Sundays at 10:30am

Latest Sermon

Latest Worship Guide

Menu

The Lord's Supper

February 8, 2015 Preacher: Bart Box Series: Church Matters

Passage: 1 Corinthians 11:17–11:34

The Lord’s Supper 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 This evening we’re going to continue our series on Church Matters, and so we’ll look this week at the Lord’s Supper. In the next few weeks, Lord willing, we will look at the idea of discipline followed by giving before transitioning into our normal pattern here at Christ Fellowship Church going through books of the Bible. We will be going through the book of James.

This evening’s sermon can be seen as a follow-up to our sermon last week on baptism as we think about the Lord’s Supper together. I want to jump right into our time in the Word. There is a lot to cover tonight and I want to make the best use of our time.

I am convinced that few of us, including myself, truly appreciate the significance of the Lord’s Supper in the Christian life and the life of the church. There are a lot of reasons for that, some of which I hope we can explore tonight. But I’m convinced it’s the case, especially in the evangelical church, and even within the Baptist church, with which we identify at CFC. As one preacher rightly said, if you asked a bunch of Christians what is one of the chief ways to grow in godliness, it is likely that far more Christians would come back with journaling than the Lord’s Supper. But Jesus didn’t gather His disciples in the Upper Room and tell them to journal in remembrance of me. He told them to commemorate His death with a meal. This is not to say that journaling, or prayer, or Bible reading, or fellowship, or fasting are unimportant. Far from it. Many of these things are commanded and all are beneficial. But it is to say that neglecting the Lord’s Supper (in terms of understanding and applying) will be detrimental to our faith and our growth in godliness.

So my aim tonight is to simply be helpful for you as a believer who comes to the Lord’s Supper on a weekly basis, or however that looks if you are at another church that celebrates it in a different way. My aim tonight is to help you to make sense of the Lord’s Supper in the Bible and to help you make use of the Lord’s Supper in your life as a Christian.

So, just like last week, we’ll begin with a main passage for most of the night—1 Corinthians 11—and bring in other Scriptures to fill out what the Lord’s Supper is in the Bible. We’re going to ask two primary questions: 1) What is the meaning of the Lord’s Supper in the Bible? and 2) How should we celebrate the Lord’s Supper?

I. What is the meaning of the Lord’s Supper?

I want to say right away that if you walk away from this sermon and you believe the two meanings expressed in your notes is all there is to say about the Lord’s Supper, you have misunderstood. There are a lot more sermons I could preach about this subject. I looked at someone like, for example, John Piper, and there was 13 or 14 sermons on the Lord’s Supper on his website. I thought, “Well, we could do it in one.” There is much more to be said, a much fuller and richer meaning that what we are going to say here tonight. I want to draw your attention to two of the main ideas from this passage in particular.

It is critical to understand what is going on in this passage before we look at Paul’s rehearsal of Jesus’ words and main teaching in vv. 23-25. So the structure of this passage is that in vv. 17-22 set up the context of what is going on in the passage, particularly what is wrong in the Corinthian congregation. Then Paul zeroes in on the meaning of the Lord’s Supper in vv. 23-25, and then applies the meaning in another way in vv. 26 on.

Paul is writing to Corinth, a church that he is familiar with. He spent about 18 months there. He has gone on now and here he is writing back to them. Now And if you know anything about Corinth, you know that they were messed up in a lot of ways. They had wrong views on the cross, discipline, sex, marriage, idolatry, gifts, and the resurrection. And among those wrong beliefs was their practice of the Lord’s Supper. Which was bad in Corinth but in the providence of God it is really good for us, because it gives Paul an opportunity to explain the purpose and background of the Lord’s Supper in a way that never happens anywhere else outside the Gospels. In the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and a bit of John) we see the Last Supper. There are several mentions in Acts (2:46 and 20:7), but the only real place where the Lord’s Supper is taught in the Bible in a Christian church context is in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34. As you are studying this passage and thinking about the Lord’s Supper, this is the passage you want to come back to. What does the Bible say? Here it is. This is the primary text.

In vv. 18-19, Paul says, “For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.” It is possible that Paul is being sarcastic in talking about their divisiveness. Maybe he is saying that divisions help sort the true from the false. We don’t really know exactly what he means. But he goes on in verse 20—and this is a key line for our purposes—he says, “When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper that you eat.” Now, why is that? Or how is that? How is it that we could come in here and eat the bread and drink the cup and read the text yet still not actually observe of celebrate the Lord’s Supper? Well, one way would be to do what the Corinthians were doing, which is to abuse, ignore, or marginalize the “less important” members of the body. That is exactly what is going on in the Corinthian church. Paul explains further in verse 21 says, “For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing?”

Scholars have helped to paint a picture of what is going on here in the Corinthian congregation. Most of the meetings in the early church in the first century would have occurred in homes. And not just in homes, but in the homes of the wealthiest members. It might have been a church of 50-75 people, we don’t really know for sure. The wealthier homes in those days had two main living areas. There was a more formal eating room which could seat 8-9 people. And then you had other, less important rooms where you would seat the rest of the guests if they came. The main area was designated for the upper crust, the influential, powerful, and significant people in your life. You would bring them into that room while the women, children, and slaves were placed in the other rooms. Not only that, you would also feed the more influential people the best food and the choicest wine. In fact, they would get the majority of the portions. Whatever you had remaining could be enjoyed by those in the other room. It seems that the Corinthian church is adopting that very same Roman behavior.

Paul says in vv. 21-22 that the Corinthians are shaming other people in the body. They have adopted wordly standards, attitudes, and practices. And it is that sameness that Paul finds so repulsive and so contrary to the nature of the Lord’s table. Notice what he says in verse 23, “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you.” This is what I want you to notice. Verses 23-26 gives us two correctives to this identifying with adoption of worldly standards drawn from the Lord’s table to show that such things are contrary to your celebration of the Lord’s Table. We will unpack the meaning and then apply the meaning.

- The Lord’s Supper is a reminder of Christ’s redemption and our new identity. (vv. 23-25)

Latch onto those words “redemption” and “identity.” This is what Paul is criticizing and concerned about. The Corinthians are finding an identity in the ways of the world. They are not showing new things, new behaviors, new attitudes. They are not displaying redemption. The Lord’s Supper is a reminder of Christ’s redemption and our new identity.

Look at verse 23, where Paul begins to unpack this. “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me” (11:23-25). Now, there is no reason to think that Paul got a direct word or direct revelation from heaven. In all likelihood he got this from Luke. How do we know this? If you look at the passage on your notes, Luke 22, you’ll notice a really striking resemblance to Paul’s words here in 1 Corinthians 11. Notice what Luke tells us in Luke 22:14-15 and 19-20, “And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, ‘I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer’…. And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” Paul is going back to this what we call the Last Supper. He unpacks what it means in terms of the new covenant and the Lord’s Supper.

If I could highlight one or two particular words in the Luke 22 passage it would be the idea of Passover. I want you to think about this. The Gospels tell us—John in particular—that Jesus Himself said that he had authority over his life to lay it down and take it up again. This command He received from His Father. It follows that Jesus did not find himself in Jerusalem on the night of the Passover, the day before He was crucified, by accident. Jesus planned to be in Jerusalem and to offer His life at the time of Passover. There were other celebrations on the calendar like the Day of Atonement, Pentecost, etc. but Jesus particularly chose to identify Himself during the time of the Passover. Why is that? Well, simply this: for Israel, no other celebration so defined the people of God as this celebration called Passover. It was an annual reminder for Israel that they were not a people but that by mercy and grace of God that they had become God’s people. That with an outstretched arm God had redeemed the people from Israel and hurled Pharaoh and his army into the heart of the sea. He had redeemed them from slavery. And God commanded them every year to gather together, even after they came to the Promised Land, and celebrate God’s great work not simply in recollection. When God told them to remember the exodus, it was simply a recollection of facts but a placing of the entire nation in this story.

This is what God has done, and we are part of that! We are joined into that great story. And so Jesus, on the night before He is betrayed unto death, gathers His disciples. Only on this night that are not only looking back but looking forward. Because on the next day an even greater redemption would unfold as the Son of God gave Himself on the tree. That those who were enslaved not to Pharaoh but to sin might be delivered and reconciled forever to God. Jesus takes the Passover, the greatest moment of Israel’s deliverance out of the Old Testament, and says that it is just a shadow. There is something far greater at work. It is a greater redemption that is about to take place. And so when we come to the Lord’s table this is what we are doing. We are remembering not simply facts about the gospel but placing ourselves into the story. We too have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

And do you remember what was the explicit purpose for God’s redemption of Israel from slavery. Do you remember? Over and over—I think seven times, in fact—in Exodus 5-9 there is a repeated refrain as to why God was redeeming Israel. I have one on your notes from Exodus 8:1, “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Let my people go, that they may serve me.’” The purpose of the Exodus was not just goodness to Israel but glory to God. God was forming a new people, a new society where God was at the center. Where His glory was evident, where His name was hallowed, where His purposes stand, where His Word would be heard, and where His commands would be obeyed. And this is the kind of remembering that should frame our understanding of the Lord’s Supper.

Baptists are often criticized for minimizing the Lord’s Supper by emphasizing remembrance as the heart of the Lord’s Supper. And it is true that, for example, in distinction from other denominations, that we do not believe that the elements—the bread and the cup—are anything other than bread and juice. We don’t believe, for example, in any sort of transformation of the elements through the words of a priest. We don’t believe that Jesus is mysteriously present in any way. Nor do we believe that there is any kind of special presence or that we are taken up to heaven when we celebrate or any of those things that you can research on your own. But neither should we think of this as mere remembrance, that one needs to have a serious look on one’s face and think about all the bad things that happened to Jesus. Biblical remembrance, Exodus and Passover remembrance, is to call to mind that through Christ’s body that was broken God has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of Christ, that we were dead in trespasses and sin under the influence of the evil one but that we have been made alive to God. We are a chosen race, a holy nation, a royal priesthood, a people for His own possession, that we may declare the excellencies of Him that called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light.

Biblical remembrance is not just about what happened to Jesus but about happened to me and what happened to you because of Jesus. Russell Moore says it and applies it so well, He says, “The Lord’s Supper [should] be characterized by even more celebrative singing, and even laughter, than the rest of the service. The Supper is a victory lap—announcing the triumph of Christ over the powers of sin, death, and Satan. At the same time, the Supper [should] maintain the gravity of the moment, as the congregation recognizes that it is performing a sign of God’s freeing us from slavery through Christ—a sign of a new covenant that addresses not only other believers but God himself, the unseen demonic rulers, and even unbelievers who might marvel from outside at the meaning we find in this ancient rite.”

Brothers and sisters, this is why we say in our church covenant that we will regularly participate in communion as we solemnly and joyfully remember the work of Christ. Solemnly, because it’s by blood that this has happened. Joyfully, because it’s in truth that it has happened. We are redeemed by the sacrificial life and overcoming resurrection of Christ.

- The Lord’s Supper is a proclamation of Christ’s death and His coming kingdom.

Look at verse 26. Paul says, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.” There is so much here but I want to highlight a couple of things. Notice what Paul says: you proclaim the Lord’s death. In other words, we preach. We hear “preaching,” especially “preaching Christ’s death” we immediately think about the unbelievers in our midst and how we want them to see the bread and the cup and the signs of forgiveness that is offered in Christ Jesus. That is absolutely central and correct, and there is everything good and right about that. I would also add that we would be greatly impoverished in our understanding of the Lord’s Supper if we didn’t realize that it’s also preaching to us. The Lord’s Supper proclaims the Lord’s death to all who are listing until He comes. But notice, what does Paul say that we proclaim? He says that we proclaim His death. Not His teaching, miracles, or even His resurrection (although that is implied in His coming). He says we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Why do you think he singles out the Lord’s death? Well, I want you to think back for a moment to the context of the Corinthian church and their abuse of the Lord’s Supper. I want you to think how proclaiming death answers what the Corinthians were doing. Basically, Paul is saying, “How can you ignore, mistreat, take advantage of, fail to love, not provide for and serve your brothers and sisters in Christ knowing that Jesus has done those very things?” To put it simply, the Lord’s Supper roars against any privatized form of Christianity that says everything’s okay as long as long as I’m okay. If that is the death that we proclaim we can be sure that it is not Christ’s death that we proclaim. Brian Vickers said it rightly, “He is present in His body, the church. Of course, He is present in and with His people at all times, but the Supper affords a special glimpse into that reality as believers indwelt by the same Spirit, having the same baptism, commune together, confessing the same Lord and Savior. Christ is recognized among believers each week in the breaking of bread. As believers approach the Supper, they may look around and consider the others coming to the Table and say to themselves, ‘Christ died for her. His sins were forgiven on the cross. These brothers and sisters are all part of Christ’s body.’”

I can remember in the church services when I was kid that the Lord’s Supper was shrouded in mystery. For thing, the Lord’s Supper was literally shrouded—a big white sheet over the elements—if you went to a small Baptist church you may know what I’m talking about—until the pastor and the chairman of deacons did the American flag folding ceremony with it. I had to learn how to do that the first time I had to administer the Lord’s Supper in a little country church in Arley, Alabama. But I always thought it had to have such mystery to it because I would look around and see all these people with their eyes closed holding the bread and the sup. Often times they would even be instructed to do that, to close their eyes and meditate on what God has done for them. I want to say very clearly that there is nothing inherently wrong with that. The Lord’s Supper is a mental action of calling to mind what Jesus has accomplished in His life, death, and resurrection. Redemption that He has affected in our lives. But I would simply add that it is more than that. The gospel that we celebrate at the Table is the same gospel that destroys all barriers between His people, the gospel that overcomes racism, classism, ageism, sexism, and every other divisive –ism ever devised by sinful man. It the gospel that says there is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. That is pretty hard to see with your eyes closed. Church, this is way we recognize the presence of Christ—not in some mystical experience but in the local, tangible, real body that He has drawn together, reigns over, and is one day coming for. And it is pictured every Lord’s day in the Lord’s Supper when people from all walks of life and all background make their way to the same Christ represented in the bread & cup. It is a remembrance of what God has done for us in Christ and a proclamation of the sacrificial death that draws together and establishes His people into an entirely different kind of community.

II. How Should We Celebrate the Lord’s Supper?

With those two things in mind, I want to walk through three applications as to how we can celebrate the Lord’s Supper in a way that magnifies these particular meanings. Again, there are a lot more questions, but I think these are important and most critical for us as a church.

- How often should we celebrate the Lord’s Supper?

I’ll say first that the Bible is not definitive on this matter. It is clear that the early church celebrated the Lord’s Supper weekly (if not daily at first), but we don’t get as clear a picture of that as we’d like in the rest of the New Testament. As I mentioned, this is the only letter where the Lord’s Supper is discussed outside the Gospels. At the same time, even though the church appeared to celebrate the Supper on a weekly basis it does seem that there is the possibility of liberty in the text that we just read. In verse 26, Paul says, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.” In other words, whenever you celebrate. Now Paul may have had in mind that every week is exactly how often you do that but we just don’t know. It’s hard to make an absolute, concrete case that this is what Paul had in mind.

So we not regard churches that do not celebrate the Lord’s Supper on a weekly basis as in sin in any way. Many of you grew up in churches like that, as did I. And we should not consider ourselves spiritually superior because we observe the Lord’s Supper every week. The Corinthians were perhaps celebrating on a weekly basis and they weren’t really celebrating. So far more important than how often you celebrate it is how you celebrate it.

But, you might ask, why does CFC celebrate the Lord’s Supper on a weekly basis? Well, the way I would answer that is to take us back to those ideas of redemption by Christ and proclamation of Christ. The Lord’s Supper tells us who we are and what we are called to. And in that way, we understand the Lord’s Supper as complementary to the gospel message that we preach every Sunday. There are things you hear each and every Sunday that should make you more aware of the grace of God in Christ and things that should prick your conscience. And we want to remind you from the Word and, in a complimentary way, from the Table of your true identity and purpose, that you were bought by Christ’s blood, bound by Christ’s command, and that you life for Christ’s glory. We think the Lord’s Supper is a fitting and tangible response to every message if we’ve rightly preached the Bible. It is a fitting response, a fitting conclusion to what we have heard from God’s Word.

Charles Spurgeon said it this way, “I have often remarked on Lord’s-day evening, whatever the subject may have been, whether Sinai has thundered over our heads, or the plaintive notes of Calvary have pierced our hearts, it always seems equally appropriate to come to the breaking of bread.” He continues, “[Baptism and the Lord’s Supper] are wells to the Christian, wells of rich comfort and of near communion.”

And so we pray that you would find the Lord’s Supper to be a well, that you would draw out comfort as well as instruction of what your life should look like under the lordship of Christ.

- Where should we celebrate the Lord’s Supper?

The simple answer on this is in the context of the local church. I’ll you two reasons for that.

First, consider the text. The phrase “When you come together” is repeated throughout the passage. You see it in verses 17, 18, 20, 33, 34. Indeed, Paul makes an argument that they should eat at home, drink at home, party at home, but the Lord’s Supper is reserved for the church coming together. In particular, under the oversight and discipline of the church. If you connect, as the Bible does, the Lord’s Supper an church discipline, I think we are brought a long way on this question of where we should celebrate the Lord’s Supper.

Second, consider the meaning. The Lord’s Supper is a proclamation of Christ’s death to the world and to the body. It is a reminder that we are in relationship, covenant with a particular local body where Christ’s sacrificial death is our guide. This is why Paul calls for them to “discern the body” in v. 29. Almost all interpreters understand that to mean the body of Christ, the church. Paul says, “For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body (of Christ) eats and drinks judgment on himself.” To put it simply, eating this meal rightly involves rightly relating to my brothers and sisters, not simply drawing closer to Jesus in whatever manner I choose. The ordinance is given to the church, not my family or my ministry or my whatever. And so we want to stick to Scripture and observe when we come together.

- Who can celebrate the Lord’s Supper?

This is probably the most significant question because it really has bearing on how we celebrate on a weekly basis. It is impossible to address all the various options and nuances on this particular issue. I want to address the issue from 30,000 feet and if you have particular questions you can always speak to and pray with one of our elders. There are also denominational differences and even differences with in Baptists, for example. I want to give you some guiding principles and then unpack them.

First, unrepentant sinners are not invited to the Table but are invited to Jesus Christ. Now, this is not the controversial part, even if it sounds inhospitable and narrow and just mean-spirited. This has been the understanding of the church throughout the centuries. The Lord’s Supper is a meal for believers. It arises out of the Last Supper and the Passover. That was a meal for Israel, not for the world. It is a meal for those in covenant with God through Jesus Christ alone. Baptism is the entrance rite into the church and the Lord’s Supper is the continuing rite. So we communicate that every Lord’s Day.

Now on a very practical level, someone has said, “We don't have the Lord's Bouncers near the Lord’s Table ready to block those who shouldn't partake.” But we would certainly want to have a conversation if we saw someone partaking who had not repented and trusted in Christ for salvation. One, because that person needs to understand that only Jesus saves—not the bread and the cup. Wherever we buy the bread and the juice, there is nothing saving there. Jesus Christ alone saves. Second, and more importantly, the church and the world need to understand who truly belongs to God. The Lord’s Supper says these are the people who have been redeemed, who are trusting in Him for provision, who are living for His glory, who are obeying His commands. And that is simply not possibly true of anyone who rejects Jesus Christ and therefore lives in rebellion to God. 1 Corinthians 10:21 states it as strongly as it can be stated. Paul says, “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.” In other words, you can’t just live like you want in the world and then come into the church and identify with Christ. Those are mutually exclusive concepts.

If you’re not a Christian, I hope you understand and hear this as love for you and love for God. We want you to eat this meal with us. We want you to know what we know and have what we have. We want you to love what we love, and that is Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Table, invites you to trust in Him this evening. Ask God to show you what it means to celebrate the Table and, if you trust in Him, we would love to celebrate this Table with you.

And if you are a Christian, even if you are not a member of this church and are simply visiting with us, so long as you have identified with Christ in baptism—even if that view of baptism differs from our own—we would still invite you to the Table to worship with us. Those that are explicitly barred from the Table (besides unbelievers) are those who are in rebellion to God (we’ll talk about that next week in 1 Corinthians 5). But we would invite you partake so long as you are visibly identified with Christ in a gospel preaching church (or moving toward that) and are not under the discipline of a church. We invite you to celebrate with us.

Finally, repentant sinners are welcome at the Table but warned about sin. Look at verses 27-32. Paul says, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.” There are two opposite errors that we may fall into as Christians regarding theses particular verses. One is to approach the Table flippantly; the other is to avoid the Table fearfully. I want to be clear: Paul is not saying that you need a really good week in order to observe the Lord’s Supper. What you are to profess at the Table is not your worthiness but your unworthiness. Not your sufficiency but your need. If all that is left of the Table is the threat of judgment, then I think we have clearly missed the redemption from sin part and proclamation of Christ part.

We sing this song often and I think it accurately summarizes this accurately. “Come, ye weary, heavy-laden, / Lost and ruined by the fall; / If you tarry till you’re better, / You will never come at all.” There is no possibility. You can’t have a good enough week to deserve the Lord’s Table. And so we should never have in our minds that we need to have a good week and not blow it.

So what is Paul saying, then? Because we don’t want to approach the Table flippantly. Paul is saying that repentance is required for right participation. Notice what is calling for: examination, discernment of the body, and judgment of oneself (vv. 27, 28, 31). Brothers and sisters, what is that if it’s not the beginning stages of repentance? Paul is calling for us to recognize if there is any way we are not carrying out the commands of Christ, abusing the body, failing to love, or anything else that is contrary to Christ in my celebration of the Lord’s Supper. And what I would add is that if you do those things and then you say, “You know, I actually prefer the sin…” then coming to the Table makes no sense for you and makes a mockery of the redemption that the Table preaches and may well indeed lead to the judgment of God. Out of love for you He may strike you dead or afflict you with some sickness or discipline you in an entirely different way. You might say, “C’mon, does God really do that?” I would simply point you to Jesus. He didn’t just die spiritually for sin but physically as sin was put onto Him. Paul says better to judge yourself than leave it to God to judge. Better to examine yourself and discern the body than leave that to God’s judgment. To put it simply, while it is absolutely true to say that the Table is for sinners it’s more precise to say that the Table is for repenting sinners. And notice I use the word “repenting.” Not those who have overcome a certain sin but for those in the moment who are repenting of their sin, those who hate their sin and look to Christ to both cancel and to crucify it.

So, here’s what I would leave you with in terms of specific application. Ask yourself: What are the obvious contradictions between my life and what the Table signifies? It is a good thing to ask every week. Yes in the last week, but also in the particular passage that you’ve just heard unfolded and explained and the Spirit’s convicted about regarding things you may or may not be doing. And having repented of your sins, I would encourage you to come to the Table to be reminded of God’s grace in Christ and His pledge to you, to be reminded of all that God is for you and all that God is doing in Christ.

I love the way that J.I. Packer says it, “We should be saying in our hearts, “As sure as I see and touch and taste this bread and this wine, so sure is it that Jesus Christ is not a fancy but a fact, that he is for real, and that he offers me himself to be my Savior, my Bread of Life, and my Guide to glory. He has left me this rite, this gesture, this token, this ritual action as a guarantee of this grace; He instituted it, and it is a sign of life-giving union with him, and I’m taking part in it, and thus I know that I am his and he is mine forever.”

May that kind of attitude, confidence, and assurance arise out of hearing the gospel, repenting of our sin, and clinging to Christ every week by God’s grace!

More in Church Matters

February 22, 2015

Giving

February 1, 2015

Baptism

January 25, 2015

Worship