There have been many discussions and texts on the sacraments. The commentary given here is based on a sermon from 1874.
Refer to 1 Corinthians 11:23-25.
There is no less weight attached to this command before us, since it was issued by the Son of God. It is solemn because it was given on the same night in which Jesus was betrayed. What other night in the world’s history can be more august, more solemn, when Jesus was with his disciples for the last time.
May we not live in habitual disobedience to this command of His.
The command remains in force until the Second Advent – until Christ shall appear again upon this Earth. This memorial of His passion is constantly before us.
How does this commemoration of Christ help us? It helps us to be humble and not to forget our trust in Christ. In this present time, we are very much linked in with material things and have a physical body. Communion brings us back to the Spiritual. There will be a time when the material is “lifted” up and re-united properly with the spiritual. See Romans 8:21.
The Lord teaches not to despise the proper place of the physical, as shown by the water of baptism, and the bread and wine of communion.
These are not sacraments of superstition. The Lord foresaw the value of providing these, even though we do not know entirely the full meaning now. The Lord’s body was material, whose blood was real blood. He experienced being weary and as a real man, (although divine) and died on Calvary. He gripped people’s hands as much as you or I can. He felt the nails that went through His hands as much as you or I would feel. We come to communion as real bread and wine to remember His passion, that His work is the great Sacrifice.
Regardless of what has happened throughout history, the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins has been remembered wherever Christians have been able to meet, as a living testimony. The Church may administer the sacraments, but we come together simply as Christians to, “do this in remembrance”.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, let me try to show you that this ordinance is a very suitable commemoration of the death of Christ. A crucifix might have been suggested, but you know how that has become the very emblem of idolatry. (Note: C. Spurgeon is not here negating the use of emblems, but pointing out the potential issue of idolatry that mankind has readily adopted.) Here is the bread of life which is spiritual “meat” indeed. His Incarnation is most nourishing to our hearts. Without the Cross, there is no incarnation. We believe in Him as God, veiled in human flesh, a great wondrous Truth of God that is bread for our souls, our bodies.
Furthermore, we have the bread being broken, indicating Christ’s sufferings on our behalf. This suffering is spiritual food we must partake of. This emblematic bread is to not only be broken, but eaten – a significant type of our receiving Jesus by faith, depending on Him to be the nutriment of our spiritual life.
Then there is the wine. The blood in the body is life, and out of the body is death. Water was not used, as it does not indicate death, and has been used already in baptism. (Note: Water is clear, refreshing, and represents baptism, cleansing by God’s Word, and service.) The rich living blood is the admirable token for man and the atoning Sacrifice, set forth as the blood of the grape trodden under man’s foot. Man needs food and drink, therefore both are put upon the Communion Table. You do not go to Christ for spiritual food and go somewhere else for spiritual drink.
The Lord’s Supper can be celebrated anywhere, in any climate. There are no persons so poor that, among them, they cannot furnish the table with these simple emblems. We can be gathered together in a cave or under a beech tree, and show forth Christ’s death “till He come.” Wherever the bread is broken and the wine poured out by true believers in memory of Christ, there His command is obeyed. This ordinance can be observed in the morning and in the evening and in every day of the week (Note: compare to baptism by the believer being once, as salvation is once, however eternal life is living, ongoing).
To the end of this dispensation, there will be enough bread and wine and sufficient gracious men and women to come to the table of their Lord and thus keep the remembrance of Jesus Christ, Son of God who dies on Calvary’s Cross, “the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.” (See 1 Peter 3:18)
All who trust in the blood of Jesus, to whom Christ is your salvation, who call God their Father through faith in Jesus, who are reconciled to God by the death of His Son, come to this table and have fellowship with the God of Heaven and Earth and the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Christ Crucified is the foundation of all our hopes, for Christ could not have risen from the dead if He had not first died. What would His plea be if He had not His blood to offer? Even though we look forward to Christ’s Second Coming, we remember the basis of our hope lies in Christ Crucified, our confidence in His suffering in the sinner’s place. “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth,” a call from Christ upon the Cross. (Isaiah 45:22) All our hope hangs upon Him who hung upon the Cross and died there. Remember that you died in Him, for “if one died for all, then all were reckoned dead”. (2 Corinthians 5:14) Reckon ye yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord”. (Romans 6:11)
Believer’s baptism is by water, a figure or type of what already took place in the heart of the believer the moment he or she was saved (1 Peter 3:21). It represents the identification of the Christian with death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You are “crucified” (standing upright) you are “buried” (the meaning of immersion in water) and you are “resurrected” into life (the meaning of coming through/out of the water). It is a “picture” of spiritual baptism as defined by Romans 6:3-5 and 1 Corinthians 12:13, an outward testimony of the believer’s inward faith. A sinner is saved the moment he places his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Baptism is a visible testimony to that faith.