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Posts Tagged ‘The Lord’s Supper’

Pastor Terry Enns writes a helpful post to help us prepare for the Lord’s Supper, specifically in regard to examining ourselves before we come to the Table. I  really like the questions he mentions at the end in this piece entitled “Preparing for communion.”

Paul exhorts the Corinthian believers (1 Cor. 11:23-34) to examine themselves before taking the elements so that they do not take them in an unworthy manner and in so doing, invite the judgment of God on themselves.

So self-examination before communion is an essential act of preparation.

There are two particular kinds of self-examination to do.  First, one needs to examine whether he is even in the faith (e.g., 2 Cor. 13:5).  If Christ has not taken our sins on Himself and if Christ has not imputed His righteousness to us, then we have nothing to remember in the act of communion.  If we are not believers in Christ and He has not redeemed us from our sin, b taking communion we are lying about our relationship with Him and He will condemn us for all our sin if we do not repent.

Perhaps we take the first test and determine, “Yes, I am in the faith. I am trusting Christ as my Savior; I love Him.”  Then there is a second test to take:  am I in fellowship with Him, or is there some sin that I am engaging in that is inhibiting my fellowship?  The first question has to do with our judicial relationship with God — has Christ absorbed God’s wrath on our behalf? — while the second question has to do with our familial relationship with Christ — am I living like the adopted son of God that I am?  The answer to both questions must be affirmed for one to rightly take the elements of communion.

To help address the status of our familial relationship with the Lord, Kris Lundgaard has proposed several questions that examine the nature of our fellowship with the Lord:

  • Have I slipped at all from fervent love for Christ and faithfulness to Him?  Am I drifting or going nowhere with God?  Am I spiritually weak?
  • Do I still have peace and joy?
  • Do I see outward signs of decay in my spiritual life?  (“Often we don’t need to mine deep within our souls to find spiritual rot.  It’s lying right on the surface where anyone can see it, like paint peeling off the walls of a house.  Arrogance, selfishness, worldliness, extravagant clothing or entertainment, excessive attention to leisure, vulgar or loose talk, being consumed by work or ambition — isn’t it obvious that these are the ways of the world?”)
  • Am I tired of God?  Have I lost my taste for worship, either public or private?
  • Does the glory of God shine through me?  How’s my spiritual appetite? Is Christ the first and best thought of my life? Do I go out of my way for Christ and His people?

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Our church is planning on observing the Lord’s Supper this Sunday morning.  To help prepare my own heart for this I read this week a short devotional from John Flavel in which he shares six advantages of participating in this ordinance.  Here are three of them:

[T]he believing and affectionate remembrance of Christ [in the Lord’s Supper] is of singular advantage at all times to the people of God. For it is the immediate end of one of the greatest ordinances that ever Christ appointed to the church.

To have frequent recognitions of Christ, will appear to be singularly efficacious [productive] and useful to believers, if you consider,

1. If at any time the heart be dead and hard, this is the likeliest means in the world to dissolve, melt, and quicken it. Look hither, hard heart; hard indeed if this hammer will not break it. Behold the blood of Jesus.

2. Art thou easily overcome by temptations to sin? This is the most powerful restraint in the world from sin: Romans 6:2, ‘How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?’ We are crucified with Christ, what have we to do with sin? Have such a thought as this, when thy heart is yielding to temptation. How can I do this, and crucify the Son of God afresh! Hath He not suffered enough already on earth; shall I yet make Him groan as it were for me in heaven! Look, as David poured the water brought from the well of Bethlehem, on the ground, though he was athirst, for he said, it is the blood of the men. That is, they eminently hazarded their lives to fetch it; much more should a Christian pour out upon the ground, yea, despise and trample under foot, the greatest profit or pleasure of sin; saying, Nay, I will have nothing to do with it, I will on no terms touch it, for it is the blood of Christ: it cost blood, infinite, precious blood to expiate it. If there were a knife in your house that had been thrust to the heart of your father, you would not take pleasure to see that knife, much less to use it.

3. Are you afraid your sins are not pardoned, but still stand upon account before the Lord? What more relieving, what more satisfying, than to see the cup of the New Testament in the blood of Christ, which is ‘shed for many for the remission of sins’? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is ‘Christ that died’.

Flavel, 1:269–70 from Feasting with Christ: Meditations on the Lord’s Supper. 2012 (J. R. Beeke & P. M. Smalley, Ed.) (24–27). Darlington, England: Evangelical Press.

 

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All of the sessions from the recent Desiring God National Conference are now available on line.  Nearly all of the sessions are available in video or audio format, a few are audio only.

There are general sessions by John Piper, Ed Welch, Kevin DeYoung, Russell Moore, and Jarvis Williams as well as breakout sessions on topics such as communion, corporate worship, rest and work, and grandparenting.

I have watched a few sessions already. The general session by DeYoung and Williams were particularly helpful and uplifting to me.

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This Sunday we will be observing the Lord’s Supper during worship.  We will do freely, almost taking for granted the biblical-rooted view of the Lord’s Supper.  We understand that the elements we share do not become the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ as Roman Catholicism teaches.  We do not celebrate the mass.  And no one will arrest us for our position on the Lord’s Supper.

True believers have not always enjoyed such freedom.  Some of the Reformers died because they refused to endorse one cardinal doctrine–the doctrine of transubstantiation.  That’s the theological word for what the RC Church believes happens during the Mass–which is in essence a re-crucifixion of Jesus every time the Mass is observed.

Read the well-documented post by Terry Enns on this story. Remember this as you freely participate in the Lord’s Table the next time.

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