Communion Preparation (June 2014)

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 1 Corinthians 10:16 [1]

So truly is the Body of Christ conjoined with the bread, and the Blood of Christ conjoined with the wine, that as soon as you receive the bread in your mouth (if you are a faithful man or woman) you receive the Body of Christ in your soul, and that by faith. And as soon as you receive the wine in your mouth, you receive the Blood of Christ in your soul, and that by faith. It is impossible for me to get the juice and virtue that flow out of Christ without first getting the substance, that is, Christ Himself. And how do I get him? Not by my mouth. It is vain to think that we will get God by our mouth, but we get Him by faith.

Therefore, seeing that we come to the Sacrament to be fed by His Flesh and refreshed by His Blood, to be fed for a heavenly and spiritual life, and seeing that there is no profit to be had at this Table without some kind of preparation, let no man presume to go to the holy Table without in some measure being prepared. Some will be prepared in a greater measure than others; nevertheless, let no man presume to go to it except with a heart in some measure sanctified.

Therefore, my exhortation concerning the way in which every one of you should prepare yourselves and so enable you better to come to the Table, is this: Not one of you comes to the Table of the Lord to bring before Him your integrity, justice, and uprightness. Whoever goes to the Table ought to go acknowledging and confessing his need. He ought to go with a sorrowful heart, for the sins wherein he has offended God; he ought to go with a hatred of those sins, not to protest that he is holy, just, and upright, but to protest and confess that he is miserable. And therefore he goes to the Table to get strength in his misery, to lay hold upon mercy at the throne of grace, to get remission and forgiveness of his sins, to get the gift of repentance, that more and more he may seek to live uprightly, holily, and soberly all his days.

Therefore, unless you have entered upon this course and are determined so to continue with it, to amend your past life, to repent of your sins, and by the grace of God, to live more uprightly and soberly than you have done, for the sake of God, do not go to the Table. Where there is no purpose to do well and to repent, there must of necessity be a purpose to do ill. Whoever comes to this Table with an evil purpose and without intending to repent, he comes to mock Christ, to scorn Him to His face, and to eat his own present condemnation. Thus, let no man come to this Table who does not purpose in his heart to do better, who has not a heart to sorrow for his past sins, and who makes light of his past folly and madness. Let no one come to the Table without such a purpose of repentance, under pain of judgment.

But if you have in your heart some purpose to do better, although your former life has been dissolute and loose, and if you are touched in your heart with any feeling or remorse for your past life, do not go away from the Table, but come protesting your misery and wickedness, come with a heart to receive grace. But if you come with a dissolute life – I am not speaking [merely] of public wickedness – and do not intend to amend, but continue in sin, then for God’s sake abstain.

The Southfield Reformed Presbyterian Church (RPCNA) is scheduled to observe the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper on June 8, 2014 at 2pm. Those desiring to commune who are not communicant members of the Reformed Presbyterian Church must first be interviewed by the elders as to their personal faith and commitment to Christ, their church membership, and their baptism. In addition, all communicants are urged to engage in private self-examination and preparation beforehand, as mandated by the apostle Paul (1 Cor. 11:27-32) and described in our Larger Catechism (Questions 171-174).

May the Lord enable us all to experience afresh the words of Psalm 130:3-4, “If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared.”

[1] Material excerpted and adapted from The Mystery of the Lord’s Supper: Sermons by Robert Bruce (Rutherford House: Edinburgh, 2005) 30-43.