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  • “To Receive Or Not To Receive That Is The Question?”

      

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“To Receive Or Not To Receive That Is The Question?”

10-03-2018  Part 1 

From William Shakespeare’s play called Hamlet, there is a famous statement made by one of the characters who says, “To be, or not to be, that is the question!“

And I would like to borrow from that famous statement, but rephrase it and use it as a challenge to the Body of Christ, to the people of God today!

Listen, when it comes to participating in Holy Communion, “To Receive Or Not To Receive That Is The Question?”

Over the years I have notice and maybe you have too, but there has been and still is a steady decline in most churches in attendance, personal involvement, and also when it comes to receiving regularly the Lord’s Table or Holy Communion.

And this lack of participation or concern especially when it comes to receiving the Lord’s Table or Holy Communion for me is very alarming, and unfortunate.

And I’m sure there are many reasons, and concerns, and unfortunately misunderstandings about this biblical practice concerning the Lord’s Table or Holy Communion depending on one’s church.  That is what the church or the denomination teaches and believes about this area.

In fact, please take a moment and challenge yourself on this topic of Communion to see how well are you informed, and do you understand some basic things about this most important subject.

A quiz about Communion.  Multiple-choice, pick only one answer per-question.

1. What are the two biblical Christian ordinances that are for Christians today?    A. Tithing and Giving.                                                                                                B. Bible reading and Bible study.                                                                                C. Communion and Baptism.                                                                                       D. Worship and Praise.

2. How often can a Christian take communion?                                                          A. Once a day.                                                                                                                     B. Once a week.                                                                                                                       C. Once a month.                                                                                                                  D. Once a year.                                                                                                                         F.  None of the above.

3. What is Communion for?                                                                                             A. The receiving of God‘s Grace for Salvation.                                                                    B. To have a religious experience, or to participate in a ritual, or to be involved in a special ceremony.           C. To obey what Christ said to do in remembrance of Him.                                                 D. To repent from all my sins.

4. Who can take Communion?                                                                                          A. The Religious or Spiritual Person.                                                                                      B. The Backslider or The Prodigal son or daughter who has not yet repented.                  C. The Unsaved or The Sinner.                                                                                             D. A Child of God or The Saved.

5. As long as you are sincere, are there any serious consequences when partaking of the Lord’s Table, (Communion) even though you are being disobedient to God, or sinful in His sight?                                A. No.                                                                                                                                    B. Maybe.                                                                                                                          C. Yes.                                                                                                                                      D. Not Sure.

6. Why do you participate or take Communion?                                            A. It makes me feel closer to God.                                                                                     B. Because everyone around me in the congregation is doing it.                                     C. Not sure.                                                                                                               D. It is my personal obligation and responsibility to be in obedience to what the Lord said to do.  It is a time for me to personally examine myself, to confess and to acknowledge my sins unto God.  And then to seek God’s forgiveness, repentance, and His gracious ability to bring about transformation within my life.

Note, the correct answers to all six questions will come at the end of today’s Sermon Notes.

Now this afternoon, we will begin a new topic called “To Receive or Not To Receive When It Comes To Holy Communion.”

This will be an in-depth and close-up look the only biblical ordinance in the Bible that is to be perpetual, on-going, and regularly practice among God’s people.

And therefore, our goal, our purpose and our Intent over the next several weeks concerning this important study about Communion, is not just to be informative or to be interesting.

But may this Biblical study about Communion be for you and me spiritually restorative, life changing, and Christ-centered and exulting!  Amen!

Now I Corinthians 11: 18-34, will be our primary focus.

But in order for us today to be able to appreciate this section, we need to have a little background or the backstory to why it was necessary for this particular epistle or letter was written and given to this church.

Unfortunately, this was a very dysfunctional, immature, disobedient church.

For example, read for yourself.                                                                                    I Corinthians 1: 10-13.                                                                                                    I Corinthians 3: 1-16.                                                                                                       I Corinthians 5: 1-13.                                                                                                           I Corinthians 6: 1-8, & 12-20.                                                                                             I Corinthians 7: 1-16.                                                                                                       I Corinthians 10: 1-26.                                                                                                       I Corinthians 13: 1-13.                                                                                                         I Corinthians 14: 1-40.

Now this section or this portion of I Corinthians 11: 18-34, is not only instructional, but correctional!

In fact, there is a three-point outline the Apostle Paul is being led by the Holy Show you what I mean!

Spirit to give this church, and any other church, the correction and the direction concerning their participation with the Lord’s Table or Holy Communion.

First, the Apostle Paul Rebukes them for their mistreatment of one another before, during, and after the Lord’s Supper, another name for Communion, along with the Love (Agape) Feast, i.e. their version of a christian potluck.

Here in I Corinthians 11: 18&19, there was much disunity among themselves!        Vs. 18.   For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it.                                                           Vs. 19.  For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.

Here in I Corinthians 11: 20&21, they were dishonoring God, themselves, and others.                                Vs. 20.  Therefore, when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper.                            Vs. 21.  For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk.

Here in I Corinthians 11: 22, they were disrespecting certain individuals.                    Vs. 22.  What do you not have houses to eat and drink in?  Or, do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing?  What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.

And lastly, here in I Corinthians 11: 33&34, they were in need of much direction from God through His Apostle, Paul!                                                                       Vs. 33.  Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.                          Vs. 34.  And if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment.  And the rest I will set in order when I come.

Now the correct answers for a quiz about Communion.

1. What are the two biblical Christian ordinances that are for Christians today?     A. Tithing and Giving.                                                                                                         B. Bible reading and Bible study.                                                                                           *C. Communion and Baptism.                                                                                  D. Worship and Praise.

2. How often can a Christian take communion?                                                                 A. Once a day.                                                                                                                      B. Once a week.                                                                                                                  C. Once a month.                                                                                                               D. Once a year.                                                                                                                    *F. None of the above.

3. What is Communion for?                                                                                            A. The receiving of God‘s Grace for Salvation.                                                                     B. To have a religious experience, or to participate in a ritual, or to be involved in a special ceremony.         *C. To obey what Christ said to do in remembrance of Him.                                     D. To repent from all my sins.

4. Who can take Communion?                                                                                     A. The religious or spiritual person.                                                                                    B. The Backslider or the Prodigal son or daughter who has not yet repented.               C. The Unsaved or the Sinner.                                                                                     *D. A Child of God or the Saved.

5. As long as you are sincere, are there any serious consequences when partaking of the Lord’s Table, Communion even though you are being disobedient to God, or sinful in His sight?                                  A. No.                                                                                                                                 B. Maybe.                                                                                                                               *C. Yes.                                                                                                                            D. Not Sure. 

6. Why do you participate or take Communion?                                                                A. It makes me feel closer to God.                                                                                    B. Because everyone around me in the congregation is doing it.                                C. Not Sure.                                                                                                                 *D. It is my personal obligation and responsibility to be in obedience to what the Lord said to do.  It is a time for me to personally examine myself, to confess and to acknowledge my sins unto God.  And then to seek God’s forgiveness, repentance, and His gracious ability to bring about transformation within my life.

 10-10-2018   Part 2    

Let’s return back to our newest topic, “To Receive Or Not To Receive That Is The Question When It Comes To Participating In Holy Communion?”

Now, our Manifesto on this particular subject about Holy Communion, is largely depended upon a close-up and in-depth look at I Corinthians 11: 18-34.

Where we receive divine instruction and correction so that we can avoid the pitfalls and the misunderstandings surrounding the observance and practice of this Biblical ordinance.

By the way, Manifesto can mean, a public declaration of intentions, opinions, objectives, or motives, as one issued by a government, a religion, or organization.    A Manifesto is a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer.

Lastly, a Manifesto is a published statement by a person or group of people, especially a political party, a government, or a religion in which they say what their aims and policies and believes are.

Now, through Holy and when it is done right, we can express true worship and praise to God!           By which we can express a heart-felt appreciation and gratitude unto the LORD for all that He has done, is doing, and will do, as we anticipate the Lord’s return one day.

For which we are compelled by the Holy Spirit to recommit and rededicate ourselves completely, spirit, soul and body.                                                                   Motivated to proclaim, or share, or minister to everyone the Gospel.

Lastly, through Holy Communion and when it is done right, we can experience mean-full fellowship with God, and with other fellow Believers who are connected one with another because of Christ.

Now, there is a three-point outline the Apostle Paul is being led by the Holy Spirit to give this church, and any other church the correction and the direction concerning their participation with the Lord’s Table or Holy Communion. 

First, the Apostle Paul rebukes this church, and any other church for their mistreatment of one another before, during, and after the Lord’s Supper.  Which is another name for Communion.

Because before the Lord’s Supper or Communion, some of the first century Gentile churches observed the Love (Agape) Feast, i.e. their version of a Christian Potluck.

See Jude 1:                                                                                                                        Vs. 11.  Woe to them!  For they have gone in the way of Cain, and have ran greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.           Vs. 12.  These are spots in your Love Feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves.  They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots.

Back to I Corinthians 11:                                                                                                 Now, once again the Apostle Paul rebukes this church, and any other church for their mistreatment of one another before, during, and after the Lord’s Supper. which is another name for Communion.             •Here in I Corinthians 11: 18&19, there was much Disunity among themselves!     •Here in I Corinthians 11: 20&21, they were Dishonoring God, themselves, and others.                      •Here in I Corinthians 11: 22, they were Disrespecting certain individuals.              •And lastly, here in I Corinthians 11: 33&34, they were in need of much Direction from God through His Apostle, Paul!

Now remember, there is a three-point outline the Apostle Paul is being led by the Holy Spirit to give this church, and any other church the correction and the direction concerning their participation with the Lord’s Table or Holy Communion.

Secondly, the Apostle Paul reminds this church, and any other church, how the first Communion was instituted by Jesus Christ, and the symbolic importance of the bread and the cup.

And that is in I Corinthians 11: 23-26.                                                                             And now, the third and final point to the Apostle Paul’s outline is to the warn this church, and any other church of the dangers and the consequences, that comes from partaking unworthily or in an unworthy manner, the bread and the cup of the Lord.                                                                                                                        And that is in I Corinthians 11: 27-32.

Now this afternoon let’s focus on the different Biblical names concerning Communion.

See I Corinthians 11: 20.  Therefore, when you come together in one place, it is not to eat *The Lord’s Supper.                                                                                  

Also, I Corinthians 10: 21.                                                                                            You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of *The Lord’s Table and of the table of demons.

Next, I Corinthians 10: 16.                                                                                             The 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?

Next, I Corinthians 11: 24.                                                                                            And when the Lord had *Given Thanks, He broke the bread and said, take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.

Note: Given thanks, can also be translated with the English word, *Eucharist that Actually comes from a New Testament Greek word.                                               A Strong’s definition: The Greek word, εὐχαριστέω eucharistéō, yoo-khar-is-teh'-o; from G2170.   To be grateful, i.e. actively to express gratitude towards; specially, to say grace at a meal: To give thanks.

Next, Acts 2: 42.  And the people continued steadfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine, and in fellowship, and in *The Breaking of Bread and in prayers.

Lastly, St. Luke 22: 15-20.                                                                                        Vs. 15.  Then He said to them, with a fervent desire, I have desired to eat this *Passover with you before I suffer.                                                                           Vs. 16.  For I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.                                                                                                                       Vs. 17.  Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, take this and divide it among yourselves.          Vs. 18.  For I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.                             Vs. 19.   And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, this is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.                        Vs. 20.  Likewise, He also took the cup after supper, saying, this cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.

Now, notice I Corinthians 5: 7.                                                                                          Therefore, purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened.  For indeed Christ our Passover, was sacrificed for us.

Now when you have time read about the first Passover in the Book of Exodus.       Exodus 11: 1-10.            Exodus 12: 1-51.

10-17-2018   Part 3   

Let’s return back to our newest topic, “To Receive Or Not To Receive That Is The Question When It Comes To Participating In Holy Communion?”

Listen, this particular topic about Holy Communion we are considering from I Corinthians 11: 18-34 can truly help us to receive God’s instruction and correction, so that we can avoid the pitfalls and the misunderstandings surrounding the observance and practice of this Biblical ordinance.

Now remember, there is a 3-point outline the Apostle Paul is being led by the Holy Spirit to give to this church, and any other church the correction and the direction concerning their participation with the Lord’s table or Holy Communion.

And this afternoon we are going to begin a close up and in-depth look at the second point of the Apostle Paul’s outline given to Him by the Holy Spirit, and that was then given to this church and to any other church that is to come.

Listen, the Apostle Paul reminds us how the first Communion was instituted by Jesus Christ, and He reminds us how symbolically important the bread and the cup are.

Notice I Corinthians 11:                                                                                                      Vs. 23.  For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;                           Vs. 24.  and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.                               Vs. 25.  In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, this cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.                                                            Vs. 26.  For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.

Now, here in I Corinthians 11: 23, the Holy Spirit uses the Apostle Paul to reveal to the church then and now, who told him about the first Communion that was instituted by Jesus Christ.

Notice the first part of vs. 23.    For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you.

Now remember, the Apostle Paul was not one of the original Disciples or Apostles!  And therefore, he was not an eyewitness of these things that he is speaking about to the church both then and now.

Yet, the Lord Jesus Christ personally called Paul to be an apostle to the Gentiles.

And the Lord Jesus Christ from time to time revealed to Paul certain things that was to be shared with the church both then and now concerning Himself.

And this is why the scriptural writings of the Apostle Paul that are influenced by the Holy Spirit, are to be received as helpful, biblical, authoritative, and as a vital part of the New Testament Canon.

Next, when was the first Communion instituted by Jesus Christ?

Notice the last part of vs. 23.  On the same night in which (He) the Lord Jesus was betrayed took bread.

Now, see Matthew 26: 14.  Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests                 Vs. 15.  and said, what are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?  And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver.                                                                        Vs. 16.  So, from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.                            Vs. 17.  Now on the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?

Quote Zechariah 11: 12.  Then I said to them, if it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.  So, they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.

Now, see Matthew 26:                                                                                                    Vs. 20.  When evening had come, He sat down with the twelve.                            Vs. 21.  Now as they were eating, He said, Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me. Vs. 22.  And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and each of them began to say to Him, Lord, is it I?               Vs. 23.  He answered and said, He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me.              Vs. 24.  The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.                                         Vs. 25. Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, Rabbi, is it I?  He said to him, You have said it.

Quote Psalms 55: 12-14.                                                                                                  Vs. 12. For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; Then I could bear it.                    Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; Then I could hide from him.                        Vs. 13. But it was you, a man my equal, my companion and my acquaintance.           Vs. 14. We took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in the throng.

Our Wednesday Bible Study group that day had a long discussion about Judas Iscariot, who he was, and why he did what he did.

 10-24-2018   Part 4  

Let’s return back to our newest topic, “To Receive Or Not To Receive That Is The Question When It Comes To Participating In Holy Communion?”

Listen, this particular topic about Holy Communion we are considering from I Corinthians 11: 18-34 can truly help us to receive God’s instruction and correction, so that we can avoid the pitfalls and the misunderstandings surrounding the observance and practice of this biblical ordinance.

Now, last Wednesday we ask an important question, when was the first Communion instituted by Jesus Christ?    And the answer please notice the last part of vs. 23.  On the same night in which He the Lord Jesus was betrayed took bread.                                                            Also, see Matthew 26:                                                                                                                           Vs. 45. Then He came to His disciples and said to them are you still sleeping and resting?                     Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.                      Vs. 46.  Rise, let us be going.  See, My betrayer is at hand.                                               Vs. 47.  And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people.                                                              Vs. 48.  Now, His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him.           Vs. 49.  Immediately, he went up to Jesus and said, Greetings, Rabbi!  And kissed Him.                                  Vs. 50.  But Jesus said to him, friend, why have you come? Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him.

Also, see Psalms 41: 9.  Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.                                                                 Now again, the Holy Spirit uses the Apostle Paul to reveal to the Church then and now how the first Communion was instituted by Jesus Christ.

Notice again I Corinthians 11:                                                                                         Vs. 23.  For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed He took bread.

Also, see Matthew 26:                                                                                                    Vs. 17.  Now on the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?

Now, notice vs. 26.  Now as they, the 11 disciples were eating, Jesus took the bread and blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, take, eat; this is My body.

Now, see I Corinthians 10:                                                                                                Vs. 16.  The 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?

Now, back to I Corinthians 11:                                                                                   Vs. 23.  For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;                              Vs. 24.  and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.

Now, let’s consider some important biblical and cultural background about the bread that is mention in certain parts of the New Testament.                                         And is mention in the Gospels concerning the Last Supper, or the Last Passover with Jesus and His disciples.

First, the Feast of the Unleavened Bread for the Passover in Jesus days were usually celebrated together.

Leviticus 23: 5&6 says, in the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord's Passover.

And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Fast of Unleavened Bread unto the Lord: seven days you must eat unleavened bread.

Listen, in Jesus’ days, Passover and the Feast of The Unleavened Bread this feast or celebration was to be a joyous time where also there was served a common meal as well.

Both family members and close friends would come together much like the way we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, or Christmas Day, or a New Year’s Day Dinner.

Now, Passover and the Feast of The Unleavened Bread has two distinct elements that must be used and shared.                                                                                       •Three individual sheets or loaves of unleavened bread.                                           •And four individual cups of wine.

Note: more to be said about the cups of wine use during the Passover in our upcoming studies.

But for our study today, we will mainly be focused on, the three individual sheets or loaves of unleavened bread.

Now, unleavened bread is actually bread dough without yeast.

However, today in modern Judaism, unleavened bread is now called, “Matzo or Matzoh.”                                   Matzo, looks like a large saltine cracker.                                                                       It is flat and it is baked, having grill marks all over it, that looks like stripes on it.

Also, there are multiple pierced holes throughout the Matzo, because of the cooking process it goes through.

Now, for Passover only three individual sheets or loaves of Matzo or unleavened bread were either purchase or was hand-made, for this occasion.

Listen, each individual sheet or loaf of Matzo or unleavened bread was placed separately into a white linen case that is called, “a Matzo case.”                                 This unique case had three separate compartments to it.

In fact, according to Rabbinical tradition, one individual sheet or loaf of Matzo or unleavened bread must be placed separately into one compartment which would represent Abraham.

The next sheet or loaf of Matzo or unleavened bread must be placed separately into another compartment which would represent Isaac.

And the last sheet or loaf of Matzo or unleavened bread must be placed separately into another compartment which would represent Jacob.

Then the male Host of the home conducted a special ceremony at this time.                   He would only remove the sheet or loaf of Matzo or unleavened bread from the second compartment that represented Isaac.

Now, the Host would only break in half that second sheet or loaf of Matzo or unleavened bread.               Also, the Host would wrap the second sheet or loaf of Matzo or unleavened bread now broken in half, and placed it in a white linen cloth and hid it away.

Sometimes, under a cushion somewhere within the house.

Remember, the second sheet or loaf of Matzo or unleavened bread that was now broken in half, represented Isaac. This would become one of the most important parts of the celebration of Passover.

Because during the Passover meal the host at some point would announce it is time to locate in find the second sheet or loaf of Matzo or unleavened bread that was now broken in half, that represented Isaac.

In fact, all the smaller children within the family would participate at this point looking throughout the house to find the two broken haves of unleavened bread that represented Isaac, that was wrap in white linen cloth and hidden away.

Now upon its discovery, it was brought to the Host.                                                            The Host would reward the child who found it with silver coins, in our day, it would be mostly quarters!

Listen, the Host would carefully unwrap the two halves that represented Isaac.  Then he would pass the two halves of unleavened bread that represented Isaac among the adult guest, along with a single cup of wine that each person was to drink from.

Note: more to be said about the cups of wine use during the Passover in our upcoming studies.

Question, why was only the second sheet or loaf of Matzo or unleavened bread that was now broken in half, and that represented Isaac was so important at this time in the Passover celebration?

Now, see Genesis 22:                                                                                                Vs. 7.  But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, My father! And he said, Here I am, my son. Then he said, Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

Vs. 8.  And Abraham said, My son, God will provide for Himself the Lamb for a burnt offering.  So, the two of them went together.                                                         Vs. 10.  And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.      Vs. 11.  But the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham from Heaven and said, Abraham, Abraham!  So, Abraham said, Here I am.                                                            Vs. 12.  And the Angel of the Lord said, Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to Isaac; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.                                 Vs. 13.  Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns.  So, Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son Isaac.                                                 

 October 31, 2018 

 What Are The Origins, Or The Beginnings Of Halloween?

Answer:  Halloween is celebrated in many different ways by all sorts of people around the world.  Traditionally, it was known as All Hallows’ Eve, when the dead were remembered.  Over time, it became cultural. For Americans, it has become extremely commercialized.  We begin to see Halloween decorations in the stores several months in advance. Unfortunately, the emphasis on this commercialized holiday has shifted from innocent costumes to a much more evil, scary, and in some cases pointing to all things hideous or Occultic.  For Satan has undoubtedly made this commercialized holiday into something that has subtly focused on the evil or the demonic.

So, what are the beginnings of Halloween?  Many believe the festival of Samhain to have been the beginning of the Celtic year.  At Samhain, farmers brought livestock in from summer pastures and people gathered to build shelters for winter.  The festival also had religious significance, and people burned fruits, vegetables, grain, and possibly animals as offerings to the gods.  In ancient Celtic stories, Samhain was a magical time of transition when important battles were fought and fairies cast spells.  It was a time when the barriers between the natural world and the supernatural were broken. The Celts believed that the dead could walk among the living at this time.  During Samhain, the living could visit with the dead, who they believed held secrets of the future.  Scholars believe that Halloween's association with ghosts, food, and fortunetelling began with these pagan customs more than 2,000 years ago.

Many of the customs of the pagan Celts survived even after the people became “Christianized.” In the 800s A.D., the church established All Saints' Day on November 1.  About two hundred years later, it added All Souls' Day on November 2.  This day was set aside for people to pray for friends and family who had died.  People made many of the old pagan customs part of this Christian holy day.  Some people put out food for their ancestors, or left a lantern burning in the window so that ghosts could find their way home for the night.  Through the years, various regions of Europe developed their own Halloween customs.  In Wales, for example, each person put a white stone near the Halloween fire at night and then checked in the morning to see whether the stone was still there. If it was, the person would live another year.

In the United States, the origins of Halloween start with the early settlers. When early American settlers came from England, many of them brought various beliefs about ghosts and witches with them. In the 1800s, many immigrants from Ireland and Scotland arrived in the United States and introduced their Halloween traditions.  Other groups added their own cultural influences to Halloween customs.

German immigrants brought a vivid witchcraft lore, and Haitian and peoples from certain parts of Africa, brought their voodoo beliefs and witchcraft.  As well as, many other superstitions about black cats, etc.

Now this YouTube video link we watched during Bible study and it was very helpful and informative.  If you are able on your device to see this YouTube video, I strongly urge you to check it out for yourself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J14fxMogEo0&feature=share

So then, what does the Bible say to us about the celebration of any kind of paganize, or secularized, or commercialized holiday, festival, celebration?

Here are some Biblical principles and precepts for us to know and understand, so that we would glorify God, and not be conform to this world!

See Romans 12: 2.                                                                                                    And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

See I Thessalonians 5:                                                                                            Vs. 21.  Test or examine all things; hold fast what is good.                                   Vs. 22.  Abstain, or restrict oneself from every form of evil.

See Ephesians 6:                                                                                                            Vs. 12.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.                                                          Vs. 13.  Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

See Romans 13:                                                                                                            Vs. 13.  Let us walk properly as in the day, and not in revelry and drunkenness, nor in lewdness and lust, and not in strife and envy.                                              Vs. 14.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts.

See II Corinthians 6:                                                                                                Vs. 14.  Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.                               Because what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?  And what communion has light with darkness?                                                                                             Vs. 15.  And what accord has Christ with Belial?   Or, what part has a believer with an unbeliever?                Vs. 16.  And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?                                  For you are the temple of the living God.

As God has said: I will dwell in them and walk among them.   I will be their God, and they shall be My people.                                                    

Vs. 17. Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.                                                   Vs. 18.  I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.

See Galatians 5:13.                                                                                                For you brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  How?

Now see Romans 14: 21.                                                                                         It is good neither to eat certain foods, nor drink wine, nor do anything by which your brother stumbles, or is offended, or is made weak.

Also, see Romans 14: 12&13.                                                                                 Vs. 12.  So then, each of us shall give account of himself to God.                                  Vs. 13.  Therefore, let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.    

 11-07-2018    Part 5    

Let’s return back to our newest topic, “To Receive Or Not To Receive That Is The Question When It Comes To Participating In Holy Communion?”

Listen, this particular topic about Holy Communion we are considering from I Corinthians 11: 18-34, will truly help us to receive God’s instruction and correction so that we can avoid the pitfalls and the misunderstandings surrounding the observance and practice of this important biblical ordinance.

Now, a couple of weeks ago we ask an important question, how was the first Communion instituted by Jesus Christ?

Notice here in I Corinthians 11:                                                                                   Vs. 23.  For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed (took bread);                      Vs. 24.  and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.

Also See Matthew 26:                                                                                                 Vs. 17.  Now on the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?

Now notice vs. 26.   Now as (they) the 11 disciples were eating, Jesus took the bread and blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, Take, eat; this is My body.

So, a couple of weeks ago we considered some important Biblical and cultural background information about the bread that is mention in certain parts of The New Testament.

And also, the bread is mention in the Gospels concerning The Last Supper, or The Last Passover with Jesus and His disciples.

So, let’s take a brief quiz and remind ourselves how much we have learned so far about the biblical and cultural importance concerning the bread!

Now the correct answers will be given at the end of our Bible study today.                       1. Circle the letters A.B. or C, that you think would be the best answer.

Now Passover and The Feast of The Unleavened Bread have two distinct elements that must be used and shared, what are they?                                        A. Two candles that must be lit before midnight.                                                     B. A Bible and a Hymnal, i.e. a book of hymns. Traditional songs of Praise and Worship.                        C. Three individual sheets or loaves of unleavened bread.  And four individual cups of wine.

2. Circle the letters A. B. C. or D, that you think would be the best answer.  In the Bible the word ‘unleavened’ means two things.                                                       A. Without life and without hope.                                                                                      B. Not having strength and power.                                                                                  C. Bread dough without yeast and how it symbolizes sin. That is, it can permeate and spread within whatever it comes in contact with.                                            D. None of the above.

3. Circle your answer True or False to answer this question.                                    Today in modern Judaism, unleavened bread is now called, “Matzo or Matzoh.” Matzo looks like a large saltine cracker.  It is flat and it is baked, having grill marks all over it, that looks like stripes on it.  Also, there are multiple pierced holes throughout the Matzo, because of the cooking process it goes through.

4. Circle your answer True or False to answer this question.                              Only three individual sheets or loaves of Matzo or unleavened bread were necessary for the Passover service.

5. Circle your answer True or False to answer this question.                                          According to Rabbinical tradition, one of the individual sheets or loaves of Matzo or unleavened bread represented Abraham.  Another sheet or loaf of Matzo or unleavened bread would represent Isaac.   And the last sheet or loaf of Matzo or unleavened bread represented Jacob.

6. Circle your answer True or False to answer this question.                                     The male host of the home conducted a special ceremony, he would only remove the second sheet or loaf of Matzo or unleavened bread that represented Isaac. And the host would break it in half and wrap it in a white linen cloth and would hide it away.                                                                

7. Circle your answer True or False to answer this question.                                             During the Passover meal, the host at some point would announce it is time to find the second sheet or loaf of Matzo or unleavened bread that represented Isaac.  All the smaller children within the family would participate looking for it within the house.  Now, the host would pass the two halves of unleavened bread that represented Isaac among the adult guest, along with a single cup of wine that each person was to drink from.

8. Circle the letters A. B. or C, that you think would be the best answer.                          Question, why was only the second sheet or loaf of Matzo or unleavened bread that represented Isaac, why was it so important at this time in the Passover Service?                                                                            A. It was a reminder that the birth of Isaac was a divine miracle and a sign.                           B. It was a reminder that Isaac was loved and was more important than his older brother Ishmael.          C. It was a reminder of an important Old Testament story in Genesis 22: 7-13.

Now, let’s notice Genesis 22:                                                                                    Vs. 7. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, My father!  And he said, Here I am, my son.  Then he said, Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?                 Vs. 8. And Abraham said, My son, God will provide for Himself (the Lamb) for a burnt offering.  So, the two of them went together.                                                  Vs.10. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.     Vs. 11. But the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham from Heaven and said, Abraham, Abraham!  So, Abraham said, Here I am.                                                 Vs. 12. And the Angel of the Lord said, Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to Isaac; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.           Vs. 13. Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns.  So, Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son Isaac.

Now, see St. John 1: 29 says, The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

And Remember St. John 3: 16&17.                                                                           Vs. 16. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.                          Vs. 17. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

So, according to Rabbinical tradition there were the three individual sheets or loaves of Matzo or unleavened bread which represented Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

But according to Rabbinical tradition, it was that one sheet or loaf of Matzo or unleavened bread that represented Isaac that was so important both then and now.  Why?

Because in one night the Lord Jesus demonstrated that the three loaves of Matzo or unleavened bread actually represented the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!

And especially the second sheet or loaf of Matzo, Jesus is declaring because He is the Son of God, or God the Son, He is the second person of the Trinity, or of the Godhead.

Now noticed carefully Luke 22: 19.  Our Lord officiated the last God ordained Jewish Passover for the Jewish people, because all this was now being fulfilled in Christ Jesus.

For that night in the upper room Jesus Christ would do something that no one else had done before, nor since!

Notice Luke 22: 19.  And Jesus took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto the disciples saying, This is My body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

Remember it was the second sheet or loaf of Matzo or unleavened bread that was now broken in half, that actually represented God the Son, or the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Also, the Matzo that was unleavened or without yeast in the Bible would symbolize that which had no yeast, meant no sin!  And so, it was true concerning God the Son, or the Son of God, Jesus Christ only, and not Issac!

Also, that large saltine cracker-like item, which had grill marks all over it, that looked like stripes on it.

Upon which there were multiple pierced holes throughout the Matzo, was a perfect visual aid!

And, so it was true concerning God the Son, or the Son of God, Jesus Christ only and not Issac. Why?

Because Isaiah 53: 5 said, He was wounded or pierced for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him.  And by His stripes we are healed.

Finally, Jesus says something to the people His day as well as our day that was profound and challenging about himself.

Now, see St. John 6:                                                                                                 Vs. 48. I am the bread of life.                                                                                Vs. 49. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead.                            Vs. 50. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.                Vs. 51. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever, and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.                              Vs. 52. The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?                                                                                     Vs. 53. Then Jesus said to them, Most assuredly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.                         Vs. 54. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.    Vs. 55. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.                           Vs. 56. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.           Vs. 57. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.                                                                          Vs. 58. This is the bread which came down from heaven not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.

The Correct Answers for our quiz today.                                                                   1. Circle the letters A.B. or C, that you think would be the best answer.                       Now, Passover and The Feast of the unleavened bread have two distinct elements that must be used and shared.  What are they?                                             A. Two candles that must be lit before midnight.                                                         B. A Bible and a Hymnal, i.e. a book of hymns. Traditional songs of Praise and Worship.                         (C.) Three individual sheets or loaves of unleavened bread.  And four individual cups of wine.

2. Circle the letters A.B. C. or D, that you think would be the best answer.               In the Bible the word ‘unleavened’ means two things.                                             A. Without life and without hope.                                                                            B. Not having strength and power.                                                                                  (C). Bread dough without yeast and how it symbolizes sin. That is, it can permeate and spread within whatever it comes in contact with.                                 D. None of the above.

3. Circle your answer True or False to answer this question.                              Today in modern Judaism, unleavened bread is now called, “Matzo or Matzoh.”  Matzo looks like a large saltine cracker.   It is flat and it is baked, having grill marks all over it, that looks like stripes on it. Also, there are multiple pierced holes throughout the Matzo, because of the cooking process it goes through. (True)

4. Circle your answer True or False to answer this question.                                          Only three individual sheets or loaves of Matzo or unleavened bread were necessary for the Passover service. (True)

5. Circle your answer True or False to answer this question.                                            According to Rabbinical tradition, one of the individual sheets or loaves of Matzo or unleavened bread represented Abraham.  Another sheet or loaf of Matzo or unleavened bread would represent Isaac and the last sheet or loaf of Matzo or unleavened bread represented Jacob. (True)

6. Circle your answer True or False to answer this question.                                    The male host of the home conducted a special ceremony, he would only remove the second sheet or loaf of Matzo or unleavened bread that represented Isaac. And the host would break it in half and wrap it in a white linen cloth and would hide it away. (True)

7. Circle your answer True or False to answer this question.                         During the Passover Meal the host at some point would announce it is time to find the second sheet or loaf of Matzo or unleavened bread that represented Isaac.  All the smaller children within the family would participate looking for it within the house.  Now, the host would pass the two halves of unleavened bread that represented Isaac among the adult guest, along with a single cup of wine that each person was to drink from. (True)

8. Circle the letters A. B. or C, that you think would be the best answer.              Question, why was only the second sheet or loaf of Matzo or unleavened bread that represented Isaac, why was it so important at this time in the Passover service?                                                                              A. It was a reminder that the birth of Isaac was a divine miracle and a sign.             B. It was a reminder that Isaac was loved and was more important than his older brother Ishmael.                (C). It was a reminder of an important Old Testament story in Genesis 22: 7-13.

11-14-2018     Part 6             

Let’s return back to our newest topic, “To Receive Or Not To Receive That Is The Question When It Comes To Participating In Holy Communion?”

Listen, this particular topic about Holy Communion we are considering from I Corinthians 11: 18-34, will truly help us to receive God’s instruction and correction so that we can avoid the pitfalls and the misunderstandings surrounding the observance and practice of this important biblical ordinance.

Now question, How was the first Communion instituted by Jesus Christ?

Notice here in I Corinthians 11: 25, in the same manner He (the Lord) also took the cup after supper, saying, this cup is the New Covenant in My Blood. This do as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.

Now see Matthew 26: 17.  Now on the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat (the Passover)?

Remember Passover and the Feast of the Unleavened Bread has two distinct elements that must be used and shared.                                                                       •Three individual sheets or loaves of unleavened bread.                                                    •And four individual cups of wine.

And for our study today we will mainly be focused on, the four individual cups of wine.

Show you what I mean!

Now, notice Matthew 26: 27-29.                                                                                        Vs. 27.  Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink from it, all of you.              Vs. 28.  For this is My blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission or forgiveness of sins.                                                                            Vs. 29.  And I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.

Now, notice again I Corinthians 11: 25.                                                                          In the same manner He (the Lord) also took the Cup after supper, saying, This cup is the New Covenant in My Blood. This do as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.

Now, traditionally the Passover meal was structured or revolved around the sharing of four cups of wine at different intervals during the evening celebration, but there is one very special cup of wine that we will mention as well.

•Now the 1st cup of wine during the evening celebration is also known as the Cup of Consecration, or sometime is referred to as the Cup of Sanctification. This is based upon God’s promise, I will bring you out from under the burdens or slavery of the Egyptians to serve Me, you are set apart!

•Next, the 2nd cup of wine during the evening celebration is also known as the Cup of Proclamation of Judgment and Deliverance. This is based upon God’s promise of plagues of judgment upon the Egyptians.  And yet, His ability to still protect, preserve, and deliver His people with a mighty hand!

•Next, the 3rd cup of wine during the evening celebration is also known as the Cup of Thanksgiving, or the Cup of Redemption, or the Cup of Blessing. This is based upon God’s promise I will redeem you from the Egyptians. Therefore, I will bless you and you will be thankful unto Me, saith the LORD.

•Finally, the 4th cup of wine during the evening celebration is also known as the Cup of Praise, or the Cup of Restoration, or the Cup of Hope, or the Cup of the Kingdom. This is based upon God’s promise I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God. Therefore, worship Me saith the LORD.  Have hope in Me to restore and to establish My kingdom.

But there is one more special cup of wine during the evening celebration the no one touches nor drinks from.  It is called the Cup of Elijah, or Elijah’s Cup in Judaism.

This 5th ceremonial cup of wine is also poured into a special cup during the family Seder dinner or Passover.

But it is left untouched in honor of the Prophet Elijah, who according to tradition will arrive one day as an unknown guest, to herald or announce the Advent of the Messiah.

A place setting is always made up for Elijah, the prophet, at the Passover table. He is the honored guest in every Jewish household with a cup filled with wine waiting for him.

Even the small children in the home are encouraged to open the main door of the House, as it is hoped that he will come and announce the coming of The Messiah.

After a period of time it is announced that maybe next year Elijah will come!

So then, according to Matthew 26: 27, then He took the Cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, drink from it, all of you.

And according to I Corinthians 11: 25.  In the same manner He (the Lord) also took the cup after supper, saying, this cup is the New Covenant in My Blood. This do as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.

Question, which of the five cups of wine do you think the Lord Jesus used to initiate the first Communion?

Was it the 1st cup, the Cup of Consecration, or the Cup of Sanctification?             Or, the 2nd cup, the Cup of Proclamation of Judgment and Deliverance?                    Or, the 3rd cup, the Cup of Thanksgiving, or the Cup of Redemption, or the Cup of Blessing!                Or, the 4th cup, the Cup of Praise, or the Cup of Restoration, or the Cup of Hope, Or the Cup of the Kingdom!                                                                                  Or, was it the 5th cup, the Cup of Elijah, or Elijah’s Cup? 

At this time the Bible study group and I when over the five possibilities and came to this conclusion. 

See I Corinthians 10:16, the 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?

Remember the 3rd cup is called, the Cup of Thanksgiving, or the Cup of Redemption, (or the Cup of Blessing)!

So, which of the five cups of wine did the Lord Jesus use to initiate the first Communion?

The 3rd cup, the Cup of Thanksgiving, or the Cup of Redemption, (or the Cup of Blessing)!

11-28-2018   Part 7  

Let’s return back to our newest topic, “To Receive Or Not To Receive That Is The Question When It Comes To Participating In Holy Communion?”

Listen, this particular topic about Holy Communion we are considering from I Corinthians 11: 18-34, will truly help us to receive God’s instruction and correction So that we can avoid the pitfalls and the misunderstandings surrounding the observance and practice of this important Biblical Ordinance.

Now question, how was the first Communion instituted by Jesus Christ?

Notice here in I Corinthians 11: 25 in the same manner He (the Lord) also took the cup after supper, saying, this cup is the New Covenant in My blood.  This do as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.

Now see Matthew 26:                                                                                                           Vs. 17.  Now on the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?

Remember, Passover and the Feast of the Unleavened Bread have two distinct elements that must be used and shared.                                                                               •Three individual sheets or loaves of unleavened bread.                                                   •And four individual cups of wine.                                                                                         

The 1st cup, The Cup of Consecration, or The Cup of Sanctification.                The 2nd cup, The Cup of Proclamation of Judgment And Deliverance.                                  The 3rd cup, The Cup of Thanksgiving, or The Cup of Redemption, or The Cup of Blessing.                         The 4th cup, The Cup of Praise, or The Cup of Restoration, or The Cup of Hope, or The Cup of The Kingdom!

 Also, there was a special cup that was filled with wine but it was not to be used for it was only symbolic.  This 5th cup was known as The Cup of Elijah, or Elijah’s Cup!

So, which of the five cups of wine did the Lord Jesus use to initiate the First Communion?

It’s hard to be certain or dogmatic about this question, however according to this passage in I Corinthians 10: 16, it may give us an important clue on which of the five choices is probably the best.

See I Corinthians 10:16, The 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?

And remember, the 3rd cup in the Passover Celebration is also called, The Cup of Thanksgiving, Or The Cup of Redemption, (Or The Cup of Blessing)!

Therefore, which of the five Cups of wine did the Lord Jesus use to initiate the First Communion?

Most likely it was the 3rd cup, The Cup of Thanksgiving, Or The Cup of Redemption, (Or The Cup of Blessing)!

Now according to I Corinthians 11: 25 says, in the same manner He the Lord also took the cup (the 3rd cup) after supper, saying, this cup is the New Covenant in My Blood. This do as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.

Listen there are two things we must observe that are very important at this point.

•First, the cup itself, or the drinking vessel it’s self in I Corinthians 11: 25.                                   •Secondly, the contents within the cup in I Corinthians 11: 25.

So, let’s start with, the cup itself, or the vessel itself!

Notice I Corinthians 11: 25.  In the same manner the Lord took the Cup (the 3rd Cup) after supper, saying, this cup is the New Covenant in My Blood.  This do as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.

By the way, this 3rd cup that was used is not the Holy Grail or chalice of the King Arthur’s legend!

For this medieval legend about the cup supposedly used by Jesus at the Last Supper, and then later Joseph of Arimathea, a secret disciple retrieve the cup and supposedly when he was helping to take the body of Jesus down from the cross, Joseph use that same cup to capture some of the blood of Christ into it.

And thus, the quests for it was undertaken by medieval knights with are described in versions of the Arthurian legends or King Arthur’s writings from the early 13th century onward.

Note: check out this YouTube link that shows the last part of the movie of Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade,

The Holy Grail or chalice of the King Arthur’s legend.                                                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0TalLrtZ24&feature=share

Now remember, there are two things we must observe that are very important concerning the 3rd cup.   •First, the cup itself, or the drinking vessel itself!                                                              •And secondly, the contents within the cup!

Notice Luke 22:                                                                                                                         Vs. 15.  Then Jesus said to them, with fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;                                                                                                    Vs. 16.  for I say to you, I will no longer eat of Passover until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.             Vs. 17.  Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, take this and divide it among yourselves;            Vs. 18.  for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.           Therefore, the contents within the cup was the fruit of the vine.

Question: But was this intoxicating wine or was it grape juice?                                              Please read this Christian article to gain some insight about this most controversial question.

Question: Should wine or grape juice be used for communion?                                          Answer:  Whether it is acceptable to serve (and/or receive) either wine or grape juice during communion is a debate that can be very divisive.  People defend their position with great zeal, and, in an effort to defend the position they’ve taken, many people seem to lose sight of the greater issue, and that is what the liquid in the cup represents the shed blood of our Lord and Savior establishing the New Covenant.  That wine was consumed in Old Testament times is abundantly clear in Scripture. We first see its use (or misuse) when Noah became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent (Genesis 9:21). And later we see King Melchizedek serve wine to Abram after returning from a battle (Genesis 14:17–18).  In Exodus 29:40 we see God commanding the use of wine as part of the Levitical sacrificial system, and when David was made king, his men feasted for three days with food and wine (1 Chronicles 38-40).  In fact, Psalm 104:15 tells us that God made wine that gladdens the heart of man. And we also see the LORD preparing a feast for His people someday of rich food that includes a “banquet of aged wine” (Isaiah 25:6). Now, in the New Testament we know that Jesus’ first miracle was changing water into wine at the wedding at Cana (John 2: 1–11).  And our Lord Himself not only drank wine (Luke 7:34), but He said He would also drink it in heaven with us (Matthew 26:29). Additionally, the apostle Paul instructed Timothy to use wine instead of “only water” so as to make his stomach better (1 Timothy 5:23). Notwithstanding the frequency with which we see the use of wine all through the Bible, it is equally clear that drunkenness is never acceptable. In fact, Ephesians 5:18 states it quite succinctly: Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. As indicated, the proponents of drinking wine clearly have much Scripture available to support the position they take, and the above examples (with the exception of Noah) reflect how wine, when used properly and in moderation, can indeed be a good thing. Those who feel wine should not be used also make some cogent arguments, and it should be noted that they too have scriptural references to cite in support thereof. (See, for example, Proverbs 4:17; 20:1; and 23:29–32.)  And in Leviticus 10:9 we see the LORD tell Aaron that neither he nor his sons were to drink wine whenever they went into the tent of meeting or they would die. As for using wine or grape juice in the Lord’s Supper, there is no hard and fast biblical rule that states either one is preferred or acceptable. For those who use wine, certainly, if someone won’t drink from the cup because of its alcoholic content, then that is a valid concern.   Or, if someone is going to be distracted in any way as he or she approaches the cup, then that, too, is a valid concern as it may cause him to lose focus as to the real issue and thereby disregard Christ’s very command that we do this in remembrance of Him. Along these lines, the apostle Paul said, 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.  For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself” 1 Corinthians 11:27–29).  Accordingly, the important question is whether or not we are drinking from the cup in a worthy manner. As we approach the altar to partake of the Lord’s Supper, are we doing so in a ritualistic fashion? Are we simply going through the motions? Is our sinful human nature causing us to be indifferent; do we have an unrepentant heart? Perhaps a spirit of bitterness or any ungodly attitude? Unconfessed sin? We need introspection here, looking into our hearts and making sure we remember the magnitude of what we are doing and what Christ has done for us, before we drink from the cup. Nowhere in God’s Word do we see a command or requirement relative to the fermentation level of the cup’s contents. Nonetheless, if anyone has a strong opinion either way about what their church serves, that is fine if the zeal stems from a desire to do that which, in that one’s opinion, best honors the Savior. But we must be careful not to cross that line wherein our zeal causes us to lose focus of the very real, very sacred issue as to what the cup represents.  If it were not for the shed blood of Jesus Christ, we would not be able to be in the presence of our great God in the first place (Hebrews 10:19–25).  Any religious endeavor, practice, issue, or debate that causes us to lose focus of the sanctity of the cup takes us down a road the Lord would prefer we not traverse.

Also, may I share my personal opinion and convection on this matter that may help?

First, see Romans 14: 21.  It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.

My opinion is that in a congregational setting where you have a mixture of nonbelievers and believers, children and young adults, mature and in Immature believers. Individuals that have or had issues with substance abuse, alcoholism. Or Individuals who come from a dysfunctional family background were substance abuse, alcoholism was a negative part within their lives. 

Then, Romans 14: 21 is an important guideline that should be considered.

See Romans 14: 21.  It is good neither to eat meat, nor drink wine, nor do anything by which your brother stumbles, or is offended, or is made weak.

12-05-2018   Part 8     

Let’s return back to our current topic, “To Receive Or Not To Receive That Is The Question When It Comes To Participating In Holy Communion?”

Listen, this particular topic about Holy Communion we are considering from I Corinthians 11: 18-34, will truly help us to receive God’s instruction and correction so that we can avoid the pitfalls and the misunderstandings surrounding the observance of this important Biblical Ordinance.

Notice here in I Corinthians 11: 25, and practice in the same manner the Lord also took the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.

Now notice Matthew 26:                                                                                          Vs 27.  Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink from it, all of you.            Vs 28.  For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.                 Vs 29.  But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.

Notice vs. 28.  Again, for this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many, for the remission of sins.

This word ‘covenant’ can mean, a serious conditional binding obligation, or agreement, or pact between two individuals, or a group of individuals.

Or, it can mean a solemn promise, or commitment, or contract between two individuals, or a group of individuals.

In fact, here are a few English synonyms for the word covenant that means the same thing, but it is spelled differently.                                                                    A Vow.                                                                                                                        An Oath.                                                                                                                      Testament.                                                                                                                      Alliance.                                                                                                      Guarantee.

Now, when it comes to the Bible there are two primary covenants that are revealed.

A human covenant, man with man.                                                                     Two individuals, or a group of individuals coming together to make a pact or an agreement based on certain promises, privileges, and responsibilities that are mutually agreed-upon, and must be ratified by blood or ink!

Next, a divine covenant, God with Man.                                                                 In this case, God alone is the initiator and not man.  God is fully responsible in revealing the terms or commandments, the conditions or laws, the promises or the blessings based on His conditional covenant between Himself and a certain individual, or a Group of individuals that must be ratified by blood!

Now see Matthew 26: 28, Jesus said, For this is My blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for many, for the remission of sins.

Listen, the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross was not just a violent act of cruelty, but served a divine purpose to bring about a blood covenant, a new covenant, for the remission of sins, for a new kind of people who were made up of both Jew and Gentile that was ratified by blood!

So, God alone was the initiator and not Man. Therefore, God is fully responsible in revealing the terms or commandments, the conditions or laws, the promises or the blessings based on His conditional covenant between Himself and all believers during the Church age and the Tribulation Period of the last days.

See Hebrews 9: 14.  How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?                      Vs 15.  And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

See Hebrews 8: 6,  But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.

See Hebrews 10:                                                                                                     Vs 15.  But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,     Vs 16.  This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,   Vs 17.  Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Now back to I Corinthians 11.                                                                            Notice carefully I Corinthians 11:                                                                        Vs. 24.  And when Jesus had given thanks, He broke the Bread and said, Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.         Vs 25.  In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.

There are a few things in vs. 24&25 that we should clarified biblically!

For example, vs. 24. And when Jesus had given thanks, He broke the bread and said, *Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.                                                              And in vs. 25, in the same manner Jesus also took the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant *in My blood, This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.

Question should vs. 24 & 25 be taken literally?                                                         Notice vs. 24.  Take, eat; this is My body!                                                           And in notice vs. 25, in My blood, This do, as often as you drink it.

Question should vs. 24 & 25 be taken literally?                                                           Both the Roman Catholic Church and some parts of the Lutheran Church take a literal position and believe concerning what Communion really becomes.              •The Roman Catholic Church teaches the Doctrine of Transubstantiation.                    •But in some parts of the Lutheran Church, as well as in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Episcopal Church, they will teach a different doctrine known as Consubstantiation.

So, what is Transubstantiation and Consubstantiation?  Is there any difference between the two?   And, which one of them is biblically interpreted correctly?

First, The Doctrine of Transubstantiation.

The word “transubstantiation” derives from Latin-Trans, (change), and substantia (substance). The term is employed in Roman Catholic theology to denote the idea that during the ceremony of the Mass, the bread and wine are changed in substance into the flesh and blood of Christ, even though the elements appear to remain the same.  This doctrine, has no basis in Scripture.  There are traces of the dogma in some of the post apostolic writings and the concept was vigorously defended in the early ninth century A.D.  It was adopted by the fourth Lateran Council (A.D. 1215), formalized at the Council of Trent (A.D. 1545-63).  The doctrine was reaffirmed at the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).

Next, The Doctrine of Consubstantiation.

Consubstantiation, is a term commonly applied to the Lutheran concept of the communion supper, though some modern Lutheran theologians reject the use of this term because of its ambiguity. The expression, however, is generally associated with Luther. The idea is that in the communion the body and blood of Christ and the bread and wine coexist in union with each other.  Luther illustrated it by the analogy of the iron put into the fire whereby both fire and iron are united in the red-hot iron and yet each continues unchanged (Cross, 337).

But, which of these doctrines are correct? Any dogma that attempts to place the real presence of the flesh and blood of Christ into the communion components, in a literal sense, is the result of a misunderstanding of the language employed in the Scriptures. One of the most important skills necessary for the correct interpretation of the Bible is the ability to distinguish between language that is used in a figurative sense versus that which is employed in a literal sense.

Human communication abounds with figurative expressions, and a common sense approach must be taken in the consideration of speech.  One of the fundamental canons in identifying figurative language is this. Normally, a word should be viewed as literal unless other considerations make it impossible to interpret the term in that light. Determinative factors that are essential to making the proper judgments are these:

•Context, both immediate and remote (i.e. discussion of the same subject in other biblical references). •Consistency (the Scriptures do not contradict themselves).                                             •Common sense (i.e. does a literal interpretation imply an absurdity)?

An appropriate application of the previous hermeneutic principles will force the serious Bible student to the conclusion that the biblical references to the Lord’s supper as the “body” and “blood” of Christ must be interpreted figuratively, not literally. Consider the following points. When Jesus took bread and fruit of the vine, gave these objects to the disciples, and said, “this is my body this is my blood,” Matt. 26: 26-28, he quite obviously was not speaking literally, for he still possessed his literal body and blood! Moreover, at the same time, Christ specifically identified the drink as “this fruit of the vine,” Matt. 26:29. The nature of the substance had not changed. There is a common figure of speech that is known as metaphor. The metaphor is a dramatic image by which one thing is compared to another, but being represented figuratively as that very thing. Of the tribal descendants of Judah, Jacob said: “Judah is a lion’s whelp” (Gen. 49:9) certainly not literally, but having certain lion-like traits. When Jesus referred to Herod as “fox” (Lk. 13:31-32), no one understood him to imply that the ruler was a four-legged animal with a bushy tail! Christ once said: “I am the vine, you are the branches” (Jn. 15:5). Every careful student knows that the Savior employed symbolism by this language.  An analogy was being drawn. The language was not to be pressed literally. The fact that Jesus instructed the disciples to subsequently partake of the Lord’s supper “in remembrance” of him (Lk.22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24) contains the implication that he would not be present physically in the communion celebration. A favorite “proof-text” that is used frequently in an attempt to establish the “real presence” of Christ in the communion is John 6:53-54. Here Jesus declared: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have not life in yourselves. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” That this passage does not yield the desired goal can be demonstrated both grammatically and contextually.  But In St. John 6:54, the terms “eateth” and “drinketh” are both present tense participles, signifying that the disciples were to be eating his “flesh” and drinking his “blood” at that very time and continue doing so as a process. A literal rendition would read: “He who continues eating my flesh and drinking my blood?” The disciples were not eating and drinking the Savior’s literal flesh and blood at that moment! The “eating” and “drinking” are said to result in “life.” But in this very context, that “life” is described as being the consequence of receiving Christ’s “words,” i.e. his teaching (Jn. 6:63). It thus becomes clear that the consumption of his body and blood are the equivalent of ingesting his sacred instruction the former is a figurative expression. The latter is literal. This is further borne out of a consideration of the phrase, “abides in me, and I in him” (Jn. 6:56). That reciprocal relationship is said to be the result of “eating” and “drinking” the flesh and blood of Christ. However, in a complimentary passage, elsewhere in John’s writings, the apostle equates the “in me / in you relationship with keeping his commandments” (1 Jn. 3:24).

Now see St. John 6:                                                                                                  Vs. 53.  Then Jesus said to them, Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.                  Vs. 54.  Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.                                                                                   Vs. 55.  For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.                        Vs. 56.  He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.

Unfortunately, the Roman Catholics interpret this passage literally and apply its message to the Lord’s Supper, which they title the “Eucharist” or “Mass.” Those who reject the idea of transubstantiation interpret Jesus’ words in John 6:53-57 figuratively or symbolically. How can we know which interpretation is correct? Thankfully, Jesus made it exceedingly obvious what He meant. John 6:63 declares, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” Jesus specifically stated that His words are “spirit.” Jesus was using physical concepts, eating and drinking, to teach spiritual truth. Just as consuming physical food and drink sustains our physical bodies, so are our spiritual lives saved and built up by spiritually receiving Him, by grace through faith. Eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking His blood are symbols of fully and completely receiving Him in our lives. The Scriptures declare that the Lord's Supper is a memorial to the body and blood of Christ (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:24-25), not the actual consumption of His physical body and blood. When Jesus was speaking in John chapter 6, Jesus had not yet had the Last Supper with His disciples, in which He instituted the Lord’s Supper. To read the Lord’s Supper or Christian Communion back into John chapter 6 is unwarranted. The most serious reason transubstantiation should be rejected is that it is viewed by the Roman Catholic Church as a "re-sacrifice" of Jesus Christ for our sins, or as a “re-offering / re-presentation” of His sacrifice. This is directly in contradiction to what Scripture says, that Jesus died "once for all" and does not need to be sacrificed again (Hebrews 10:10; 1 Peter 3:18). Hebrews 7:27 declares, "Unlike the other high priests, He (Jesus) does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins ONCE for all when He offered Himself."

The accumulation of evidence is quite irresistible. The references to partaking of the Lord’s body and blood are figures of speech.

With all due respect to sincere people, it is a crassly materialistic methodology that turns the sacred memorial Supper into a cannibalistic ritual.

12-12-2108      Part 9     

Let’s return back to our current topic, “To Receive Or Not To Receive That Is The Question When It Comes To Participating In Holy Communion?”

Listen, this particular topic about Holy communion we are considering from I Corinthians 11: 18-34, will truly help us to receive God’s Instruction and correction so that we can avoid the pitfalls and the misunderstandings surrounding the observance and practice of this Important Biblical ordinance.

Notice I Corinthians 11:                                                                                            Vs. 24.  And when Jesus had given thanks, He broke the bread and said, take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.         Vs. 25.  In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, this cup is the new covenant in My blood.  This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.

Listen, there are some important things in vs. 24&25 that should be clarified Biblically, so that we can know what this really means!

For example, see vs. 25, in the same manner Jesus also took the cup after supper, saying, this cup is *the New Covenant in My blood, this do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.

And last Wednesday we learned about this phrase in vs. 25, the New Covenant.  And also last Wednesday we learned about this phrase in vs. 24, “take, eat; this is My body!”

And also, in vs. 25, “In My blood, this do as often as you drink it, My blood, in remembrance of Me!”

Then we ask the question should these statements from Jesus in vs. 24 & 25 be taken literally?  Because this is such a serious debate, and very controversial among so many.

We know historically the Roman Catholic Church, and some parts of the Lutheran Church, they have taken a literal position and belief concerning what Communion really becomes when they participate In It!

For example, the Roman Catholic Church teaches the doctrine of Transubstantiation.

And in some parts of the Lutheran Church, as well as in the Eastern Orthodox Churches, and the Episcopal Churches, they will teach a different doctrine that is known as Consubstantiation.

And last Wednesday, 12-5-18, we gave to you some important handouts for you to read that goes into great detail about these two extreme and unbiblical doctrines Transubstantiation and Consubstantiation.

Now, this afternoon let’s continue to observe a few more important things in vs. 24&25 that should be clarified biblically, so that we can know what this really means!

For example, I Corinthians 11: 24, and when Jesus had given thanks, He broke the bread and said, Take, eat; this is My body *which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.

Now notice the phrase, “My body which is broken for you.”

Question, were any of the bones of Jesus ever broken before, during, or after His death?

Remember that Jesus did go through a lot!                                                             He was badly abused and tortured, then shortly after that He was crucified and buried.

So, were any bones in the body of Jesus ever broken before, during, or after His death?

Well, notice.  See St. John 19:                                                                                   Vs. 30.  So, when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.                                                       Vs. 31.  Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath for that Sabbath was a high day, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.                                                                                                                   Vs. 32.  Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. Vs. 33.  But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.  Vs. 34.  But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.   Vs. 35.  And I John a disciple who has seen this has testified, and my testimony is true; and I know that I am telling the truth, so that you may believe.                   Vs. 36.  Because these things were done that the scripture should be fulfilled, not one of His bones shall be broken. (Note Psalm 34: 20-22).                              Vs. 37.  And again, another scripture says, They shall look on Him whom they pierced. (Note Psalm 22: 16&17).

So, notice the KJV or the NKJV of I Corinthians 11:                                            Vs. 24.  And when Jesus had given thanks, He broke the bread and said, Take, eat; this is My body *which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.

So, how do we reconcile and understand this phrase in vs. 2 that says, “This is My body which is broken for you,” in the KJV or the NKJV?

In fact, the NIV Version of the Bible says,                                                                 I Corinthians 11:24 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."

The ESV Version of the Bible says,                                                                         I Corinthians 11:24 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."

How do we reconcile and understand this phrase in vs. 24.  That says, “This Is My body which is broken for you,” in the KJV or the NKJV?

Now, see Luke 22: 19.                                                                                          And Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.

Once again listen there are some important things in vs. 24&25 that should be clarified biblically, so that we can know what this really means!

Now, notice in vs. 24&25.                                                                                     Vs. 24.  And when Jesus had given thanks, He broke the bread and said, Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; *do this in remembrance of Me.       Vs. 25.  In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood, this do, as often as you drink it, *In remembrance of Me.

So, what does this really mean, “Do this in remembrance of Me, Jesus said?”    Well, here is what it doesn’t mean!

This is not an expression of someone who is insecure, or is narcissistic, or is egotistic!

Listen our English word ‘remembrance’ means, the act of remembering someone or something.  To have recollections or memories. Or, to take time to reminisce.

But biblically, the correct understanding of remembrance, or remembering meant way more than just recalling something that happened in the past!

But like the word “Selah” in the Bible which can mean, to stop and ponder, or to pause and think on!

Remembrance, or remembering is about recapturing as much as possible in one’s conscious mind, the reality and the significance of an event, or about that person who is highly significant in your life, God!

Unfortunately, so many of us when participating in Holy Communion, our minds and our hearts can be a million miles away.

And therefore, if we are not careful, we will fail every time in fulfilling our Lord’s request and command who said, “Do this in remembrance of Me.”

We should focus our thoughts and appreciations for Jesus, on what He accomplished upon the cross.

For the Lord’s Table is a commemoration, a ceremony of remembrance about a person, and not about ourselves or anyone else!

So, when we participate, we must remember the LORD, He must be our focal point!

We cannot allow ourselves to be distracted in the Communion service itself!     We cannot allow ourselves to be thinking about what will take place after Church, or even in the new week ahead!