The Nature of Communion - RR274G14b
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission.|
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. Fear before Him all the earth. Let us pray.
Oh Lord our God we thank Thee that all glory, honor and praise belong unto Thee. For Thou hast made all things out of nothing and hast given Thy only begotten Son to redeem a wayward and lost humanity and Thou hast given us such glorious promises in Him. We thank Thee that Thy word unto us in Jesus Christ is yea and amen. Give us always the assurance of Thy promises, the blessing of Thy spirit and the joy of Thy salvation. In Christ’s name, Amen
Our scripture this morning is First Corinthians 10:14-22 and our subject: The Nature of Communion.
“Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.
15I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.
16The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
17For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
18Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?
19What say I then? that the idol is anything, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is anything?
20But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.
21Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.
22Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?”
Now in chapters preceding and in particular in the verses in chapter eight, one through eight, Paul discusses the question of meats offered to idols. Then in chapters eight, nine through thirteen, he sets forth his conclusions. [00:04:07]
Now in First Corinthians ...
Now in First Corinthians 10:14-43 he returns to the same subject. His reason for doing so is the theological. Paul points out in First Corinthians 6:6-18 that sexual union is a form of union that makes the two, the twain, one flesh. This is the doctrine first set forth in Genesis 2:24. Communion we are soon to be told means a community of life. It sets forth our membership in the new humanity of the last Adam, Jesus Christ. The two doctrines cannot be confused. But there is a parallel. There is a membership in a now corporate estate. One body, one flesh, one life. Because of this Paul begins verse fourteen with a word ‘wherefore’, that is, because of this. More than a simply admonition is meant. Flee from idolatry because it involves much, much more than simply false worship. Just as godly marriage is a way of life so too and even more so is the worship of our Lord Jesus Christ a way of life for us. Have the weak and the strong understood this, Paul asks in effect. Paul in verse fifteen asks ‘I seek as to wise men, judge ye what I say’. Paul speaks equally to those who are faithful in their marriage and to those who are faithful in their worship. To tell them that there is more involved in what you are doing than an outward conformity to what God requires. His rebuke to the immoral has been made; he makes it strongly and firmly. Now he speaks to all. There is more to our allegiance to Christ than a superficial belief and conformity. The way of life is involved. [00:07:59]
The cup of blessing which we bless is it not a communion...
The cup of blessing which we bless is it not a communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a communion of the body of Christ? The bread and wine signify Christ’s humanity. So that we in partaking thereof are members of His true humanity, of the new human race of the last Adam. Here we seen in other contexts is a basic doctrine of the faith and an area of great misunderstanding. When we partake of Christ, of the elements, we do not become members of His deity. This is a false doctrine which is now very, very popular in Eastern Orthodox circles. It is to say the least heretical. We partake in the new humanity of Christ, in the new human race which He as the last Adam has created. The difference is an enormous one. We do not become gods; we become a new creation in Jesus Christ. Paul twice stresses the fact that we, the members partake of communion. The church administers communion but it is the people who partake of the elements. For we being many are one bread and one body for we are all partakers of that one bread. It is we the members of Christ, we who are the partakers of the bread of life, Jesus Christ, who is one bread because we are all members of Christ’s new human race. Again the church is not mentioned because it is Jesus Christ who is the bread of life, not the church. [00:11:00]
This is all important...
This is all important. The church administers communion but our communion is with Christ. No more than Israel could make itself the goal of God’s activity can the church do so. Our Lord says plainly: seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness or justice. The goal transcends this world but it takes place in history, in this world. In verse ten, or rather eighteen, Paul turns to the Old Testament history again. Behold Israel after the flesh, are they not who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? The expression of Israel after the flesh is very significant. In Galatians 6:16 Paul speaks of the church as now the Israel of God. Two Israel’s, after the flesh, historically, but the Israel of God, the Christian community. All the same the typology remains and is important. In certain offerings as prescribed by the law, both the private and the public. The priesthood and the sacrificers ate of the offerings. They were partakers of the altar or in communion with it by sharing in the offering. Then in verses nineteen and twenty Paul declares: but what say I then? That the idol is anything, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is anything? But I say that the things which the gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to devils and not to God, and I would not that ye would have fellowship with devils. In First Corinthians 8:4 Paul makes clear that an idol is nothing. However, demonic powers are real and demons are real and they will use idolatry for their purposes. [00:14:36]
A new dimension has been added to the discussion...
A new dimension has been added to the discussion. A pagan service of sacrifice could thus be with very real demons. It could mean a link to an evil realm of spiritual darkness. Idolatry must thus be avoided because it can mean a link to demonic powers. Paul is not writing about eating meats butchered in a temple but to actual community and business dinners to which meat sacrificed as part of the pagan communion rites was prepared. His conclusion is this: he cannot drink of the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils. He cannot be a partaker of the Lords Table and a partaker of the table of devils. Communion is a reality in all of life. Too many people then and now restricted its meaning to a church ritual when it is in fact a part of everyday life. In many cultures without going to a discussion of it, every meal is a communion service. And there is a measure of truth to this. As a result in many cultures eating with unbelievers is forbidden because it is seen as a communion service. Without agreeing to this practice we can recognize that it is realistic as to the meaning of communion. Paul then asks ‘can we, dare we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He? Can we contend with God successfully?’ Israel in the wilderness tried to combine false religion with the true only to incur God’s anger. In Malachi 1:7 and 12 we are told of God’s anger at polluted offerings on His altar. Do they dare provoke God to anger in Corinth also? Do they imagine that they are stronger than God? And that they can trust in their wisdom and treat Him as they please. [00:18:09]
Paul treats idols as nothing but he takes the demonic...
Paul treats idols as nothing but he takes the demonic seriously. So must we also. Evil is a very real fact in history, but men fail to recognize the power and the presence of evil. It is absurd to think that evil spirits and powers do not exist. The Lord clearly forbids concentrating on our studying the deep things or the depths of Satan. This is in Revelations 2:24. But this does not mean we ignore their reality! We do not major in their study. To study satanic conspiracies as though they determine history is morally wrong but it is also an error to disbelieve their existence. So Paul in dealing with communion is telling us it exists everywhere, in all of life, where is our communion? With God, with evil peoples, with the demonic? Choose ye this day, he is telling them, whom ye shall serve. Let us pray.
Our Father, we thank Thee for Thy word, for its plain speaking and for its resounding and magnificent truth. Teach us day by day to serve thee with all our hearts, minds and being as we ought. To rejoice in the things that are of Thee. And to give all glory, honor and praise to Thee our King. In Christ’s name, Amen. [00:21:03]
Are there any questions now about our lesson?...
Are there any questions now about our lesson?
As you can see what Paul is doing is to deal with faith as a totality of life. It’s not just something that deals with the hereafter, it is that which governs all of reality so that we live, move and have our being in God and therefore we are always, everywhere we are, whatever we do, in the sphere of the faith. This is why Corinthians is such a tremendous statement of the faith, of its catholicity, of its universal application. Yes?
[Man speaking] What particularly is he saying in verse twenty two, when he says ‘are we stronger than He’?
[Rushdoony] If we are doing things that God disapproves of we are provoking Him. Can we provoke someone who is almighty? That is what he is saying. He’s dealing with our everyday life and he says I the Lord am a jealous God we are told and therefore we should not anger God. Period. Any other questions or comments? If not let us conclude with prayer. [00:23:23]
For Thy word our Father we thank Thee...
For Thy word our Father we thank Thee. We rejoice in Thy plain speaking. We rejoice in the fact that Thou has summoned us to be Thine and to be in communion with Thee through Thy son. Bless us oh Lord always that we might serve, praise and glorify Thee. And now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always, Amen.