mgpcpastor's blog


Leave a comment

The Worst Thing Man Did Was Also The Best Thing God Did (via Robert Farrar Capon)

The Lord’s Supper is a remembrance of and participation in God’s victory of sin and death.
It is not a place to dwell on his actions rather than ours.
We could think that God’s focus is on the work of Jesus, and not our works, as well.

…when Christians meet, they break bread and drink wine because they were commanded to “do this in remembrance of me.” Specifically, they gather in special and sometimes opulent buildings – frequently having dressed themselves to the nines – and they proceed, to the accompaniment of expensively produced music and fairly ambitious choreography, to sing and trip their way lightly through the fantastic business of recalling how on a hill far away they once kicked the living bejesus out of God incarnate in Christ. They take the worst thing the human race has even done and make it the occasion of a celebration. And why? Because the worst thing man did was also the best thing God did. The Friday was Good.
What that suggests to me is the that when God remembers evil, he remembers it as we remember the crucifixion in the eucharist: in the light of the good he has brought out of it. And because that is such a hilariously positive good compared to the grim negativity of evil, it simply becomes his supreme consideration.

Robert Farrar Capon, The Youngest Day, Mockingbird, 2019, pg 111-112.


Leave a comment

Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 28

Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 28

75.
Q. How are you reminded and assured in the Holy Supper that you participate in the one sacrifice of Christ on the cross and in all his benefits?
A. In this way: Christ has commanded me and all believers to eat of this broken bread, and to drink of this cup in remembrance of him. He has thereby promised that his body was offered and broken on the cross for me, and his blood was shed for me, as surely as I see with my eyes that the bread of the Lord is broken for me, and that the cup is shared with me. Also, he has promised that he himself as certainly feeds and nourishes my soul to everlasting life with his crucified body and shed blood as I receive from the hand of the minister and actually taste the bread and the cup of the Lord which are given to me as sure signs of the body and blood of Christ.

76.
Q. What does it mean to eat the crucified body of Christ and to drink his shed blood?
A. It is not only to embrace with a trusting heart the whole passion and death of Christ, and by it to receive the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. In addition, it is to be so united more and more to his blessed body by the Holy Spirit dwelling both in Christ and in us that blessed body by the Holy Spirit dwelling both in Christ and in us that, although he is in heaven and we are on earth, we are nevertheless flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone, always living and being governed by one Spirit, as the members of our bodies are governed by one soul.

77.
Q. Where has Christ promised that he will feed and nourish believers with his body and blood just as surely as they eat of this broken bread and drink of this cup?
A. In the institution of the holy Supper which reads: The Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “this is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “this cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
This promise is also repeated by the apostle Paul: When we bless “the cup of blessing,” is it not a means of sharing in the blood of Christ” When we break the bread, is it not a means of sharing the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, many as we are, are one body, for it is one loaf of which we all partake.


Leave a comment

John Knox, Self-Examination, And Partaking In The Lord’s Supper

The sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper are distinct means of grace; the number of times we receive them, the grace we receive through them, and the time in our life and spiritual development that we receive them worthily differ.
To suggest otherwise confuses their purpose, detracting from them and the blessing they give.
Donald Maclean posts at Meet The Puritans on John Knox’s view regarding those who are qualified to share in the Lord’s Supper.

If the Lord’s Supper is a great blessing, then who should partake of it? In this sacrament, ordained of God, who should come to the table of the Lord? Knox was abundantly clear: “But the Supper of the Lord, we confess to appertain to such only as be of the household of faith, [and who] can try and examine themselves as well in their faith as in their duty towards their neighbours” (Scots Confession in Reformed Confessions, 2:204). It is only those who are “in Christ” and of age to examine themselves who should partake of the Lord’s Supper.
Self-Examination
Knox focused often on the need for self-examination. He held that the Lord’s Supper should be partaken of “with all reverence, examining ourselves diligently before” (Scots Confession in Dennison, Reformed Confessions, 2:202.) Knox believed this should be done “because we are assured by the mouth of the apostle that such as eat of the bread and drink of that cup unworthily are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord Jesus” (Scots Confession in Reformed Confessions, 2:202). Paul, Knox noted, exhorted “all persons diligently to try and examine themselves before they presume to eat of that bread and drink of that cup” because “the danger [is] great if we receive the same unworthily, for then we be guilty of the body and blood of Christ our Saviour, we eat and drink our own damnation, not considering the Lord’s body” (Works, 4:192).

Read the whole post.


Leave a comment

Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 43

Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 43

Q & A 171
Q How are they that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper to prepare themselves before they come unto it?
A 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.

Q & A 172
Q May one who doubts of his being in Christ, or of his due preparation, come to the Lord’s Supper?
A One who doubts 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 has 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 labor 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.

Q & A 173
Q May any who profess the faith, and desire to come to the Lord’s Supper, be kept from it?
A Such as are found to be ignorant or scandalous, notwithstanding their profession of the faith, and desire to come to the Lord’s Supper, may and ought to be kept from that sacrament, by the power which Christ has left in his church, until they receive instruction, and manifest their reformation.

Q & A 174
Q What is required of them that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper in the time of the administration of it?
A 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.

Q & A 175
Q What is the duty of Christians, after they have received the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper?
A The duty of Christians, after they have received the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, is seriously to consider: How they have behaved themselves therein, and with: What success; if they find quickening and comfort, to bless God for it, beg the continuance of it, watch against relapses, fulfil their vows, and encourage themselves to a frequent attendance on that ordinance: but if they find no present benefit, more exactly to review their preparation to, and carriage at, the sacrament; in both which, if they can approve themselves to God and their own consciences, they are to wait for the fruit of it in due time: but, if they see they have failed in either, they are to be humbled, and to attend upon it afterwards with more care and diligence.


Leave a comment

Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 42

Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 42

Q & A 168
Q What is the Lord’s Supper?
A The Lord’s Supper is a sacrament of the New Testament, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine according to the appointment of Jesus Christ, his death is showed forth; and they that worthily communicate feed upon his body and blood, to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace; have their union and communion with him confirmed; testify and renew their thankfulness, and engagement to God, and their mutual love and fellowship each with other, as members of the same mystical body.

Q & A 169
Q How has Christ appointed bread and wine to be given and received in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper?
A Christ has appointed the ministers of his Word, in the administration of this sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, to set apart the bread and wine from common use, by the word of institution, thanksgiving, and prayer; to take and break the bread, and to give both the bread and the wine to the communicants: who are, by the same appointment, to take and eat the bread, and to drink the wine, in thankful remembrance that the body of Christ was broken and given, and his blood shed, for them.

Q & A 170
Q How do they that worthily communicate in the Lord’s Supper feed upon the body and blood of Christ therein?
A As the body and blood of Christ are not corporally or carnally present in, with, or under the bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper, and yet are spiritually present to the faith of the receiver, no less truly and really than the elements themselves are to their outward senses; so they that worthily communicate in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, do therein feed upon the body and blood of Christ, not after a corporal and carnal, but in a spiritual manner; yet truly and really, while by faith they receive and apply unto themselves Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death.