“Do This In Remembrance”

“Do This In Remembrance”

Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog

Carl Pollard

The Lord’s Supper comes once a week. Often I find myself wishing that we could spend more time dwelling on the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. But Sunday morning isn’t the only time that we can think about our Savior. In fact, if we spend more time throughout the week thinking about it, the time during the Lord’s Supper can mean so much more. 

In this article I want to encourage each Christian to start thinking about Christ and His sacrifice before Sunday comes this week. You’d be amazed at the difference it makes. These few verses and hymns are a beautiful reminder of what Christ went through on our behalf. Our sins are washed away through the powerful blood given by God’s Son!

Isaiah 53:3, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces. he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” 

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Isaiah 53:4, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.”

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Isaiah 53:5, “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That you, my God, would die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That you, my God, would die for me?

I pray that this weekend we all see the importance of having the right mindset going into worship on Sunday. I pray that as a church we recognize the unity and fellowship we have in Christ. May we never take the cross for granted! 

Proclaiming the Lord’s Death Until He Comes

Proclaiming the Lord’s Death Until He Comes

Friday’s Column: Brent’s Bent

Brent Pollard

Though worship consists of five elements that worshipers may or may not participate in during every assembly of the saints, the one aspect of worship receiving the most attention on Sunday, at least, is the Lord’s Supper (aka Communion or Eucharist). One might say this is because the observance of the Lord’s Supper is exclusive to Sunday, or should be. However, I think we forget that giving of our means was commanded on every Sunday as well (1 Corinthians 16.1-2). So, it is not the relative rarity of this action compared to singing, prayer, and Bible study, making it precious to us. Instead, it is the purpose and meaning of the Lord’s Supper. 

The Lord’s Supper is an item of worship that is horizontal and vertical in its scope; it is something done to demonstrate our relationship with God and our fellow Christian. Though not as often referenced concerning the Lord’s Supper as 1 Corinthians 11.23ff, Paul highlights the communal aspect of the Lord’s Supper in chapter 10. He states that we cannot partake of the elements of the Lord’s Supper with our Lord and likewise eat and drink at the table of “demons” (10.21).  

Contextually, Paul’s words refer to the issue of dining in a pagan venue, even while professing that pagan gods are not real. The Corinthian Christians could not engage in activity, implying they shared the same faith with pagans. Even if they knew that those gods were not real, they created misunderstanding among the pagans and other Christians. So, while we commemorate our Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection with the Lord’s Supper, we share in the same hope and devotion towards the same.  

Yet there is another characteristic of the Lord’s Supper, making it precious to us. The Lord’s Supper provides us with the opportunity to evangelize. Paul states that this memorial feast is one we will keep until our Lord returns (1 Corinthians 11.26). And the very fact that we engage ourselves in its observance proclaims “the Lord’s death.”  

I am mindful of the opportunity presented by the Passover to fathers in their children’s instruction (Exodus 12.24-27). When the children asked, “Why do we observe this rite?” the fathers could explain the Passover and God’s deliverance of the children of Israel. So likewise, the child or visitor may ask, “Why do you observe the Lord’s Supper?” Or “Why do you observe the Lord’s Supper weekly?” In response to these questions, we can proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  

Despite being viewed as the “centerpiece” of the Sunday assembly, it seems odd how swiftly some congregations seem to fly through their observance of the Lord’s Supper. As it is a door to evangelism, one would think we should linger longer therein. Not only would the time of special communion be extended, but it could serve to plant seeds in good soil, which, if watered by Bible study, will enable God to provide an increase.  

So, next Sunday, as we observe the Lord’s Supper, let us remember everything making it a memorable feast, including personal introspection (1 Corinthians 11.29-31). We will demonstrate our fellowship with our brethren and the Lord. And we can use the time evangelistically. Therefore, let us provide non-Christians an opportunity to learn about the Gospel as we partake of the bread and drink the cup.    

The Christian And Communion

The Christian And Communion

Thursday’s Column: Carlnormous Comments

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Carl Pollard

Did you know that eating processed meats like bologna and pepperoni have been linked to memory loss? That’s a real bummer because most of the meat that I like is processed. I love Vienna sausages, hotdogs, pepperoni, and many other types of processed meat. Which might explain why I can’t remember names to save my life. It’s not just names, I forget about birthdays, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, and a bunch of other important dates. But I’m not alone in this. Mankind as a whole tends to forget important events with the passing of time.
 
Which is exactly why God in His infinite wisdom commands us to remember a certain event every first day of the week. “The Lord’s Supper,” “the Lord’s Table,” “the Cup of Blessing,” “Communion,” and “the Breaking of Bread” each are descriptions used in scripture that refer to the act of remembering the body and blood of Jesus on the first day of the week. In the early church it was also called “the Eucharist” or “the giving of thanks” (Matt. 26:27).
 
What is the Lord’s Supper? Every week Christians observe it, and most of us know what it is. It’s a time to pause and think about the sacrifice of Christ. We do it every week and for good reason since we tend to forget important events. God commands us to participate in this act every week as a church so that we can always be thankful and remember what Christ did for us.
 
What can sometimes be an issue is that if we aren’t careful, it can be easy to let it turn into a mindless habit. What should we be doing during the communion?
 
Scripture gives us many different aspects of the Lord’s Supper that should be taken into consideration when we stop to remember the sacrifice of Jesus.
 
Matthew 26:26-29 Jesus commands us to “eat” the bread, and “drink” the cup. We are commanded to eat the bread which represents His body, and drink the cup which represents His blood.
 
As we fulfill the command to “eat” and “drink,” our minds must be completely engaged in a thorough remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice (1 Cor. 11:24-25). What do we think about during this time? The sinless and perfect life Jesus lived that made Him an acceptable solution for our sin problem. His willingness to go to the cross. The crucifixion. Specifically His body that was pierced and beaten, and His blood that poured from His wounds. Blood that has the power to forgive our sins. The burial AND resurrection because none of this would’ve meant anything if Jesus stayed in the tomb.
We should remember Christ’s right hand position in heaven that now gives us access to the Father. And we are to remember the common bond we now have as a church.
 
1 Corinthians 10:16 describes the Lord’s Supper as a “participation.” Paul uses the Greek word koinonia which means “a sharing or fellowship.” As a church we have fellowship in the blood and body of Christ. Verse 17 tells us that the “many are one” because there is only one body (Christ) that brought us together. We are united by the body of Christ.
 
The next time we observe the Lord’s Supper let’s be sure to dwell on these things; Remember every aspect of Christ’s sacrifice, remember where He is now, and remember the unity we now share with each other.
 
 
 
 
THE PASSOVER LAMB

THE PASSOVER LAMB

Neal Pollard

  • Every home needed it (Exodus 12:3-4)
  • It was to be a male (Exodus 12:5)
  • It was to be unblemished (Exodus 12:5)
  • It was to be killed (Exodus 12:6)
  • Its blood was to be applied (Exodus 12:7)
  • Its blood was the difference in life and death (Exodus 12:13,23)
  • Its sacrifice was to be commemorated (Exodus 12:14-22,24-27)
  • Its sacrifice drew reverence and worship from the obedient (Exodus 12:27)

Interestingly, Paul says, “For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). Jesus, as a faithful Jew, had observed the passover throughout His public ministry (John 2:13; 6:4; 11:55), but He knew that the one recorded in Matthew 26 would be different. He told His disciples, “You know that after two days, the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be handed over for crucifixion” (2). On that Passover, He would be sacrificed for us. Jesus of Nazareth, an unblemished (1 Peter 1:18) male (Mark 8:31; 9:31), was killed (Acts 2:23). His blood is applied (Romans 3:25; 5:9; Ephesians 2:13; Hebrews 9:22; 10:19; 12:24; 13:20; Revelation 1:5; 5:9) to the obedient (Hebrews 5:8-9) and is the difference in spiritual life and death (John 6:53-54). As we do every Sunday, this Sunday, which the world recognizes as Easter, we will commemorate the sacrifice of Jesus as part of our weekly worship (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29). 

Jesus was arrested on Thursday, crucified on Friday, lay buried all day Saturday, and arose on Sunday. Today, New Testament Christians commemorate this sacrifice every Sunday. The unleavened bread represents His body, and the fruit of the vine represents His blood. The God of perfect foreknowledge made these “emblems” part of the Passover feast which Israel celebrated the night they left Egypt, and it predated the first covenant (Exodus 20). The physical passover lamb sacrificed by Israel had significance to them in their generation and it was to be handed down to their descendants. But, God was drawing a picture that night that would be completed the moment His Son said “It is finished,” bowed His head, and gave up His spirit (John 19:30).  We celebrate and rejoice because He died, was buried, and rose again! May we never let this sacrifice lose its significance to our past, present, and future. 

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Keeping Our Thoughts On The Lord During The Lord’s Supper

Keeping Our Thoughts On The Lord During The Lord’s Supper

Neal Pollard

“Three babies are crying across the auditorium… Somebody dropped a songbook… Everybody has a cough today… Oh, good… brother So ‘N So sure prayers nice prayers… My big toe sure is bother me… I think I forgot to write out the check for the giving again… Better do… Wow! Are we done already?”

That scenario probably happens in many a mind more frequently than we care to admit. The greatest memorial of all time can also provide one of the greatest mountains to climb– concentration and distraction. The Lord’s Supper is a congregational activity, but it is participated in by individuals. What does it take to maintain concentration on the significance of this feast?

Examination. See 1 Corinthians 11:28. We should examine our state of mind, taking care to dwell on Christ’s suffering sacrifice, His triumphant resurrection, our debt to Him, the depth of heaven’s love shown in this sacrifice, and the joyful hope we have through His act. We should examine our lives and see where we can live better and eliminate sin–checking our motives, morals, and mindset. Self-examination should mark this time.

Forgetting. We should forget the daily, mundane affairs of life. We are focusing on something of much greater and eternal significance. Other things should be shut out of the mind. This is the Lord’s time.

Fellowship. We take the Supper with every other saint present. This is a special moment of fellowship (Acts 2:42). In a sense, we are also taking it with all our brothers and sisters throughout the world. The communion provides a bond of fellowship that has special meaning and ties together all baptized believers in fellowship with Christ.

One. We commemorate the Lord in the one body according to the instructions of the one Spirit with the one hope that Christ’s atonement saves us and gives us access to the Father. We honor that one Lord and follow the one faith in obedience to the will of the one God. the Supper unites us with God as well as each other (Eph. 4:4-6).

Remembrance. The Lord’s Supper is a time to reflect on the cross with its manifold significance. Until He comes again, the Lord’s Supper is an appointed, weekly, and mental trip back to His death (1 Cor. 11:26). One remembers, with the help of the gospel writers, the body wounded on the tree and the saving blood flowing from the body of God in the flesh.

Thanksgiving. The Lord’s Supper is a time for deep appreciation and gratitude. Because He suffered, we can have peace. Because He died, we can have eternal life. Because He arose, we can rise from sin to newness of life.

Paul had to remind Corinth that the Lord’s Supper was not just another meal (1 Cor. 11:20-34). Modern Christians, too, need always to keep that fact in mind when we lose focus and concentration or forget why we’re partaking. What we need, despite the distractions, is EFFORT! May the Lord’s Supper never grow old for any of us!

communion

How Often To Take “The Feast Of Love”?

How Often To Take “The Feast Of Love”?

Neal Pollard

I recently read a fascinating article by John H. Armstrong in the September, 2014, issue of “Christianity Today.” Armstrong starts out reminiscing on early childhood worship experiences in the denomination he attended. He writes that his church celebrated the Lord’s Supper “four times a year. I remember asking why we celebrated it so infrequently. The answer I got never satisfied, and it still doesn’t: ‘If we do this very often, it will lose its meaning'” (51). He goes on to say, “As I grew older, I discovered some churches took the meal weekly. I was then even more dissatisfied with the answer I had received” (ibid.).  He goes on to write a mostly historical examination of the Lord’s Supper, looking at the debates and developments of church history.  At the end, he summarizes by saying, “…[younger Christians] desire to receive the meal more often. And some of them—as I did when I was younger—have started attending congregations that take Communion ever week” (53).  The reasons given are that each observance gives us the opportunity to focus on Jesus’ crucifixion, expresses the unity of the body, and reflects our personal identity in Christ (ibid.). In other words, it offers commemoration, examination, and expectation.  We need that on an ongoing basis, and the Lord knew we would.  That is why He pointed ahead to a certain frequency when He established it, saying He would do it again when He established His Kingdom (Mark 14:25).  Paul says it was to be done with a certain frequency (1 Cor. 11:25—”as often as”).  Thankfully, Luke shows us how frequently it was taken (Acts 20:7—”on the first day of the week”).  It is good to understand that the Bible establishes the frequency of our observation of the Lord’s Supper, but it is also important to know why we take it each week.  We look up, look back, look within, look around, and look ahead.  Our all-wise God knew we would need this every time we assembled with our spiritual family.  Though so many have lost sight of its frequency, may we never lose sight of its significance!