Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Preparation for the Lord's Supper

In many churches the Lord's Supper is administered without any acknowledged need for due spiritual preparation for this means of grace. The Puritan Richard Vines gives some indications as to the necessity of spiritual preparation.

There is a certain peculiar preparation due to the celebration of this Ordinance; for where the manner is so contrary, as worthily and unworthily, and the effect of the Ordinance much depending upon the manner of receiving it, and the benefits so great, as communion of Christ's body, the danger no less than of condemnation, reason will tell us, that there is a preparation requisite, that the fruit may be of the Tree of Life, and not of the Tree of knowledge of good and eyil, Eat and die. It's either too much blindness or boldness to rush upon this Ordinance without preparation...Our Saviour did not only use, but honour preparations, when he fasted and pray'd in order to his great work. To the Passover there belong'd...a solemn preparation: The Lamb was taken upon the tenth day, the leaven was enquired after and purged out which if they have now no obligation, yet they have a meaning: and you use to have Sermons for preparation, which are but preparatives to preparation they do but light the candle, but you must, as that woman, Luke 15:8 "Sweep the house and seek diligently"; else Sermon preparation may (as I fear it often doth) go without soul-preparation. That word 1 Cor. 11:28 "And so let him eat", tells us plainly, that somewhat must go before. 

Preparation is not something that we may trust in and though we must take it seriously and engage in it with sincerity we must take ourselves to Christ by faith and only go to the Lord's Table in his strength and merit.
I look for no preparation that shall not stand in need of mercy. If I see so much in my self, as makes my self empty, and that emptiness doth make me athirst for Christ, then I shall not dispute my preparation, but deny my worthiness, and yet come.