Dear CSOPC brothers and sisters,
As we considered last week from Mark 7, Christ the true king has come. He has come and won victory for his people. Thus, may we rejoice. May we rejoice in Him. May we rejoice in what Christ has done in his death and resurrection and in what he is doing in the lives of his people – in your life and in my life. For indeed, “he does all things well.” But as we will consider this Lord’s Day, it is all too easy to forget the goodness and the sufficiency of our Lord. Thus, we are to be a people who remembers (2 Tim 2:8).
A few reminders of what’s going on in the life of Cornerstone:
- OUR CONFERENCE IS THIS WEEKEND – FRIDAY AND SATURDAY. REGISTER HERE: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2014-houston-reformed-theological-conference-registration-12553912089.
- Congregational Meeting this Sunday (9/14). We will consider and vote on many important items related to the organization of our church. Please plan to attend.
- This Sunday we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper and we will collect the Deacon’s Offering.
- Finally, this week’s devotion (attached) is a reflection from 1 Corinthians 10 on the Lord’s Supper.
God bless and I look forward to seeing all of you this Lord’s Day!
From the Pastor’s Desk
“The Bread and the Cup”
1 Cor 10:16a, “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ.”
What happens when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper? Does anything happen? Why did the Lord institute this sacred meal? 1 Corinthians 10 gives us vital instruction as to a right understanding of the Lord’s Supper. The context of 1 Corinthians 10 can be briefly summarized: the chief concern throughout 1 Corinthians is the creeping influence of the world upon the church – that is, the ways of the world infecting the church of Jesus Christ. And in chapter 10 Paul is warning the church against idolatry generally; and against church members participating in pagan feasts specifically. In vv. 1-13, Paul employs the history of Israel in the wilderness as a standing warning against the church (see esp. vv. 6-11) … “do not be like them,” says Paul. “Flee from idolatry (v. 14),” Paul absolutely states.
Why the warnings? It appears that some in the Corinthian church were ‘living two lives.’ That is, they were participating in pagan feasts on Saturday and worshipping the Lord on Sunday. And Paul says this cannot be: “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons” (10:21). It is Paul’s use of the Lord’s Supper to support his argument that we should take special note of. And there are two specific aspects of the Supper that Paul highlights.
First, Paul reasons in v. 16, “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ.” Of course, these rhetorical questions demand an affirmative answer. “Yes, by partaking of the bread and the cup in worship, we are participating in the body and blood of Christ.” In other words, through the Lord’s Supper and the working of the Spirit, we are enjoying communion with our risen Savior. We are feeding spiritually on Christ. We are receiving Christ and his benefits. “Therefore,” says Paul, “one cannot participate in Christ and partake of pagan meals. One cannot be joined to Christ and to demons.” In sum, Paul grounds his warning to the Corinthians in the theology of the Supper.
Second, Paul reasons in v. 17, “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” Not only does the Supper confirm our vertical union with Christ, but also it confirms our horizontal union with one another. Partaking together of the bread and wine pictures the unity of the body of Christ. There is one bread … so there is one body of Christ. And to participate in pagan feasts is to rip asunder the unity of the body of Christ as pictured in the one bread. Thus, as we partake together of the Lord’s Table, we enjoy fellowship both with Christ and with one another in Christ.
To summarize, Christ has given us the Lord’s Supper to seal and to confirm his promises to us. As we partake of the bread and wine, something happens. Namely, Christ is feeding us. That is, we are enjoying special communion and fellowship with our Savior. We are receiving grace – and since ultimately God’s grace is found only in his Son – we are receiving Christ by faith. Moreover, as we partake together we are displaying and confirming our communion with one another – that we are the one body of Christ. In the Lord’s Supper we enjoy fellowship both vertically with our Savior and horizontally with the family of God!
Rev. Robert Arendale, Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church (OPC), www.csopc.org