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The Lord's Supperby Duane Mabee on November 29, 2018
As we prepare for communion, let’s reflect on the following thoughts from Bobby Jamieson’s booklet Understanding the Lord’s Supper.
“To participate in the Lord’s Supper is to proclaim the saving death of Christ. The Supper announces the gospel.”
“Because the Lord’s Supper announces the gospel, it also carries the demands of the gospel: ‘Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy way will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord’ (1 Cor. 11:27.) This is why we should examine ourselves before partaking (v. 28). Again, For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself’ (v. 29).”
“What does it mean to ‘recognize the body’? It’s a difficult expression, but I think it basically means perceiving and living out the connection between love for Christ and love for His people. If you’re proclaiming Christ’s death in the Lord’s Supper, and claiming its benefits as your own, then you’re putting yourself in the same place as everyone else who confesses and receives Christ. You’re setting yourself in the midst of Christ’s people at the foot of the cross.”
“And you can’t declare the Lord’s death while despising His people. The Lord’s death redeems and unites the Lord’s people. If your actions scorn and despise Christ’s people, you’re scorning and despising Christ’s death. If you celebrate the Lord’s Supper in a way that excludes and shames the church’s [other] members, its as if you’re saying Christ only died for you, not them.”
“So Paul’s point about examining ourselves and discerning the body is not that we can only come to the Lord’s Supper if there is no sin in our life, or no sin that we have not yet confessed to the Lord. None of us is perfect, and none of us can perfectly perceive and confess our own sins. Instead, Paul’s point is that we are to examine ourselves to make sure we haven’t severed the nerve between love for Christ and love for His people. This also implies that those whose lives boldly contradict their claim to follow Christ should not participate in the Supper (cf. 1 Cor. 5:9-11). But the Lord’s Supper should strengthen rather than scare off those of us who genuinely trust in Christ and struggle against sin.”
“The Lord’s Supper is about the whole body of Christ coming together to declare and delight in the saving death of Christ. It’s about proclaiming the death of Christ by embracing the body of Christ. It’s about coming together to cherish Christ and care for each other.”