Welcome! Thank you for joining us for this week's ToGather.church. (Find out more.) We hope our home worship guide blesses your home worship. Feel free to share it with your friends, family, home group, or house church. Gather in as safe a way as possible in these challenging times. If you are looking for a larger community to share prayer, fellowship, and discussion, please check out our Verse of the Day comments section!
Our ToGather.church family comes together to join our hearts in worship. We gather to recognize that Jesus is the only real hope for our troubled world. We believe God will lead us to better times. Until then, we commit to love each other, reach out to the lost and broken, and pray for God's grace to touch the broken hearts of people around us.
This past week has been Thanksgiving week in the United States. Thanksgiving is normally a special time for people to gather and enjoy each other's fellowship around a table full of wonderful food as we give thanks for our many blessings. Clearly, with a world-wide pandemic, this is a harder year for this kind of celebration. As followers of Jesus, however, Jesus has given us the blessing of another feast that we call the Lord's Supper, Holy Communion, and the Eucharist. The Supper of our Lord brings us a rich feast of hope, promise, and truth.
This week's ToGather.church is a little different from most weeks. We dedicate our Verse of the Day thoughts to the Lord's Supper. We use this verse as a beginning point to focus on the Lord's Supper. We will look at different areas of emphasis that are embedded in the New Testament teaching about celebrating Holy Communion and conclude with true thanksgiving — the term "Eucharist" (1 Corinthians 10:30, 11:24, 14:17), comes from the Greek word for "giving thanks" or "blessing" — for all that Jesus has done for us.
As we think of what the Lord Jesus has done to give us grace and the promise of a life with each other and our Father, what better response than to sing, "O Lord You're Beautiful" with Jesus Culture?
Opening the Scriptures:
Paul emphasized the key elements of saving faith to the Corinthians:
Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:1-8, 57-58).
Communion reminds us that Jesus was not only crucified for our sins and buried in a borrowed tomb, he was also raised from the dead and is returning to us to take us home to share with him in glory. His victory assures us of our victory. Let's sing about our marvelous salvation and wonderful Savior using the old hymn, "I Stand Amazed." We will use the new arrangement by Reawaken Hymns:
Sharing the Supper:
As rich as remembering the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus are to us, Communion also includes other important reminders. In his message today, Phil leads us into a deeper understanding of the Lord's Supper and prepares us for the Communion we will share:
As Phil emphasized, Communion also includes the important reminder that we are the body of Christ. Each of us is a body part and needs all the other body parts to be whole. We are interdependent. What impacts one part of the body impacts all the rest of the body. We are the body of Christ as we share the bread (1 Corinthians 10:16-17). Let's declare our reality as Jesus' body in the song, "We Are the Body of Christ":
A similar image to the body of Christ for God's people gathered around the Lord's Table is the image of a family. We are the family of Jesus, children of God, as we share this meal (Galatians 3:26-29). Rubel Shelly emphasizes that we are a family gathered to remember Jesus and give thanks for all that he has done for us:
Jesus said people would know that we are his disciples, his friends, his family, because of our love for each other:
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another" (John 13:34-35).
Fred Spain challenges us to think about "the cup of thanksgiving" (1 Corinthians 10:16) we share and the drama that surrounded it on that first night when Jesus drank it with his beloved disciples. That drama wasn't intended to impact just those first disciples. Jesus wanted the love he challenged them to have, the love that he demonstrated to them, to be shared by us:
We love because God first loved us!
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us (1 John 4:7-12).
God's greatness is seen in the creation he has made, his gracious gift of the Son for our sin, and the glory he will share with us when Christ comes again. Let's sing of our amazing God in the combined songs of "How Great is Our God" and "How Great Thou Art":
Fred Spain helps us close our time together with this blessing from God's word:
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:5-6, 13).
Let's take the love that the Holy Spirit pours into our hearts (Romans 5:5) and share the hope, joy, and peace that Jesus gives us, with others!
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