Read: Psalm 50:16 - 23
The apostle Paul in I Cor 11 speaks of how serious it is when a person comes to the table of the Lord and does not truly repent of sin. They become guilty of the body and blood of Christ. They eat and drink judgment to themselves.
The Lord intended that the Lord’s Supper should be the source of great blessing and encouragement for His people. But when one comes with a sinful attitude to the Lord’s Supper, he eats and drinks judgment to himself. How awful this is! God’s Word warns us about this, and we must take this warning seriously. When one partakes of the Lord’s Supper with an evil heart of unbelief and sin, he makes himself guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. What could be more serious than this! Who would deserve a more severe judgment than one who is guilty of crucifying the Son of God afresh?
The Heidelberg Catechism warns us about hypocrisy. In Jer 17:9 - 10, we read, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” A hypocrite is a sham. He pretends to be what he is not. Before the world, he tries to show himself as some great saint, while in his heart and life, he is really evil and refuses to repent at all.
God exposes the hypocrite. He cannot hide before God. God knows the heart when it is evil. Man cannot escape His condemnation. God searches the heart of man through His Word which is “quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Heb 4: 12.
The ungodly must be warned not to come to the Holy Supper of the Lord lest he be condemned. The Lord’s Supper is a sacrament of holy fellowship with God and with Jesus Christ. The impenitent man who does not turn to God, as we all should, will be judged by God. Many professing Christians today do not want to hear anything negative. Serious warnings from God’s own Word must be sounded forth and listened to.
These warnings are not intended to frighten us or to discourage us from coming to the Lord’s Supper. We must examine our own hearts, repent and turn again unto the Lord. In the spiritual activity of examining ourselves, we must earnestly pray that God will help us. A proper prayer in preparing ourselves to come to the Lord’s Supper is the humble prayer of Psa 139:23 - 24. “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
As fearful and necessary as these warnings are, no sincere Christian should be terrified by them. God will receive in mercy all those who come in humble and sincere repentance to Him. Those who come to the Lord with humble and sincere hearts, genuinely repenting of their sins, will be blessed by partaking of the Lord’s Supper. After all, the Lord gave us this sacrament not to turn us from Him in fear and dread, but to assure us that all our sins are forgiven us for the sake of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. We receive this assurance with humble faith and thankfulness to God.
den Hartog, Arie
Rev. Arie denHartog (Wife: Sherry)
Ordained: October 1974
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1974; Foreign Missionary, Singapore - 1979; Randolph, WI - 1987; Redlands, CA - 1990; Minister-on-Loan, Singapore - 2001; Southwest, Grandville, MI - 2005Website: www.southwestprc.org/
Address4895 Ivanrest Ave. SW
State or ProvinceMichigan
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