Monday, October 01, 2012

Preparing For The Meal
Intro.: You may have heard the story of the man who went to the doctor because he was struggling with his memory.
  1. He told the doctor, “Doc, I can’t seem to remember anything from one minute to the next.”
  2. The doctor asked him, “How long has this been going on?”
  3. The man replied, “How long has what been going on?”
  4. We may feel like that at times; we realize that we are very good “forgetters.”
  5. Jesus knew all too well our tendency to forget, and one of the reasons He instituted the Lord’s Supper was so that we would not forget His sacrifice for us.
  6. He instituted the Lord’s Supper was so that we would not forget His sacrifice for us
Read: Revelation 1:4-8
Trans: Last week I suggested that there were certain things I do not like to preach about.
  1. Money
  2. Tough topics
  3. Revelation
  4. Yet I turn to Revelation today, not so much to preach on Revelation, but to help us think about the Lord's Supper that we will be sharing in a few minutes.
T.S. I would like for us to reflect on five important truths found in Revelation 1:4–6that we should remember as we prepare to take the Lord’s Supper together:
  1. Truth # 1: God is in Control. (vv 4-5)
    1. Verse 4refers to Jesus’ throne in heaven; verse 5says Jesus is “the ruler over the kings of the earth.”
    2. We live in a day of great uncertainty.
    3. Many of us wake up in the morning and turn on the television or radio to see what has happened around the world overnight.
    4. There is great uncertainty in the world, but there is perfect calm in heaven.
    5. There is fear in the world, but there is perfect peace in heaven.
    6. Why? Because all the angels in heaven, all the redeemed in heaven, know full well that God is in control.
(Ill.)Let me ask you a question:
  1. Do you think God controlled this world before you came into it?
  2. Do you think God He will control this world once you leave it?
  3. Don't you think, then, that maybe, just maybe, he will be able to control it while you are still here?
  4. Many times as believers, we too wrestle with the problems we face, not realizing that God has been with us all the time. For this to be our hope, we must realize God is in control.i
    1. From heaven’s perspective it is easy to see that truth, but it is hard for us to see it sometimes.
  1. Truth #2: God Loves Us (v. 5b)
    1. John refers to Jesus as “Him who loved us …” in verse 5.
    2. How much does God love us?
      1. God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
      2. Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1).
      3. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9–10).
    3. God shows His love by meeting our greatest need: our need for forgiveness.
    4. If we want proof of God’s love for us, we only need to look at the cross.
    5. Calvary is the absolute, irrefutable proof of God’s love for us.
(Ill.) I was going to throw an illustration in here about God's love, but it dawned on me that nothing can illustrate God's love better than what he did on Calvary.
    1. We need to remember His great love for us and celebrate that love as we prepare our hearts to partake of the Lord’s Supper.
  1. Truth #3: Our Sins Have Been Forgiven (v. 5b).
    1. John refers to Jesus again as Him who “washed us from our sins in His own blood.”
    2. Hebrews 9:22tells us “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (niv).
    3. Under the old covenant, that blood was of an innocent bull, goat, or lamb. When that animal was sacrificed in the temple, the blood conveyed reconciliation with God.
    4. As we reflect on the new covenant, brought by Jesus Christ, the apostle Peter reminds us in 1 Peter 1:18–19: “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
    5. It is only through Christ that we can be delivered from judgment, and experience forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven with God.
I counted dollars while God counted crosses,
I counted gains while He counted losses,
I counted my worth by the things gained in store
But He sized me up by the scars that I bore.
I coveted honors and sought for degrees,
He wept as He counted the hours on my knees;
I never knew until one day by the grave
How vain are the things that we spend life to save;
I did not yet know until my loved one went above
That richest is he who is rich in God’s love. ii
    1. As we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we need to remember our sins have been forgiven.
  1. Truth #4: We are called to serve Him (v. 6a)
    1. John continues to explain that Jesus “has made us kings and priests to His God and Father.”
    2. It has been said that believers “Gather to worship, then depart to serve.”
    3. That is never truer than when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper.
    4. Listen to what the write of Hebrews says, How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” (Heb. 9:14niv).
    5. Paul writes, For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10niv).
(Ill.) Many years ago a humble pastor served a church in a little country town. His ministry was quiet, and few souls were brought to Christ there. Year in and year out, the work became more and more discouraging. It was only years later that the faithful minister found great joy in the knowledge that one of those he had won to Christ was Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a man who was later used by God to bring multitudes to his Son. Humble service is rewarded now and certainly will be rewarded even more when Christ comes.iii
    1. We need to be reminded that His sacrifice was not just so that we might be forgiven, but also so that we can serve Him.
  1. Truth #5: We must live for His glory (v. 6b)
    1. John concludes this paragraph: “to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
    2. We are to live for His glory.
    3. One of the truths that celebrating the Lord’s Supper reminds us of is that it is SO not about us! It’s all about Him and His glory.
    4. As Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 10:31: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (niv).
    5. He also reminds us that recognizing God’s grace destroys our pride: “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8–9niv).
    6. We are to live for His glory.
Conclusion: In a few moments we are going to celebrate the Lord’s Supper together, but first let’s have a time of quiet meditation.
  1. May God’s Word penetrate our hearts with these five important truths:
    1. God is in control;
    2. God loves us;
    3. our sins have been forgiven;
    4. we are called to serve Him;
    5. and we must live for His glory.
  2. Let’s reflect on these truths as we prepare our hearts, confessing any known sin to the Lord.
iAMG Bible Illustrations. 2000. Bible Illustrations Series. Chattanooga: AMG Publishers.
iiFrom The Brethren Evangelist as found in Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times. Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.
iiiIllustrations for Biblical Preaching: Over 1500 sermon illustrations arranged by topic and indexed exhaustively. 1989 (M. P. Green, Ed.) (Revised edition of: The expositor's illustration file). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.   
Much of this sermon is based on a sermon preached by Dr. Timothy K. Beougher as found in Morgan, R. J. Nelson’s Annual Preacher’s Sourcebook (2009 Edition). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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