This week I'll be posting some thoughts on the Lord's Supper as an encouragement our Redeemer Fellowship family and anyone else wanting to think with us through the issues.
The Lord's Supper, or communion, is a sacred tradition given to us by Jesus Christ. During the Passover meal with his disciples he blessed us with an ordinance that, through the elements of bread and wine, the gospel is preached, our faith is encouraged, and and the church is united as brothers and sisters.
This ordinance is given to the church, and is therefore only to be received by believers. But we must ask ourselves, "Am I ready to receive the Lord's Supper?" It may sound like an absurd question, but preparation is in order and self-examination is important (1 Cor. 11:28). When shouldn't you take communion? If you remain impenitant, and are refusing to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus you should remain seated. To take communion in such a condition is a form of hypocrisy that while hidden it hardens the heart.
On the other hand the Lord's Supper is sometimes treated as an overly-introspective and nearly depressing act. Some are encouraged to so focus on their sin that, despite the highlighted and visible gospel proclamation happening in the Lord's Supper, the joy of salvation is nowhere to be found. In fact, some believers will decide not to participate at all because they have messed up "too badly." There stands the table. The invitation is made. But some fear they shouldn't go forward because the past week was one filled with sin and unbelief. Some think, "I blew it this week. I better not do it."
But here is the truth. Just as Jesus came, not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance, so the Lord's Supper is for sinners (Luke 5:32). If you have come to the assembly unrepentant and doubting, there is time to repent and commit yourself to Jesus. We should come to the table believing, confessing our sin, turning from it and trusting the promises of the Gospel afresh. We come to the table simul justus et peccator--simultaneously justified and yet sinful. Knowing and resting in God's sovereign pardon of sinners produces joy and leads to worship.
As you examine yourself, during communion and find yourself to be sinful and in need of mercy, know that you have found it in Jesus. Come to the table, confessing and repenting. You will find grace.
Next up: The Lord's Supper: Open or Closed?