During our Westminster Confession of Faith Membership/Enquirer’s Class this week we studied chapter 29, “Of the Lord’s Supper,” together. In that class we discussed the Biblical warrant and practical benefit of weekly communion, but also the importance of preparing properly each week to come to the Lord’s Table appropriately.
Here is what I referenced to help us prepare to do so:
Westminster Larger Catechism (WLC) 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.”
Remember what Thomas Watson said commending our proper appreciation and approach to the Lord’s Table tomorrow morning:
“The Lord’s Supper is the most spiritual and sweetest ordinance that ever was instituted. Here we have to do more immediately with the person of Christ …
“We dress ourselves when we come to the table of some great monarch; so, when we are going to the the table of the Lord, we should dress ourselves by holy meditation and heart consideration …
“How unseemly is it to see any come to these holy elements, having hearts leavened with pride, covetousness, or envy? These, with Judas, receive the devil in the sop, and are no better than crucifiers of the Lord of glory …
“Christ’s intercession is made available to us by virtue of his death … our remembering his death in the sacrament must be, [I] A mournful remembrance … Zech xii I0 …  It must be a joyful remembrance … John viii 56
“When we look on our sins we have cause to mourn; but when we see Christ’s blood shed for our sins we rejoice …
“To see Christ crucified for us is a means to crucify sin in us …
“To come to such an ordinance slightly, without examination, is to come in an undue manner, and is like eating the passover raw …
“We are to pray that this great ordinance may be poison to our sins, and food to our graces …
“Christ received aright sacramentally, is a universal medicine for healing, and a universal cordial for cheering our distressed souls.”
Other Larger Catechism instructions for partaking during and maximizing after taking communion also are valuable to review:
Q. What is required of them that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper in the time of the administration of it?
“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. 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.”
A reminder, if it’s helpful and you have time, sermons were preached on these catechisms in our Westminster Larger Catechism series and can be found beginning here (the entire WLC series begins here).
Lastly, as we prepare ourselves with self examination (which Watson gives quite a bit of attention to how much we avoid doing so), let us then come to the Lord’s Table tomorrow with Psalm 116:12-14 in our hearts and on our lips as we often sing before partaking:
What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?
I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.
I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.