Sermon:  A Picture of Life

Summary:  The fruit of the vine in the Lord's Supper is to remind us of the atoning work
 of Jesus using his life through which he also instituted a new covenant of grace after 
God's people had already broken the covenant, demonstrating God's relentless faithfulness
 in reuniting us with him ultimately in Heaven.

Know:  When we partake of the fruit of the vine, it should cause us to reflect on our priorities
 and what is really important, which is our relationship with God and the brethren through 
Christ's atoning work on the cross

Feel:  The need to make communion more meaningful

Do:  Reflect on the rich meaning behind the fruit of the vine and how it should stand as both 
a reminder and transforming effect for our lives.  Reflect on ways these reminders should 
transform daily life and attitudes.

Text:  Matt 26:26-29

Scripture Reading:  Eph 2:13

1.  This is my wife
	a.  Actually, this isn't really my wife. She's sitting over there, this is a photo
	b.  This is sort of what Jesus was doing when he held up bread and wine 
	      and said, "this is my body," and "this is my blood of the covenant"
	c.  Jesus was giving us a picture of what he was doing
2.  I knew someone who pictured the Lord's Supper as a funeral
	a.  He got mad because we didn't act the same at the Lord's Supper as at 
	     a funeral
	b.  Compared the attitude, dress, atmosphere at funeral
	c.  I do not think the Lord's Supper is anything like a funeral
	d.  We need to consider that "picture" Jesus is giving us
3.  Review:  Last week, looked at phrase "this is my body" and its meaning
	a.  Jesus is our life, he is the bread of life, not the matzoh 
		- Man not live on bread alone - but by every word from God
	b.  Jesus is our merciful and faithful high priest
		- Participated and identified with our humanity
		- Became God's representative AND our representative
	c.  Jesus brought us all together as his one body
		- We are one body, and we partake of one bread
		- Communion is not individualistic, we are around his table together
4.  Second part of the institution - This is my blood
	a.  Has been misunderstood
		-  My preacher growing up said we have to “contact” his blood
		-  Initial contact through baptism
		-  Weekly contact through communion
		-  He godly, but I believe he is mistaken on this sacramental view
	b.   What is all this business about his blood?  
		- It is like holding up that picture to remind us of its significance
	c.  (Mt 26:26-29) - Several things that the fruit of the vine reminds us

I.  Remember the Atonement
	A.  It is present tense, not "will be poured out" for you
		1.  What does that mean?  Did Jesus have a cut already?
		2.  Many don't understand
			a.  "Saved by the blood" is almost a cliché
			b.  Heard a street preacher preaching about the blood
			c.  What does that mean?
	B.  What is significant about his blood?
		1.  Questions:
			a.  If the Roman flogging Jesus got blood on himself, would 
			     he be saved?
			b.  Could Jesus go to the blood bank and donate a pint so 
			     others could be saved?
			c.  If we found his blood stained burial garment and could 
			     contact his blood that way, would we be saved?
			d.  No - That is not how we are saved by his blood
		2.  Comes from the idea of atonement
			a.  Words
				- Hebrew: Kapar - cover, smear, wipe, atone, 
				   appease, make amends
				- Hebrew:  Kapporet - “Mercy Seat” or the “Cover” 
				   “Atoning place”
				- Hebrew:  Kippur - "Atonement"
				-  English: Atonement = “At - one - ment” - One with 
			b.  Lev 4 - Sin Offering - Sprinkle 7 times in front of the veil, 
			     pour out at base of altar
			c.  Lev 16 - Yom Kippur - High Preist perform for all, sprinkle 
			     blood on mercy seat and in front
			d.  Atonement comes through sacrifice and sprinkling blood
		3.  Why all this emphasis on blood?  (Lev 17:10-13)
			a.  Life of flesh in blood, and the life makes atonement
			b.  Sprinkling blood on mercy seat is offering the life to God
			c.  NOT just the red stuff, but the fact Jesus gave his LIFE
			b.  Is "being" poured out means Jesus is giving up his life
		4.  Elaboration:  (Heb 9:11-12) Jesus is a High Priest
			a.  He offered his own blood to God
			b.  He is our atoning sacrifice
	C.  ILL:  In his book, written in blood, Robert Coleman tells story
		1.  Little boy whose sister needs blood transfusion
			a.  Doctor explained sister had same disease boy once had
			b.  Explain she need blood from someone who had disease
			c.  Both had same rare blood, he the ideal donor
		2.  Doctor ask, "Johnny, would you give your blood to save Mary?"
			a.  Johnny hesitated, lower lip started to tremble
			b.  Then he smiled, said, "sure, I'll do it for my sister"
		3.  Two children both wheeled into the room
			a.  Mary, Paul and thin, Johnny, robust and healthy
			b.  Neither spoke, but when eyes met, Johnny smiled
			c.  Nurse insert needle, and Johnny watch his blood go out 
			     in the tube
		4.  After a couple minutes, Johnny asked doctor, "When do I die?"
			a.  Then the doctor understood why Johnny's lip trembled
			b.  Johnny thought he would be giving up his life
			c.  That is what Jesus did 
				- He gave his blood and gave his life & saved us
	D.  The fruit of the vine reminds us of the basis of our salvation
		1.  Titus 3:5 - He saved us not on the basis of deeds which we have done 
		      in righteousness, but according to his mercy
			a.  We don't save our selves
			b.  God was merciful
			c.  We are saved by works - The work of Christ on the cross
		2.  1 Pet 1:18-29 - you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or 
		        gold..., but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the 
		        blood of Christ.
			a.  Jesus shed his blood - gave his life for yours
			b.  This is the only way we can be saved
		3.  Early Christians called it the "Eucharistes" 
			a.  Eucharist means "thanksgiving"
			b.  It wasn't like a funeral
			c.  This was more like the Passover, a celebratory memorial

II.  Remember His Covenant
	A.  My Blood of the Covenant - What is a covenant?
		1.  Some say it is a treaty, but that is an inadequate word
		2.  There were various kinds of "treaties" in the Ancient world
		3.  The one that describes the covenant is a "suzerain treaty"
		4.  Involved a superior and inferior, not equal parties.  Parts include:
			a. Historical prologue: Account of deliverance by the superior
			b.  Stipulations - To secure loyalty of the inferior
				- Pledge of faithfulness to one another
				- Command to love (shepherd terminology for kings)
				- Cannot enter into other treaties
			c.  List of witnesses, then curses and blessings
			d.  Usually a sacrifice -walk between animal halves Jer 34:18
	B.  Jesus himself enacted a new covenant with sacrifice
		1.  Phrase: “Karat Berit”-Make a covenant ; Lit: To cut a covenant
			a.  Like saying - On my life, I am bound to this covenant
			b.  So a covenant was serious stuff
			c.  More serious than signing on the dotted line
		2.  Example: (Gen 15:12-17) - God walks between the halves
			a.  God bound himself to a covenant with Abraham
			b.  God is demonstrating that he will keep his word
		3.  Example: The Sinai Covenant (Exod 24:3-8)
			a.  Behold the “blood of the covenant” - God initiated it
			b.  Ex 19:5 - God covenants that they would be his people, 
			     and people agreed to be loyal to God
			c.  Bound together by blood to the covenant
			d.  Followed by covenant meal (v.9-11)
				-  A fellowship meal after a covenant was common
			     	-eg: Gn 26:26ff-Issac/Abimelech; Gn 31-Jacob/Laban
				- They now in fellowship with God around his table
		4.  But we not live under Mosaic covenant!
			a.  God at times renews covenant, sometimes adding to it
			b.  On plains of Moab,     Davidic,     Post exilic
			c.  (Jer 31:31-34) - New covenant of forgiveness
			d.  This says God is faithful
	C.  ILL:  Covenant is not like a treaty or contract
		1.  Our lives are full of contracts, formal and informal
		2.  If one party breaks the contract, the relationship is often severed
			a.  If I don't pay a bill
				- I may get a warning, but that is it
				- I wont get repeated visits
				- I will not get a renewed contract
			b.  If I make appointment with a doctor and miss it
				- He doesn't call me or come visit me to find out why
				- He simply goes to the next patient
				- May find it harder to see him next time, I broke an 
			    	   informal contract
		3.  God is not like that
			a.  He enacted a new covenant when the old was broken
			b.  Even when we broke the covenant, God didn't give up
			c. (Heb 6:13-14) - Called this covenant a “promise”
				- God swore by himself (v.16-17)
				- Promise is not contingent on what we will do
		4.  It is by God's mercy, love, and grace we are reunited with him
			a.  God didn't give up, but made a new covenant
			b.  We didn't deserve it, so we have it by God's grace
	D.  This is my blood of the covenant reminds us of God's new covenant
		1.  His relentless love that took Jesus to the cross
		2.  We live in fellowship with God because of his blood
		3.  Eph 2:13 - Brought near by blood into one body
		4.  Means we can go to God and pray at any time
			a.  Means we are united together as one body
			b.  Means we are forgiven

III.  Anticipate His return
	A.  Mt 26:29- I not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until I drink it 
	      new with you in my Fathers kingdom
		1.  Jesus is going to drink it new in the kingdom
		2.  A future expectation of communion with Christ
	B.  What does he mean by this?
		1.  1 Cor 10:16 - Cup of blessing, Fellowship in his blood?
			a.  We fellowship together as a family with him
			b.  ILL:  African preacher 
				- Didn't like the phrase: Head the table
				- It is the Lord's table, he is the head of the table
			c.  There is a sense in which we commune with Christ
			d.  Idea of fellowship meal.  Ex 24:9 foreshadows this
		2.  But there is more.  This is not all there is
		3. (Isaiah 25:6-8) - Messianic Banquet
			a. Mt 22 - Jesus speaks wedding feast for those on hiways
			b. (Rev 19:7-9) - Fulfillment of Messianic Banquet
		4.  1 Cor 11 - We proclaim Lord’s Death until he comes
			a.  Not only do we look back to the cross, but forward
			b.  In Heaven, we will worship the Father and the lamb
			c.  We will truly be at the table of the Lord
	C.  ILL:  Heard about a small country church in Wisconsin
		1.  Had a communion tradition adapted from Jewish Passover
			a.  Every Jew hopes to do Passover at least once in 
			     Jerusalem in his lifetime
			b.  End of every Passover, raise their cups and conclude 
			      with, "next year in Jerusalem
		2.  We have seen that Lord's Supper looks back and forward
		3.  This church raises their cups and say, "Next Time with Christ!"
	D.  Lord's Supper is NOT like a funeral
		1.  We are not remembering a dead person, but a live one
		2.  We are waiting for him to come back
1.  When Jesus says, "this is my blood," we remember:
	a.  His atonement at the cross by giving his life
	b.  His new covenant that shows his relentless love
	c.  He is coming back, and we will feast at his table in Heaven
2.  ILL:  Ralph told me - Lord’s Supper brought everything back into perspective
	God, the world, and one another
	a.  Brings us back to what is really important
	b.  Helps us set our priorities straight
	c.  Helps strengthen our relationship with God and each other
3.  Is there a daily application? Yes: (Heb 10:19-25) - Hope AND one another
	a.  We can and should draw near 
		- We are clean and beautiful in God's sight now
	b.  Hold fast the confession of our faith without wavering
		- Don't waver in your confession
		- World would have you keep it quiet - but don’t waver
		- Among family, friends, neighbors, co-workers
		- Just look at what Jesus did for YOU
			- He went to the cross to save you from Hell
			- He brought you to God
			- He washed away your sins
			- He gave you new life - That is nothing something to keep 
			  quiet about!
	c.  Consider one another 
		- Remember it is both vertical AND horizontal
		- Can't be right with God and not be right with brethren
		- Consider how to encourage to love and good deeds
		- Consider how to motivate one another