Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Road Down

The Road Down

Intro.: One of my greatest fears is falling.

  1. Sandra and I were remembering a family vacation we took a number of years ago.

  2. This was before Jonathan moved back from Minneapolis and we had traveled to visit him.

  3. That summer, he was working at an amusement park located outside the city of Minneapolis. And, of course, with two teen age boys, we had to visit. We also spent a day at the amusement park inside of the world's largest mall, The Mall of America.

  4. On the way back we stopped in Sandra's and my first home, Waukegan, IL. There we stopped for a day at the Great America Amusement Park.

  5. Finally, on the way home we had to stop at one more amusement park – Darian Lake.

  6. My worst experience that summer was my son's decision to ride the “Great Flyer” - a rope hung from a very high point above the ground. They would strap my son to that rope and pull him up to a position almost horizontal from the top of that high point and drop him. He would the become the weight of a pendulum as he swung back and forth. He though it was great; Dad could barely watch.

  7. Just as my son went from a very high point to a very low point, something similar can happen to us spiritually. It did to Paul.

Read: Matthew 26:69-75


T.S. Let's look at how Paul came from being to one Jesus' closest disciples to deserting his Lord and Savior.

  1. Make a full commitment to Jesus

    1. Becoming a believer begins with our commitment to Jesus. It worked that way for Peter. Jesus had called him three years earlier while he worked on his boat, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” I bet he was curious to know what this man meant – and he followed Jesus.

    2. Sometime in the next three years, he found himself believing in the man Jesus. Oh, I expect he didn't understand everything that Jesus said – but he believed Him to be the Son of God.

    3. And, now, it seems that as Jesus is approaching the end of his life, Peter again affirms his faith.

    4. You remember the events of a few weeks ago – the first Lord's Supper has been served. Jesus tells his friends, “Tonight all of you will desert me.” It was a statement that Peter could not ignore, “Even if everyone deserts you, I never will.” Jesus' response was to tell Peter that he would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed the next morning. “Not even if I have to die with you! I will never deny you!”

    5. Though within 24 hours the story would change, for now Peter was fully committed to following Jesus.

(Ill.) When I think about men who were fully committed, certainly Peter and Paul come to mind. But then there are men like St. Francis of Assisi, Luther, Calvin, and Wesley. Men who loved the Lord and wanted to win their world to Him. Yet in 1860 Henry Varley said to D L Moody, “The world has yet to see what God will do with a man who is fully committed to him.1 The story goes that the day Moody heard that statement, he vowed to be that man. I, in no way, want to be critical of those who went before Moody. I don't even know if Moody was that man.

(Appl.) I do want to make it clear that, like Peter, we need to begin our Christian life by being fully committed to Jesus Christ.

  1. Make a partial commitment to Jesus

    1. Peter started fully committed to Jesus.

    2. But when he, along with James and John, go up to the Garden of Gethsemane, his resolve slips. Here is Jesus at his darkest hour, and Peter falls asleep.

    3. It had been a long day. Jesus' news that day was depressing – He would be arrested, one of His closest friends would desert Him. Now in the midst of the night, He asks Peter, James, and John to pray. And they fall asleep.

    4. Jesus was disappointed with them. It was not what he wanted – it was not what he expected.

(Ill.) Jesus had no problem with sleep. I mean, do you remember the night that Jesus and the disciples were on a boat and a storm came up. The disciples were scared for their lives, but Jesus slept.

(Appl.) The point is this – our sleep can be a measure of our spiritual health. Anybody with training in psychology will tell you that sleep problems (whether it be to much or too little) can be a symptom of depression. Sleep can also be an indication of how our relationship with God is going. It did for Jesus as He slept through the storm. In some small way it was a precursor of what Peter was going to experience in the next few hours.

    1. But Peter is has not completely deserted Jesus – in just a few minutes he will pull his sword and steps into the midst of Jesus arrest. It comes at the wrong time – but it shows that though he is not able to do all that Jesus wants, he does want to follow Jesus.

  1. Make no commitment to Jesus

    1. Peter still had further to fall.

    2. He followed the procession that took Jesus to Caiaphas' home. He sits and listens to the trial.

    3. But as he waits for the results three times he is questioned about his relationship to Jesus. His responses are as hard to hear as they were for him to remember: When a servant girl challenged Peter with the words, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean”, Peter replied, “i do not know what you mean.” Later another servant girl pointed him out to a bunch of bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” Peter swore, “I don't know this man.” and finally a few of those bystanders came up to Peter and said, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” And Peter, once again, betrays his friend and Lord, “I do not know this man.”

    4. And then the rooster crowed.

(Ill.) Have you ever planned something. Carried it out and immediately knew you did it wrong. Maybe you made a cake and left out the egg. Or maybe you were trying to get to Sams Club, but ended up at Walmart instead.  Or, maybe, like my wife, you found out you left the frozen giblets in the Thanksgiving turkey you were making for friends.  And then, when you realize your mistake, there is this nasty hole in the pit of your stomach. That was some of what Peter felt when he heard the rooster crow.

    1. Peter had blown it – Jesus had been right. They would all desert Him that night. He would deny Jesus three times before the rooster crowed.

    2. Peter had hit bottom.

  1. Jesus makes a full commitment to us

    1. So how do we avoid Peter's mistakes. Let me suggest five steps:

      1. Make a full commitment to Jesus

      2. Watch and pray

      3. Be obedient to what you know – Peter was not able to obey Jesus' command to “watch and pray”

      4. Remember, though our commitment to Jesus may be faulty, His commitment to us is perfect.

    2. Jesus did not desert Peter. Peter repented and continued to follow Jesus all his life. Jesus' forgiveness was bigger than Peter's fall.

(Appl.) Jesus' forgiveness is bigger than any sin we may commit. Think of a sin – Jesus' forgiveness will cover that sin. Think of a worse sin. Yep, Jesus is there as well. Is there worse sin yet? Probably – and Jesus offers forgiveness to every single one.

Conclusion:Today is the day to make that full commitment to Jesus.


1Morgan, R. J. (2000). Nelson's complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes (electronic ed.) (272). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

It Can Get Worse

It Can Get Worse

Intro.: I have only had to testify one time in my life at a trial.
  1. I was working for Clinical Bio-Tox Laboratories, the largest toxicology lab in the Chicago area.

  2. Most of the tests we did were to monitor the level of therapeutic drugs drawn from patients in hospitals throughout the Chicago metropolitan area.

  3. There were two other kinds of test – we would be responsible for monitoring the level of drugs in people, mostly kids, who had over dosed as they improved over a series of days.

  4. And we would get emergency drug screens from hospital emergency rooms.

  5. One night, I received a sample (probably blood serum) that had to be tested for an alcohol level. I did the test and reported the high test to the hospital.

  6. A week later I received a subpoena to attend a hearing for the man from whom it was drawn. Apparently, before going to the emergency room, he had been involved in an auto accident.

  7. The problem was that, though we were certified as a medical lab, we were not certified as a law enforcement lab. We had not been trained to treat the specimens we received as evidence for use in a trial; we were not trained to preserve the chain of evidence or to verify its authenticity.

  8. I never discovered the outcome of that hearing – I never had to testify at a trial. I do know that I was very uncomfortable having to attend that hearing that day.

  9. I suspect that Jesus was just as, if not more so, uncomfortable as he faced his arrest and trials that Thursday night and Friday morning.

Read: Matthew 25:47-68 Pray

  1. The Arrest

    1. Jesus was the first to spot the crowd. He alerted his disciples as He finished praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.

    2. But it really started with a kiss.

(Ill.) Though neither Sandra nor I read them, when I say it that way, “It started with a kiss”, it sounds like the start of a romance novel. And I suppose it could have been, if Judas had repented, and chose at some point to commit his life to the man he had followed for the last three years. But he did not, and instead, sold that kiss for thirty pieces of silver.

    1. The kiss itself was not unusual. It was typical greeting between friends, male and/or female. But Judas had made arrangements for the Jewish leaders and the temple guard to use that kiss of friendship as a kiss of betrayal.

(Appl.) We live in a world that would like everything to be black and white. It is either good or bad. It is either okay or not okay. But here we have a perfect example of how, what is normally a good thing, a sign of friendship, can be used for a very ugly purpose – leading to the death of the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings, the one and only God, death as a common criminal. We have thing in our world that have similar characteristics – let mention just one: food.

    1. Judas was not the only man there that night. There were eleven other disciples. As best we can determine, Peter is the only one who reacted. He pulled out a “machaira”.

(Ill.) a “machaira” is a small knife – a dagger. It is the word which forms the root of our English word :”machete”.1

    1. Peter pulls out a “machaira” and slices off the servants ear. John tells us that this is not just unnamed individual – the servants name is Malchus. The name means “king”. But the King of Kings tells them to put their swords back. He could call down twelve legions of angels, if need be. A Roman legion was composed of 6,000 soldiers – twelve legions would be 72000 angels. Luke tells that, at that point, Jesus reached out and touched the servants ear and healed him.

(Appl.) It becomes easy for believers to follow Peter's example. Oh, we might not use a dagger, but we are sometimes too quick to pull out our scriptures and use it to put other people down. In all the time that Jesus lived, he never sinned – yet there is not one example of his putting down another person. The sword of the Spirit is to a tool of love, not a tool to take people, Christians or otherwise, down.2

    1. What really amazes me about this passage is that, though Peter fights, Jesus never does. He makes sure that the crowd knows who he is, he turns himself in.

    2. He is taken away and the disciples disappear into the crowd – except for Peter who follows at a distance.

  1. The First Trial

    1. Jesus is taken before a kangaroo court. The Sanhedrin is called together.

(Ill.) The Sanhedrin consists of 70 men plus the high priest. They don't all need to be present – a quorum consists of only 23 of the 71 members. There were a number of rules that governed the role of the Sanhedrin in trials. No trials were to be held at night, no trials were to be held on the sabbath, no one could be convicted on the same day of the trial (though they could be acquitted). In the Jewish court system, the reasons for acquittal are given before the reasons for conviction. But in this trial, this step is skipped entirely. Yet Jesus' trial violated everyone of these rules. It was truly a kangaroo court.3

    1. Peter is there too. We'll see more of him next week, but for now, note that he is sitting back where he can watch the proceedings; but, rather than getting involved, he sits only in the background.

    2. It is a strange trial – the prosecutors look for witnesses, but they can't find any. They can't find anybody willing to lie – anybody willing to speak against the man they do not understand. Finally, two men speak up and explain that Jesus said that he could tear down the temple and in three days he would build it up again. They are quoting an event told in John 2 – where Jesus is talking about his own body. It will be destroyed, it will be crucified, and three days later he will experience the resurrection.

    3. But Jesus is quiet at first. Until the high priest pushes the issue, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”

    4. But it is not the accusations that will convict Jesus. It is his own words, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

    5. And it goes downhill from there

      1. He is mocked

      2. They hit Him

      3. The spit on Him

      4. They slap Him on the face.

    6. They find Him guilty, their verdict says that He deserves death.

    7. But there is a problem. The Sanhedrin apparently does not have the authority to conduct capital trials. In all the historical records, Jesus' trial is the only one ever recorded. They may want to give Jesus a death sentence, but they cannot. Another trial is still being scheduled before Pilot.

    8. But first we need to explore Peter's presence that night and morning.

Conclusion: It had been a crazy night.

  1. Starting with the dinner in the upper room, prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, and now with the arrest and trial, the first trial, of Jesus.

  2. But the day is not over. Peter has to face the truth – does dessert Jesus. There will be two more trials. And there will be a crucifixion before the day is over.

  3. But today, we can celebrate that Jesus is alive. He did dies for our sins. But today, today He lives at the right hand of God. And we, as members of His church, are His body.


1Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996, c1989). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (1:57). New York: United Bible societies.

2Courson,J. (2003). Jon Courson's Application Commentary (195). Nashville,TN: Thomas Nelson.

3Wood,D. R. W., & Marshall, I. H. (1996). New Bible dictionary (3rd ed.) (1060). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsityPress.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Conversations with Jesus

Conversations with Jesus

Intro.: What do you think of when you think of a garden?
  1. Flowers, arrangements, tools, gardeners, etc

  2. Do rock gardens fit into your definition, what about herb gardens, vegetable garden, water garden, or butterfly garden

  3. In fact Jesus is in an atypical garden – the garden of Gethsemane is a garden composed of Olive Trees – in fact some of those trees still exist today.

  4. Jesus is not there for some picnic or a calming experience as he walks through it.

  5. But what takes place is far more important.

Read: Matthew 26:30-46 Pray

Trans: As Jesus and the eleven remaining disciples leave the Upper Room they sing a hymn

  1. I suppose that we never know exactly what hymn they sang that night.

  2. But we can make an educated guess.

  3. There were a group of six Psalms that were sung each year at Passover. They are called the praise Psalm or in Hebrew, Hallel.

  4. We read one of those hymns today as our responsive reading.

  5. The six Psalms (112-118) were divided into two sets of three. The three were read at the beginning of the Passover service. The other three were sung at the conclusion of the service.

  6. It was probably one of these Psalms that was sung as the disciples walked from the Upper Room to the Garden of Gethsemane.

T.S. I want to spend the next few minutes looking at the lessons found in the three conversations that are recorded in Matthew 26:30-46.

  1. Conversation #1: Walking to Gethsemane

    1. Communion was over. Jesus and His disciples have left the upper room. As they begin to make their way over to a small public garden on the eastern side of Jerusalem.

      (Ill.) The Eastern border of Jerusalem was a small stream or brook, the Kidron, that was just outside the Eastern wall. As you travel further East you will start climbing the Mount of Olives. But to get there you will pass through Garden of Gethsemane – a grove of olive trees, some of which still exist to this day.
    1. But before they get there, Jesus makes one His those statements that the disciples wished they had never heard. “Tonight, all of you will desert me.” It was one of those things that when said just hits you in the stomach and leaves you wondering why it had to be said aloud.

    2. It is not only Jesus that has said it, but he also quotes from the prophet Zechariah. Sadly, no one but Peter seems to argue with Jesus, at least at first. They are strangely quiet – except for Peter.

    3. Not me, Lord. I never will. Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you.” Only after Peter has affirmed his desire to sacrifice everything, do the other disciples join in.

(Appl.) I will briefly remind you that, like Judas Iscariot, spending time with Jesus is no guarantee. But I don't want spend a great deal of time here – we did that a couple of weeks ago. It has not changed, but it does not need to said again. But there is more.

    1. You see, Jesus has more to say. Listen to Him. “After I am raised from the dead, I will go ahead to you to Galilee and meet you there.”

(Appl.) We each will experience dark times. It might be spiritual – when God seems far away. Or perhaps it is a physical illness – when God seems so distant. Or maybe is a loss of a loved one or something of value – and we feel so alone. Yet, when I go through bad times, when we go through dark times, maybe we can still hear Jesus speaking, “...I will go before you...” And I will look forward to meeting Him there. I hope you do too.

  1. Conversation #2: Talking to God

    1. Jesus begins by talking to the eleven remaining disciples. But when they finally arrive at the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus grabs three of closest – the same three that had been with Him at the transfiguration: Peter, James, and John.

    2. As Jesus go off alone with His closest associates, there are two separate interactions – we will start by looking at Jesus conversation with His Father. Then we will turn to the last major conversation He has with His disciples before His arrest.

    3. As we look at Jesus conversation with His Father, we note two things. First, even though Jesus chose to be a sacrifice, He was not looking forward to the events that were about to occur.

(Ill.) One of the naval heroes of the War of 1812 – when the British tried to retake what had become the United States – was Oliver Hazard Perry. He was war hero, winning several major battles. But Commander Perry had a quirky problem. You see, he had a pathological fear of cows. He would change his route to avoid a cow, he would refuse to enter barns or fields that had cows.1 (Appl.) As believers we all have fears. Jesus was afraid. “Take this cup from me” was his prayer. As believers we will have fear. As believers we will have temptations. And as believers we may find times that we fail. But you know what, failure does end our relationship with God. Jesus' world was about to be turned upside down. He was experiencing the loss of His Father for the very first time. He was now alone – and He would be until His resurrection on that first Easter morning. Christ died for our sins – and if I believe that my relationship with God is severed every time I sin, I am saying that He death was not good enough. Oh, my sin does damage the relationship I have with God, but it does not sever it.

    1. And that brings us to the second part of Jesus' conversation with God. “Take this cup from me; but, none the less, thy will be done.”

(Appl.) I may not like everything God asks of me, I may not like everything that God sends my way. But am I willing to still sit back and acknowledge that God is in control; am I still willing to sit back and say “Thy will be done”?

  1. Conversation #3: Talking to Three friends

    1. Jesus' prayer was only one of the conversations that took place in the Garden that night. Interspersed with His prayer are a series of discussions with the three disciples that had accompanied further into the Garden of Gethsemane.

    2. Peter, James, and John, had a simple job – watch and pray. And in fact there is not yet much watching to do.

    3. And the disciples fall asleep – not surprising. It had been a hard day. The things Jesus had said were hard, it was not late in the evening or very early in the morning. Sleep was natural – but they had been asked to pray.

(Appl.) But you know what, praying is hard. Life gets in the way. Clothes need to be washed. Dishes need to be done. We need to go to work. Life gets in the way. Yet Paul, a few years later, writes “Pray without ceasing.” But I don't – I doubt that you do. Let me give you five hints as when to pray. None of this is new-but sometimes we need a reminder:

  1. Pray when you hear a siren or see an emergency vehicle
  2. Pray at the end of a conversation
  3. Pray as you read your newspaper or hear the news
  4. Pray as your feet hit the floor first thing in the morning
  5. Pray as you lay in bed at night (and maybe like disciples you will go to sleep)

You may, at times, forget – but you will remember. Like the disciples we are called to pray.

Conclusion: Take time this evening to look again at these three conversations.

  1. Ask yourself, which one you need to hear again?

  2. Do you need to hear Jesus say he will go before you?

  3. Do you need to follow Jesus example and say in the midst of a difficult time, “Thy will be done.”

  4. Do you need to remember to pray during your busy day?

  5. Or was there something else in the passage that you need to hear?

  6. Take time this evening to look again at Matthew 26:30-46 and ask what it is that God wants you to do?


1Hurley, V. (2000, c1995). Speaker's sourcebook of new illustrations (electronic ed.) (81). Dallas: Word Publishers.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

One Last Meal

One Last Meal

Intro.: Have you ever noticed how, sometimes, the best things in life happen right along side the worst things in life.
  1. A story that surfaces every so often when a grandparent, an uncle, or an aunt dies on the very day that a grandchild is born.

  2. I hope you have never experienced this type of tragic event.. It is a mix of emotions that seems at the time almost too hard to endure.

  3. I was reading this week of a mom to be that was within two weeks of her due date and her grandmother was near death. To compound matters, the due date was the birth date of the grandfather. She was close to tears as she wrote for advice on how to handle the mix of feelings that were her life – even while she dealt with the emotions that go with being nine months pregnant.1

  4. Tears came to my eyes as I considered her concerns, but I left the question unanswered – I did not know what to saw. Perhaps it was one of those times that silence is a better answer than trying to ease the pain.

  5. That is a sad story – I sort of had the same emotions when I reread today's passage. Here, in a few short verses, we are introduced to one of the worst events of history and one of the very best event in history. We are introduced to the man who betrayed Jesus and we are a witness to the very first celebration of the Lord's Supper.

Read: Matthew 26:17-30


T.S. Let's look at the three events that define our passage.

  1. Jesus is in charge

    1. We sometimes look at the events in Jesus life as if they happen to Him by pure coincidence.

    2. Yet it is important to realize that He is still in control even as the worst event of His life are about to occur.

    3. Jesus gives the instructions for setting up for the Passover. A couple of things make this particular celebration stand out.

    4. First, there is no mention of lamb being prepared or served during the dinner. Remember that Passover was a celebration of the night that God protected the first born of the Jews just prior to their departure from Egypt. God had the Jews paint their door posts with lambs blood. And to remember that night, they were to serve lamb at the passover. But none of the gospels mention the serving of lamb.

    5. There is another distinction – this Passover mean is being served a day early. Normally, the Passover meal would be served on Friday evening. But, the rules for the Passover declare that the sacrificial lamb be slaughtered on Friday – and that is when Jesus is to be crucified.

    6. But in all of this Jesus is in control. Important to remember that as we continue to look the events surrounding the crucifixion, that they did not just happen to Jesus. He was a willing sacrifice, He was a willing sacrifice because He loved us and He wanted to set us free from the sin that trapped us until the ultimate sacrifice had been made.

  2. Jesus' betrayer

    1. When the night arrives, Jesus and His disciples gather in the upper room that has been prepared for Him. It probably was the home of a wealthy man – only the wealthy would own a home with a second story in the 1st century. The second story would usually be a large room suitable for parties. And this is where Jesus has chosen to share the Passover meal with His disciples.

    2. I don't know what was done during the day on Thursday, but Jesus gathers his disciples together for the ir final meal before the crucifixion.

(Ill.) The traditional Passover meal begins with a call to remember:

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, has desired us, and has given us, in love and good will, His holy Sabbath as a heritage, in remembrance of the work of Creation; the first of the holy festivals, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt. For You have chosen us and sanctified us from among all the nations, and with love and good will given us Your holy Sabbath as a heritage. Blessed are You, Lord, who sanctifies the Sabbath.2

    1. Matthew is writing for a Jewish audience – and they would be expecting Jesus to follow the traditional passover service. But it doesn't begin that way. Instead Jesus begins by saying, “One of you who is eating with me now will betray me.” Luke adds enough details that tell us that the disciples were caught by surprise; you can almost hear them asking each other, “Is it I?”'

    2. It came as a surprise to the disciples – they had come to expect Jesus' death, but for one of their own to be part of it. “No way.”

    3. But one man at that table knew the truth. So as the commotion dies down there is one more voice. It comes from the groups treasure – Judas Iscariot. “Is it I?

    4. And you can hear Jesus reply, “You have said it yourself.

(Appl.) I think we would have been shocked as well. Here is a man who has spent three years with Jesus. Eating with Him, listening to Him, watching Him. Yet he never comes to believe. You see, it is not what we do, it is not how many times we are in church, it is not how often we read scripture. These all described Judas – yet, he will suffer the consequences of his decisions. The thing that distinguishes Christian from the world is our faith. Faith in a God who loves us, faith in a God who sent His Son to safe us. Leaves a question, what are you doing to try to earn your way into heaven? You can never do enough. Have you placed your faith in Jesus Christ? That is what He meant when He said, “No one can come to the Father except by me.” Where is your faith today?

  1. Jesus calls us to remember

    1. Communion means many things to many people. It is not my job here to convince you that I am right and you are wrong. What I would like to do is point out two truths that we cannot ignore.

    2. The first is this – Christ commanded it to be part of what we as the church do. As believers we are expected to be obedient in all things. Luke adds the words “... do this in remembrance of me” to the instructions given to the disciples. Remember that Luke is the most scholarly, a doctor, of the four gospel writers. He wants to put as much information as can into the scroll he is composing. Does he include everything? No – but, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, he includes a few pieces of information that he had discovered into his gospel. Paul records similar words in I Corinthians. As believers, we are called to remember what Christ did when we take communion.

(Ill.) One of my favorite topics, both now and in seminary, is/was theology. One of the authors I really enjoyed skimming for help in understanding of concepts was a man by the name of Charles Hodge. His son, Alexander Hodge, went on to become a leader in the Presbyterian Church. During the last half of the 19th century he served, as did his father, as the chair of the Department of Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. Alexander Hodge pointed out that we cannot divide our lives into secular and sacred. If we are willing to be obedient to Christ in such matters as church attendance and communion, we also need to be obedient in how He calls us to live our lives. “The kingdom of God includes all sides of human life, and it is a kingdom of absolute righteousness. You are either a loyal subject or a traitor. When the king comes, how will he find you doing?”3

    1. The second lesson is this. When we share the communion meal, Christ is truly here with us. No surprise – He has said wherever two or three of us are gathered, He is there. He has just as clearly said, “This is my body” and “this is my blood”.

(Ill.) Edwin Lutzer noted that Philip Melanthon was concerned that meaning of the Lord's Supper has created so much strife that it has brought him to tears. Lutzer goes on to wonder, if our generation's indifference to its meaning and importance might not be more worthy cause of tears today.4

    1. In just a minute we will be sharing communion. We will serve it similar to how Jesus may have shared the elements during that first celebration of the Lord's Supper. As we take communion today, remember:

      1. Christ commanded that we share it together.

      2. Christ is with us as we share the elements together.

(Ill.) A well known preacher once said, “The Lord’s Supper should be the crowning service in the church, and thus be earth’s nearest approach to heaven.” May it be so today.



3Hodge, Archibald A. Princeton College theologian. A.A. Hodge, “EvangelicalTheology”: (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust,1873, 1977), pp. 280-281. Gary DeMar, 4 (Atlanta, GA: AmericanVision Press, 1982), pp. 70-71. Found in Federer, W. J. (2001). Great Quotations : A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Quotations Influencing Early and Modern World History Referenced according to their Sources in Literature, Memoirs, Letters, Governmental Documents, Speeches, Charters, Court Decisions and Constitutions. St. Louis, MO: AmeriSearch. Federer, W. J. (2001).

4Erwin W. Lutzer, “Deserving of Tears,” Moody, February 1984, 127. Found in Morgan, R. J. (2000). Nelson's complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes (electronic ed.). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.