It is time once again to prepare our hearts for worship. Lord willing tomorrow will be the first time that North Avenue Church will partake in Communion. So, how should we prepare our hearts to take the Lord’s Supper? Joni Eareckson Tada said: “Sometimes I know that I come to Communion unprepared, not paying attention to the housecleaning that my heart needs.” Paul says in 1st Corinthians 11:28: “Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.” All of our hearts need housecleaning as Joni said before we come to the table. The Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs said: “We should make a diligent search to see whether there is not…, some evil in your heart; and whatever sin you shall come to find in your heart, there must be a casting out of it.” When we come to the Lord’s Supper we are coming to remember the broken body and shed blood of Christ. Burroughs says that: “a suitable disposition is brokenness of heart, a sense of our sin, of that dreadful breach that sin has made between God and the soul.” Tim Challies says that: “Our sin should be upon our hearts, but only in such a way that we understand it through the application of the blood of Christ. We must behold Christ broken and behold the ugliness of our sin in the red of the glass of the blood of Jesus Christ.”
As we examine ourselves and when we find sin in our hearts, Burroughs gives us a powerful metaphor of how we are to regard that sin as we come to the Lord’s Supper: “If you saw the knife that cut the throat of your dearest child, would not your heart rise against that knife? Suppose you came to a table and there is a knife laid at your plate, and it was told to you that this is the knife that cut the throat of your child. Fathers, if you could still use that knife like any other knife, would not someone say, ‘There was but little love to your child?’ So when there is a temptation come to any sin, this is the knife that cut the throat of Christ, that pierced his sides, that was the cause of all his suffering, that made Christ to be a curse. Now will you not look upon that as a cursed thing that made Christ to be a curse? Oh, with what detestation would a man or woman fling away such a knife! And with the like detestation it is required that you should renounce sin, for that was the cause of the death of Christ.”
So, let us repent of the sins that we find and fling them away. Let us pray that God would stir up our affections for Him. We should come tomorrow with a hungering and thirsting for more of Jesus, knowing that in Christ these sins have been forgiven and they have been removed as far as the east is from the west. Burroughs again says: “Oh, that I might have more of Christ, that I might meet with Christ, that I might have some further manifestation of Jesus Christ, that I might have my soul further united to the Lord Christ, and so have further influence of Christ to my soul.”
Let us also pray for Jerry, Ian, and Mark as they will once again be leading us in worship. Let us think much of the gospel today and tomorrow as we prepare our hearts for worship. As Charles Spurgeon said: “The wrath of God on account of sin fell upon him who had never sinned, and he bore it all. A penalty which must have made a hell for us for ever was exacted of our Lord upon the cross, and he discharged it. He drank the whole of our bitter cup. He bore in himself all that was necessary to vindicate the divine justice until he could truly say, “It is finished.”
Mark will be looking at portions of Genesis 14 and Psalm 110. Genesis 14:17-24 and Psalm 110 are below:
“After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) 19 And he blessed him and said,
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth;
20 and blessed be God Most High,
who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”
And Abram gave him a tenth of everything. 21 And the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, but take the goods for yourself.”22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have lifted my hand to the Lord, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I would not take a thread or a sandal strap or anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ 24 I will take nothing but what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me. Let Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre take their share.”
“The Lord says to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”
2 The Lord sends forth from Zion
your mighty scepter.
Rule in the midst of your enemies!
3 Your people will offer themselves freely
on the day of your power,
in holy garments;
from the womb of the morning,
the dew of your youth will be yours.
4 The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind,
“You are a priest forever
after the order of Melchizedek.”
5 The Lord is at your right hand;
he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
6 He will execute judgment among the nations,
filling them with corpses;
he will shatter chiefs
over the wide earth.
7 He will drink from the brook by the way;
therefore he will lift up his head.”
Picture from here