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Feb 4, 2018

“Who Is At the Meal?” 2-4-18

Ephesians 1:15-23
February 4, 2018

We are continuing in the letter to the Ephesians this week because it is easier to relate the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper to this Epistle than to the story of the rejection by God and Samuel of Saul as king of Israel, which is our next passage in I Samuel.
This section of Chapter one is mostly Paul’s description of his prayers for those who would be receiving this letter.
The Apostle Paul begins his prayer with Thanksgivings.  He Is thankful to God for them, for their faith in Jesus and for the Love they have shown toward other Christians.
Then he lists his petitions of prayer for them.
He prays that God will give them a spirit of wisdom and revelation as they come to know God.  Here we are reminded that many of the Christians to whom Paul wrote had only been Believers for a few years.  These were, for the most part people who had grown up in what is now Turkey in the days when it was part of the Roman Empire.  Until Paul brought the gospel to them, they had worshiped the Gods of Rome and Greece and the local Gods as it seems as if each district and town had its own special gods and goddesses who were considered to be the special patrons of that place. 
So, God prays that they will continue to grow in their wisdom and revelation about God as they grow in their faith. 
Most of us have been Christians or at least been exposed to Christianity for quite a while now.  We have been learning more about God as time has passed.  But I do not think that the petitions of Paul are beneath or behind us.  I think that there is always room for Christians to grow in knowledge and faith as we live with God in our lives.
Paul prayed that they would know or understand more about the hope to which they had been called, and that they would recognize the riches they had and would be given as an inheritance as God’s adopted children.  Some of those riches are future, in the eternal part of the kingdom, but some of them are in the present.  And some of those riches are disguised at first.  Some at first seem to be hardships.  Some at first seem to be people who tend to aggravate us.  Some seem for a while to be recipients of our riches rather than riches themselves.  It is our duty to open the eyes of our hearts, as Paul refers to it, to see and recognize the real blessings and riches that God has given us.
Paul also prayed that the Christians to whom he was writing would recognize the great power of God and how it was working to benefit them in their lives.
That power was demonstrated in raising Jesus from the dead and receiving Him into heaven and seating Him at his right hand.  From there Jesus Rules, over all powers and authorities that are, have been, or ever will be. 
Then there is a great sentence about the purpose of all the power, the focus of all the power that Jesus has.  In verses 22 & 23, Paul writes that all the power and authority that the Father has given to Jesus is for or to benefit the church, which is Jesus’ Body, and is spoken of as a fullness of Jesus.
With all of that in mind, we have a meal before us that Jesus said was his body and blood. 
IN this meal we have a remembrance and a celebration of Jesus’ death for us.  In this meal is an acknowledgment that God used his power to make the death of Jesus an atonement for our sins.
But it is much more than that.  This meal is not the Last Supper.  The Last Supper was the first Lord’s Supper, but the Lord’s Supper is much more than that.
The last supper was hosted by Jesus as he was a mortal man among them.  And the attendance at that meal was limited to 13; Jesus and the 12.
44 years and 8 months ago, a fellow gave Diane a ring that she still wears.  That fellow is the guy I used to be.  He was 50 pounds lighter, ¾ of an inch taller and had a lot more hair.  The fellow who lives with Diane now is not that same guy.
The Jesus who comes to us through the Holy Spirit to host this meal is not exactly the same Jesus who hosted that Last Supper.  The Jesus who is mysteriously present with us has been powerfully raised from death, he has been lifted up to heaven and been given ALL power and authority, which he focuses and uses to benefit His body on earth, of which we are a part.
So as we eat this meal, we need to acknowledge the following:
A. the admittance to this meal is not limited to 13.  It is limited to those who believe in Jesus, but, thankfully, we number more than 13, and beyond this room there are many who partake of the Lords supper, and together we form a great multitude on this earth and a greater multitude in heaven.  As we eat this meal, we need to be grateful for those who eat with us here and are a part of us in the world and in heaven.
B. As we eat this meal we need to desire a greater understanding of it and God and what he has done for us and what he wants from us.
C. And as we eat this meal, we need to be cognizant of and grateful for the Power of God that Jesus is using for Us in this world, and in eternity.

Pastor David Horner
Faith Presbyterian Church
West Lafayette, IN 47906