For Lord’s Day, April 7, 2013
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 heathen 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).