December 29, 2019 a message titled Our First Lord’s Supper. This one is attempting to help us understand both what our old way of viewing the Lord’s Supper was and how the new way we view it is different.
c. So you can pause your video now and go watch those two first. Don’t worry – this one will be taped so you can come back to it before tonight. Besides, most of what we are talking about today is simply building on the concepts that those two sermons set forth.
d. So – the ones whom I am talking to now, are those who have heard those sermons. But perhaps, being more than 3 months since the most recent one, you may have trouble remembering what we learned. Well, let me do a little review.
e. [Slide 4] What were we doing before?
i. In December we talked about this at length. Our previous view of the Lord’s Supper primarily came from Ulrich Zwingli, a reformer who was reacting against the overly mystical and theologically heretical Roman and Lutheran perceptions of the Ordinance.
ii. However, what his position was, and what we were practicing were not the same.
iii. He advocated for a memorial view of the Lord’s Table, but did not deny the spiritual presence of Christ in His people at the meal, nor did he deny the concept of God using the table to grow His people. He still referred to the meal as a sacrament. A holy meal.
iv. What we pointed out was that we had taken the memorial aspect of his view and left the rest. Basically, all the Lord’s Supper was for us was a time to vividly remember what Christ had done for us.
v. As we pointed out in December – this is not wrong. It is simply incomplete.
f. [Slide 5] What is the Lord’s Supper actually?
i. Drawing both from our October sermon and the December sermon, we can define what exactly the Lord’s Supper is.
ii. The Lord’s Supper allows God’s people to reawaken the reality of the gospel –
iii. We remember what Christ has done yes, but what He has done has ongoing and expanding effects on us.
iv. We are spiritually fed by the body and blood of Christ, in the sense that all we need from God is accessed by being unified to Christ. The Lord’s Supper symbolizes unity to Christ – and in that symbol, performed in faith, does also meet the truth and therefore does actually unite us further to Christ.
v. The Lord’s Supper is a way that God gives grace to His children by uniting them to Christ spiritually by the elements of the meal. Not by the bread and juice, nor by Christ’s actual human flesh or human blood, but by the effect His body and blood produced.
vi. So linked is the symbol and the thing symbolized, that by faith, one who is truly of Christ, is given God’s power to grow through this feast, which is a special expression of how His power is always given – through Christ.
vii. The normal means of grace from God is through Christ, and our growing unity to Him.
viii. How much more so when Christ says to take and eat the body that is given for us and drink the cup of his blood which is poured out for us. As we are sustained by a meal, so we are sustained by feasting on the means of God’s grace to us… His Son.
ix. So the Lord’s Supper is a sign of a spiritual truth. But the spiritual truth is actually experienced and communicated while performing the sign.
x. We gave the illustration of a husbands kiss. Is the husband’s kiss a sign of his affection for his wife, or in it, is his affection communicated in reality? Both. It is both a sign AND the reality.
xi. So also the Lord’s table is a sign of the spiritual truth that we are sustained by Christ alone – but in the sign God also gifts to His children sustenance in Christ.
g. [Slide 6] Important caveats we must remember - We did clarify a few points though along the way.
i. First that we are in no way eating the actual, physical body and blood of Jesus. It is actually forbidden by God’s law to eat the blood of something. Furthermore, Jesus has ascended to the throne of God and is seated at His right hand. He cannot be here physically too. Spiritually – sure – but physically, no. And even on a spiritual level, we have to understand that it is His body, but not the substance or essence of His body but the effect that His body produces. It is not the substance or essence of His blood, but the effect of His blood. More on that in a moment.
ii. Second, no person can be converted, or receive Christ in salvation through taking the Lord’s Table. In fact, unbelievers and those acting like unbelievers are warned not to partake.
iii. [Slide 7] Third, the Lord’s Table is not the only means by which God gives us grace. Christ Himself is the means, God’s Word. But it IS a special means that God has offered to us. It is a gift to us. Not just in our heads and hearts – but in our mouths, hands, ears, noses, and eyes. We use all 5 senses to feel this truth as it is being communicated to us.
iv. [Slide 8] Finally – we discussed the Do Partake and Do not Partake lists. For now I want to give the warnings. The Do Not Partake list. I will share the do partake list at the end of the sermon.
1. You are not a believer. There is nothing for you in this event. The benefits of the Supper are only offered to those who have already received from Christ. You cannot be sustained by the vine if you are not connected.
2. You are a believer who is willingly harboring sin. All of church discipline can be summarized in a person who claims Christ who will not forsake sin and pursue Christ. So if you have a known sin in your life that you do not wish to crucify. You want to cling to it. Do not partake.
3. You disagree strongly with our view of the Lord’s table. If you hold to a Roman or Lutheran perspective, you are dipping into heresy. You cannot join us, for you do not understand the true nature of this meal.
[Slide 9] So this is what we have come to believe here at CBC about the Lord’s Supper. But how does this all tie in to Easter and Hebrews? Well let’s go to Hebrews next.
II.) A little tour of Hebrews
a. If you are one who has been following in the Tabletalk magazine that we subscribe to, you will have noticed that we have begun a new study in the book of Hebrews. Let me tell you that the book of Hebrews is an amazing book. Currently it is the top contender for the next book we study after the Epistles of John.
b. The Epistle of Hebrews is written to show the Superiority of Christ to every element of the Old Covenant. Some Jewish Christians were being pressured because of persecution to go back to Judaism. The writer of Hebrews is trying to show them that they have exactly what they need. And it is better than anything they had before.
c. This is a tour through the book – so we won’t stop at every point of interest. Only the places that contribute to what we are trying to see this morning.
d. As we read through these portions of Hebrews, consider the truths therein in light of the Easter message. See if you can find the Easter message on the pages of Hebrews. I promise you won’t need to search hard.
e. That being said, let’s begin in chapter 4 starting at verse 14, where we began reading this morning.
f. [Slide 10] Hebrews 4:14-16
i. This passage, is a core teaching that the writer of Hebrews will expand on in the next several chapters. Every element communicated here will be addressed again, in more detail later. So as we walk forward we must use this passage as the skeleton, the template, and look for how it fleshes out in the next passages we read.
ii. From this text, we see clearly that Jesus is the Great High Priest.
iii. He is a High Priest that understands our weaknesses because he was tempted just as we are yet He did not sin.
iv. But since we have such a great High Priest, we are told to come boldly… but where?
v. To the throne of grace. If you do a bible search on the phrase “throne of grace” do you know what you will find? 1 entry. This one. The throne of grace does not exist in the whole counsel of God outside of this verse. So what could it be?
vi. Let’s look in the immediate context here. In Judaism, what was the role of the High Priest? He would be the one to follow the appropriate purity rituals, go past the curtain and into the holy of holies once a year to offer sacrifices for the people’s sins. This was on the day of atonement.
vii. He would sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice on the mercy seat to make atonement for himself and the sins of the people.
viii. And what is said to be received from the throne of grace when WE confidently approach?
x. But wait a minute. Did anyone of the congregation come forward to the mercy seat with the High Priest? NO! So how can WE go to this throne?
xi. And where did the mercy seat go?
xii. And what is grace?
xiii. Grace we find at this throne whenever we need help. Grace is to help us. Helps us to what? Be what God desires us to be!
xiv. So going forward we need to look for this basic theme. That in the presence of God we find mercy and grace. This is a pattern we must observe moving on.
g. [Slide 11-13] Hebrews 5:1-9
i. Priests under the old covenant were called to their position by God, but were still men who sinned.
ii. But this was through a specific line. The Tribe of Levi. So how can Jesus be appointed to priesthood?
iii. Christ was called by God to be a priest too, but not in the order of Aaron, or of the tribe of Levi, but in the order of Melchizedek. A priest before the time of the Mosaic Covenant. A priest superior even to Abraham. A priest of Yahweh.
iv. A priest of a more ancient order.
h. [Slide 14-16] Hebrews 7:22-28
i. Because He is a priest in this order, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.
ii. He is not a priest under the old covenant, but one of a new covenant.
iii. High Priests would serve for their duration of their lives. But since they died, there would be need for many of them. But Jesus having offering Himself once for all, was resurrected from the dead and lives now forever interceding for those who come to God through Him.
i. [Slide 17-19] Hebrews 8:1-6
i. There is a true tabernacle not made with human hands. A real one that the ones made by Moses, Solomon and Ezra only made replicas of.
ii. This is the presence of God.
iii. The place where the earthly priests used to serve was only a sketch and shadow of the REAL sanctuary.
iv. Jesus has a superior ministry to all earthly priests. He mediates a covenant that is much better.
j. [Slide 20-21] Hebrews 9:11-14
i. Jesus came into this heavenly sanctuary… the REAL tabernacle… and he did not come by the blood of bulls and goats but by His own blood, which secured eternal redemption.
ii. Bulls and goats’s blood could not do this.
iii. His blood purifies our consciences from dead works. Dead works are works of the dead. In other words – his blood purifies our consciences from sin(There is mercy), so that we may worship the Living God (and there is grace) . This is exactly how the writer continues into verse 15.
k. [Slide 22-26] Hebrews 9:15-28
i. Jesus is the one who set in motion the nature of this new covenant. Why?
ii. So that those who have been called of God can receive the inheritance that He has promised them. (Grace)
iii. Jesus died to set them free of their sins. (Mercy)
iv. The writer then speaks of wills. The old covenant said if you obey I will bless, if you disobey I will curse.
v. Christ is both the end of the Old Covenant and the Beginning of the New. He connects them. In His death, they meet.
vi. He fulfills the Old by keeping the law and establishing blessing in Him from God. He then inaugurates a new covenant in His blood that is better than the last. Because it is a covenant of grace and not of works.
vii. So Jesus appears in God’s presence on our behalf not to offer Himself again and again – but once for all time for the sins of His people that in Him they no longer face judgment (Mercy again) but salvation (Grace again).
l. [Slide 27-28] Hebrews 10:10-18
nbsp; i. By the will of God, we have been made holy (Grace again) by the once for all time offering of Jesus’ body
ii. By His one offering he has perfected for all time those who are made holy. (More grace)
iii. How do we know that we have been perfected? Because the Spirit has already spoken of a time when God will remember our sins no more (Mercy) and will write His law on our hearts. (Grace)
iv. What does this all mean? What is the writer of Hebrews building to?
v. The culmination of everything He has said goes back to a fuller description of Hebrews 4:14-16. Found in verses 19-25 of this chapter
m. [Slide 29-31] Hebrews 10:19-25
i. We have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, through a fresh way inaugurated which is the body of Christ
ii. Who is the High Priest in the house of God? The one who has cleansed us by His blood!
iii. So let us draw near with assurance that our living faith provides why?
iv. Because we have been made clean by His blood and our bodies washed in our baptism into Christ. (MERCY!!!)
v. But notice that we are not simply drawing near to God. Drawing near to Him has an effect as well. (GRACE!!!)
vi. Let us hold, unwaveringly to the hope we confess. Let us spur one another to love and good works. Let us not abandon our own meetings. Let us encourage one another – especially since everything is getting close to the end.
vii. Drawing near to God we receive mercy for our sins – because Christ’s once for all time sacrifice continues to cleanse us! Drawing near to God we find Grace – grace to obey the commands of God and worship Him in spirit and truth!
[Slide 32] So now we have A lot of Hebrews and Easter mixed into one. Maybe Hebrews would have been the last place for you to look for an Easter message – but as you saw, it is clearly there. But how does the Lord’s Supper fit into all that?
III.) From Hebrews to the Bread and the Wine
a. Hebrews talks a lot about Christ.
b. Specifically, it talks a lot about His body and His blood.
c. [Slide 33] His body makes us holy and provides a new way for us to approach God’s presence.
d. Where He is physically present right now… as our intercessor.
e. And Jesus broke the bread and gave it to His disciples and said
f. This. Is. My. Body.
g. Given for you.
h. Eat all of it!
i. [Slide 34] His blood inaugurates a new covenant, it washes our hearts, it purifies us from sin.
j. This enables us to approach the throne of God – confidently!
k. And Jesus took the cup and said. This cup is the new covenant IN MY BLOOD
l. Poured out for many.
m. For the forgiveness of sins
n. Drink from it! All of you!
o. [Slide 35] Friends, this is no raw symbol. The Lord’s Supper is a holy meal whereby we feast on the reality that we are spiritually sustained by the very body and blood of the crucified, buried, risen, and ascended Christ! And by feasting on this reality, God does indeed spiritually feed His children.
p. All of this is ongoing and perpetual for us, because Christ arose and is seated at the right hand of God interceding for us as our Great High Priest. And through His body and blood we can enter the very presence of God to receive mercy and find grace to help us in need.
q. When we eat the bread we consume the reality of our access to God and the granting of holiness to us through the very body of Christ… and in that obedience to His ordinance we actually do approach God’s throne to receive holiness.
r. By drinking the cup we consume the reality of our sinless standing before God by which we can approach confidently as sons and daughters to actually have the blood of Christ continually applied to us.
s. Eating this bread and drinking this cup is the sign of how we always approach our God. And as we perform the sign in obedience, we do actually and really approach our God and commune with Him. And He promises when we approach in this way – we will receive mercy… and find grace to help.
t. [Slide 36] And that is why the Do partake list, does not simply say – only those who are perfect may come. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Do partake if…
i. You are a believer struggling to get victory over a sin.
ii. You are a believer feeling disconnected from Christ
iii. You are a believer feeling disconnected from other believers
iv. You are a believer who desires to live a life more like Christ
v. [Slide 37] You are a believer who wishes to obey Christ
vi. You are a believer who desires to proclaim Christ’s atonement with your life.
vii. You are a believer who wants to celebrate the mercy and grace of God as He gives it.
u. [Slide 38 (end)] Personal testimony of God’s grace.
i. I have told this testimony to several and I it is a repeat, I do apologize.
ii. All throughout last year I had two sins that I wanted rooted out of my life. Because one of them is more personal, I won’t specify either. But suffice it to say, that I desired greatly to be rid of them. I prayed often to the Lord to rid me of them. I rehearsed what scriptures said of them often in my head and continued to seek forgiveness for what I could when it was shown that I had transgressed.
iii. After we observed the Lord’s Table on December 29th there was a noticeable change in my life. These two sin problems had greatly lessened. After about a month I realized that this had happened. I had done nothing different, and laid nothing in place to change my life other than adding the Lord’s Table as a means of grace to my beliefs.
iv. My personal belief is that God granted me grace by feeding me with the reality of the atonement of Christ and thus enabled me to gain a foothold over these sins.
v. Incidentally – these sins have started creeping back. Not to the same magnitude or degree, but they are beginning to crop up. I have repented of them to God and to the person I have committed them against. But I genuinely hope that God will give grace to help me… because I am desperately needy of victory again.
So spend the rest of the day prior to tonight to search your heart. Which list are you in?
If you find that you absolutely MUST partake – Meaning you come in desperate need! … Come ready to receive from God communion with Him through His Son. Come ready to be sustained by the body and blood of Christ. Come ready to receive mercy… and find grace.
Until then. My friends. Draw near to Him.