Sermon delivered March 27, 1999

by Pastor Donald J Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.

A New Beginning

Today is our Communion Service: very very special. But do you realize that you can have communion with God at all times: twenty-four hours a day, be in communion and relationship with Him. I have titled this sermon, "A Time for a New Beginning."

You remember on March 20, just a few days ago, the world first was for ever put down in the record books when Piccard and Jones drifted across the seventh meridian and became the world's first people to circle the earth in a helium balloon. What a momentous event! I have a tie that I'm wearing that has hot air balloons on it. It meant something to me. Their magnificent balloon went twenty-six thousand miles around this world. The trip was very hazardous. At certain points they were thirty thousand feet up or more. They went up where they needed oxygen. Their health almost failed, one of them. Ice almost sent them to "Davy Jone's locker." It was a treacherous flight. The winds blew wrong. The fuel languished. But they achieved a world's record. They did it! A lot of work! a lot of persistence. They finally got in that jet stream and were whisked across the Atlantic to Africa and finally to Egypt at a hundred fifty seven miles an hour. What a record that was. Many times during that effort their meteorologist ground team directed them to make little changes in their course. I don't know how they can direct a balloon, but somehow they can do a little bit of limited navigation, and they made mid-course corrections.

The communion service is to the Christian what a mid-course correction is to an aircraft. Now thin about that. Without those little changes Piccard and Jones could miss their mark by maybe a thousand miles. They'd never get there. They'd end up in the Sahara Desert or in a swamp. Who knows where. Perhaps you are drifting off course spiritually. Maybe the sins of yesteryear have jeopardized your future. Maybe you're not on track anymore. Now is your opportunity to get back on the path that leads to life. That's what the Communion Service is all about. Are you personally zeroing in on Jesus? Do you personally have that experience with God? That saving relationship.

Look at Luke 22: Jesus was always in the CENTER of the Father's will, and rally that's where we belong. If you could pray only one sentence in your prayer, what would your prayer be? "Please send the sunshine today?" No, that would not be the one sentence. You could only pray one sentence. to me it would be: "Help me to be fully surrendered to Your will." Surrender is where it's at. And Jesus was fully surrendered to the Father's will. He was right on course.

Notice that right after the Lord's supper Jesus makes a reaffirmation of His commitment to His Father. Come over here to Luke 22. I want you to get the connection. Luke 22:19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." That's why we're doing this today. We remember our Savior. Verse 20. In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you."

Verse 21,22 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. Somebody's hand was on the table at that moment. I wonder if all their hands suddenly jerked off the table. That would be amazing, wouldn't it. His hand is on the table with mine. Now, if you missed all parts of the sermon today I want you to look at verse 22. Are you wide awake? Don't miss verse 22. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him."

It is verse 22 that I want us to not miss. We skip over this sometimes. Try to Understand this brief but powerful statement by Jesus Christ: "The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed." There's a lot in that little statement. Now, think about that. What Jesus is saying is, "I'm on track. I'm in your will. I'm fully surrendered and I will go on just as it has been decreed from the foundations of the world, this plan of salvation is on track. It's on schedule." Jesus is on track. Judas was off course. Jesus is precisely on target, lined up with the perfect will of His Father. That's exactly where you and I need to be. If we're not there, we've missed the mark. To miss the mark is sin.

Despite the difficulties and trials Jesus is on course. He knows He's on course and He's telling His heavenly Father He's on course. "The Son of Man will go on as decreed." He's following His Father's will. surrendered to accomplishing the goal of the Father. That's where we need to be. The highest thing that you can do as a Christian is to find out God's will for your life and to follow that will. How do you do that? You can't do it without the Scriptures because this is where God's will is. Find His will and be surrendered to His will. That's the key to the Christian life. Jesus was fully qualified to die as our substitute in the plan of redemption because He was on track. He was going on as it had been decreed.

Notice the timing here. What Jesus is doing is, He's making this re-affirmation, this re- commitment immediately following the Lords Supper. Do you catch the timing? What that tells me is that the Lord's Supper is a time of mid-course correction. It's a time when God's family also ought to be able to say, "I'm on track, and if I'm not, I'm going to get on track." The Communion Service is an opportunity for mid-course corrections, mid-life changes. A time for lining up again with God's purposes. What is God's purpose for your life? Find it out and align yourself up with it.

Have you like Judas drifted a little bit or maybe far away from the purposes of God? Are you just barely in the church? Are you sitting here today because your wife or husband is sitting here? If she or he died, or if your spouse weren't coming or she were to fall away, would you also be gone? Are you children here because your parents are here, or somebody expects you to be here? These are serious questions. We need to line up our will, our heart with Jesus Christ. Let's not drift away.

Now, come over here to I Corinthians 11:26-28 For whenever you eat this bread or drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes. Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. He needs to examine himself to make sure he's on track, he's on course, he's lined up with the will of God. That's what you need to examine yourself about. A man needs to examine himself before he eats the bread and drinks of the cup. You need to examine yourself. Check up on your allegiance to God. Is your life where God wants it to be? Or are you drifting? Well, let's get back on track. Perhaps you need to stop right where you are at and put on the brakes and reassess your whole life. Maybe that's what needs to happen. Maybe you need to start all over again. Judas was sitting there at the Lord's supper at the table. And that was Judas' last supper, with those disciples, with Jesus. Never again did he eat with Jesus. That was his last opportunity. Judas should have started all over. He didn't.

Here at this Communion table today, you need to start all over. Maybe this needs to be a time when you need to re-evaluate your life. If you walk out of these doors unchanged you cloud be lost like Judas. Now the Lord is appealing to you. The Holy Spirit is here in this place and He wants you to line up with His will. Judas walked out of that supper unchanged. It was his last supper... his last chance to get back on track was miffed.

Today could be your last opportunity to surrender your life fully to God. Heaven is appealing to you to freshly dedicate your life. The goal is heaven. Knowing Jesus is the key variable in whether or not you will reach your destination. Invite Jesus on board your drifting craft. Instantly you are on track again. Piccard and Jones said that an invisible hand guided them. Praise God, He can guide you, He can guide your spiritual craft. Your spiritual craft may just be drifting, who knows where, but with the hand of God guiding you, you are going to be on track, you're going to make the goal. You're going to set the record. Let that hand guide you and soon you will reach a lofty destination which is Heaven. I don't want my name in the Guiness Book of Records. I want my name in the Book of Life. And my name can be in the Book of Life. Your name could be in the Book of Life, if you invite Jesus onto your craft and He becomes that hand that is guiding you each moment and you are fully surrendered to His leading.

In the Seventh-day Adventist Church we precede the Lord's Supper with the Ordinance of Humility, which is listed in the Bible where Jesus before that supper washed His disciple's feet, and there in John 13:14b He said, ... you also should wash one another's feet. because I have given you and example. And so what we do, we dismiss to several rooms: 2 for mixed couples, and one each for men and women. If you choose not to participate, just stay where your are at and silently pray and read your scriptures. We'll all be back in here in a few moments. We encourage everyone of you to participate. You need this service. Before we dismiss for that portion of our service let us pray.

"Dear Father in heaven, helium balloons can go around the world, not because they're fill with helium especially, but because they are guided with your hand. I pray that we may reach the destination of heaven with Your guidance and not with our hot air but with the presence of your Holy Spirit. Fill our lives with You Holy Spirit so that we may ascend to the goal that You have selected for us. As we enter this portion of the service now where we do as You have commanded us, wash one another's feet, may our sins be washed away, this miniature baptism. May it cleanse us from iniquity and may it re-track us on to the flight path that leads us to our final destination of heaven. I pray this in Jesus' name, Amen.

(The organist plays music for those who stay in the sanctuary and many heads are bowed in worship. Later, the congregation returns to the Sanctuary to partake of the symbols of Jesus great love for us.)

Reading in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 For I have 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 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 the Lord's death until he comes. Let us kneel for prayer.

"Dear heavenly Father, We're thankful that we can be here today, celebrating you life and death for us. We pray that You will help us, as we partake of these emblems of you love: Your broken body and Your spilled blood, that we will absorb the meaning of them into our lives, that you will take Your example for us and apply it to our lives that the things that You have done for us will become meaningful to us. We want to be more like You, Lord. We hope that You will help us to go from this service today with a larger measure of the Holy Spirit and a greater desire to serve You, to become more like You, to live the kind of lives that You want us to live. Especially, Lord we pray that You will help us to draw more people, more souls into a relationship with You, into Your kingdom, we pray in Jesus' name, Amen.

The ministers pass the trays containing both the bread and the wine to the deacons, who in turn pass it out to the congregation. When they return, each deacon is served by the elder and finally each elder serves the other.

"The body is made up of flesh and blood. Jesus' body was no different. Your life is made up of Jesus. That's why we partake of these symbols today. The first one we want to consider is the symbol of His body, and as we partake of that, we're praying that He will come in and be a part of our body and that His life will be our life. And Jesus said, 'Take, eat. This is My body for you.' (We all eat the unleaven bread we have received.) Amen."

"The Bible says that in the same manner He takes the cup after supper and this represents His blood. There's cleansing power in the blood. Strength come through blood transfusions. Certainly we need a transfusion of the power of Christ. And so He said, 'drink ye all of it.'" (We all drink together.) Amen.

(In the early service the glasses are collected by the deacons and then we sing the closing hymn while the ministers and deacons exit. In the foyer there are deacons collecting an offering for the poor.)

Opening Hymn: #191 Love Divine  
Scripture: Luke 22:19-20.
Closing Hymn:  271  Break thou the bread of life


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