- The Washington Times - Monday, June 11, 2007

The following are excerpts of a sermon given recently at the Frontline Arlington campus by pastor Todd Phillips:

I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro many years back, and when we got to the top, it was extremely quiet and there happened to be no wind. When I stood there, I truly was in awe at the grandeur of it all. I remember thinking: “Unless you are standing where I am, I simply can’t explain it to you.”

In the same way, it is impossible to explain the grandeur of Jesus Christ, the immensity of His love and the power of His grace. Each one deserves not only its own chapter in a book but has been given volumes and volumes of books, and we still cannot grasp its immensity. Each one deserves a depth of understanding that comes only with time in our Christian walk.

When we take Communion, we need to take these five steps:

No. 1: Look back to Christ’s death.

As believers, we are supposed to look back to remind us of our sinfulness and our need for a savior. 1 Corinthians 11:24 says, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

Each one of us who calls ourselves a follower of Christ needs to remember the agonizing cost of our sin so we can have a relationship with God. One of the things I didn’t get the first couple years of my Christian experience was that it’s a somber reflection but also a time of celebration.

This is a time we’re supposed to be reminded of His love for us. God loves me in spite of my sin, and I like that. I don’t deserve that kind of unconditional love, and I don’t merit that kind of grace, but God has given me that because He is God and He can do what He wants, thank God.

No. 2: Look out toward the world.

1 Corinthians 11:26 says, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death.”

The proclamation of Christ’s death is something we proclaim. We’re proclaiming to the world that Christ is our lord. To those that witness us going to the table, we’re proclaiming to them the Gospel in our actions.

No. 3: Look forward to His second coming.

The second half of Verse 26 says, “You proclaim his death until he comes again.”

There is a second coming of Christ when we go to be with Him forever. When we get to that place, there will be no more sadness, no more tears, no more loss, just beautiful, eternal communion with the God of all creation. It is a promise. We have an incredible opportunity to remind ourselves of what is to come.

No. 4: Cleanse ourselves.

1 Corinthians 11:27 says, “Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.”

We have an opportunity to lay ourselves bare before God and allow Him to cleanse us. Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

This is the prayer I want you to think about. Have you done a self-check lately?

When I was up on Kilimanjaro, it caused me to do a self-check. Have you ever been anywhere so massive it makes you realize how small you are in the scheme of things? God wants to help us understand his grandeur, and in that, we would submit to his leading and his guidance.

No. 5: Remember that we are in an eternal family together.

1 Corinthians 11:33 says, “So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other.”

On Kilimanjaro, there was no one to stand with me. When you’re there, there is no need to explain it; you can simply experience it together. We get to experience communion together in fellowship.

If you aren’t a follower of Christ, you need to understand that God says everyone has sinned. The Bible says every one of us has a sin problem, and it separates us from God. But God showed His love for us in this way, that while we are in the middle of our sin, he sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins: past, present and future. If you profess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and turn toward God, He is faithful to forgive your sins.

You were made for the purpose of knowing God personally and enjoying Him forever, and you have an opportunity to do that right now.

Simply say these words to God, mean them in your heart and you will begin to breathe eternally and have a relationship with the God of the universe:

Jesus, I don’t know you, but I want to know you, and I realize that you died on the cross for me. I want to turn away from sin and turn toward you right now. I ask you to save me and start a relationship with me that will last forever. Thank you for saving me, amen.”

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