The 30th article of the Baptist Confession of Faith explains the Lord’s Table, or Communion. In the 16th century, a conflict arose among Protestant Reformers about what happens at the Table when the church gathers to partake of the elements (the bread and cup). Far from being an archaic controversy with little relevance to us in the 21st century, their concerns are still vitally important to the Christian faith today. We will look at the Scriptures through the lens of this old conflict.
The elements of the service were selected because they reflect the truths taught by the church’s regular observance of the Lord’s Table.
PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP
Call to Worship: Romans 8:31-35a
Hymn 400 Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness
Note: What have we contributed toward our own salvation? Nothing! We are utterly dependent on Jesus’ “blood and righteousness,” that is, his substitutionary work for us. His “blood” speaks of the payment he made for us on the cross. His “righteousness” speaks of his satisfaction of the law’s demands. Because of these, no one shall be able to lay anything to our charge; “Fully absolved through these I am.”
Worship through Giving
Hymn 137 When I Survey The Wondrous Cross
Note: The father of modern hymnody, Isaac Watts, invites us to employ sacred imagination to stand at the foot of the cross. The view of our Savior hanging there turns our proud efforts into nothing and crushes our pride.
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride
Scripture Reading Matthew 26:17-29
Note: Our knowledge of the Lord Lord’s Table comes from two sources: the accounts of its institution contained in the Gospels and Paul’s explanation and application of it in his first letter to the Corinthians. The sermon text will examine Paul’s description. This reading is the most famous Gospel account.
Hymn 128 Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Note: As we contemplate what Jesus suffered in our place, Lord of all dying for the utterly undeserving, our only appropriate response must be, “Hallelujah! What a Savior!”
Message: An Old Conflict That Still Matters
Text: First Corinthians 11:17-34
Pastor Steven Thomas
Hymn 234 For the Bread and for the Wine
Note: We recently learned this communion hymn. Woven throughout its lyrics, we find themes discussed in the sermon: the symbolism of the elements, the importance of the words that explain them, and the faith the participants bring to the table. The author even moves from individual to corporate participation (from “mine” to “we” and “our”).
Choir One Day in Glory
Note: This choral piece, much like the Lord’s Table, reminds us that we are still imperfect, though forgiven by Christ. But one day we shall be with Him in glory, completely transformed into his image.
Prayer Response: Bill Cunnien
Benediction: John Miles