We spend all that money on all those photographs to augment our memory, so that we can remember. We human beings need all the crutches we can get to augment our memory. The Bible makes an interesting statement in Prov. 10:7: (NIV) "The memory of the Righteous will be a blessing!" That will be a blessing. The memory of the righteous will be a blessing--that's because they will be remembering good things. If you store good things in your mind, that's going to be a great blessing to you.
2 Tim 2:8 -- "Remember Jesus Christ..." That's one of the finest things you can remember. Never forget what Jesus did for you on the old rugged cross. Keep Jesus fresh in the photo album of your mind. I the lobby of our church we have a book that reminds of al the things that happens in our church for the past three or four months. I believe that we need to keep Jesus fresh in our minds. I believe this service today was tailor-made by Jesus Himself to help us to remember Him. He says, "This do in remembrance of Me."
At one time in London, there was a Christian restaurant owner named Emil Mettler, who was a close friend of Albert Schweitzer. Mettler would never allow a Christian worker to pay for a meal in his restaurant. One day he opened his cash register and a British Secretary was astonished to see among the bills and coins a six-inch nail. What was it doing there? Mettler explained, "I keep this nail with my money to remind me of the price that Christ paid for my salvation and of what I owe Him in return." You know, that's a blessing.
We need to do every thing we can to remember Jesus. Today we celebrate the communion service. Jesus has the patient on what we do here today. He specifically designed the foot-washing and the partaking of the bread and cup as an agent to help us remember Him.
The scripture reading this morning in I Corinthians 11:24-26 (NIV) it says: "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, 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.' For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim (OR REMEMBER) the Lord's death until he comes."
That's beautiful isn't it? This fascinating service that Jesus instituted is just like a 6" Nail in the spiritual cash register drawer of our heart reminding us of what Jesus did for us, the awesome gift of eternal life that Jesus gave on Calvary.
There was a married couple who had a very good marriage. They had a little girl, a beautiful young daughter until one day that little girl was tragically killed. That seemed to destroy the happiness in that home. Their hearts were grieved. As time passed the husband and wife grew apart. Their love for each other just wasn't the same any more since their little daughter was killed. Finally their love got cold. A bitter hatred came into their lives. Finally they agreed to separate and finally to divorce.
As they were in their home owe day going over the various items they had accumulated over the years of their marriage, they got tired and sat down a moment to rest. Their eyes chanced to fall upon a pair of LITTLE RED SHOES which had belonged to their little girl. This reminder of their precious daughter softened their hearts. Before long, they were weeping in tenderness. God convicted them of their mistake. They got back together. The marriage was saved. That little REMINDER-- the little red shoes seemed to be the turning point in their lives.
I want this service to be a turning point in your life. This is just like a little pair of red shoes. This service is just like the nail in the cash register. This service is designed by Jesus Himself to help you to remember what He did for you. As you enter into this service here, you are to contemplate Jesus. You open a photograph album you are contemplating what happened there. You need to go over the scenes of what Jesus did for you in your mind. Let Jesus bring the reminder of Himself deep into your heart.
"This do in remembrance of me" said Jesus. Today as you enter into a contemplation of Jesus, let this reminder of Him bring you back into a deeper experience with your Saviour. Let this be a turning point in your life. If you have drifted away, Come back to Jesus. Remember what He has done for you. Give Him your heart. You'll never ever regret it.
You know, Jesus is a very special person. It is unique that He established the communion service, the Lord's Supper photograph album, if you please, to help us remember Him. What a beautiful thing He did. As we celebrate this service in just a few moments, as we separate for the ordinance of the foot- washing that we do in this church and some other churches do as well (they're not Seventh-day Adventist churches), we do this because He instituted this service. He said, "I set you an example that if you do as I have done to you, you will be blest. You will be happy." And so as we partake of this service, and as we re-assemble back in this sanctuary for the Lord's Supper, for the bread and for the cup, there will be a real blessing for each of us.
Let us have prayer before we separate: Dear Father in heaven, Thank you for being with us today. Thank you for this beautiful service of memory. As we cherish and treasure in our minds what Jesus did for each of us, personally, may this awaken within our hearts a keen desire to turn from the world and its sinful ways and to turn wholly to Jesus Christ. Bless each person here. There may be some here that have drifted away; help them to come back. Bless us in Jesus' name, Amen.
Now we're going to separate at this time. If you choose not to partake of the foot-washing you may remain in your seats. We encourage everyone to partake. The ladies will go to the fire-side room. The men will go to the room that is next to that. The couples, or families can go upstairs to the junior room. So there's a place for every one of us. May God bless us as we enter into this service.
[Now we separate to the three rooms that are set up for the foot-washing. In each room there are deacons and deaconesses who supply the pans, water and towels. The people serve each other in pairs, often two persons who may have had a disagreement or misunderstanding. These frequently will ask forgiveness and the foot-washing helps to confirm their sincerity.
Whenever I am washing someone's feet, I am reminded that the first shall be last and the last shall be first: or rather we are all equals: none higher or lower than the other. This is the great equalizer service and a reunification service. I am always blest by this part of the whole service.
Usually when the foot-washing is completed, the couples will bow in shared prayer, and often they will embrace. Many times the participant will be singing during this service. It's hard to come away unimpressed. ]
When the foot-washing is finished we all re-assemble in the sanctuary for the bread and the wine. The deacons are seated on the front pew, and our two pastors are sitting at each side of the communion table. Elder Crutcher stands and speaks. "For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you. 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 after the supper He took the cup, say, 'This cup is the new testament in my blood. Do this whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes."
We kneel together for the prayer of blessing for the bread and the cup, and Elder Crutcher gives the prayer. "Our Father, your Son set before us some wonderful symbols of remembrance. We appreciate the opportunity that we have here today to remember what Jesus has done for us. We ask a blessing upon this bread that represents His broken body. Our hearts tremble when we think of what He went through for us. We ask a special blessing upon the cup, the emblem of His spilled blood. Father, we can';t understand this kind of love. But we ask that you bless our hearts as we partake of these wonderful emblems, in Jesus' name. Amen."
Now the two pastors distribute the trays of bread and grape juice to the deacons who in turn take these emblems to congregation. As each person takes bread and a little glass of juice he/she bows in thoughtful meditation. Finally, when all have been served, and the deacons have returned to the front and are served in turn and the two pastors serve each other, Pastor Gettys speaks: "Christians have an advantage because we can read in the Bible what happened on Calvary. We can picture in our mind's eye how it must have been. But we have a disadvantage in that we were not there. Had we been there, I think the impact on our minds would have been even greater. I wish we did have a picture of that. A professional photographer that maybe would have been on the site could have taken a picture of what happened there on Calvary. That picture would probably change our lives. We need to pray that God will paint a picture on our minds of actually did happen, and that we will respond to that.
"You hold in your hand the symbols of the body and the blood of our Savoir. He spent those two things for us. The first symbol is the symbol of His body which is the bread. Jesus is the Bread of life. As you partake of this symbol of Jesus you need to pray that God in a special way will instill in your life the actual body of Jesus: that Jesus may be within you, that He may live within you, that He may shine out of you, and that He will be there every day and to be your Savoir. Jesus said to His disciples, 'Take and eat. This is My body which is broken for you.'"
At this point we simultaneously eat the bread that represents the body of Jesus.
Again, Pastor Gettys speaks: "Amen. 'In this same manner, He took the cup.' The cup contains the pure juice of the grape.
"There was a man who was a minister and they were using regular wine in communion service. He thought they should not do that: that they should use the pure juice of the grape. So he planted his own vineyard. He raised grapes and he canned grape juice for that very purpose. His name was Pastor Welch. That's where we get Welch's grape juice from. It was made originally for this service. And what better and fitting symbol could there ever be for the blood of Jesus than the pure juice of the grape.
"Jesus said to His disciples, 'Drink ye all of it.'" (And we all drink of the cup together.) Amen."
Our closing hymn today is, Blest Be the Tie that Binds As we pass out of the sanctuary, there are two deacons with collection plates to accept our offerings to the needy.
Opening Hymn-341, Closing Hymn-350, Text: I Corinthians 11:23-26
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last updated 2/3/98 by Bob Beckett.