5 Commitments to Transform Your Experience of the Lord’s Supper
How often do you participate in a celebration of the Lord’s Supper (a.k.a. “communion”) at your church? Is it meaningful to you? Do you understand the importance of this experience in your spiritual journey?
The Lord’s Supper is a time of remembrance and reflection that has always been central to the gathering of God’s people. But, too often it can be rushed and perfunctory if we are not careful to passionately embrace its importance. I would compel you to ask the Holy Spirit to make your participation in the Lord’s Supper more meaningful. It is a powerful opportunity to look upward, backward, forward, inward, and outward as a recipient of the gospel and a participant in the new covenant.[i]
The Lord’s Supper is a time of remembrance and reflection that has always been central to the gathering of God’s people. But, too often it can be rushed and perfunctory if we are not careful to passionately embrace its importance.
As we embrace the implications of the new covenant in the Lord’s Supper we look upward in humility and awe to our enthroned and holy God—and Jesus reigning at His right hand. He so loved us that He sent His only begotten son (John 3:16) who was crucified, buried, and resurrected to arrest our hearts with perfect love and saving grace—imparting eternal life to His children.
Next we look backward in gratitude and worship, reflecting deeply on the life and finished work of Christ. We do so “in remembrance” of Jesus’ all-sufficient and life-transforming work on the cross. We cherish His promise, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:26–28).
The Apostle Paul admonished that as we commune at the table we “proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). Gathered at the Lord’s Table, we look forward with new covenant hope, beyond our present troubles, for His sure return and reward. We anticipate our future participation with Him in the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9).
Gathered at the Lord’s Table, we look forward with new covenant hope, beyond our present troubles, for His sure return and reward. We anticipate our future participation with Him in the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9).
Paul commanded us to “examine ourselves” by looking inward with self-honesty, confessing our heart condition and evaluating the authenticity of our personal relationships (1 Corinthians 11:27-32). The Spirit imparts grace for us to align our obedience with the person and purposes of Christ through truthful confession before Him and needful reconciliation with others. To engage in the Lord’s Supper while cherishing sin or discounting broken relationships speaks of a lifestyle unworthy of the gospel.
To engage in the Lord’s Supper while cherishing sin or discounting broken relationships speaks of a lifestyle unworthy of the gospel.
We also look outward as we cherish the fellowship of the new covenant. Gathering at the table, we see other members of the body of Christ. We participate in rich community. We affirm that we are a vital part of a blood-bought spiritual family on a mission to proclaim the gospel to a needy world.
In early February we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Prayer Summit experiences. (I would invite you to join us with others from your church. Learn more HERE). A high point of these multi-day, no-agenda gatherings is an evening of unhurried time at the Lord’s Table. For almost two hours we read Scripture and sing songs new and old—all focused on Christ and the cross. We deeply cherish the meaning of the bread and the cup. Leading almost 100 of these “Summits” has birthed in me a longing for better, more thoughtful, more regular commemoration and celebration of the “new covenant” secured for us by the blood of Christ.
John Piper summarizes the meaning of this: “When Jesus died, his shed blood and broken body, offered up in his death on our behalf, purchased all the promises of God. Paul says, ‘All the promises of God find their Yes in him’ (2 Corinthians 1:20). Every gift of God, and all our joyful fellowship with God, was obtained by the blood of Jesus.” [ii]
Then, based on the promises of the new covenant prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31-34, and fulfilled in Christ, Piper explains, “Live by faith in the great gospel, new-covenant truth of the Lord’s Supper all the time. By faith your sins are forgiven. The will of God is becoming increasingly your delight (and not just your duty). You know him personally. And he is your God. Savor this when you drink the cup. And make this truth the means by which you love each other and point others to it.”[iii]
I would add, “And remember that because of the new covenant, you are now His temple—holy, purified, and indwelt by His resurrection power, through the Holy Spirit.” Andrew Murray declared, “If we are to look carefully at what the new covenant promises mean, we shall see how the ‘sending forth of the Spirit of his Son into our hearts’ is indeed the consummation and crown of Christ’s redeeming work.”[iv]
Copyright © 2023 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.
Adapted from Daniel’s book, Transforming Presence: How the Holy Spirit Changes Everything from the Inside Out
[i] These thoughts adapted from the excellent article by Pastor Matt Damico: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/lay-down-your-burdens-at-the-table
[iv] Andrew Murray, The Two Covenants, (San Bernardino, California: Andrew Murray, 2017), 54.