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What Must I Do To Be Saved?  Part II - David Sandlin


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Scott Richardson



Owen Griggs

Tim Hamilton

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February 24, 2013


The Memorial of the Cross

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which 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 He took the cup also 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. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

The importance of the cross is seen through the fact that it is central not only in the Christian message, but in Christian worship as well. Our Lord, just before His trial and crucifixion, saw fit to give a memorial institution in commemoration of His death and suffering. This “feast of remembrance” occupies the place of prominence in every local assembly of the saints and is the very heart of worship.

Its AuthorChrist, the Founder and Head of the church, ordained it (Matthew 26:26-28); “on the night of his betrayal” (1Corinthians 11:23).

Its ElementsThe elements appointed by our Lord as appropriate emblems of His suffering, were unleavened bread (Mark 14:12,22; 1 Corinthians 5:8); and the fruit of the vine (Luke 22:18,20). The bread symbolizes His body which was offered as a propitiation for sin; the fruit of the vine symbolizes His blood which was shed for the remission of our sins.

Circumstances of its origin—The place was in Jerusalem, in a large upper room (Mark 14:13-16). The time was in the night in which he was betrayed (1Corinthians 11:23). The setting was following the eating of Passover. This was significant. The old covenant with “its shadows of good things to come,” was “nigh unto vanishing away” (Hebrews 10:1; 8:13).

Its NatureIt was never designed to be an elaborate ceremony. There is no religious caste in the circumstances of its origin. There is no hint of mysticism, sacerdotalism, or sacramentalism, or any of the other “isms” coined by later theology. It was obviously intended to be a simple memorial feast at which all Christians meet on the same level. It is spiritual in its design. These facts are obvious from the circumstances of its origin and from the language of the Master in giving it.

Its PerpetuityIt was ordained to be observed by the church “until He comes.”

Its ObservanceIt was observed by the early disciples on “the first day of the week,” the Lord’s Day (Acts 20:7). This precedent was established by the apostles under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and is therefore authoritative (John 16:13). There are guests at this memorial feast. The gospel is for the whole world, but the table is for the flock, for believers, for members of the body of Christ. “They continued steadfastly in … the breaking of bread” (Acts 2:42)—who were the “they?”—those who have received the word and obeyed it (v. 41). Baptism is at the threshold of the church—the Supper is in the house. And so who are the guests? Those who have accepted the terms of the invitation. What is the manner of observance? It should be observed with becoming solemnity. It should be observed in a spirit of thankfulness. It should be observed with accompanying meditation, introspection, and prayer.

Why is the Table of the Lord so significant? It is a memorial—a memorial of His cross—the suffering and death of Jesus on the Cross. It reminds us of what He has done for us, of the blessings that come to us through His death, and of our constant dependence upon Him. He is our daily portion, our spiritual food, our bread and water of life (John 4:14; 6:35; 6:53-58).

It is a communion—a personal and individual communion of each believer with the Lord. “But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” (1Corinthians 11:28).

It is a reconsecration—it is in reality a renewal of the covenant that was entered into with the Father, through Jesus Christ the Son, in obedience. The fruit of the vine is symbolic of the blood of the covenant. “And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.” (Luke 22:20; Hebrews 10:29).

It is a fellowship—a communion (i.e., a sharing together, with all the saints) of the body and of the blood of Christ. “Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.” (1 Corinthians 10:16-17). While it is a personal communion of each and every believer with the Lord, it is also a memorial in which all the saints have fellowship with one another in remembering Jesus Christ.

It is a proclamation—”You proclaim the Lord’s death” (1Corinthians 11:26). In keeping it we testify to our belief that Christ died for our sins. “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1Corinthians 15:3).

It is a prophetic memorial—”Until He comes.” (1Corinthians 11:26). It is like a guide-post with two arms—one pointing back to our Lord’s death on the Cross, the other pointing forward to His second coming.

The church is the household of the faith. The church is God’s family. At the assembly of the saints, at the public worship of the church, the members of the family are at home. “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22). Here we gather around the Table of the Lord and partake of the memorial.

All the elements of Christian worship are embodied in this memorial of the Cross and its observance—commemoration, communion, fellowship, prayer, proclamation, thanksgiving, meditation, and prophecy. How important it is never to neglect our own assembling together! Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering … let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together … For if we go on sinning willfully … there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins … How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has … regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified …?” (Hebrews10:23-29). How important it is to “judge the body rightly” (1Corinthians 11:29)! How important it is to remember the cross!

—S. Scott Richardson Sr.

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