Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Why Every Sunday? (4) -- Proclaiming the Gospel

Previously I have discussed why it is important to have the Lord's Supper every Sunday. I feel it should be done for at least these reasons:
  • To follow the example of the New Testament Church
  • To honor Jesus' command: "Do this in remembrance of me," and thus keep our memory of him alive and fresh.
  • To experience his presence as host
  • To receive the benefit of his shed blood, the forgiveness of our sins.

Another good reason is connected to the commission Jesus gave his church in Mark 16:15 when he told his disciples to "preach the gospel to all creation." We have always understood that this commission was for all of his church, not just the twelve apostles. Which leads me to wonder -- if I went to the average member, even a very well informed and biblically literate one, and said, "OK, its your turn to preach the sermon next Sunday!" what do you think he or she might say? Or if I were to ask the congregation, "what have you done lately to fulfill our Lord's command?" it might leave them speechless. And yet, I can tell you what our congregation has done lately -- in fact, just last Sunday. Actually Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:26,

"For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes."

Each Sunday, until he comes, we have the opportunity to proclaim the Lord's death. And what kind of sermon is it? This is no 20 minute, fast-food handout; no homily on how to be happy. This is the gospel! We "proclaim the Lord's death" on the first day of the week, the day of resurrection, and thus proclaim the heart of the gospel. Every Lord's Day we lift this cup and say to the world, "this is his blood shed for the remission of sins." As long as the church is faithful week by week the gospel is proclaimed from the table, if not from the pulpit. In fact, the Lord's Supper is mission focused.

Someone has said, "the highest cannot be spoken; it can only be acted." And so it is with the gospel. Words alone cannot express its richness and depth. We have the high and holy privilege of proclaiming the Lord's death each Sunday at his table. What greater reason can there be to have the Lord's Supper every Sunday?

1 comment:

Will Spina said...

1 Cor. 10:16-18 (ESV)
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? [17] Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. [18] Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar?

Just one more reason: We are acknowledging by this act each week that we are connected to the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. The true gift that keeps on giving to us all. Paul says it is a participation in Christ's sacrifice. I think that is exactly why we have to keep doing it and why the example is given for each first day of the week in the scriptures. What's more is that it requires no sacrifice again and again (1 Cor. 5:7 and Heb. 10:10), we are still partaking of the same original sacrifice and altar. It is not a sacrifice but is the result of a sacrifice. Grace without measure, forgiveness without end, mercy without bounds.