Monday, 1 October 2012

The Marks of the Church (The Lord's Supper)

The second mark of a true church is the right administration of the sacraments, which are baptism and the Lord's Supper. My concern in these blog articles is to contend for the honour of the Lord and the pastoral well-being of Christians. New traditions can be formed quickly. So quickly that they may gain acceptance to be the norm and become solidified unchallenged. This can be the case with respect to the administration of the Lord's Supper.

Communion was instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ and therefore it is to be a vital feature for the life and health of the church. Paul records these words of institution for the Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, and they are also found in Matthew, Mark and Luke's Gospel. "For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread" (1 Cor. 11:23).

Paul the apostle had a rich understanding concerning the Lord's Supper as he wrote: "The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?" (1 Cor. 10:16). This kind of rich language concerning our communion with Christ, spiritually speaking, through the Communion is probably a neglected theme.

With respect to the administration of this sacrament how is it commonly administered? Is it served as a quick snack, like fast food or is it served a rich feast to nourish the church? In my experience over the years, it is all too common that the Lord's Supper is served hastily and this can deny the church the blessings for which Christ intended for the church.

Listen to the Westminster Larger Catechism on this subject.
Question 170: How do they that worthily communicate in the Lord's Supper feed upon the body and blood of Christ therein?

Answer: As the body and blood of Christ are not corporally or carnally present in, with, or under the bread and wine in the Lord's Supper, and yet are spiritually present to the faith of the receiver, no less truly and really than the elements themselves are to their outward senses; so they that worthily communicate in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, do therein feed upon the body and blood of Christ, not after a corporal and carnal, but in a spiritual manner; yet truly and really, while by faith they receive and apply unto themselves Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death.

Let us all join in prayer for a recovery of the right administration of the Lord's Supper for the honour and glory of the Triune God.

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