Communion Preparation (August 2014)

“For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”  Mark 2:28 [1]

Overdoing always leads to undoing, as the Puritans used to say. This is a problem that religious people always have to keep an eye on. The temptation is to take “a good thing too far.” The Pharisees were experts at this, especially on the issue of Sabbath observance. They were ready to make it a sin to pluck and eat ears of corn on God’s holy day. But Christ, as ever, rebuked and corrected them for their excess.

The Ten Commandments are God’s rule of life for the believer and as such Christ endorsed them (Matt. 5:17-19). The Christian Sabbath was altered providentially by God after Christ’s resurrection from the last to the first day of the week. Our Sabbath is now “the Lord’s Day” (Rev. 1:10), which we, as Christians, are to keep special. It is the day on which we are to attend God’s house and get food for our immortal souls. We should love and cherish it.

The Lord’s Day is well kept when men make it their practice to attend, so far as health permits, the two services of God’s house. It is well kept when professing Christians discipline themselves to do extra Bible reading and to have extra prayer. It is well kept when we lay aside the ordinary secular things of life and spend time in meditating about the world to come, and in speaking with our friends and teaching our young families about the great truths of God.

Let us not, as the Pharisees did, spoil God’s Day with a sour spirit. But let us rejoice on this day because it prepares us for the eternal Sabbath which is to come (Heb. 4:9).

The Southfield Reformed Presbyterian Church (RPCNA) is scheduled to observe the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper on August 17, 2014 at 2pm, with a preparatory service the night before at 7pm. Those desiring to commune who are not communicant members in good standing 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).

For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it.” (Ezra 7:10)

[1] Material excerpted from Milk and Honey: A Devotional, edited by Joel R. Beeke (Reformation Heritage: Grand Rapids, 2010) August 8 devotional, written by Rev. Maurice Roberts.

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Confession of Faith (21.8): This Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest, all the day, from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations; but also are taken up, the whole time, in the public and private exercises of His worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.

Larger Catechism (Q. 171): How are they that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper to prepare themselves before they come unto it?  Answer: They that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper are, before they come, to prepare themselves thereunto, by examining themselves of their being in Christ, of their sins and wants; of the truth and measure of their knowledge, faith, repentance; love to God and the brethren, charity to all men, forgiving those that have done them wrong; of their desires after Christ, and of their new obedience, and by renewing the exercise of these graces, by serious meditation, and fervent prayer.

Larger Catechism (Q. 172): May one who doubteth of his being in Christ, or of his due preparation, come to the Lord’s supper?  Answer: One who doubteth of his being in Christ, or of his due preparation to the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, may have true interest in Christ, though he be not yet assured thereof; and in God’s account hath it, if he be duly affected with the apprehension of the want of it, and unfeignedly desires to be found in Christ, and to depart from iniquity: in which case (because promises are made, and this sacrament is appointed, for the relief even of weak and doubting Christians) he is to bewail his unbelief, and labour 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.

Larger Catechism (Q. 174): What is required of them that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper in the time of the administration of it?  Answer: 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 sufferings, 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.