The Awful Public Execution of Hell and the Cross

DissectingFor Lord’s Day, April 5, 2015

Dear Saints,

We were all struck by the typology of the Burnt Offering in Leviticus 1:6-7 last Lord’s Day.

 

(Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissection)

Many agreed that the public execution typified by the flaying off of the animal’s skin and the deliberate dissection of it into pieces to be meticulously laid over the fires of the Brazen Altar is one of the scariest prefigurations of what hell will be for the unrepentant sinner who is not covered with the propitiatory (Mercy Seat) blood of the Lamb of God to satisfy the Father’s wrath and curse due to him or her for sin.

Mr. Delgado later shared a sobering insight as to how this type surely was alluded to by Jesus in Matthew 24:50-51 about Judgment Day and its aftermath upon an unbeliever:

The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

As you know, the animal in the Burnt Offering served as the substitutionary sacrifice for the vicarious atonement of what the offerer should suffer in hell if not for the Lamb of God ultimately prefigured in John 1:29 (and all through Revelation).  The exacting, clinical, cutting execution of the helpless animal represented the open and eternal punishment of God upon those in hell.  This is what Jesus, in our place, experienced in His public trial and public execution on the Cross.  Remember what Andrew Bonar wrote about Leviticus 1:6:

… the deliberate infliction is the most awful feature of justice. It leaves the sufferer hopeless. The stroke is awfully relentless, determined, righteous! Such too were the Saviour’s sufferings.

Let us meditate on this horrific picture of hell and the cross as we prepare to take the Lord’s Supper tomorrow evening in remembrance of what the Lamb of God did for us. Charles Spurgeon, in his March 31 morning devotion, gives us a frightening image to so prepare ourselves, with Isaiah 53:5 as his text, “With His stripes we are healed”:

The Roman scourge was a most dreadful instrument of torture.  It was made of the sinews of oxen, and sharp bones were inter-twisted every here and there among the sinews; so that every time the lash came down these pieces of bone inflicted fearful laceration, and tore off the flesh from the bone.  The Saviour was, no doubt, bound to the column, and thus beaten.  He had been beaten before; but this of the Roman licturs was probably the most severe …  My soul, stand here and weep over His poor stricken body.

Believer in Jesus, can you gaze upon Him without tears, as He stands before you the mirror of agonizing love?  He is at once fair as the lily for innocence, and red as the rose with the crimson of His own blood.

Dearly beloved, may you more deeply adore your Beloved as He reminds you with graphic pictures in the Lord’s Supper of how He went through hell for you on the cross so that you will never have to endure the eternal public exposure and execution of God.

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor Grant

Reverence: The Soul of Christianity

For the Lord’s Day, February 15, 2015

Dear Saints,

Last Lord’s Day evening, we were reminded to approach God in worship and during the Lord’s Supper with reverent attention:

Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:  For our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:28-29)

In both worship services tomorrow, we will be reminded that real reverence is a gracious heart issue that is observable in our gracious behavior.  What is more, reverence that is authentic in affection and actions–first in worship and then in life–is the heart of real Christianity.

Goethe writes that “The soul of the Christian religion is reverence …”, and Simmons says reverence is “the very first element of religion.” Tryon Edwards avers that “Reverence is one of the signs of strength; irreverence one of the surest indications of weakness.”

What will you say about your religion in worship tomorrow to yourself and to God within your heart? And what will you witness to God, to your minister, and to others by your behavior? What will you reveal about your soul to yourself, to God, and to your brethren?  Will you demonstrate that Christianity is your soul’s true religion by expressing its very first element, and that you, through Christ, are strong? May it be so.

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor Grant

Turn Over the Earth of Your Hearts

For Lord’s Day, February 1, 2015

Dear Saints,

photo-1Led by the Westminster Larger Catechism in the evening sermons, we have been considering the need to examine ourselves and prepare our hearts for proper worship and partaking of the Lord’s Supper.  Elder Renner and I recently were reminded of what that needs to “look like”, as we often say, while we were on a hike together.

Notice in the photo above from our hike alongside some farmland in Escondido the different colors of different sections of ground.  The light part on the right is what had not been turned over yet. It was hard and dry and covered by weeds.  The dark part on the left and in the background is the earth that was recently plowed by the tractor in the distance (top right). It is broken and moist and ready to take in water and grow tomato plants.  This contrast is a good illustration of what we learned in the sermon a while back on how to listen to a sermon per Westminster Larger Catechism 160.  Entitled, “Be Good Listeners”, the sermon took us through Luke 8:1-18 and the Parable of the Sower, where we learned that the distinguishing difference of the people who received the Seed of God’s Word and thus had it grow within them and produce fruit in the world were those who had “good ground”, that is, self-cultivated hearts.  Christian hearts are ground that has been turned up and over so that it is ready to be planted.  So the Prophet preaches:

… thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. (Jeremiah 4:3)

photo 2Fallow ground is not ground that has never been plowed, but ground that hasn’t been plowed in a while and thus needs to be broke open again so God’s Word can be sowed into in it and so it can receive rain from heaven to nourish growth and fruitfulness.  The light ground in these pictures was clearly plowed last year. But for a new season of sowing and harvesting, it needed to be plowed again.  So too, beloved, do we always need to freshly cultivate our hearts for worship and the Lord’s Supper to see God produce new fruit in us and in our fellowship.

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I will leave you with some thoughts on self examination before the Lord’s Supper that I trust you will take to heart in preparing your hearts for worship tomorrow and Communion after the evening service.  In his book, The Lord’s Supper is a Celebration of Grace, Rev. Gordon J. Keddie writes in the chapter on self-examination:

The emphasis here [2 Corinthians 13:5], as in 1 Corinthians 11:28, is not on whether or not they are Christians, but whether or not they are actively living as Christians who are heart and hand ‘in the faith’.  Are they living the Christian life? In other words, it is not the question of assurance of faith that is in view, but living in faith, daily, practically and consistently …

His question is not, ‘Am I a believer?’, but ‘How am I doing as a believer?’ or, putting it another way, ‘Am I recognizable as a believer?’

… If we approach the Supper thoughtlessly, carelessly, with unrepented sin, abusing the symbols of Jesus’ death, we in effect treat Christ lightly, if not even contemptuously … The English Puritan Thomas Doolittle highlights the seriousness of this matter in a most searching manner when he says, ‘I think a man who is not fit to die is not fit to receive [the sacrament].  A man should sit down at the Lord’s Table with as great care as he would lie down in his grave.  He should be as serious for his soul at this ordinance as he would be upon his dying bed.  You should go to the Lord’s Table as carefully as if you were going into another world.’

May these words stir you and I up to turning up tomorrow having turned over the earth of our hearts anew for a new season of personal and corporate growth.

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor Grant

Proper Preparation for the Lord’s Day and Supper

Calvin SealFor Lord’s Day, January 18, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Photo source: http://myheartioffer.blogspot.com/2011_10_01_archive.html]

Dear Saints,

Thomas Watson writes, “There is no receiving a crucified Christ but to a consecrated heart.”

Watson is speaking to the vital need of preparing ourselves properly for our effectual taking of the Lord in His Supper (which will be our topic of Scripture study tomorrow evening by the guidance of Westminster Larger Catechism Q&A 171)–but his words are also important to help us remember to prepare for public and private worship on the Lord’s Day as well.  This verse is an important one we will consider tomorrow evening:

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? (2 Corinthians 13:5)

Tomorrow, God will speak to us again in Exodus 31:12-17 about keeping His holy Sabbath holy, for such a lifestyle is a living sign of covenant life with Him in Christ.  It is not insignificant that as God “wraps things up” after forty days with Moses on Mount Sinai regarding all the moral, judicial, and ceremonial laws just before He gives him the stone tablets as the witnessing “receipts” of their agreement (next week, vs. 18), God reviews how important Sabbath-keeping is as a witness to their holy relationship with Him.  So it is appropriate for us to review how to prepare for Lord’s Day worship by the guidance of the Westminster Divines:

Westminster Larger Catechism 117:  How is the sabbath or the Lord’s day to be sanctified? A. The sabbath or Lord’s day is to be sanctified by an holy resting all the day … in the publick and private exercises of God’s worship: and, to that end, we are to prepare our hearts, and with such foresight, diligence, and moderation, to dispose and seasonably dispatch our worldly business, that we may be the more free and fit for the duties of that day.

Westminster Larger Catechism 121:  Why is the word Remember set in the beginning of the fourth commandment? A. The word Remember is set in the beginning of the fourth commandment, partly, because of the great benefit of remembering it, we being thereby helped in our preparation to keep it … partly, because we are very ready to forget it, for that there is less light of nature for it, and yet it restraineth our natural liberty in things at other times lawful; that it cometh but once in seven days, and many worldly businesses come between, and too often take off our minds from thinking of it, either to prepare for it, or to sanctify it; and that Satan with his instruments much labour to blot out the glory, and even the memory of it, to bring in all irreligion and impiety.

Watson also writes, “We dress ourselves when we come to the table of some great monarch; so, when we are going to the table of the Lord, we should dress ourselves by holy meditation and heart consideration.”  This dressing of ourselves to meet with King Jesus in Person is spoken of in the Scripture above as “examining” and “proving” ourselves by quiet, thoughtful time in the Word and in devoted prayer.

May you give yourselves to such soul-searching tonight, beloved, that by faith you would truly receive the Messiah tomorrow.  And as you so prepare, may your meditation motto be that of John Calvin’s: “I offer my heart to you, O Lord, eagerly and earnestly.”

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor Grant

Drink of Jesus Again

Water bubble and wavesFor Lord’s Day, February 2, 2014

Dear Saints,

Several thematic elements continue out of Exodus 15 into chapters 16 and 17 this Lord’s Day.  One of the main and very sad themes is that the people keep murmuring against and testing God.  After each miraculous milestone, they again doubt standing upon their Rock in fear and unbelief, and complain.  Yet God (while He does call them out for these sins and warns us by their example in 1 Cor. 10:6, 11), in His unceasing covenant mercy refreshes them once again with life-giving water. In fact, the wilderness times are to keep teaching them (and us) that we only can be refreshed by the gracious waters that flow only out of Christ the Rock (1 Cor. 10:4).

Augustine, in Book Five of his Confessions, deeply understood this lesson after drinking from sandy cisterns for far too long before drinking of Christ.  While he was still in the Manichean heretical movement, he had the opportunity to finally meet and converse with their leader, Faustus, who was known for his great oratory and presentation.  But Augustine found Faustus to be unsatisfying in handling his own personal questions, and lacking in comparison to his own academic knowledge and abilities.  So Augustine was left thirsty after the encounter with this man of great eloquence who yet offered no sustaining spiritual substance. A lesson Augustine said he learned was what Colossians 2:8 teaches: Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Augustine put it this way (you’ll see how it ties in with our text from Exodus 15 last week and into our text in Exodus 16 and 17 this Lord’s Day):

But what did it matter how well the cupbearer spoke, if he was unable to give me the drink that will quench my thirst?

Thankfully, Augustine listened to Jesus’ call: … If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. (John 7:37), and he drank — and He was satisfied to keep drinking of Him, for Christ filled him with springs of living water (John 7:38).  Christ still cries out to us to drink of Him. And tomorrow night in the Lord’s Supper, to drink of His blood:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. (John 6:53-56)

Some of us were talking after the morning service last week, and Mr. Delgado said something that I’ve enjoyed meditating on: when you’re thirsty, there is nothing better than a cup of pure cold water; we all know this is true, and with that in mind, let us approach our Savior in worship and the Holy Supper this Lord’s Day with the same thirst that David expresses in our Psalm of the month for worship, Psalm 63: O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. (vss. 1-3).

Notice that, according to the title of Psalm 63, David wrote it while he was literally in the wilderness. He was being proved (trained) there to be the kind of king that Saul, his pursuer, was not, and which he knew he would later enjoy (vs. 11). He was being trained to be a righteous king by thirsting for Christ the King of Whom he was a type.  It is best to thirst for Christ’s righteousness. He will fill us with living water and prepare us to serve others with Him.  Beloved, thirst for Christ and be quenched in Him as we approach the well together and find that once again, it never runs dry as He further springs up within us while we draw from and drink of Him again (Num. 21:17; John 7:38).

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor Grant

Cheerfully Celebrate

For Lord’s Day, April 7, 2013

Dear Saints,

As we prepare to partake of the Lord’s Supper tomorrow evening, I want to challenge us to check and prepare our disposition with this comment from Geerhardus Vos (father of J.G. whose Commentary on the Westminster Larger Catechism you’ll often hear me quoting):

“Jeremiah complains [2.9-11] that Israel is more inclined to change its God than the heath nations.  It is not difficult to explain this.  The pagan nations had no desire to change, because their religion was the natural expression of their disposition.” (Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments, 62).

Our disposition is our heart, our inclination, our desire.  It is our sanctifying the Lord God in our hearts and serving Him only if we are true Christians with a new spiritual disposition.

Our text for this Lord’s Day evening’s sermon was our recent Shorter Catechism memory verse, 1 Corinthians 10:16: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?  The bread we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?”  The focus is on communion, or true and direct fellowship with Christ and God and one another.  You may remember when I preached on the larger context a while back that there is a contrast being made in this chapter between communing with demons spiritually present in the pagan temple feasts.  Paul says you can’t come from such fellowship and truly have a disposition of holy fellowship with King Jesus actually present in the activity of His Holy Supper.

So what will your disposition be tomorrow night?  It is only natural in your flesh to change from the true Holy God of Israel back to the lusts of the flesh in pagan idolatry that is the same in every age.  This is why the same chapter of our text says in the beginning that the Israelites are our example of the disposition NOT to have (shown by their actions and warned by their punishment).  How will you be careful to come to Christ’s Table with the spiritual expression of an appropriate disposition for the King of Glory?

Vos seems to give advice related to this question on the next page of his book quoted above:

“Where the transcendent power and majesty of the deity is felt, the temptation is much lessened to confound God with the world or draw Him down into the realm of nature or matter.”

Remember by the text for tomorrow night that Jesus Christ is actually present in the act of the Lord’s Supper.  And your partaking of the spiritual meal is showing forth His death till He come back in bodily form to resurrect your bodies from the grave.  His spiritual presence brings you into the holy throne room of God Who should otherwise throw you out and away from Him like He did our first parents from the Garden of Eden.   In God’s throne room, angels, elders, and other saints fall at Christ’s feet and humbly worship around God’s throne, for He is still a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29).  You can come in and not be singed by Him because you come through Jesus Christ, the only Mediator between God and men, Whose body and blood took away your sins and gave you eternal life.

How then should you approach Jesus tomorrow night at His Table?  Certainly with reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:28); but also with confidence seeking grace and mercy, as we are always in need (Hebrews 4:16).  And because we can do this through Jesus, and because this is what the symbols of the Lord’s Supper represent in the sacramental activity of communion (fellowship), we also can think of it as the “Eucharist” (as Communion is also sometimes called), because that word in Greek means “thanksgiving”.  We should come to the Table with thanksgiving for the sanctified privilege of being in God’s special presence as a foretaste of heaven that awaits us in Christ.  Your actions in receiving what is given to you in the Supper is very important, for:

“It is not the quantity of the meat, but the cheerfulness of the guests, which makes the feast.” (Clarendon).

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor Grant

The Cries of Christ for You

For Lord’s Day, March 3, 2013

Dear Saints,

Why do we cry?  We cry when something hurts either on the outside or on the inside so much that it has overwhelmed us to the point of expressing our deep need for relief.

May we be struck to the heart by the cry of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary as we prepare for the Lord’s Supper tomorrow evening.

At our Lord’s crucifixion, Mark 15:34 reads: “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

In this text, Jesus cries out the first verse of Psalm 22, a song the Spirit wrote entirely about the crucifixion.  Here is the cry of the Son of God utterly forsaken by His Father.  Here is a cry of terrible loneliness and wretched abandonment.  Here is a cry for how much He hurt inside.

In verse 37, we read: “And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.” 

This is His last cry of excruciating hurt on the outside after being given vinegar to drink through His cracked and bleeding lips.  Surely such cries were horrid, bitter screams, as must have been the case when they whipped Him, and hammered nails through His hands and feet (Psalm 22:16).

Jesus cried because He suffered unbearably.  These were blood curdling shrieks for the pain He felt on the inside and on the outside, for you.

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”  (Isaiah 53:4-5)

Brethren, as someone has said, it is true that if only you existed, Christ would have suffered this cross for you, His elect.  It is also true that, if only you existed, it would have been absolutely necessary that Christ suffer this cross for you alone.  So imagine yourself at the Mount of Golgotha, watching Him being crucified for you; watching Him cry out in agony again and again for you.  His terrible screams would be yours in hell forever, if Christ had not suffered as your substitutionary sacrifice to make atonement for your sins in the sight of His Righteous, Heavenly Father.

Come to the Lord’s Supper tomorrow, and heed your Savior’s words anew: “This do in remembrance of me.”

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor Grant

Signs for the Senses

For Lord’s July 1, 2012

Dear Saints,

Thank you for your prayers for our safe travels on our vacation trip to and from Atlanta. We just returned last night, and it is great to enjoy the cool ocean breeze of the Pacific Ocean again after driving through the desert. We are looking forward to seeing and worshipping the Triune God with you all this Lord’s Day.

As we celebrate the Lord’s Supper after evening worship, let me share another nugget from Gordon Keddie to prepare your hearts for communing with Christ in His specially ordained way. In chapter 2, on “Visible Signs”, Keddie shares:

God acts in the Supper, precisely as the Holy Spirit speaking in the Word applies the truth represented in the sacrament to the believer’s heart … God acts in our actions, as these are faithfully expressed in our coming to the Supper. God enacts our blessing … His grace is conveyed to the believing soul, as he or she comes obediently, willingly and discerningly to the Table of the Lord.

These [sings of the bread and cup] visibly illustrate the written Word of God, by using signs to seal God’s promises to his people.

God’s beloved, know that there is something real and meaningful going on as we partake of the Lord’s Supper. What we are doing together is full of eternal life. While the bread and wine are symbols, they are not empty of meaning and efficacy. These signs are Christ’s way of truly communicating life-sustaining grace to us through all our senses. May we in all our senses, by faith, respond in thanksgiving and be fed more of the accomplished Covenant of Grace.

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor Grant

Certitude of Certainty

For Lord’s Day, August 5, 2012

Dear Saints,

Tomorrow evening we celebrate the Lord’s Supper together. Following is another excerpt from Gordon J. Keddie’s book, The Lord’s Supper is a Celebration of Grace, to prepare your soul:

“A seal pledges the validity and certainty of the thing signified … the symbols of the Lord’s Supper — bread and wine — are pledges of the validity of Christ’s death as an atonement for sin and the certainty of his purpose of salvation for all who will believe in him.  They are, observes Herman Hoeksema, ‘as it were, the oath of God, which He will surely fulfil.'”

Those of you at last Wednesday’s teaching on The Revelation of John may remember that I quoted Gordon Clark from a lecture series, where he made the distinction between certainty and certitude.  Certainty being the absolute fact of reality, whether or not we are aware or convinced or assured of the fact.  Certitude is our being confident of the fact, and it can increase (The Revelation is to give us more certitude of the certainty of Christ’s victory and thus, in Him, ours).

The Lord’s Supper is meant to give you increasing certitude of the certainty of your salvation by virtue of your union in Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.  To know that His sacrifice was accepted as perfectly (and solely) valid on your behalf by the Father to be reconciled and at peace with Him.  May you grow in your assurance by being assured of the fact of your salvation in Christ as you partake of the bread and wine, beloved.

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor Grant

Make it a Meaningful Ritual

Dear Saints,

We celebrate the Lord’s Supper tomorrow evening.  Please prepare your souls with these thoughts from Gordon J. Keddie in his book, The Lord’s Supper is a Celebration of Grace:

“There is nothing more miserable in the life of the church than a cold, dead use of the means of grace … We must grasp that this is to be no mere ritual, but a solemn and vital act of faith in which God in Christ is present to work in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

The best way to prepare ourselves against empty ritual (ritual is an important part of religion, but it can be void of life depending on how we follow it), is to come whole heartedly remembering and recognizing with eyes of faith that, 

“In the Supper, we face Jesus and he confronts us.”

Just as we’ve seen in the study of The Revelation, Jesus walks in the midst of the candlesticks, the visible churches.  He will be right there with us, hosting the Supper, encouraging us that His sacrifice has fully satisfied the Father’s justice on our behalf, and showing us that we must be fully satisfied with Him and His Church.  The evening message will encourage us to do what is meant to be nourished in the Supper: “Be content with godliness.”

When you come to the Supper tomorrow night, come with reverence and joy for your Savior, Who will be there meeting with you to feed your faith with Himself while you wait for His return for you.

The Corporate, Horizontal Nature of the Lord’s Supper

(For September 2, 2012 weekly email church devotion)

Dear Saints,

This Lord’s Day, we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper after the evening service.

In preparation for the Supper, I’d like to encourage us all to reflect on the “horizontal” aspect of this heavenly meal; that is, fellowship between each of us in the presence of Christ.  This quote by Charles Edward Jefferson in his book, Quiet Hints for Growing Preachers, has been on my mind thinking about the corporate nature of the Supper (it’s not just personal and spiritual between Christ and each of us individually):

“If men’s sins are to be patiently endured, much more worthy of gentle consideration are their stupidities and frailties.”

Why do I share this quote?  Because the Lord’s Supper is not only to check our attitude toward and relationship with the living Jesus Christ facing Him in the holy meal, but it also is to check our attitude toward and relationship with His living body around us, our brothers and sisters with whom we are to share the meal at the same Table.  You are to approach this Table as you would any other meal of fellowship — with a gracious, accepting, and appreciative attitude toward one another as Christ’s royal guests.  Jesus knew what He was doing ordaining this meal, didn’t He?  

Rev. Gordon Keddie writes, “True communion with Christ carries with it a desire — not merely an obligation — to commune with the ‘body of Christ’ … In terms of the symbolism of the Supper, the bread, which is the Redeemer, is broken to make the redeemed into a single loaf.” (From is book, The Lord’s Supper is a Celebration of Grace).

So consider not only how you are approaching Jesus Christ in His ordained sacrament this coming Lord’s Day evening.  Consider also how you sit down to the table with your fellow saints, each for whom Christ shed His blood on the cross, not just you.  Consider your brothers and sisters.  Consider your attitude and disposition toward them as you sit amongst them before Jesus, and consider Paul’s command (not a suggestion):

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; (Rom 12:10)

Rev. Keddie goes on to ask us to really check ourselves with the Supper as it approaches:

“Do you love the people in the congregation where you worship? … Are there unresolved, unrepented sins and obstacles between you and others in that fellowship?  Are you seeking reconciliation (as per Matthew 18:15-20), or do you just avoid these folk and keep to your comfortable clique of like-minded friends?  Are you committed to building enduring bonds of friendship and fellowship with fellow-Christians? Can you expect Christ to commune with you, if your answers to these questions are determinedly at variance with his known will?  Anyone who is content to keep aloof from the life of the body, either by despising other Christians or denying the authority and ministerial leading of the church through her ministers and elders, has no promise from the Lord of blessing at the Table or, for that matter, anywhere else.  That is a hard saying, but it is an inescapable truth … Where there are problems, they [who desire to come to the Lord’s Table and enjoy the blessing of the Lord] are committed to resolving them through the means the Lord has given to the church.”

Be reconciled one to another anew as you commune this Lord’s Day. Not only in outward behavior, but in your hearts.  May it be true spiritual fellowship for us all, not just a bodily gathering.  And thank you, Beloved, for bearing patiently not only with my sins, but also with my stupidities and frailties.  I look forward to communing in the presence of Jesus Christ our Lord, together with you all as the true and highest Family, as we practice for our eternal experience together.

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor Grant