2017-11-22 / Religion

Remembering the covenant

Sunday School Lesson
Rev. James Temples

1 Corinthians 11

Believers, who desire to carefully follow the divine principles, readily recognize three ordinances of the Church. Ordinances are seen as commands that are expected to be followed by those who desire to live in accordance with the divine plan. These ordinances were designed by our Heavenly Father, the creator of the universe. The first of these divine directives is that of marriage. See Genesis 2:24, 25. The next that is recorded is that of water baptism. See Matthew 28:19, 20. The third of these directives is known by several names, but one of these is “The Lord’s Supper.” Luke 22:15-20. This meal was taken from the Passover ceremony that had been established, before the Israelite slaves left Egyptian bondage. Only part of this meal was used.

As we read scripture, the partaking of these ordinances is a matter of, simple, obedience. These actions are not the cause, nor means, by which eternal salvation is obtained. Our eternal salvation was obtained by the death of Jesus Christ of Nazareth on the cross.

The twisted theology of sin-controlled human minds has elevated some of the divine ordinances to the level of a sacrament. Simply stated, a sacrament is a personal action that attempts to assure one of the benefits of the grace of God. This “theology of works” has been practiced since our first parents were expelled from the Garden of Eden. Their eldest son, Cain, offered a sacrifice which was the work of his own hands. Genesis 4:3. Personal effort did not result in forgiveness at that time. The principle has never changed.

All of the earlier followers of Jesus Christ were Jews. These people were taught the history of their nation. Our Lord declared His personal reason for coming into the world, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” Matthew 5:17. The disciples had followed our Lord for about three and one-half years. Near the end of this time, the Passover feast was near.

These disciples asked, “Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?” Matthew 26:17b. They followed his instructions, “and they made ready the passover.” Matthew 26:19. During this meal, our Master took parts of this meal, and gave to these objects a much greater significance than had been part of the ceremonial meal. Matthew 26:26-28.

The group left this room, and made their way to the Garden of Gethsemane. John 14:31c. As the group walked through the streets of Jerusalem, the Master continued his teachings. See John 15, 16. After his time of prayer, the enemies came and kidnapped Jesus, and, then, led him to the kangaroo court for the declaration of his sentence by the religious leaders. Our Lord was crucified, as these leaders had planned. However, JESUS CHRIST ROSE FROM THE DEAD!

The Church was established at the Feast of Pentecost, following his time of resurrected ministry of forty days. Our Lord ascended into heaven (Acts 1:10), and sent the Holy Spirit to empower the church (Acts 2:1-4). Over time, this message spread throughout the thenknown world.

The first churches consisted, predominantly, of Jews. However, gentiles, non-Jews, came to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. The churches continued to be faithful to the teachings that had been given by our Lord.

As time progressed, the seriousness of the personal commitment to the teachings of the Master began to be dilute by human philosophy and selfishness. The sharing of “The Lord’s Supper” became part of a meal that was to be shared by all members of the congregation. In the church at Corinth, the wealthier members of the group seemed to be flaunting their provisions before the poorer members of the group, slaves.

The apostle Paul wrote a letter to this congregation in which he addressed this issue, among other problems in that church. Regarding this problem, he wrote, “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.” 1 Corinthians 11:23, 24.

The apostle continued his discourse for these believers, “After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye as oft as ye drink it in remembrance of me.” 1 Corinthians 11:25. The focus of this ordinance is directly stated — “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come”. I Corinthians 11:26.

The symbolism of this ordinance is clear. The body of our Lord was battered, beaten, and abused before it was nailed to the cross. The loss of blood is obvious was we read the account of the actions of the Jews and Romans on that night. The “cup” had been described in another portion of this letter — “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” 1 Corinthians 10:16. The focus must not be on the immediate circumstances, but on that time when our Lord will return as the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

The apostle gave a warning that each person must heed. “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 11:27. Severe problems await those who ignore this Divine warning. 1 Corinthians 11:28-32.

The focus of our lives must always center on the will of our Master. Eternity awaits off mankind. Every person will spend eternity somewhere. Where will you go, when you leave this life? Please accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, to spend eternity with him. John 3:16.

Rev. James C. Temples’ Sunday School Lesson has appeared in the Early County News each week since 1967. A native of Early County, Rev. Temples taught in public schools 32 years and 10 years at Southeastern College of Assemblies of God, in Lakeland, Fla. He also served as pastor and evangelist during those years. He can be contacted at P. O. Box 1484, Swainsboro, GA 30401; 478- 299- 2068. Email: temples_ james@ yahoo. c om

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