Online Text Sermon - Isaiah ch.52 v.11, Isaiah ch.54 v.5
|Preacher||Rev. William MacLeod, Glasgow|
|Sermon Title||  (Communion table address)|
|Text||Isaiah ch.52 v.11 |
Isaiah ch.54 v.5
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We come now to the fencing of the Lord's Table. Part of the fencing of the Lord's Table is simply to state who should come to the Lord's table and who should not. And in simplest terms the Lord's Table of course is for the Lord's people. The Lord's Table is for those who love Christ and who appreciate what He has done. There are many people and Christ means very little to them, but how different it is with the Lord's people. "... this do in remembrance of me" (1 Corinthians 11,24). If you want to remember me, if I'm special to you then do this is remembrance of me. Remember the way Isaiah 53 begins: "Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?" (Isaiah 53,1) There are so many and they don't believe the report. But those of you who do believe the gospel, who do believe that Jesus is the Messiah, who do believe that Christ died on the cross to save sinners and rose again and is now in heaven at God's right hand: the Lord's Table is for you, you who believe this report and you to whom the arm of the Lord has been revealed. It's not simply a matter of a kind of intellectual faith, but is also involves personal experience - you to whom God's arm has been revealed - have you felt it? Have you met with God? Have you experienced the power of His arm saving you? The Lord's Table is for those who believe and those who have experienced the mighty power of the arm of God delivering them.
"... he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he has no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him" (Isaiah 53,2). So many see no beauty in Christ, they don't desire Him, they don't delight in Him. They maybe talk of Him as a good example, but they don't love Him. The Lord's Table is for those who see the beauty of Christ. They don't just tolerate Him, but delight in Him. What is He to you? the "chiefest among ten thousand" to your soul? (Song of Solomon 5,10) the "altogether lovely" one? (Song of Solomon 5,16) "... to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1,21).
"... despised and rejected of men" (Isaiah 53,3) like so many despised and rejected, but the Lord's people - we see Him and rejoice in Him. And love to celebrate this last supper, this communion, this remembrance of His death, till He come. The Lord's Table is for the Lord's people. We'll read in Galatians 5 a passage which distinguishes the Lord's people from those who are not His. Chapter 5 of Galatians and at verse 16 "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh" (Galatians 5,16). God's people walk in the Spirit. "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would" (Galatians 5,17) yet there is a battle going on inside us - flesh and spirit warring against each another - that we want to do the things of the spirit, "But if ye be led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit" the sort of things that should characterise the Christian are these: "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another" (Galatians 5,18-26).
In Isaiah chapter 54 and verse 5 we have amazing words "... thy Maker is thine husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called" (Isaiah 54,5). "... thy Maker" (Isaiah 54,5), Christ who created us is our husband. In this world the closest love we know is the love between a husband and a wife and therefore it is used as a picture of the love between Christ and His church. And though we know of course that Christ loved the church far more than any husband ever loved his wife and we know that this love of Christ for His people is an everlasting love, there will be no divorce, there will be no separation, there will be nothing that will divide, there will be no parting even in death itself. "Thy Maker is thine husband" (Isaiah 54,5) the great creator, the mighty God of heaven He loved us; He loved us so much that He came into this world. He loved us so much that He gave Himself over to death. He said concerning His death, His life "No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself" (John 10,18) willingly and purposefully He offered Himself as a sacrifice to God on our behalf. He gave Himself for our sins that we might have eternal life. And having died for us He rose again and He ascended up into heaven, taking His own blood as it were with Him and sprinkling that blood on the mercy seat in heaven. He makes continual intercession for us, our great priest. "Thy Maker is thine husband" (Isaiah 54,5).
We take in our hands the symbols, the symbols of Christ - the bread. He has said "I am the bread which came down from heaven" (John 6,41) "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you" (John 6,53). You must feed upon Christ, but it's not in a carnal or fleshly or earthly way. We eat this little morsel of bread, but we do so by faith - we feed on Christ - we look to Him, trust in Him and we feed strength from Him. We are encouraged as we take the bread, as we drink the wine - the symbol of His blood, that we might feed upon Christ, remembering His death till He come.
"... the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come" (1 Corinthians 11,23-26).
In Isaiah 52 and verse 11 we read the words "... be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD" (Isaiah 52,11). We have sat at the Lord's Table once again and once again we have taken the cup in our hands, we have taken the bread, we have professed to be Christ's people and to be priests of God, an holy priesthood, "... be ye clean that bear the vessels of the LORD" (Isaiah 52,11). It is so important for us to walk before God, before the world, before our family, to walk in cleanness and purity and holiness. "Be ye holy; for I am holy" (1 Peter 1,16) says God. Without holiness "no man shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12,14) you'll never get to heaven without holiness. We are so sinful but we have to pray for forgiveness and seek the grace of God and the aid of the Spirit. We must contest with sin, every form of it, secret sins as well as public sins - sins of thought as well as word and deed. "Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD" (Isaiah 52,11). What a privilege is ours, to sit at His table. What a blessing He's given to us that we are numbered amongst His people - the children of God, the spouse of Christ "Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD" (Isaiah 52,11). Let us, in the days that are ahead, seek more and more to purify ourselves, to walk in cleanness, not to defile our garments. There's nothing easier than get spots and dirt onto our clothes, it's so important for us to strive to walk before the Lord in purity and in holiness.
And as we go out into the world we are to seek to bring Christ with us wherever we are. Remembering the Lord's death till He come not just at the communion service in church but tomorrow and the following day, in our work place, in our families, in the world remembering Christ. Living for Him, serving Him, witnessing for Him, being an example to all - showing ourselves to be the spouse of Christ. Walking as He walked, following His example, inspired by Him to serve Him telling the world about this great Saviour who loved us and gave himself for us. This great Saviour who's able to save them if only they would look to Him.
Dear friends who are not at the Lord's Table we would love to see you join in with us. Don't leave these things until it's too late, another day might be too late - make your peace with God and having made your peace with God don't be ashamed to confess your faith in Him and to serve Him. Give your heart and give your life to Christ. Take Him, He's worth it.
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