Thursday, August 17, 2006

Preaching the Gospel Through the Lord's Supper

Sorry for the delay on this entry. The new Semester has started with a mad rush for me and I have not had time to post. But here I am today to write about the ways that we can preach the gospel to one another, and the one that stood out to me was the celebration of the Lord's Supper.

In the celebration of the Lord's Supper Christians are to be doing exactly what Christ commanded: remembering the Lord's Death until he comes, as the apostle Paul said (1 Cor. 11:26). If we are remembering the Lord's death for ourselves, in seems implied that when we take it with others, we are at the same time reminding one another of the Lord's death. This occured to me most recently as I was partaking of Communion with the members of Grace Baptist Church in Minford Ohio.

Here the congregation took the bread individually, as a testimony to their personal relationship with Christ. And then they took the cup together as a testimony to their unity in Christ as the church. Here in this act I was suddenly struck with the reality of the Lord's Supper. To celebrate it in rememberance of the Lord's Death, does not simply mean remind ourselves. It means, remind that brother or sister next to you. J.I. Packer captures this in his summary of the doctrine of the Lord's Supper:

The prescribed ritual of the Supper has three levels of meaning for participants. First, it has a past reference to Christ’s death which we remember. Second, it has a present reference to our corporate feeding on him by faith, with implications for how we treat our fellow believers (1 Cor. 11:20-22). Third, it has a future reference as we look ahead to Christ’s return and are encouraged by the thought of it. Preliminary self-examination, to make sure one’s frame of mind is as it should be, is advised (1 Cor. 11:28), and the wisdom of the advice is obvious.

Preach the gospel to one another, friends, as you take of the meal. Eat the bread in recognition that each of us must repent of our sins and believe upon Christ individually. But then take the cup together to remind one another that Christ has died for sinners, and to encourage one another to beleive the gospel.


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