Before a recent Lord’s Supper celebration in my church, I took the opportunity to give a little extra teaching on how Christians can and should benefit from this sacrament. Here are my notes:
Before I read the Form, I just want to provide some extra instruction for a moment on how to benefit from the Lord’s Supper. Have you ever gone to the Lord’s Supper and then walked away from it and wondered, “What was that all about? What was I supposed to gain from it?” Have you ever wondered, “What’s supposed to happen to me at the Lord’s Supper?”
Well, the Lord’s Supper is a sacrament designed to strengthen our faith. It’s easy to think that this is something out of our hands. We go and sit at the table, and then we just wait and see what happens. It’s like we’re waiting for a spiritual bolt of lightning to hit us and recharge our spiritual battery. It might happen and it might not, but it’s out of our hands. But nothing happens. We eat the bread, we drink the wine, but nothing changes. We don’t feel anything. Our faith isn’t strengthened.
Loved ones, we have to remember how this sacrament works. It doesn’t work like magic. It’s not like we’re just passive participants waiting for God to do his thing with us to strengthen our faith. No, we’re meant to be actively involved. You have to come to the table with your heart and mind engaged. When Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19) he meant for us to be conscientious about what we’re doing. If you’re going to benefit from the Lord’s Supper, you have to be thinking about what’s happening. Otherwise it’s just an empty ritual. And an empty ritual has no benefit – quite the opposite!
Let me make that concrete and practical for you. Watch me as I break the bread. That’s an important part of the sacrament. I’m really breaking that bread, and so Christ’s body was really broken to pay for your sins. When the bread comes to you, take it in your hand and look at it for a moment. It’s real. So Christ’s body that bore your sins is real. That body was really nailed to the cross for you. Taste it. Feel it in your mouth. It’s real: tell yourself, this is how real the gospel is. Do the same thing with the wine. Watch me as I pour the wine into the cup. I’m really pouring real wine. That’s how real the blood of Christ was that was poured out for your sins. When you take the cup, look at it; smell it if you want. Think about it. It’s real – so Christ had a real crown of thorns pushed into his head and it produced real blood. When you drink the wine, tell yourself: this is real wine and the blood of Christ that poured from his hands, feet and side is just as real. That real blood secured my salvation. It’s all true, it’s all real.
Loved ones, that’s how your faith will be strengthened this morning. See the real elements of bread and wine and through them, see how the gospel is real.