Monday, 14 September 2009

Aspects of the Lord's Supper

Yesterday we celebrated the Lord’s Supper in our congregation. What did it involve? One answer is to focus on externals and say that it required a sermon, a table, and the elements of bread and wine. Each of these are necessary for a biblical enacting of the Lord’s Supper. Yet we should also focus on other essential features, some of which take place before the Supper and some during it. Here are four aspects.

First, the Lord’s Supper is a communion. It is not only a communion between an individual believer and Christ, it is also communion between his people as they meet together. This means that they cannot come to the Lord’s Table with wrong attitudes towards other believers. If they do, they will not receive spiritual blessings. For example, it is important for any believers who are not speaking to one another to sort out the matter before they come to the Lord’s Table.

Second, the Lord’s Supper is a confession. Those who sit at the Table are confessing many things and here are a few of them: (1) they are confessing that they are sinners who have trusted in Jesus for salvation; (2) they are confessing that they are sorry for their sins and desire to forsake them; (3) they are confessing that they have chosen the children of God to be their friends and companions; (4) they are confessing that they are looking forward to heaven.

Third, the Lord’s Supper is a channel of grace; believers go to the Supper in order to receive spiritual benefits. If a believer chooses to stay away from the Table he or she will miss out on spiritual blessings. There is no point in pretending otherwise. Obviously if their absence is caused by legitimate reasons, then the Lord will provide them with other spiritual comforts. Yet it is the case that Jesus expects and commands all his followers to make attendance at the Lord’s Supper a priority. This applies both to those believers who have not yet made public their trust in Christ as well as to those believers who have professed for a period of time.

Fourth, the Lord’s Supper is a sign of commitment. By coming to it, a person is stating that he is determined to continue following Jesus. Such an individual is also saying that he is committed to the spiritual life of a local congregation and will show that commitment by attending its other services. He is also saying that he is committed to living for Jesus day by day in the community, in the workplace, in the family, in fact everywhere.

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