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Jun 1 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

May 7, 2017 – Acts 2:42

We Become What We Eat

They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42

Intro: In Acts chapter 2, the Church is a newborn baby

God poured his Spirit into a group of men and women
– followers of Jesus, waiting for this moment,
• though I doubt that they knew what to expect
• it was sudden, loud and supernatural
◦ when they spoke in “tongues,” it was first cry of the baby church
– later in the chapter we get glimpses of the community created by this event

  • the apostles’s teaching: the twelve chosen by Jesus to be with him (Mk. 3:13-14)
    ◦ they were now sharing Jesus’ wisdom and insights
  • fellowship: Greek, koinonia – shared experience, a shared life
  • breaking of bread: – they took meals together (cf. v. 46)
    ◦ the context would also suggest the “sacred meal” (i.e., “Communion”)
  • prayer (and praise, v. 47): the heartbeat of their relationship with God

Communion meets essential spiritual needs

I apologize that we don’t celebrate it more often
– I’m not certain how to relate its transcendence and sacredness
• or help you experience its full impact
– it can be so intimate that I have wondered about the best environment
• perhaps it would be our smaller, evening meetings

The Communion ritual serves a specific purpose

It represents a historical event that we were not present to experience
– the night Jesus formed a covenant relationship with his disciples
• in the Hebrew Scriptures, Israel had a way to bridge history
• to connect people to an event that occurred many years later
– the Passover event was re-presented every year, re-lived
• that way, later generations could also experience its life-giving grace
◦ “remember” in scripture is not merely to recall 
◦ it is to bring into awareness, “to be conscious of”
• Communion takes us to the upper room and Jesus’ presence
◦ we become aware of his nearness

What made God’s relationship with Israel wonderful was his covenant
– boiled down to its essence, it was their intimate belonging to God

I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people (Lev. 26:12)

• it seems that Israel consistently missed that part
– the weight of Jesus’ new cov rested entirely on him
• “This is my body,” “This is my blood”
• he was telling his disciples (and us),
“You can live in relationship with my Father because of this”

In times of spiritual awakening, Israel returned to covenant
(there are three examples of this in 2 Chronicles and one in Ezra)
– it was always a sacred and solemn event
• they observed it with absolute seriousness
– what this did for them:
• it corrected a wrong situation and changed their heading
• it returned them to a right relationship with God
• it restored them to God’s favor and God’s favor to them
◦ they could once again enjoy his presence

What is it that we are about to experience?

Looking at the three or four words used of this ritual in the New Testament, it is:

  1. Communion with God and each other
    Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread (1 Cor. 10:16-17)
    – we are brought into a union with God, Jesus, and others
    • most everyone who stands out in Christian spirituality
    ◦ had profound experiences of Jesus in Communion
    • they came to depend on it for spiritual vision and renewal
  2. The table of the Lord and the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 10:21; 11:20)
    – Jesus sets this table – gives himself to us
    • as we receive the bread and cup he enters us
    • we cannot imagine a more intimate connection
    – but receiving him this way works differently than any other meal we take
    St. Augustine, in his confessions, relates a moment when it was as if he heard God’s voice, “I am the food of the full grown: grow, and you will feed on Me. Nor shall you change Me into your substance as you do the food of your body; but you will be changed into Me.”
  3. Eucharist – give thanks (1 Cor. 11:23-26)
    – this turns us in the right direction
    • I was thinking about this Friday morning
    ◦ preparing for Norm’s memorial service
    ◦ he was full of light – he was positive –and thankful
    • in Romans 1, Paul listed some of the evils in human society
    ◦ the roots of the evil that people do are surprising
    For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened (Ro. 1:21)
    ◦ not being thankful is a turn toward evil
    ◦ it darkens the human heart
    – it was customary to give thanks over each meal
    • but Jesus’ giving of thanks is exceptional
    ◦ he did this in a world that rejected him
    • he has given us every reason to give thanks

Conc: What happens now is not just words and motion

A spiritual reality passes through material substance
– the Spirit of Jesus enters us and joins with our spirits

Evelyn Underhill, “Spiritual reality is not, and never can be, cut off from the world of sense: were it so, we could never have guessed its existence. There is at every point and on every level a penetration by God of His world; a truth which underlies the Christian doctrines of the Holy Spirit and the sacraments.”

We are going to do this rather formally (in our informal way)
– so now, take a breath
– prepare yourself to receive God’s grace


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