A Singular Way the Lord’s Supper Provides Christ in Community

Good Morning!

We are going to just look at one question today as we move from what we would term the initiatory rite of the Christian faith, that is Baptism, to what we may call the confirmational sign of resting and trusting in Jesus alone for salvation, which is the Lord’s Supper. I’ll explain some more what those mean in a second. To start off there are similarities and dissimilarities between these two sacraments of the Church which need to be spoken of first. They are the same in that they both only work if the Holy Spirit is involved. They are different in that the exercise of faith, the very act of believing in the purpose of the intaking of food and drink, is not the same as the passive promise of the water and the Triune blessing. On Sunday evening for the past eight weeks we’ve talked about some particularities of the nuts and bolts of the covenant meal. This morning I do not want to reinvent the wheel on that, but to focus more on the spiritual mechanics which provide so much love and grace to the believer as we commune together in Christ.

Let’s get right to the Q/A:

Q. 168. What is the Lord’s supper?

A. The Lord’s supper is a sacrament of the New Testament, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine according to the appointment of Jesus Christ, his death is shewed forth; and they that worthily communicate feed upon his body and blood, to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace; have their union and communion with him confirmed; testify and renew their thankfulness, and engagement to God, and their mutual love and fellowship each with other, as members of the same mystical body.

Everything we do in the Christian life is to be done only be the command of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Our King and High Priest sets the terms of the Supper in the Upper Room meal before His death and resurrection. Paul confirms for us that we are to be found continuing this sacrament in the New Covenant era in the first half of 1 Corinthians 11:23 when he reports, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you . . . “. There is great peace available to us when we simply do what we are told. For God does know that which is best for us, and that especially includes His worship. We talked last Sunday evening about how communion is a public spectacle. It is an event done by the Church which speaks to the world around us as much to our own hearts about our trust and love of Christ.

The corporate (that is the gathered body of believers) nature of the sacrament cannot be in any way overstated. We not only cause spiritual pain to our soul by forsaking it, we also harm those we have vowed to love by abandoning them when the elders call for us to sup as one at the table. Is there really anything more important in this life than what we do in preparation for the second coming of the Lord Jesus? I would hope that all men who love Jesus would say no, there is not. Yet there is a reason why the writers of our catechism put so much emphasis on the “. . . mutual love and fellowship” expressed in the eating and drinking the body and blood of our Christ. We really miss the beauty of the Christian faith when we only consider ourselves in the sacrament.

Because the most important part of the communion of saints available at the Table of grace is in fact, as it usually is, the Lord Jesus Himself. More probably needs spent on this, but there is so much we miss in our spiritual life when we forget what this thing we call faith is all about. What has Christ come to do? Hear Paul again in 2 Corinthians 5:17-19a:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.

This is merely of course what Jesus Himself says to the Father in His prayer in John 17:20-23:

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”

While we solemnly approach the Supper with humility, remembering the sacrifice necessary, our sins for Christ’s righteousness, there is a joy unspeakable which should move the heart of every man or woman who professes Jesus as their redeemer. It is our practice, and has been the practice of Presbyterian’s (at least those who still use the Psalter) to sing a version of Psalm 116. In the ARP, and at Bethany of course, we sing #242 in the Bible Songs book. As this rendering closes it gives light to the glory by which Christians benefit from the love of God in Jesus in the meal.

The tune we use is Bradbury, more popularly known for its connection to the hymn He Leadeth Me. As we close this morning and prepare for more on the Lord’s Supper to come I want to end with the words of the song to help us get in the right frame of mind of thanks for what we have in the table grace that we celebrate together as fellows sinners washed in the blood of the Lamb.

Here it goes:

I love the Lord, for He did hear my voice and supplications all; because He hath inclined His ear, I while I live will on Him call. O Lord, the high and holy One, I am a servant unto thee, thy servant and thy handmaid’s son; thou hast from bonds delivered me. With sacrifice of thanks I’ll go and on Jehovah’s name will call; will pay to God the vows I owe in presence of His people all.

What fit return, Lord, can I make for all thy gifts on me bestowed? The cup of blessing I will take, and call upon the name of God.

Another thought:

https://rfbwcf.substack.com/p/the-lords-supper-communing-with-christ

Blessings in Christ,

Rev. Benjamin Glaser

Pastor, Bethany ARP Church

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