Why Christians Need to Take Time to Consider the Daily Blessing of the Sacraments

Good Morning,

Big questions with big answers today. The main message in view is to help believers come to see that the Sacraments, but especially the Lord’s Supper, are to be understood as blessings which are a continual fount of goodness to Christians. From the moment of partaking through the days and weeks which pass there is spiritual fruit to be enjoyed from the eating and drinking of the body and blood of Christ. We talked before how the signs and seals of the new covenant are meant by the design of God to point us to the promises Jehovah has made to His people. As we walk through the Q/A’s we will see more clearly how in real life that is supposed to happen.

Here they are:

Q. 174. What is required of them that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper in the time of the administration of it?

A. It is required of them that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, that, during the time of the administration of it, with all holy reverence and attention they wait upon God in that ordinance, diligently observe the sacramental elements and actions, heedfully discern the Lord’s body, and affectionately meditate on his death and suffering, and thereby stir up themselves to a vigorous exercise of their graces; in judging themselves, and sorrowing for sin; in earnest hungering and thirsting after Christ, feeding on him by faith, receiving of his fulness, trusting in his merits, rejoicing in his love, giving thanks for his grace; in renewing of their covenant with God, and love to all the saints.

Q. 175. What is the duty of Christians, after they have received the sacrament of the Lord’s supper?

A. The duty of Christians, after they have received the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, is seriously to consider how they have behaved themselves therein, and with what success; if they find quickening and comfort, to bless God for it, beg the continuance of it, watch against relapses, fulfil their vows, and encourage themselves to a frequent attendance on that ordinance: but if they find no present benefit, more exactly to review their preparation to, and carriage at, the sacrament; in both which, if they can approve themselves to God and their own consciences, they are to wait for the fruit of it in due time: but, if they see they have failed in either, they are to be humbled, and to attend upon it afterwards with more care and diligence.

One of the phrases I want to focus on first is the clause, . . . wait upon God. What does that mean in the context of what the Supper is doing for us? First of all that is a reminder that the way the sacraments work is not based on us, but on the Lord. We rest and trust in the promise that when we eat the bread and the drink the cup that the Spirit is actively engaged in nourishing our souls in and through that grace. There is a sense in which the catechism is asking us to invoke Psalm 46:10, Be Still and Know That I am God. Much of what we do in the Christian life has its genesis in our being reminded that it is our Creator who is the prime mover in the blessings. We neither need to do anything to jump start it or to help it along. The act of eating and drinking is a show of faith in the power of God to give us what He says He will, or as Hebrews 13:5 says, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Paul there quotes Deuteronomy 31:8. The latter passage points to the assurance the Israelites were to have as they fought battles in the land.

That last point moves us to another one of the arguments being made in the answer and that includes the duty we are called to after we have partaken of the Lord’s table. In Q. 175 the divines write, “ . . . to seriously consider how they have behaved themselves . . . if they find no present benefit, more exactly to review their preparation. . .”. The simple testimony here is that you are going to get out of Communion what you put into it. If you come to the elements of bread and the cup with no forethought, no mindset to gain from it, then it is not rocket science to understand why you do not feel any effects from it spiritually. To use an example from the culinary world if you want to eat beans you can’t just eat them out of the ground or off the vine and expect that to either taste good or be good for you. There is work that needs done to make them ready for the plate. The same is true of the Lord’s Supper.

When the announcement is made by the elders in December as to when the days of celebration are to be in the coming year it is incumbent upon the people to take heed and remember. To make plans that do not conflict with the six times in the calendar where we at Bethany make use of the blessings. It says a lot about what we believe about the benefits of the eating and drinking we do together in community when we choose worldly things over heavenly things. It should then be no surprise when our faith is weak, and unhealthy when we do not do the basic stuff of resting in the means of grace provided by our loving Father. These questions and answers this morning are meant to be an encouragement to honestly take a moment to reflect on our relationship with how we worship God and why we do it. It will be always worth the effort.

In closing, there is nothing in the Christian life which our Lord has given to us that is not for our backing and for our support as we walk through the difficulties of living in a fallen, sinful world. The goodness and benevolence of our manna from Heaven is ours for the taking if we will only eat of it. We cannot complain about “not getting anything out of it” if we will not first give thanks to God for His provision, and enrich our hearts and soul with His grace. He is more than sufficiently granted us His presence in the Table, let us come to Him with gladness and purpose!

Last word:


Blessings in Christ,

Rev. Benjamin Glaser

Pastor, Bethany ARP Church

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