Approaching God on My Own Terms (with Communion)

Johannes Sadeler I (Netherlandish, Brussels 1550–1600 Venice (?)) The sacrifice of Abel (plate 1 from The Story of Cain and Abel), 1576 Netherlandish, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York,
Johannes Sadeler I (Netherlandish, Brussels 1550–1600 Venice (?)) The sacrifice of Abel (plate 1 from The Story of Cain and Abel), 1576 Netherlandish, Engraving; Sheet: 8 1/8 × 11 3/16 in. (20.7 × 28.4 cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1953 (53.601.17(62))

Approaching God on My Own Terms (with Communion)

What Cain and Abel Can Teach Us

You know, atheism is not the biggest threat to the survival of the church. Actually it’s not even close. In fact, atheism is so innocuous in its effect on the cause of Christ that it’s not even mentioned anywhere in Scripture. Among all the thousands of characters in the Bible there is not ONE atheist. Not even Satan is an atheist. The biggest threat to the church is what theologians call apostasy. Nothing got the ancient Israelites in more trouble than apostasy. Nothing riled Jesus up more than apostasy. In case you don’t know, apostasy means the rejection or renunciation of a religious (and sometimes political) belief.

(Mat 15:6)  …Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

Human attitude toward “religion” is a very funny thing and, frankly, always has been. We are forever changing our view of what is sacred. Of course, there is no doubt that Satan is behind all that changing but, nonetheless, we’re not without blame. A brief history of human religion could be mapped thusly: In the beginning everyone believed in the One True God. Adam and his family, at first, knew of no other worship worthy Being than God Himself. Satan stepped in and convinced them that their kind should share in some of that worship worthiness. Before long some people started putting other people in the place of God. After the expulsion from the Garden nature turned hostile toward us. Some people turned to the One True God for help. They probably didn’t like how and the speed at which He answered their pleas for protection so they turned to those people that other people were now worshiping. Some were satisfied and added to the ranks of people who worshiped other people. Some were not and decided that the best way to quell the hostility of nature was to try and please it. What’s more pleasing than having someone bow down to you? So, some people started worshiping nature and animals. Then mankind started finding shiny metal in the ground and thought, “Hmmm, that’s pretty enough to worship”, so they started making their people gods and animal gods out of gold and silver and since those ended up prettier and less smelly than the real things they started worshiping the shiny people and animal gods. Eventually Jesus comes along and personifies what the world should be worshiping. He does and says some wonderful worship-generating things and many people decide He’s the one to whom all worship should flow. That works out for a little while and, in fact, the number of people agreeing on Jesus as their God actually grows rapidly and significantly but then, slowly, the old pattern returns. This time, however, for the most part, Jesus is the one that is still considered worship-worthy but humans become unsatisfied with HOW to worship the worship-worthy. That’s the mess we’re in now. Yes, you’re right. It’s not a new mess but its damage is nonetheless real. When people decide that they don’t like the current god and that they would prefer a god they can deal with or use or hide from they tend to change the Truth to fit their fancy. There is no more glaring example of this deviation from Truth than at the Table of the Lord.

In this ministry we’ve joined forces, at least in spirit, with other like-minded ministries around the world who are attempting to return the dignity to this simple and lovely ceremony. The church has decided down through the centuries that simple and lovely is not enough. They have come to the conclusion that ornate and spectacular is more to God’s liking. They have decided that God would be more pleased with pomp and circumstance than solemnity and reverence. Let me be clear, I am not impugning anyone’s motive (at least, not here). I believe, in the beginning, most are driven by an enthusiasm for the Glorification of God. However, purity of motivation is no excuse for presuming to have the authority to change the way God wants things done. He clearly wrote down in His Word how we are to celebrate this sweet memorial and any modification of “thus sayeth the Lord” is not acceptable (and actually comes with consequences).

Please join us for this episode as we take some time to discuss how mankind tends to try and change God into something they can approve of. Here we attempt to highlight the danger of the human propensity to redefine The Divine to fit our own agenda. The ultimate purpose of this discussion is to point out how much the Communion has drifted from that simple little celebration that Jesus instituted in the Upper Room.

In this episode, as you may have guessed, we also celebrate a Communion. If you’ve never done that with us before I would encourage you to pay as close attention as you can to the first 20 minutes or so of the program. It is in that segment where we cover some of the more important aspects of “Going to the Table of the Lord”. (If this is not the first time you’ve celebrated with us on a podcast then chances are you’ve heard that first part already since we include it with every Communion podcast. If you prefer to skip ahead to the message just go to the 22 minute, 27 second (22:27) point of the podcast. That’s where the new content begins.

As always, I want to encourage you to go to God in prayer before you begin this podcast. I believe it’s always a good idea to begin any study of God’s Word by acknowledging that without Him your search for Truth will ultimately be unsuccessful. I urge you to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and ask Him to bless your effort to get to know Him better. Prayer is as vital a research tool as any other.

Discern (with Communion)

The Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper with St. Peter and St. Paul.
” The Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper with St. Peter and St. Paul” Mid-16th century”
Latin Inscription reads, “For this is my body. For this is the chalice of my blood of the new and eternal testament, the mystery of the faith which shall be shed for you and for many for the remission of sins.”
Image in the Public Domain

Discern (with Communion)

One of the most commonly known church rituals is the taking of Communion. In fact, that’s really one of the biggest problems in all of Christianity. We have become so used to the Communion that it’s lost any semblance of sacredness. Most of us could go through the rituals with our eyes closed. Most of us are so familiar with the way the Communion is celebrated we’ve long ago stopped thinking about it. The Table of the Lord has become just another routine in a world of full of routines. We put no more thought into it than we do making our coffee in the morning. AND YET, Paul says not thinking about it when we partake will bring judgment on us. (1 Corinthians 11:29) But the greatest tragedy of this is the fact that Jesus Himself said, “…do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19) The unfortunate truth, however, is that Jesus is the LAST thing most remember when they take communion. The one thing Jesus asked us to do with regard to the Table, we neglect to do. In this ministry, we are trying to regain the dignity of this beautiful, little ceremony. We spend a great deal of time teaching about how important the Table of the Lord is and we try to instill in you a deeper respect for this Jesus-given sacrament. In this lesson we concentrate on Paul’s warning about discernment. We also celebrate the Table of the Lord in this episode so be sure you listen closely to the first section of the podcast so that you can be prepared if you decide to join in. BUT, before you do any of that, before you start to listen to this podcast make sure you take a moment to pray. It is always best to prepare your heart and mind so that God’s Spirit can effectively share with you the Truth of God’s Word.