Dear Beloved in Christ,
“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” (1 Corinthians 11:28, 29)
The command to examine oneself before coming to the Lord’s Table is one of the most important things we can do as we seek to rightly participate in this holy meal. I suspect it is also one of hardest things we are called to do. We are busy and often over-committed, and the practice of quiet reflection and self-examination is a lost discipline. What can often help is a series of pointed questions that force us to consider the deeper and more important things of our lives. During this year, we are considering brief thoughts from an excellent book entitled, Remember Him, by J.W. Alexander, as the focus of our preparation for the Lord’s Table. Originally written for young communicants it provides sound advice on this sacrament. The following is taken from the small section entitled Questions Before the Communion, which are a series of questions partly based on the work of Dr. William Henry Green, Professor of Hebrew Language at Princeton University during the late 19th century. We will be using questions from this series at various times this year:
“Have I seen myself to be, by nature and by practice, a lost and helpless sinner? Have I seen not only the sinfulness of particular acts and omissions, but that my heart is a seat and fountain of sin, and that in me, as unrenewed, there is no good thing? Has a view of this led me to despair of help from myself, and to see that I must be altogether indebted to Christ for salvation, and to the gracious aid of the Holy Spirit for strength and ability to perform my duty?…On what is my hope of acceptance with God founded? On my reformation? On my sorrow for sin? On my prayers? On my tears? On my good works and religious observances? Or on Christ alone, as my all in all? Has Christ ever appeared very precious to me? Have I ever felt great freedom in committing my soul to Him? If I have done this, has it been not only to be delivered from the punishment of sin, but also from the power, pollution, dominion, and very existence of sin within me?” (pp.11, 12)
Take a few quiet moments at the end of this week to ask and answer these important questions. Using them to reflect upon the true state of your soul before God is an important way you can examine yourself before coming to our Lord’s Table. As you do, may you find, by the grace of our Holy God, that you have cast yourself fully upon Christ for your salvation, trusting in no one and nothing else. And in finding so, come with joy to your Savior this Lord’s Day to worship Him and to receive all the benefits of His atoning death and imperishable life!
Giving thanks to Him, in Whom is all our Hope and Joy,