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?