Challenged to Change
What’s Necessary so you can take Communion?
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
You might wonder, “Do I have to be a member of Campus Church to take communion?” All of us have been brought up with different ideas of the standards that govern whether we can take communion or share in the Mass or not. To make it simple, I would just say to you, you can take communion this morning if you fulfill just one condition; that is if you have faith, you can take communion.
So loved ones, if you have faith, you can take communion this morning. If you don’t have faith, then don’t take it, because the bible says, “You’re drinking damnation unto your own soul,” so don’t do that, don’t take it. But if you have faith, you can take communion. You know over the past few Sundays, we’ve been sharing that faith is not just an intellectual acceptance of the Christian beliefs.
It’s not just a mental ascent to the idea that there is a God and that there’s such a thing as sin and that Jesus is God’s Son and that because of His death, God forgives us. That isn’t faith. That is belief and the bible says that even the demons believe and tremble. Even they believe those inescapable facts because they are inescapable facts. The historicity that backs them up is so strong that you have to face the fact that those are facts. There is a God. Jesus is His Son. He does forgive men’s sins because of Jesus’ death. So those are facts.
But believing those does not constitute faith, that’s only part of faith. There are some of us say, “Oh yes, faith is belief plus action, you mean that we should do the things that Christians are supposed to do. So we should take the stand that Christians take on things like abortion and state rights and the Bible and all those other things and we should also try to attend bible studies, meet at prayer meetings, give money to the right ministries,” no loved ones, that’s just legalism.
Just doing all the things that Christians are supposed to do, that’s just part of the Christian world. It’s as much the world as the non-Christian world is, because it’s doing what men and women say you should do. No, faith is personal appropriation of what Jesus has done for you personally. It is personal appropriation of what Jesus has done for you personally. It is a personal trust between you and Jesus, that’s it.
So it’s a personal encounter between you and Him. First of all it is an honest, unequivocal acceptance that you are a sinner and that you ought to die for your sins and there’s no other answer but that. If you don’t believe that, you won’t see the reason for Jesus death. But loved ones the bible says that all of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory and that the wages of sin is death.
The fact is, that you and I are so full of egotism and so full of wanting our own way and asserting our own rights and defending our own rights that the only thing another God, who is the real God, can do is to destroy all these little gods. Loved ones, if you’re still caught in that old heresy, “Oh I am not as bad as that, I am really not that bad, I don’t really need to be destroyed, I just have a few inexpedient little traits inside me that I am trying to work on,” then you’re not a candidate for faith. Because God says, “You’re a sinner.” You have all kinds of desires inside you
that are based on wanting your own way and asserting yourself and that is evil.
In fact, one man in the bible said, “There is no good thing in me.” Now if you’re caught in the old bluff psychology that takes the psychology of a fallen man and says that that is good and you say you’re good, the bible says you’re bad, there’s nothing good in you. Now, the psychologist would study Jesus life, the life of the perfect man, and then he would say that that man is perfectly good but the fallen man is evil, and you and I are evil inside.
There’s no way in which God can make us good, unless we accept that we are sinners and that there’s nothing for us but to be destroyed and to be recreated. Then, you can look to Jesus, because in Jesus, God placed you, destroyed you there, and remade you in His resurrection. Personal appropriation of that means coming to Jesus this morning and saying, “Lord I’ve tried; I have tried to make myself good. I have tried to improve myself, I can’t. I am shocked through and through with this thing called sin. I need a completely new start. I need to be destroyed and made over again. I need to be sent back to the manufacturers and reproduced.
Lord Jesus, will You reveal to me what pain You suffered to wipe out what self that there is in me?” and then loved ones, as you do that while we’re passing on the wine and the bread, the Spirit of Jesus will quietly reveal to you parts of yourself that He bore in His own body on the tree and that He allowed His father to destroy and as He shows you those, you’ll realize “well, those are destroyed, I can now walk free of them”, and you’ll walk free of them this day and God will send the spirit of His Son into you, and that’s how it works, that’s how it happens.
The Savior Himself is here in this room and He is able to explain to you what He bore for you in His death and what He freed you from and as you personally listen to Him, forget what all the rest of us are doing. He bore pain for you that He didn’t bear for me. You caused Him pain that none of the rest of us caused Him. When you approach Him that way this morning in faith, His spirit will speak back to you and respond to you and He’ll say to you, “This I bore and destroyed.” And you realize He did in reality. Whether it’s smoking, whether it’s adultery, whether it’s fornication, whether it’s unclean thoughts or anger or impatience whatever it is, you’ll suddenly realize, He bore that, He destroyed it.
“I don’t need to put up with it anymore, I can walk free of it and walk clear of that stuff in my life” and that’s because God sent the spirit of His Son into anyone who acknowledges His Son, into any human being that deals with Jesus honestly. God the Creator sends a new Spirit into you. So this is a holy time for you, the time that nobody else can take part in, but you. You can personally appropriate Jesus’ life from Him Himself.
If you do that, that’s what faith is. That’s what being born of God is and you’ll sense a new Spirit of Jesus within you. And tomorrow, you will want to pray and read the bible or want to witness or want to be like God and that’s what the new birth is. If you have that faith, then welcome loved ones to communion. Now, let’s all stand as I give the invitation.
You that do truly and earnestly repent of your sins and are in love and charity with your neighbors and intend to lead a new life following the commandments of God and walking from henceforth in His Holy ways, draw near with faith and take this holy sacrament to your comfort and make your humble confession unto Almighty God.
Let’s be seated as we pray.
We do not presume to come to this Thy table most merciful Lord trusting in our own righteousness but in thy manifold and great mercies we’re not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy table. But thou are the same Lord whose property is always to have mercy. Grant us therefore gracious Lord, so by faith, to receive thy Son, our Savior Jesus Christ that the bread which we break may be unto us the communion of His body. And the cup of blessing which we bless may be the communion of His blood. That we may evermore dwell in Him and He in us.
The Lord Jesus on the night in which He was betrayed took bread and broke it and said, “This is My body which is given for you, this do, in remembrance of Me”, in like manner He took the cup after supper saying, “This is the cup of the new covenant in My blood, this do, as often as you drink it,” for as often as you eat the bread and drink the cup you proclaim the Lord’s death till He come.