Tim Keller Sermon Notes — Series: “Practicing the Christian Life: Worshipping” — Sermon #1: The Supper

Sermon was preached on May 4, 2008.

Teaching is based on 1 Corinthians 11:18-34, where Paul discusses the Lord’s Table with the Corinthians.

Please note that these sermon notes are provided only to encourage, and that any or all parts of the notes may contain errors or omissions, due entirely to the note-taker. Full audio of the sermon may be found at the Redeemer Sermon Store.

Introduction: Beliefs don’t automatically change your character. Many people who believe God really loves them are as selfish and messed up as everyone else

  • Belief is turned into character by what we’re calling practices / disciplines.


The practice of the Lord’s Supper connects…

I. the present to the past

II. yourself to God

III. the individual to community

IV. your beliefs to your practices

V. your present to your future.

I. The practice of the Lord’s Supper connects the present to the past

  • 1 Cor 11:23 mentions “the night he was betrayed.”
  • The angel of death that came at the first passover in Egypt was judgment day fast forward. The night Jesus was betrayed was Passover. Moses said it must never be altered, and Jesus changed it. Isa. 53:6-8. No lamb can possibly cover our sin; Jesus knew He was the ultimate lamb (He in effect says, “Think about it, no lamb can cover the sins of Israel”).
  • Jesus says, “My death is the climactic event that all of history has been building up to.

Practical application: When you take the bread and cup, you’re connecting with that night.

II. The practice of the Lord’s Supper connects yourself to God

  • Jesus has the audacity to take something you can put in your hands and say, “This is me.”
  • How?
    • “High view” (Catholic tradition): This bread is literally me; this is literally the saving grace without which you perish. If you don’t eat the Lord’s Supper, you’re not saved. John 6:40 refutes this.
      • The problem with this is that the night He said this, He was holding the bread, so it must have been symbolic.
    • “Low view” (Protestant tradition): This bread symbolizes me; it symbolizes saving grace.
      • The problem with this is John 6:54 says, “Unless you eat…”
    • The word “remember” began by meaning the opposite of dismember. To take something and graft it back on.

Practical application: If you’re anxious, despondent, depressed: What you believe in your head is detached from your heart, and you need to remember. If Jesus isn’t broken, you’re lost; if He’s broken, you’re made whole.

III. The practice of the Lord’s Supper connects the individual to community

  • vs. 18 “there are divisions among you”; Paul is essentially saying, “You’re not recognizing that you’re a part of a body. [The Lord’s Supper] is a communal meal.
  • The whole point of the gospel is that it gives you a completely new way to look at God and yourself.
  • Once you believe that in Christ punishment for your sins falls on Him, you realize that the bad things that happen aren’t punishment
    • But God does use life’s troubles to shape us
  • When you eat with this division, or with a sole focus on the individual, it’s not the Lord’s supper that you’re eating

IV. The practice of the Lord’s Supper connects your beliefs to your practices

  • Eucharist means thanksgiving. This practice is an expression of gratitude.
    • If you get a paycheck after working hard for it, you’re not filled with gratitude for it! You say, “This is mine! I earned this!!”
    • You’re not filled with gratitude for things you’ve worked for.
  • To eat the Lord’s Supper ungratefully is to eat it unworthily
  • J. N. Darby: Whenever we get out of our nothingness, we get into it. As soon as we think we have what it takes, we’ve lost the one thing it takes to be spiritually mature. (i.e., humility)

Practical application: Am I living like I’m unworthy?

  • To think you’re worthy is to eat the supper unworthily.

V. The practice of the Lord’s Supper connects our present to our future

  • Why is our future called a feast in Revelation? You’ll finally be full. You’ll no longer be empty.
  • God’s whisper at the Lord’s Supper: I am unconditionally committed to getting you in my arms at that future supper.

Close: Lord of the Rings illustration
Pippin is in the terrible city, about to die in the great battle, when he hears the horn of the coming delivering army. Tolkein writes (rough quote): “For the rest of his life, Pippin couldn’t hear a distant horn without bursting into tears.”

  • The Lord’s Table is a distant horn to remind us of the One who died to get you out of the terrible city.

About davestuartjr
Dave Stuart Jr. is a full-time teacher who writes about becoming better, saner teachers at He is a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband to Crystal, and a father to Hadassah, Laura, and Marlena.

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