Participating in Jesus
I. This is a SACRAMENT.
A. It means to confess and identify with Jesus.
1. Not magical, not superstition, not mechanical (going through the motions), not by virtue of priest or church.
2. It is personal faith in God and love for God.
John Wesley – “means of grace” “Is not the eating of this bread and the drinking of this cup, an outward, visible means whereby God conveys spiritual grace into our souls? Conveys all that righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit which was purchased by the body of Christ once broken and the blood of Christ once shed?” [BTW, Wesley also considered read the Bible, prayer, and church attendance as “means of grace.”]
B. “Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” [John 6:53]
1. [v 54] We are promised “eternal life.”
2. [v 56] We are promised that we will “remain” in Jesus.
3. [v 58] We are promised “will live forever.”
II. This is SYMBOLIC.
A. We realize the benefits of the body and blood of Jesus.
1. Many people can be summed up in a sentence.
e.g. Abraham – “a friend of God.” David – “a man after God’s own heart.” Thomas – “doubter.” Peter – “impulsive and coarse”
2. Jesus can be understood by His death and resurrection. So we have the broken body and shed blood (of the new covenant).
B. “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."  He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.” [John 12:32 – 33]
1. Notice what will draw people to Jesus is not His power expressed in miracles.
2. It is not Jesus’ teachings that will draw people to Him.
3. It is the broken body and shed blood that is a demonstration of Jesus’ power. That is what Jesus wanted us to remember and celebrate.
III. This is SELF-SACRIFICING.
A. The real power of Jesus life was His self-sacrificing attitude and action.
1. Human nature is selfish, we want our rights, we want to be comfortable, we want to be happy, etc...
2. The problem is how we go about achieving these things.
3. The Christ like principle is that these are achieved by focusing on others, not ourselves.
4. The broken body and the shed blood are the ultimate examples.
B. “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” [1 Peter 2:21]
IV. This is SHAPING.
A. “Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.” [1 Corinthians 10:16]
1. As we participate together in Jesus, we become one as a community.
2. Thus, the idea of “communion.”
B. We are STRENGTHENED.
1. We participate in “communion.” We draw strength from several places.
2. We draw strength from God.
a. We recognize we are “unworthy” but loved.
b. We admit we are short of where we need to be but still accepted.
c. We feel our weakness and dependency on God.
3. We draw strength from each other.
a. There is power in “another.” If one falls the other can help.
b. “Another” gets us past ourselves and keeps us honest.
c. This becomes a house of prayer (desperately praying for each other), not a den of thieves (a safe base of operation for sin).
d. We can move beyond the selfish tone of “is it just me?”
C. We are SATISFIED.
1. Only shared together and focused on Jesus do we really find what we are searching for.
2. We fulfill our “duty” as adopted Children of God by encouraging one another and teaching one another.
Tony Dungy – “The reason we make mistakes or fail is not because of lack of motivation. It is because there was something we did not know.”
D. We are SEPARATED from sin.
1. We tend to comply with our desires, that do not please God, are contrary to God’s law, or are out right rebellion against God.
2. Our obedience or disobedience happens in CONTEXT and the context we find ourselves in is controlled by ATTITUDE.
3. Where you are and who you are with often determine our behavior and the outcome of that behavior.
e.g. At church with others seeking God. At a bar with others seeking...
ATTITUDE question: Seek God or seek your own needs?
“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
PS 139:24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.” [Psalm 139:23 – 24]
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