Declarations of the Table
The Bible talks about so-called gods other than the One True God, and it refers to them as “dumb idols.”
1 Corinthians 12:2
You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led.
Psalm 115 speaks of idols that have:
- mouths but cannot speak
- eyes but cannot see
- ears but cannot hear.
Isaiah 46:6-7 speaks of those who build their own god and then fall down and worship it. They have to carry their god from one place to another. When they cry out to their god it cannot answer them or save them out of their trouble
1 Samuel 5:1-5 tells the story of Dagon falling when the Ark of the Covenant was placed next to it. Falls gods simply can’t measure up to or stand in the presence of God.
God wants us to know that he’s not like the other gods that people conjure up and invent for themselves.
For their rock is not like our Rock…
We don’t have a dumb idol or a dumb god—we have a God who speaks, a God who has something to say!
Time and again we read in Scripture:
- Thus saith the Lord…
- The word of the Lord came unto me saying…
- (Jesus) Verily, verily, I say unto you…
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds…
God has spoken by men who were anointed to speak His word, and He spoke through the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today, He still speaks to us through His Word and His Spirit.
But another way He speaks to us is through ordinances He established. Communion, the Lord’s Supper, is one of these.
As we come to this table, we must realize that this is not a meaningless ritual. We must come with open ears to hear THE DECLARATIONS OF THE TABLE.
You’ve heard the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words.”
The symbols on this table do not represent a philosophy. They do not represent an ideology.
These symbols speak of action and substance.
They speak a very bold message about:
- What Jesus did
- What we have today because of Him
- What we have to look forward to because of His promised return
It’s only appropriate that this table speaks about the past, the present, and the future. Actually, it has to, because what Jesus did affects our past, our present, and our future.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
God wants you to know that He’s got the whole spectrum—not only of your life, but also of eternity— covered!
He’s the God that inhabits eternity (Isaiah 57:15)!
He’s the God who is from everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 90:2)!
He’s the God who is forever the Great I AM (Exodus 3:14)!
He’s not the “Great Has Been” or the “Great Will Be,” He is the Great I AM!
That’s why God can speak authoritatively about your past, your present, and your future.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men (PAST), teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age (PRESENT), looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (FUTURE),
As we come to this table today, I want you to know that this table has some very bold declarations today about the past, the present, and the future.
1 Corinthians 11:23-32
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; 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.” 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.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
There are three things to realize here:
1. This Table Declares Something About the Past
We are told to remember. Remember what? Jesus’ redeeming death!
The death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is the most significant event in human history.
It means that God established the means whereby He has entered into covenant with those who will believe and receive that covenant.
Historically speaking, a Blood Covenant is an unbreakable agreement based on blood, resulting in the absolute union of two parties in which all assets, talents, debts, and liabilities are mutually shared. This agreement of unity is worked out in carefully defined pledges and promises that each makes to the other.
Through the blood of Jesus, we have a Covenant with God. He took all of our debts and liabilities. We received all of His assets and blessings.
When we talk about remembering the past, we are talking about focusing on the Lord Jesus Christ—what He did for us.
The world can’t get away from their past, because they haven’t received what He did in the past.
The most significant thing in your life:
- Is not what you did.
- Is not what you’d had done to you.
- But it’s what He did for you.
Because of what He did:
- We’ve been forgiven.
- We’ve been cleansed.
- We’ve been made new creatures.
- We’ve been accepted by God.
- We’ve been made the sons of God.
- We’ve been made heirs of God and joint-heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thank God for what Jesus did in the past, and for how that affects our past.
This table—these elements—declare things about the past—telling us to remember!
2. This Table Declares Something About the Present
Because of the covenant we have with God, God has made certain promises regarding his abiding presence and power in our lives.
Because of the covenant, He has promised to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
To Leave = slacken up, desert, desist from
To Forsake = desert, to leave behind in some place, abandon, leave helpless
The table not only speaks of the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ in the past, but it also speaks of God’s keeping power in the present!
My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.
2 Timothy 1:12
For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
1 Peter 1:5
who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy…
There are two sides to the issue of “keeping”—like two sides of a coin—certainly God keeps us, but we have a responsibility to keep ourselves as well.
keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
1 John 5:18
We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.
We are talking about the fact that the Lord’s Table has a declaration about our present. It declares that we are kept by the power of God, but we must cooperate with God’s keeping power by keeping ourselves.
I Corinthians 11:28 says, “But let a man examine himself…”
- Are we walking in love?
- Are we discerning the Lord’s body?
- Are we walking in the ways of God & shunning evil?
- Are we walking in obedience to the will of God?
- We must agree with the declaration of this table that we are kept by the power of God, but we must also keep ourselves as well.
3. This Table Declares Something About the Future
1 Corinthians 11:26
For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
The word “proclaim” here means:
- to declare
- to preach
- to show
- to announce
- to publish
These elements not only stand for what Jesus did, but they proclaim and foretell the fact that Jesus is coming again.
When Jesus instituted the ordinance of communion, he did so with a prophetic element.
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.”
Jesus did not just come to remove our sinful past.
He did not just come to provide us with His presence.
He also came to give us a glorious future.
In a very real way, communion is a remembrance of a past event, but in another sense, it is a foretelling of a future event yet to come!
You might say that we are involved in a “progressive dinner.” What we partake of this day is just the appetizer. The main meal will be served in Father’s house!
Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!'” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”
When the believer truly realizes and believes that Jesus is coming again, it has a very powerful impact on his life.
1 John 3:1-3
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
This table is not a silent table. It is a table with a message! We need to hear very clearly the declarations of this table and of these elements.
This table declares that Jesus is the one who was, and is, and is to come.
He was (past). He accomplished the great work of redemption!
He is (present). He is with us now in mighty power and presence!
He is to come (future). He is coming again and it shall be glorious!