Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered June 28, 2003 by Pastor Donald J. Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

The Great Cup Exchange (Communion)

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

1 Corinthians 11:25. In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."

When a King gets married, does his Queen have to cook? You know, highfalutin people have servants. We don't have any at our house. My wife and I went to the luxurious Biltmore House in Asheville, NC. Inside this American castle is a labyrinth of humongous equipment, furniture. You should see this castle. Down in the basement the people have a lot of cupboards and stoves and kitchen things, a huge kitchen. They must have been zillionairs! In that massive basement area numerous servants prepared victuals for the vitality of the people's vitals. I don't know what all they cooked, but it must have been exciting. A queen doesn't have to cook, unless she wishes to do so. I doubt if that lady had to cook.

But, kings in the old days had some bad problems. If some jubilant villain should poison their food, what would they do? Maybe somebody walked up to the king and said, "King, I've got a cake here for you, and I'd like for you to eat that piece right there. You'll love it." (for a minute.) What does the king do? The King would die. What if toxins were placed in his drink? So, intelligent kings employed cupbearers. These cupbearers were actually pre-tasters. They would taste the food and then if they didn't die, I don't know how long they waited. Maybe five minutes, or maybe a day or a week. I don't know how long. If the cupbearer did not get sick, then the king would go ahead and eat his food. If they waited a day, then all the king's food would be a day old, I guess. I don't know how they worked that. But, that cupbearer was often a person who actually yielded his life for his king. There's a lot of lessons in that.

You know, we have a Cupbearer, Jesus. He's our cupbearer. Cupbearers jeopardized their very life that someone else might live. Jesus is our Cupbearer. So, what does that mean? In this way Jesus treats us like a King, doesn't He. Jesus models true servitude.

Today there is a cup before us. In fact, we have a lot of cups here. And one is for you. It has pure grape juice in it. It is the only true symbol of the blood of Jesus Christ. When you partake of that cup you actually become a blood relative of Jesus. That's what you are doing. You become an intrinsic part of Jesus' own family. Jesus' cup is the gateway, the access into Jesus' bloodline. You become one of His children, His brother, His sister.

So what does the cup really represent? Well, in 1 Corinthians 11:25, Jesus explains and the apostle, Paul took this subject up and he says, In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." This is not our blood, it's Jesus' blood. Our Cup is life!

What Cup did Jesus drink? Come back here to Matthew 26:39, Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." That's interesting, isn't it. Jesus didn't want to drink His cup. What was His cup?

His cup was death. Our cup is life: His cup is death. Death is the payment for the wages of sin. And who committed those sins? Jesus pays them, but who did the sinning? We did. EG White says this in Desire of Ages, pp. 693, 694: "In this awful crisis, when everything was at stake, when the mysterious cup trembled in the hand of the sufferer... an angel came, not to take the cup from Christ's hand but to strengthen Him to drink it.... He tasted the sufferings of death for every man."

So, what is this cup? Death, Jesus' cup is death. Our cup is life. I want to tell you there is a great cup exchange. Jesus drank what I deserved to drink; the cup of death. He did this so I might drink the cup of life that He died to provide. Isn't that awesome? A cup exchange. He did this so that I might drink the cup of life that He earned. Two thousand years ago Jesus came to this world as our cupbearer. And He drank from our cup and it was deadly poison! Thus we were saved from certain death. Jesus tasted our cup and it was death. Then Jesus did a wonderful thing. Jesus knowingly drank all of it! He didn't just taste it, He drank the whole thing. He drank every drop. Jesus knowingly drank it all. He put it in His body, the entire contents of that poisonous cup. Just one molecule would have killed the entire human race. But Jesus drank it all. It's all in His body. Today, It is all gone! It killed Him, but it saved us. There is no more poison left. All we have to do is accept Jesus Christ and we will be youngsters forever with eternal life.

So, the purpose of this sermon today: I'm going to ask you to accept Jesus' gift of eternal life. It's just that simple. Do you want to drink the cup that He drank? No. You want to drink the cup that He provided for you: eternal life. He drank your poison that you might have His life. What a great exchange. That is a bargain of bargains. And, it's free. It's free for you. Please take it.

We're going to have our Ordinance of Humility. We call the foot- washing that because it is a humbling experience, but it's an experience that we want to partake of. It's a wonderful experience that you, yourself can enter into with a friend or your wife or whoever into an experience that is deeper and richer than anything that you can have. This is in the Bible where Jesus and His disciples at the Last Supper before the betrayal Jesus washed their feet. And so, we're going to do this. We are going to separate. There are two places for the couples; One is in the upper room, and the other is beside the staircase. The ladies can go to the Fireside Room, and you gentlemen can go to the Primary Rooms. Before we separate, let us bow our heads in prayer.

Dear Father in heaven, we thank you for the great privilege that is ours of coming before You, kneeling before You and before a fellow sister or brother and doing what you commanded us to do. We thank You for being our Cupbearer, for yielding Your life to provide eternal life for us. So, dismiss us with this blessing and as we re-assemble here in a few minutes may we experience a new transformation in our lives. For we pray it in Jesus' name, Amen.

Let us separate at this time and we will re-assemble after this for the Lord's Supper.

[Most of the congregation now go to their appropriate rooms for the service of foot-washing. The pastor mentioned that it is a humbling experience. When you realize that you become a servant to do your part and that you are not above anyone in the room, or in the church, it is humbling. But it is a leveling experience because each person is now equal with each other. We are all great in Jesus' sight.]

[We all return to the sanctuary where the service continues:]

Steve Bauer speaks:

1 Corinthians 11:17 RSV. But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better or for the worse. Paul is talking to the Corinthians here about when they got together they were divided and that it was not good. And then he continues in Corinthians 11: 23, For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when He was betrayed took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, "This is My body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me." In the same way also He took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. Let us bow our heads.

Lord, we want to acknowledge the solemnity of what we are about to do, the holiness and the reverence. I pray that each one here would receive this in the proper manner and proper spirit, the spirit of submission to Your Lordship and a spirit of thankfulness for Your sacrifice and a commitment to reproduce the life of Christ in us in the way we act with each other is my prayer in Jesus' name, Amen." [The deacons stand and the two officiating hand the communion service trays to each deacon. The organist plays soft music for us. When all the deacons have received their trays, they pass the trays to the people for them to get the bread and the wine. When everyone has their share of the bread and the wine, the deacons return to the front where they hand their trays to the ministers and also receive their share of the bread and wine. Then the ministers serve each other.]

Pastor Gettys speaks:

If you were to choose a symbol for yourself, and you were Jesus, what would that symbol be? Would it be a cross? Would it be a crown of thorns like we have on our pulpit? The symbol Jesus invented for Himself is what you're holding in your hands. The bread represents His body. This has no leavening in it, no yeast, the symbol of sin. He had no sin in His body. And the pure juice, the unfermented juice of the grape represents His pure sinless blood. What better symbols could you have? And that is what Jesus gives to us. And, that's really what we need. No wonder Jesus said to His disciples, "Take eat, this is My body." [And we all take the bread and eat it.]

Amen.

Then in the same manner also He took the cup. And the cup does represent His blood, and the blood that you partake of is actually the entrance into His kingdom. It's through His blood that we are Christians, that our sins are blotted out. And so, Jesus said, "Drink ye, all of it." [And we all drink of it.]

Amen.

After the disciple had partaken of the Lord's Supper, they went out with a song out to the Mount of Olives. As we go out of this place, let us go out with a song in our hearts. Let's sing all three stanzas of our closing hymn: number 246, "Worthy, Worthy Is The Lamb."

[As we go out the deacons hold offering trays for a contribution for the poor.]

Hymn of Praise: #171, Thine is the Glory
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Hymn of Response: #246, Worthy, Worthy is the Lamb

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