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Remembering As Present Action (via Fleming Rutledge)

The Lord’s Supper is not solely a reference to a past event. It is an experience of the present work of God. It is an anticipation of the completed work of God.
From Fleming Rutledge.

Remembering in Scripture refers to present action. If a woman prays to God to remember her mother, that does not mean “please think about her from time to time.” It means, “Take action on behalf of my mother.” Similarly, if we say that the Lord’s Supper is a “memorial,” we do not mean that we are simply thinking about Jesus’ last supper. When we repeat Jesus’ words, “do this in remembrance of me,” in the communion Service, we do not simply call Jesus to mind. Jesus is actively present with power in the communion of the people. Disputes about the Lord’s Supper have divided the Christian church, but understanding the biblical concept of remembrance can help us. We are not just thinking about Jesus’ actions in the upper room; we acknowledge that he is present and acting with the community gathered at the table in the present time. The doctrine of the real presence of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper can be understood in this way by everyone, from the most sophisticated person to the simplest.

Fleming Rutledge, The Crucifixion – Understanding The Death Of Jesus Christ Eerdmans, Grand Rapids MI, 2015, pg 218-219.

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Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 40

Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 40

Q & A 161
Q How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation?
A The sacraments become effectual means of salvation, not by any power in themselves, or any virtue derived from the piety or intention of him by whom they are administered, but only by the working of the Holy Spirit, and the blessing of Christ, by whom they are instituted.

Q & A 162
Q What is a sacrament?
A A sacrament is a holy ordinance instituted by Christ in his church, to signify, seal, and exhibit unto those that are within the covenant of grace, the benefits of his mediation; to strengthen and increase their faith, and all other graces; to oblige them to obedience; to testify and cherish their love and communion one with another; and to distinguish them from those that are without.

Q & A 163
Q What are the parts of a sacrament?
A The parts of a sacrament are two; the one an outward and sensible sign, used according to Christ’s own appointment; the other an inward and spiritual grace thereby signified.

Q & A 164
Q How many sacraments has Christ instituted in his church under the New Testament?
A Under the New Testament Christ has instituted in his church only two sacraments, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

Q & A 176
Q Wherein do the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper agree?
A The sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper agree, in that the author of both is God; the spiritual part of both is Christ and his benefits; both are seals of the same covenant, are to be dispensed by ministers of the gospel, and by none other; and to be continued in the church of Christ until his second coming.

Q & A 177
Q Wherein do the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper differ?
A The sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper differ, in that Baptism is to be administered but once, with water, to be a sign and seal of our regeneration and ingrafting into Christ, and that even to infants; whereas the Lord’s Supper is to be administered often, in the elements of bread and wine, to represent and exhibit Christ as spiritual nourishment to the soul, and to confirm our continuance and growth in him, and that only to such as are of years and ability to examine themselves.

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Communion As Normal Worship

Tomorrow we’ll celebrate communion at mgpc. When we transitioned to conducting it on a monthly basis we encountered some questions about hoping that it would stay special and not become ordinary.
The aim is that communion is as special as each other element of worship, and is also as normal as each other element of worship.

This post follows someone through the beginning point of communion as normal worship.

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Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 44

Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 44

Q & A 98
Q What is prayer?
A Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God,1 for things agreeable to his will,2 in the name of Christ,3 with confession of our sins,4 and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.*5

*1 Psalm 10:17; Psalm 62:8; Matthew 7:7-8.
*2 1 John 5:14.
*3 John 16:23-24.
*4 Psalm 32:5-6; Daniel 9:4-19; 1 John 1:9.
*5 Psalm 103:1-5; Psalm 136

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Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 43

Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 43

Q & A 96
Q What is the Lord’s Supper?
A The Lord’s Supper is a sacrament, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine, according to Christ’s appointment, his death is showed forth;1 and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment, and growth in grace.2

Q & A 97
Q What is required for the worthy receiving of the Lord’s Supper?
A It is required of them that would worthily partake of the Lord’s Supper, that they examine themselves of their knowledge to discern the Lord’s body, of their faith to feed upon him, of their repentance, love, and new obedience; lest, coming unworthily, they eat and drink judgment to themselves.*3

*1 Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
*2 1 Corinthians 10:16-17.
*3 1 Corinthians 11:27-32.

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Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 41

Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 41

Q & A 94
Q What is baptism?
A Baptism is a sacrament, wherein the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,1 does signify and seal our ingrafting into Christ, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord’s.2

Q & A 95
Q To whom is Baptism to be administered?
A Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him;3 but the infants of such as are members of the visible church are to be baptized.4

*1 Matthew 28:19.
*2 Acts 2:38-42; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:26-27; 1 Peter 3:21.
*3 Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12, 36, 38; Acts 18:8.
*4 Genesis 17:7; Genesis 17:9-11; Acts 2:38-39; Acts 16:32-33; Colossians 2:11-12.

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Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 30

Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 30

Q. What difference is there between the Lord’s Supper and the papal Mass?
A. The Lord’s Supper testifies to us that we have compete forgiveness of all our sins through the one sacrifice of Jesus Christ which he himself has accomplished on the cross once for all; (and that through the Holy Spirit we are incorporated into Christ, who is now in heaven with his true body at the right hand of the Father and is there to be worshipped). But the Mass teaches that the living and the dead do not have forgiveness of sins through the sufferings of Christ unless is again offered for them daily by the priest (and that Christ is bodily under the form of bread and wine and is therefore to be worshipped in them). Therefore the Mass is fundamentally a complete denial of the once for all sacrifice and passion of Jesus Christ (and as such an idolatry to be condemned).

Q. Who ought to come to the table of the Lord?
A. Those who are displeased with themselves for their sins, and who nevertheless trust that these sins have been forgiven them and that their remaining weakness is covered by the passion and death of Christ, and who also desire more and more to strengthen their faith and improve their life. The impenitent and hypocrites, however, eat and drink judgment to themselves.

Q. Should those who show themselves to be unbelievers and enemies of God by their confession and life be admitted to this Supper?
A. No, for then the covenant of God would be profaned and his wrath provoked against the whole congregation. According to the ordinance of Christ and his apostles, therefore, the Christian church is under obligation, by the office of the keys, to exclude such persons until they amend their lives.