Anne Askew and Transubstantiation

On this day, June 18th, 1546, Anne Askew was convicted of heresy after being tortured for her outspoken beliefs on the false doctrine of transubstantiation.  She is one of only two women who have been tortured in the Tower of London and then burned at the stake.  On, July 16, 1546 Anne Askew was martyred for her Baptist faith in Smithfield, London.  She had refused to recant her witness under extreme torture of the rack.  This torture has so disfigured her body that she had to be transported to the stake via a wheel chair. 

Transubstantiation is the belief that during the communion of the Lord’s Supper, the bread and wine actually become the spiritual blood and body of Christ.  This teaching has no doctrinal proof found in scripture.  In scripture at what we call “the Last Supper”, which took place on the Jewish Passover, Jesus instituted the “Lord’s Supper” as a memorial service that is to remind us that sin causes death, and he sacrificed himself to pay the debt of sin for us.  His death is what brings us life.  His body was broken and his blood spilled out on our behalf.  Jesus calls this process exchanging his death for ours, the New Covenant. (Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; John 13:1-7) It is his blood that the New Testament is written in.  His blood was shed for the remission of sins. The wine is to remind us of this blood that he poured out for us.  In Luke 22:19, Jesus himself says, “Do this in remembrance of me”.  Clearly this is meant as a symbolic ceremony to ensure that we do not forget that the Son of God himself gave his life for ours.  Much like we put flowers of a grave to remember a loved one who has passed.  The flowers do not become the loved one, nor do they become the center of affection. 

I know that this is hard for some believers to accept.  So let’s take a look at what Paul writes when he spoke to the Corinthians.  For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) 

You see the Corinthians had a misunderstanding of what the “Lords Supper” was also.  This came from their pagan beliefs. They were mixing pagan rituals into the ordinances of the church. Paul addresses these by clarifying the purpose of the ceremony.  First, the apostle says that he is passing on to then exactly what he was received directly from the Lord.  In these few sentences Paul says that this ceremony is for a “remembrance”, just like Jesus did.  The purpose “remembrance of me (Jesus)”… “to show the Lord’s death until he returns”. 

We do not conjure up the Lord, as if any man could conjure the living God, and then force him to be re-sacrificed on our behalf.  The epistle to the Romans say, “Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.  For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.” (Romans 6:9-10) Something very important is revealed in this passage.  Sin is payed for.  Since Jesus died for sin, and then rose from the dead, sin has no hold on him, or those who believe on him.  He lives to God.  We who believe in him, so likewise, live unto him (Jesus Christ) and so then to God.  We are alive already, in Christ.  Sin no longer has the ability to hold us under the bondage of death.  This is why we do not need to fear death.  This is why Anne Askew did not need to fear death.  Taking of the communion does not wipe away our sins each time we partake of it.  Instead it is a reminder that our sins have already been wiped away, once and for all times.  “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:18). 

Our problem is that we are still in this corruptible flesh.  Because we are in this flesh, we do not see the spiritual realm around us.  We cannot see the glorified Christ yet.  We need to be reminded of our hope.  When we forget God and his grace, we tend to walk away from him.  This has been demonstrated in the history of Israel.  It has likely been demonstrated in your own life history also.  God knows this and in his love, he instituted this memorial service, not just to remind us that he died, but that he arose and is returning!  “Ye do show the Lord’s death till he come”; what an excellent reminder to us to not give up the hope that we have inside.  We then can endure the horrible tortures of the rack like Mrs. Askew, if we, like her, keep the knowledge that Jesus lives, and he is returning for us. 

The New Covenant and The Lords Supper

The New Covenant and The Lords Supper

Ref: Luke 22:20

“And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”

Luke22Banner

We know from Luke 22:19-20 that when Jesus offered up his body on the cross and poured out his blood, so that we might be forgiven of our sins, he was inaugurating and establishing the New Covenant. Here is how Luke records it: “Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”

The New Covenant

  1. The New Covenant was promised of God:

Jeremiah 31: 32-34 “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” 

In the book of Hebrews, the Apostle Paul wrote concerning Jesus and the New Covenant.  in doing so he referenced this scripture when he said: “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:16-17)

The prophet John the Baptist observed Jesus coming towards him and procalimed, ”Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29).  This is a further witness that Jesus would be the one who would put the New Covenant in to effect.

  • The New Covenant is the promise that God made with man that He will forgive sins and restore fellowship with those who hear and are turned towards Him.
  • Jesus Christ is the mediator of the New Covenant.
  • His death on the cross it the basis of this New Covenant 

2.  The New Covenant was instituted by the Lord himself

  • The Old Covenant was an agreement between God and the children of Israel. We have the record of it in the Old Testament.

Exodus 24:8 says, “And Moses took the blood (of the sacrifice), and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.”

 

  • The New Covenant is an agreement between God and Jesus Christ. (Therefore it includes all who are united with Jesus Christ, or as the Bible says, all those who are “in Christ.”) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)

 

  • The New Covenant did not start until after the death of Jesus Christ. For it was sealed by the precious blood of Jesus paying the price for the complete remission of sins for all who believe in Him.

 

  • Jesus himself plainly said the New Covenant involved His blood being shed.

MATTHEW 26:28 “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 

3.  It Supersedes the Old Covenant

  • Because the New Covenant is not with man, who could never fulfill his end of the covenant, but with Jesus, who did fulfill the covenant, it is secure for all eternity.
  • The point here is that with the New Covenant that Christ established and the gift of the Holy Spirit who indwells all its members, we not only know what to do, we also have been given the power and strength to do it with the proper motivation -Love!
  • The Old Testament required animal sacrifices who could only cover a man’s sin for a temporary time period, but the sacrifice that Jesus made removed our sins forever!

Hebrews 10:17-18 ”And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.”

4. It Establishes Jesus as our High Priest and Gives us access to the Throne of God the Father

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God;” (Hebrews 10:19-20). We now have an audience with the God of Creation.  In the old days, before the covenant man could not approach God, because of the holiness of God.  This would kill a man who was sinful by nature to be in the presence of God, who was holy by nature.  In the blood covering of the New Covenant, provided by the sacrifice of Jesus, we can now come before God without fear of death.  As Paul described we can now come “boldly” into the holiest, because we are sanctified in the blood of Jesus.  The veil mentioned here is the flesh that was broken.  This is the bread we eat, this is a reminder of the death of Jesus who provides a way to us to know God the Father in a personal manner.

This is not the all and all of the New Covenant but it is enough to establish the importance of remembering what Jesus had done for us in the sacrifice in the breaking of his body, and the shedding of his blood.  It is enough for us to understand why we are called by Jesus himself to remember the establishment of the New Covenant in observing the Lord’s Supper.

THE OBSERVANCE OF THE SUPPER

  1. TO BE DONE WITH REVERENCE…
  2. That is, “in a worthy manner” – 1Cor 11:27,29 – Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. “Worthily” is an adverb, describing how we take it, not whether we     are worthy (none are truly worthy), but through Jesus we are worthy. So are we taking it in a manner that it is worthy of being taken, are we doing it with reverence, humbleness, and in honor of Jesus Christ who cleanses us?  Failure to do so brings condemnation (scrutiny by God)  to  us. Chastisement from the Lord for not being sincere.

While the observance of the Lord’s Supper is a personal and intimate time with the Lord, we are to observe it in fellowship with other Christians.

  1. TO BE DONE WITH OTHER CHRISTIANS…
  2. The celebration of the Lord’s Supper is designed to be a communal meal
  • The disciples “came together” to break bread – Acts 20:7
  • When they came together, they were to “wait for one another” – 1Co 11:33
  • Partaking together of “one bread”, they demonstrate they are “one bread and one body”
    • 1Cor 10:17

The Lords Supper is a special meal to be separate from any other meals or celebrations.   When observed it should take prominence in the worship service.

CONCLUSION

Christians today should never lose sight of its significance for us…

  • It is a time to remember the cost of the New Covenant (Blood was shed)
  • A constant reminder of the great sacrifice Jesus paid for our sins
  • A communion or sharing of the body and blood of the Lord
  • A time for self-examination and rededication of our service to the Lord
  • A means for building fellowship with one another in the body of Christ

May we always find proper reverence in our hearts in observing the Lord’s Supper, reflecting on the changes that the Lord has brought to our lives; freedom from sin, guilt, and the anguish of sin.  Redeemed to a new life, of fellowship with others and with the Creator of the Universe Himself through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Oh what a debt of love we owe to the one who has redeemed us to God!