This Day in Presbyterian History:
A Forgotten Duty After Participating in the Lord’s Supper
With little of national Presbyterian history found yesterday or today, we return to the next Larger Catechism which deals with an important, but neglectful duty after we have participated in holy Communion. It is Larger Catechism 175, which asks and answers, “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, fulfill 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 that they have failed in either, they are to be humbled, and to attend upon it afterward with more care and diligence.”
There are to be spiritual benefits as a result of your participation in the Lord’s Supper. That is what is meant by the phrase “quickening and comfort” in the answer. If you find them in spiritual lives, then bless God for them. He is the Author of them. Beg that the Holy Spirit continue them in your spiritual life. The Psalmist David prayed in Psalm 36:10 “O continue thy lovingkindness unto them that know thee. . . .” (KJV) Watching against relapses is a major concern. Paul stated “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12 ESV) What promises did you make to your God and to God’s people in your last participation? Pay them, or fulfil them is necessary. We put off too many of God’s commands. And last, be sure to be present and accounted for the next time the Lord’s Supper is planned in your congregation.
But what if you can, upon searching your own heart and life, find no present spiritual benefits, what then? After reviewing both your preparation for and participating in the Sacrament (see L.C. 171 and 174), and you find that you can approve yourselves before God and your own conscience, then be patient and wait for it in due time. He will bless it eventually. But if you find out that you were careless in either the preparation or the participating, then be humbled and attend to the next observance with more care and diligence. In other words, if Jesus has not returned the second time to this earth, let’s do it right and proper in the eyes of the Lord Jesus, the One we love and serve.
Words to live by: There is to be a place for self-examination in the life of the Christian. We use to hear of a phrase which spoke of “a mountain-top experience.” It usually spoke of a special time of communing with God and those of like precious faith at a Bible conference or Men’s or Women’s week or weekend retreat. They have their place in the life of the Christian and Christian church. But in one sense, if Larger Catechisms 171, 174, and 175 were faithfully adhered to and followed by the individual Christian, or church, the “mountain-top experience” would be found in our respective homes and churches. Forget about revival week! Each month or quarter observance of the Lord’s Supper would be a revival day or month or quarter in our congregations and denomination. The Holy Spirit could yet bring a revival upon our respective churches. Oh Lord, begin such a revival, and Lord, begin it in me.
Through the Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 7 – 9
Through the Standards: Participation before partaking
WSC 97 — “What is required to the worthy receiving to the Lord’s supper?
A. It is required of them that would worthily partake of the Lord’s Supper, that they examine themselves of their knowledge to discern the Lord’s body, of their faith to feed upon him, of their repentance, love, and new obedience; lest, coming unworthily, they eat and drink judgment to themselves.” (See also L.C. 171)