Welcomed to the table of the King 1 Though no worth unto this meal we bring 2 Come! Rememb’ring Him, we dine and sing 3
Like no bread the fathers ate and died 4 This His body, broken for His Bride 5 Eat! Proclaiming Christ the crucified 6
This the cleansing blood of our High Priest 7 From His cup the low, the last, the least 8 Drink! Awaiting Heaven’s wedding feast 9
1 (1 Corinthians 10:17, Ephesians 2:13) 2 (Job 35:7, John 6:53-57) 3 (1 Corinthians 11:24; Matthew 26:30) 4 (John 6:58) 5 (1 Corinthians 10:16, 1 Corinthians 11:24) 6 (1 Corinthians 11:26) 7 (Hebrews 7:27, 9:12; 1 John 1:7) 8 (Job 22:2, Mark 2:17, Luke 17:10) 9 (Matthew 26:29, Revelation 19:7-9)
Our church really only sings one hymn about the Lord’s Supper, so I studied scripture and wrote this. I wanted to be brief (your church can sing this in about one minute) and really make clear what God’s people are invited and expected to do.
Believers are invited to come, eat, and drink. In partaking of the Lord’s Supper, we do so in remembrance of Him, we proclaim His death until He comes, and we await His coming and the marriage supper of the Lamb!
This week’s Rapid Theology episode of The Backroads Baptist was inspired by the now infamous “A-woman” prayer by Rep. Cleaver.
Read through Proverbs 26 and you might think you’ve found a mistake in the printing of your copy, or even what at first certainly appears to be a contradiction; listen:
(4) Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. (5) Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. Proverbs chapter 26, verses four and five.
So, verse 4 says to “Answer not a fool according to his folly,” while verse 5 says to “Answer a fool according to his folly.” What we have is not an error or conflicting directives, but general advice for how to answer the fool: sometimes, it is best not to respond in a like manner, and sometimes it is good to answer “according to … folly.” We must be wise and exercise discernment in determining what course of action is called for in a given situation. In a unique situation, I believe we can approach with both answers: pointing out foolishness with absurdity and pointing out foolishness with reason. In my humble opinion, we recently experienced such a case with Representative Emanuel Cleaver: one aspect can be critiqued with jest; another more serious aspect must be addressed with seriousness.
United States Representative Cleaver led a prayer to open the 117th U.S. Congress. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that he closed it with “Amen and a-woman,” which is folly that is absolutely deserving of the memes and tweets pointing out its ridiculousness. The word “Amen” has nothing to do with the male human after all, but is a word we get from Hebrew which means, “so be it.” It’s used to express agreement or confirmation. Representative Cleaver used the consecutive presence of the letters “m,” “e,” and “n” to attempt to draw out and correct an instance of inequality. But his absurd prayer closing has been justly met with humor.
That was absolutely not–or at least shouldn’t be–the most notable part of the prayer. What should get the attention of those in Christ is his taking our Lord’s name in vain. His attempt to pray to the One, True God of the Bible and include other gods by praying QUOTE “in the name of the monotheistic god, Brahma, and god known by many names by many different faiths” ENDQUOTE is sinful, and is the type of folly we must not answer in kind. In the Old Testament, one’s name referred to one’s character or reputation, and of course the Third Commandment makes it clear that God requires we treat his name with honor, with reverence, with awe, with respect. Therefore, we must not be afraid to publicly address those who impugn or profane God’s honor, God’s name. The Bible is replete with the idea of God moving on his people’s behalf and his saints giving him glory for the sake of his name.
Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake; do not dishonor your glorious throne; remember and do not break your covenant with us. – Jeremiah 14:21
O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name. – Daniel 9:19
For the LORD will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. – 1 Samuel 12:22
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. – Psalm 23:3
Though I do not believe the Representative prayed to the I Am, our Almighty God, I do believe he intended to. His prayer was and will be heard by many who will consider this lumping of generic and pagan deities together to be perfectly fine. Many will find it acceptable to do likewise and will do likewise. That must be publicly corrected. This is not to say we are gatekeepers who dissect and discern every statement about God and pounce mercilessly on any notion remotely heterodox, but we must strive to see God honored and revered for the sake of his name.
Does God need us to defend him? No, of course not! But does God typically use human beings as the means to the end of his purpose for our good and his glory? Absolutely. Now do I think when you speak up privately or publicly—be it from the pulpit, during family worship, around your dinner table, on social media, in a group text—do I think that will effect a change in the person who dishonored God? No, but it will likely help someone think through it. It might correct a brother or sister confused or affected by dishonorable words or actions.
Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power. – Psalm 106:8
For this very brief episode, I recorded some thoughts based on a sermon I recently preached pointing out the beautiful symmetry and parallelism in Matthew 1 and Revelation 21.
The short, single-topic, reading from a transcript is likely what to expect more of going forward, though I do hope to record some episodes more like #s 002-009 someday soon.
In Matthew 1, we read of the angel who appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to take Mary as his wife, and that he was to name the child conceived in her by the Holy Spirit “Jesus.” We then read:
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
Take note in particular this language—the meaning of the name “Immanuel”—God with us.
Then consider Revelation 21 and its parallel. John sees a new heaven and a new earth, and new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. Then verse 3:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God …”
Notice the striking similarity? At the incarnation of Jesus Christ, he is called Immanuel, which means “God with us.” At the exaltation of Jesus Christ, once again God will dwell with his people. Once again, God will come to us.
During this season, we focus on celebrating the first coming of Christ. We celebrate what the Old Testament saints anticipated. They were wise to look to the Scriptures and anticipate the arrival of their Redeemer. We would be wise to learn from them and do likewise: to search the Scriptures and anticipate the return of our Redeemer. Like those saints of old, there is much we don’t know; God’s Word is not explicitly clear on some things concerning eschatology. However, we know what to believe: that he is returning, and his return and the hope of the assurance of our eternal habitation in a city prepared by God, in a “better country,” should cause us who are in Christ to live fundamentally differently from those who are in Adam—it should cause us to see this world fundamentally differently.
Darrell Harrison said, “The Gospel calls the follower of Christ to adopt and embrace an entirely different view of this world—so different, in fact, that we are to live in it as if we belong to another world altogether, because we do.”
Indeed, the Bible is clear in its language that we are “not of this world.” Those in Christ are aliens, strangers, exiles, and sojourners—the wilderness bride of Christ.
God’s Word tells us plainly to live this mortal life in light of eternity, expecting Christ’s return: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4
In his book Far As the Curse is Found, author and professor Michael D. Williams wrote:
The future to which we aspire shapes our attitudes and decisions in the present. It’s important to know where we are headed, for it tells us how to live in the present. That is as true of what we see to be our ultimate future—the issue of human destiny—as it is of our proximate futures. To live responsibly in the present requires that we be acquainted with our future end.
We believers must be able to confidently tell the world:
I ALWAYS have joy and hope and the knowledge that at the end, on the last day, I will stand before my Lord and Savior JUSTIFIED and everything I did for His Kingdom will be worth it—for His glory and my good! Everything I endured in this life—grief, pain, loss—will be worth it—for His glory and my good! I don’t know exactly every detail about how my story ends, but I know how my eternity begins: WELCOMED by my gracious Heavenly Father into everlasting life with HIM, where he will dwell with us.