Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Gleanings from the Pastor's Perspective: Strength from Supper

The Pastor’s Perspective
“Strength from Supper”
First Published: Oct 3, 2006

On this coming Lord’s Day, we will observe the Lord’s Supper in our morning worship services. All of us will want to begin preparing our hearts in advance this week as we anticipate coming to the table. Let us not underestimate this privilege, for in the words of that grand old Scottish minister Horatious Bonar: “Here [at the Lord's table], O my Lord, I see thee face to face; here would I touch and handle things unseen, here grasp with firmer hand thy eternal grace, and all my weariness upon thee lean.” What a blessing to come to such a place of gospel rest.

In our preparation for the Supper, you will want to examine yourself (I Corinthians 11:28), reflect upon what it means to be united with Christ and His people (I Corinthians 11:29), and meditate upon all the spiritual blessings which flow to you in view of Jesus’ finished work of redemption (Luke 22:19-10). Maybe there are some of you struggling with sin or wrestling with assurance, feeling far from God. Prayer and confession are certainly appropriate responses, but more will perhaps be necessary to bring you to the table with joy.

Consider then the comforting Scriptural truth of the Westminster Larger Catechism, No. 172: "One who doubts of his being in Christ, or of his proper preparation for the sacrament of the Lord's supper, may have true interest in Christ, though he is not yet assured of it. Indeed, in God's account he has a true interest in Christ, if he is appropriately affected with the apprehension of the lack of his assurance, yet unfeignedly desires to be found in Christ, and yearns to depart from iniquity. In this case (because the promises are made, and this sacrament is appointed, for the relief even of weak and doubting Christians), he is to mourn his unbelief, and strive to have his doubts resolved; and, so doing, he may and ought to come to the Lord's supper, that he may be further strengthened."

How blessed it is that sinners like ourselves are freely invited into communion with our sovereign and loving Lord. May we honor Him with our worship, and may He meet us “face to face” by faith in the administration of the sacrament.

We also ought to use this occasion to re-commit ourselves to our collective vow “to support the church in its worship and work” to the best of our abilities, in at least two ways (by the way, this fourth question of membership will be the topic of our morning message). First, in church attendance. We all need to determine now to continue (or improve or begin) the habit of every Lord’s Day morning and evening worship attendance, and to avail ourselves of the prayer meeting and Wednesday evening’s fellowship times. Healthy Christian life is fostered in a congregation when all the members of the body faithfully commit to the public means of grace – to joining together under the reading and preaching of the word of God, the taking of the sacraments and corporate prayer. Second, in church giving. One of the ways we show that we worship God and not money (Matthew 6:24) is by giving generously to the work of the Lord. One of the ways we show that we understand that everything we have comes from God (Psalm 24:1) is by giving to the work of the Lord. One of the ways we show our commitment to God’s kingdom (Matthew 6:33) is by giving for its upbuilding.
Your friend,

Ligon Duncan

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