Preparing For Worship

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It is once again time to prepare our hearts for worship. Tomorrow we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper together. 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. 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.”

David Mathis reminds us that we should not take the Lord’s Supper lightly:

“One of the first things to note is that the Supper is not to be taken lightly. Handling the elements “in an unworthy manner” is the reason Paul gives the Corinthians for “why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died” (1 Corinthians 11:27–30).

Great things are at stake when the church gathers at the Table of her Lord. Blessing and judgment are in the balance. There is no neutral engagement. Our gospel is “the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life” (2 Corinthians 2:15–16). So also the “visible sermon” of the Supper leads from life to life, or death to death. As with gospel preaching, the Table will not leave us unaffected, but either closer to our Savior, or more callous to him.”

Mathis continues with these powerful words: “…the Table gives the church a formal rhythm of remembering and rehearsing that which is of first importance (1 Corinthians 15:3), the gospel of Christ’s saving work for us. It helps embed gospel-centrality into the life of the church.

Like baptism, the Supper gives us a divinely authorized dramatization of the gospel, as the Christian receives spiritually — through physical taste, sight, smell, and touch — the broken body and spilled blood of Jesus for sinners. The Table is an act of new-covenant renewal, a repeated rite of continuing fellowship and ongoing perseverance in our embrace of the gospel. It helps us “hold fast to the word” (1 Corinthians 15:2) and “continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel” (Colossians 1:23)…

Here at the Table, we hear Jesus’s voice, have our Savior’s ear, and commune with his body. We receive afresh his gospel, respond in faith, and knit our hearts together in the bread and cup we share. And in doing so, we look not only to the past and remember what he’s done, and not only to the present and our growing union with him, but also to the future and the full feast to come. “As often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).

“We eat only little bits of bread and drink little cups of wine,” says John Frame (Systematic Theology, 1069), “for we know that our fellowship with Christ in this life cannot begin to compare with the glory that awaits us in him.”

So, after we have spent time doing housecleaning on our hearts, we should spend a greater deal of time focusing on Jesus. Robert Murray M’Cheyne famously said: “Do not take up your time so much with studying your own heart as with studying Christ’s heart. For one look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ!” We should as Matthew Henry wisely said: “Take a walk,…by faith and meditation to mount Calvary. There is nothing like it.”

As we prepare our hearts for worship let’s be sure to spend time in prayer. Let’s be sure to pray for Ian and Erin as they will lead us in worship. Let’s also pray for Jerry as he will lead us in a time of confession together. We should also pray for Mark as he will open up God’s Word to us. Mark will once again be looking at Galatians 1. The link to the ESV text is below.

Galatians 1

 

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