For Lord’s Day, January 18, 2015
[Photo source: http://myheartioffer.blogspot.com/2011_10_01_archive.html]
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.”