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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)!