8 Reasons You Need Weekly Communion

Why would we not receive these benefits week by week?

Samuel Bolton by William Faithorne, print, published 1657

Samuel Bolton (1606-1654), in his work The Guard of the Tree of Life (Discourse on the Sacraments), presents compelling reasons for the diligent pursuit of spiritual discipline in our lives. Bolton, as many writers of his day, refers to it as our “duty” but it’s not the cold and unfeeling idea of duty, rather it is the call to embrace with our whole being the means of grace provided by our loving Father. In this book, Bolton focuses on the Lord’s Table as one of the regular disciplines of the Christian life. In the same way that we receive grace and spiritual strengthening from prayer, meditating on scripture, fellowship and loving service, we likewise receive the same from feeding upon our Savior’s body and blood through faith at the table. We should no more reject weekly attention to the supper than we would our daily prayer or time in God’s Word. It is a means of God’s gracious benefits flowing afresh into our lives. All neglect of spiritual discipline diminishes our progress in holiness. Bolton states:

“Neglect of duty breeds strangeness, strangeness distance, distance falling off. A good caveat in these days, when so many do cry down duty; shall we look on that as our burden which is our glory, our bondage which is our privilege? What is the happiness of a glorified saint, but only that he is always under the line of love, ever in the contemplation and converses with God? And shall that be thought our burden here, which is our glory hereafter?”

It is our glory, our privilege to come boldly before the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb. 4:16) How do we come to the throne of grace? How do we access this grace and need? By the means appointed by our Father. Bolton lists 8 benefits of this sacred “duty”:

“By this, first, you come to see the face of God; secondly, you have conversations with him; thirdly, you get new quickening’s; fourthly, new encouragements; fifthly, fresh strength against sin; sixthly, new supplies against the temptations of Satan and the world; seventhly, fresh strength to walk with God; eighthly, armor against our lusts.”

Look at these again:

  1. See the face of God. (As John Owen said, the table of the Lord is God’s love on display)
  2. We have conversation with Him. (Just as prayer is a two-way street, so is communion.
  3. Quickenings. (We receive fresh power! “Be being filled with the Spirit…” Eph. 5:18)
  4. New encouragement. – We receive fresh motivation.
  5. Fresh strength against sin. We are pointed a new toward holiness, our armor is buffed, our weapons are reset.
  6. “New supplies.” – grace that makes the Lord more precious to us and makes Satan and his kingdom more odious to us.
  7. Fresh strength. – we mount up with wings as eagles.
  8. Armor. – most especially our helmet of salvation and our shield of faith. Here the cross is put before us, the price of our redemption is evident, our assurance is strengthened, our faith is brought between us and our lusts.

Why would we not receive these benefits week by week?

For the Church, the Road to the Future Leads Through the Past

Robert Webber on our disconnect with our roots.

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“One of the major reasons why the church has fallen prey to a cultural accommodation is that is has become disconnected from its roots in Scripture, the ancient church and in its heritage through the centuries. This failure of the church to keep faith with its own origins and history is in and of itself a matter of cultural accommodation. For we live in a society that has lost its own heritage. We now drift in a sea of pluralism and relativism with little sense of our past.

If it is true that the road to the future lies in the past, it is also true that when the past has been lost or neglected there is no certain future. We are at that point now in Western culture, not only in the broad cultural sense but also in the church which has increasingly followed the lead of culture and lost its connection to the Christian past.”

 

The Christian Priesthood – C. H. Mackintosh

chmThe Christian Priesthood.

C. H. Mackintosh.

“Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”   1 Peter 2:9.

He, blessed be His name, grants to His people, in this the time of His absence, to anticipate the day when He shall come forth as a Royal Priest, and sit upon His throne, and send forth the benign influence of His dominion to the ends of the earth. We are called to be the present expression of the kingdom of Christ — the expression of Himself.

We want the reader to open his bible and read 1 Peter 2:1-9. In this lovely scripture he will find three words on which we shall ask him to dwell with us for a little. They are words of weight and power — words which indicate three great branches of practical Christian truth — words conveying to our hearts a fact which we cannot too deeply ponder, namely, that Christianity is a living and divine reality. It is not a set of doctrines, however true; a system of ordinances, however imposing; a number of rules and regulations, however important. Christianity is far more than any or all of these things. It is a living, breathing, speaking, active, powerful reality — something to be seen in the every-day life — something to be felt in the scenes of personal, domestic history, from hour to hour — something formative and influential — a divine and heavenly power introduced into the scenes and circumstances through which we have to move, as men, women, and children, from Sunday morning till Saturday night. It does not consist in holding certain views, opinions, and principles, or in going to this place of worship or that.

Christianity is the life of Christ communicated to the believer — dwelling in him — and flowing out from him, in the ten thousand little details which go to make up our daily practical life. It has nothing ascetic, monastic, or sanctimonious about it. It is genial, cordial, light some, pure, elevated, holy, heavenly, divine. Such is the Christianity of the New Testament. It is Christ dwelling in the believer, and reproduced, by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the believer’s daily practical career. This is Christianity — nothing else, nothing less, nothing different.

But let us turn to our three words; and may the Eternal Spirit expound and apply their deep and holy meaning to our souls!

And first, then, we have the word “living.” “To whom coming as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as living stones, are built up.”

Here we have what we may call the foundation of Christian priesthood. There is evidently an allusion here to that profoundly interesting scene in Matthew 16 to which we must ask the reader to turn for a moment.

Eucharist: A Cure for Isolation and Loneliness

serving communion

“In communion, our entire covenant community is brought closer to our God and subsequently, to each other because our Christ is our commonality, and the sacrament is our common sign. As all believers possess God’s Spirit, we are personally fed, repaired, and strengthened. But that communion is not a privatized, one-dimensional experience.

All of Christ’s Church enjoys the presence of the Holy Spirit, so we cannot experience true communion in isolation. The sacrament that is experienced is always done in plurality with other brothers and sisters… We are brought out of isolation into a community that rallies around an identity that is not consumed with melancholic introspection or shared backgrounds. Once defined by our sin, we are now defined by the person and work of another – Jesus. We are now defined by his righteousness, not our own. As we corporately approach the table, it is a group of righteous people who still sin, a group of righteous people who hate their sin, and a group of righteous people who long for the day when they will not sin.

What a relief to many that there are others who are disgusted with themselves. We are morally frustrated, and yet, also long for the perfection found in Christ’s work – not increased fervor or promises. The Table once again unites a fragmented people. Unified, we come. Sinners who have been made righteous attend this Table. We do not come through varying acts of goodness, but through One Person, applied to his people by One Spirit. The Sacrament of the Lord’s Table is, yet again, the cure for loneliness and isolation.”

– Tim Lien

This Is for You (The Means of Grace)

 

Spurgeon on Weekly Communion

C.H. Spurgeon“So with the Lord’s Supper. My witness is, and I think I speak the mind of many of God’s people now present, that coming as some of us do, weekly, to the Lord’s table, we do not find the breaking of bread to have lost its significance—it is always fresh to us. I have often remarked on Lord’s-day evening, whatever the subject may have been, whether Sinai has thundered over our heads, or the plaintive notes of Calvary have pierced our hearts, it always seems equally appropriate to come to the breaking of bread. Shame on the Christian church that she should put it off to once a month, and mar the first day of the week by depriving it of its glory in the meeting together for fellowship and breaking of bread, and showing forth of the death of Christ till he come. They who once know the sweetness of each Lord’s-day celebrating his Supper, will not be content, I am sure, to put it off to less frequent seasons. Beloved, when the Holy Ghost is with us, ordinances are wells to the Christian, wells of rich comfort and of near communion.”

“Songs of Deliverance,” Sermon no. 763, July 28, 1867, preaching from Judges 5:11.

The Great Eucharistic Flag of the Church

20130417-174749.jpgAA Hodge in his Evangelical Theology: Lectures on Doctrine, speaks of holy communion as the “visible mark or badge of Christian discipleship.” His words that follow are a stirring call both to a life of testimony and the essential nature of the sacrament.

It is true that a true believer, who for any reason is prevented from confessing Christ by wearing publicly his sacramental badge, may just as efficiently confess him by other significant words and deeds. And it is further true that if a communicant is indeed a true believer at heart he
will constantly confess Christ in other ways—indeed, in all conceivable ways—in all his life. Nevertheless, a loyal citizen cannot choose his own flag. The public and official signification of loyalty cannot be left to the accidental choice of individuals. Above all, in a state of active war no loyal soldier can for one moment fail to hold aloft the one battle-flag which his leader has in trusted to his care. He covers it with his body, he shields it with his life, he carries it aloft with streaming eyes and heaving breast at the head of the host. So do we with solemn joy, with reverent love and passion, carry in sacred pomp this sacramental flag of confession and of challenge high in the face of the world which crucified our Lord.

The Danger of Neglecting the Lord’s Table

Eucharist - Communion
In his book on the Lord’s Supper, Puritan Thomas Watson warns of neglecting the sacrament:

Has Jesus Christ been at all this cost to make a feast? Then, surely, there must be guests. (Luke 22:19). It is not left to our choice whether we will come or not; it is a duty purely indispensable. “Let him eat of that bread” (1 Corinthians 11:28), which words are not only permissive, but authoritative. It is as if a king should say, “Let it be enacted.”

The neglect of the Sacrament runs men into a gospel penalty. It was infinite goodness in Christ to broach that blessed vessel of His body and let His sacred blood stream out. It is evil for us wilfully to omit such an ordinance wherein the trophy of mercy is so richly displayed and our salvation so nearly concerned. Well may Christ take this as an undervaluing of Him, and interpret it as no better than a bidding Him to keep His feast to Himself. He who did not observe the passover was to be cut off. (Numbers 9:13). How angry was Christ with those who stayed away from the supper! They thought to put it off with a compliment. But Christ knew how to construe their excuse for a refusal. “None of those men which were bidden shall taste of My supper,” (Luke 14:24). Rejecting gospel mercy is a sin of so deep a dye that God can do no less than punish it for a contempt. Some need a flaming sword to keep them from the Lord’s Table, and others need Christ’s whip of small cords to drive them to it.

We Need Communion

CommunionBreadWine“Gathering to eat at the Lord’s Table reminds us that grace is as common as bread, as sparkling as wine, and as necessary and invigorating as both. We need those reminders, for we live surrounded by an atmosphere rife with noxious poisons and convenience stores stocked only with confections. We need communion, which draws us together to contemplate grace, to be newly infused with grace, to be prepared for demonstrating grace. So to the table we come, and from the table we depart, nourished for life by encounters with the Lord.” – Dan Schmidt

Historians of the Christian Tradition: Their Methodology and Influence on Western Thought – Michael Bauman (Editor)

“Ecclesiastical amnesia is a serious and crippling disease. A Church without a memory is doomed to invent the churchly and the theological wheels anew. The writing of religious history, in other words, is the necessary prop our naked memory requires in order to draw upon the accumulated wisdom of the ages, enabling us to withdraw at our need the deposit of insight and truth generously stored up for us by our predecessors in the faith”