There was a man named Ian Durkin who was working one day when his tooth fell out of his mouth. After a few days of badgering him, his partner convinced him to see a dentist. The dentist promptly warned him to visit a doctor since he perceived the issue to be much more serious. Ian Durkin refused because, to quote his partner, “he was stubborn like that.” Eventually, he developed serious issues to the point where he was even screaming out in pain. He died in his sleep only a few days later.
There is a sense in all of us that wants to avoid confrontation. Especially when it has to do with us being confronted. We tend to neglect our physical health, and want to always assume the best of ourselves; we tend to give ourselves a pass and think that our problems are less severe than they truly are. This is sometimes true for our body, but it is exponentially more so when it comes to our spiritual life. We always assume we are doing better than we are, and we have a tendency to minimize our sin while maximizing others’. The fact of the matter is that we need continual checkups on our spiritual health.
Sitting under faithful expository preaching is one way we accomplish this. Surrounding ourselves with godly friends and mentors is another. Regular Bible reading and prayer are other ways, as well. But perhaps one of the main regular spiritual doctor visits that we so desperately need is the Lord’s Supper. On the night before our Savior died, He instituted this meal. He expects us to regularly take this supper. He believes that it will make a difference in our lives. The Lord’s Supper has many effects for the believer, and I’d like to highlight three of them in this post.
The Lord’s Supper challenges your desires
“I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Luke 22:15
Jesus gave up His life. No one took it from Him (John 10:18). Not only did He know He was born to die (Mark 8:34), but He knew the way He would die (John 3:14). But He also knew about a last supper He would eat with His disciples. And Luke 22 tells us that He earnestly desired to eat this meal with His disciples. He had looked forward to this very meal for a long time, perhaps since He could even remember. Why? Why was He so eager? Partly because this meal was a transition meal. This meal would be the final God-ordained Passover that this world would ever see, but it would also prove to be the first God-ordained Lord’s Supper. The disciples and their followers would go on to eat thousands in their lifetimes, but Jesus Christ would not. This would be the first and last Lord’s Supper that Jesus would partake of before the millennial kingdom.
The Bible tells us that He was eager to have this meal. Another reason is because he was looking to a meal in the future a meal He’ll partake in with us–all His children in the kingdom. He eagerly awaits that day. Are you eagerly awaiting this day?
Every Lord’s Supper we take part in there is someone missing. Like the mother who lost her son at war and every Thanksgiving sets up a place in his honor at the dinner table, we too remember Jesus, and should acknowledge the fact that He isn’t here. He is preparing a place for us in Heaven (John 14:3). Part of the deal in the Lord’s Supper is checking our desires and asking ourselves if we are truly longing for the day we get to see Christ face to face and get to eat with Him. The Lord’s Supper challenges our desires.
The Lord’s Supper confirms your dependence
“Do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19
Jesus doesn’t think highly about our memory.
Seriously. He institutes the Lord’s supper to remind us about how we are constantly in need of remembering Him and what He was about to do. This exposes our dependence on Him. We depend on Christ in our salvation. Entirely. There isn’t one ounce of spirituality that we bring to the table, we are utterly bankrupt (Matthew 5:3) and Jesus on the cross, by giving up His body and by shedding His blood completely satisfied God’s requirement (Hebrews 10:12-14) and opened up the gates of Heaven for anyone that would believe in Him (John 3:16). Each time we come to the Lord’s Table we are reminded about our dependence on Him in our salvation.
But we are also reminded of our dependence on Him for our sanctification. The very fact that He would make it an ordinance proves the fact that He believes that it would be beneficial for our Christian walk to do so on a regular basis. We understand that this ordinance is an essential component of our walk with Him and so we regularly expose ourselves to the sanctifying action of reflecting on our walk every time we take the Lord’s Supper.
The Lord’s Supper checks your devotion
The Lord’s Supper’s is an opportunity to examine our hearts. As a young pastor, I’m already overwhelmed with the responsibility of shepherding souls. It is more than any human being can handle. In fact, it is impossible for human beings to handle. We are bad judges (James 2:4). We have a hard time discerning why people do what they do. The reason is because we simply cannot see people’s hearts. It will never cease to fascinate me that the disciples had no idea who would betray Jesus! They lived beside Judas for three years, and yet they had no idea that he wasn’t truly saved, even after Jesus made it explicit!
I wish upon seminary graduation we were given a diploma and x-ray vision goggles. Goggles that, when you put them on, tell you who is teachable and who isn’t. Perhaps it even could tell you who is a Christian and who isn’t. It would save so much time, effort, and tears. But pastors don’t receive these goggles; at least, at the Masters Seminary we didn’t. What are we to do? First, we are to take a serious look at our own hearts. We are to examine it to see whether or not we are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5). Second, we are to encourage those around us to do the same. Ultimately, people are responsible for their own walk with Christ. We must teach those around us to do self-checks, and the Lord’s Supper is the best place that Jesus has given us to do that.
If you are not regularly exposing yourself to the Lord’s Supper, your Christian walk will suffer. First of all, it means that you either go to a church that is neglecting a clear ordinance of God and should leave immediately, or it means that you are not attending a church, which also means that your Christian walk is suffering. Secondly, you are missing out on so many important blessings. The blessing of remembering eternity as we get challenged on our desires, the blessing of remembering our dependance on Christ in every area of life, and the regular examination of whether we are truly devoted to the Savior.
Do not neglect the Lord’s Supper, because it is a medicine prescribed to you by Jesus Himself in order to help you grow in His likeness.