Someone asked, where do the quotes come from? The answer is from the people who uttered
them. But, how did you find
them? Oh, that. Most are from Rev Bryan Dabney, a few
from other places, but overall mostly from Bryan. He always has a few great ones to share. So, on to the On Point quotes –
It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly
sight harder for a bird to learn to fly while remaining an egg.
We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being
just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.
I tremble for my country when I hear of confidence expressed in me. I
know too well my weakness, that our only hope is in God.
We have fought this fight as long, and as well as we know how. We have
been defeated. For us as a Christian people, there is now but one course to
pursue. We must return home and cultivate our virtues.
Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more, you should never wish
to do less.
In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a
shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.
If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the
newspaper you are misinformed.
Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress.
But then I repeat myself.
I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is
like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which
debt he proposes to pay off with your money.
Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car
keys to teenage boys.
P. J. O'Rourke, Civil
Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to
live at the expense of everybody else.
French economist (1801-1850)
I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as
possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.
A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong
enough to take everything you have.
We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does
not first take from somebody else.
When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work,
because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half
gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to
get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation!
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but
inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. . .
It is a contradiction to say that a man is like God, or is a partaker
of his nature, who does not love what God loves, and avoid what he hates.
century American theologian and author
Death is... a return from exile, a going home to the many mansions
where the loved ones already dwell. The distance between glorified spirits in
heaven and militant saints on earth seems great; but it is not so. We are not
far from home— a moment will bring us there... When the eyes close on earth
they open in heaven.
century English pastor and
(Morning and Evening, p. 222)
The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as
sacred as the law of God, and that there is not a force of law and public
justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.
Founding Father and 2nd
president of the United States
A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot
survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he
is known and he carries his banners openly. But the traitor moves among those
within the gate freely, his sly whispers... heard in the very hall of
government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor— he speaks in the
accents familiar to his victims, and wears their face and their garment, and he
appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the
soul of a nation— he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the
pillars of a city—he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist.
A murderer is less to be feared.
century BC Roman statesman.
The contest is not over, the strife is not ended. It has entered upon a
new and enlarged arena; there the champions of constitutional liberty must
fight until government of the United States is brought back to its
President of the Confederate States of
America, statesman and war hero
(The Rise and Fall of the Confederate
Government, Vol. II, p. 294)
When the state has the capability to know everything except the
difference between right and wrong, it won’t end well.
century Canadian author and commentator
A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners.
Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of
gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot.
century American science fiction author
The Propers for today are found
on Page 198-199, with the Collect first:
Seventh Sunday after Trinity.
of all power and might, who art the author and giver of all good things;
Graft in our hearts the love of thy Name, increase in us true religion, nourish
us with all goodness, and of thy great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.
Arnold read the Epistle, which was came from the Sixth Chapter of Saint
Paul’s letter to the Romans beginning at the Nineteenth Verse. Paul reminds us
when we strive above all else for the things of this world, we gain nothing we
can take with us to the next.
“For, when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from
righteousness.” Conversely, if we
will be servants of God (righteousness) we can be free from the devil
sin). “… the wages of sin is
death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. If we will follow God, we will live,
not only forever in the next world, but better in this world. We must put aside what we did and do
what He would have us do. Actions
are the key to everything. Talk is
nice. Action is what counts.
SPEAK after the manner of men because of the infirmity of
your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to
iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to
righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free
from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now
ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from
sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end
everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal
life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Rev Deacon Jack Arnold read today’s
Holy Gospel which was written in the Eighth Chapter of the Gospel according to
Saint Mark beginning at the First Verse. Jesus had been in the wilderness
teaching a multitude, some four thousand in number. In those pre-restaurant on every corner days, the people had
been without food and were hungry.
Jesus was concerned and inventoried their supplies, seven loaves and a
few small fishes. He gave thanks
to God, and commanded the food to be set out before the people. When they had eaten their fill, the
scraps gathered up from the seven loaves filled seven baskets.
Many speculated over the years as
to just how He did it. The answer
is simple, He did it. He did not
talk about feeding the multitude and sit down to His own meal. He acted and they were fed. Does this story recall the words from
the Last Supper used in Holy Communion at the Consecration? “he took Bread; and
when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying,
Take, eat, this is my Body, which is given for you; Do this in remembrance of
me.” Those few words produced The
Word, which has satisfied so many over millenniums.
N those days the multitude being very great, and
having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto
them, I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me
three days, and have nothing to eat: and if I send them away fasting to their
own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far. And his
disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here
in the wilderness? And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said,
Seven. And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the
seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set
before them; and they did set them before the people. And they had a few small
fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. So they did
eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven
baskets. And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them
Reverend Deacon Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Today’s sermon tied the Epistle and Gospel together
talked as is oft the case of the need for action, not simply diction, the
general content is in forewords above.
Consider the words from the Collect, … author
and giver of all good things; Graft in our hearts the love of thy Name,
increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of thy great
mercy keep us in the same (that is to say keep us in goodness)…
To get anywhere, we must acknowledge in our hearts
that all good is of and comes from God.
Once we acknowledge that, we are in a position to ask God to put in to our
hearts love of Him and all that is His.
This will help us to appreciate and act in goodness. Without His love our efforts will
ultimately be of no avail. We cannot do anything with out His help, and with
it, it will be easier. There will be times where we fail, but if we turn back
to Him, then we shall succeed. I
find personally when I turn to Him nowadays for help with stuff, that I do far
better than if I do not.
pretty clearly we need to be of God.
Thus, when Paul wrote to the people of Rome, he was writing to all of
us; for there truly is nothing new in the world. Before we are of God, we are of this world. Our life is here, our end is here. Once we are of God, then we are merely
sojourners here; our life is not really here and certainly does not end
here. The only way to be of God is
through God, that is His Son, our Lord.
If we will follow God, we will
live, not only forever in the next world, but better in this world. We must put aside what we did and do
what He would have us do. Actions
are the key to everything. Talk is
nice. Action is what counts. We
have to act upon our beliefs, which can be very hard sometimes but must be
done. I struggle with this myself, but I find that returning to God helps with
this, and He cleans the slate, so I can try again a new.
Saint Mark tells us of action. Jesus
had been in the wilderness teaching a multitude, some four thousand in
number. In those pre-restaurant on
every corner days, the people had been without food and were hungry. Jesus was concerned and inventoried
their supplies, seven loaves and a few small fishes. He gave thanks to God, and commanded the food to be set out
before the people. When they had
eaten their fill, the scraps gathered up from the seven loaves filled seven
Many speculated over the years as
to just how He did it. The answer
is simple, He did it. He did not
talk about feeding the multitude and then sit down to His own meal. He acted and they were fed. The clear moral of this story is that
He acted, not just talked, but he actually acted and fed the people. Does this
story recall the words from the Last Supper used in Holy Communion at the
Consecration? “he took Bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and
gave it to his disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is my Body, which is given
for you; Do this in remembrance of me.”
Those few words produced The Word, which has satisfied so many over
Heaven is at the end of an
uphill trail. The easy downhill
trail does not lead to the summit.
The time is now, not tomorrow. The time has come, indeed. How will you ACT?
It is by our actions we are known.
Be of God - Live of God - Act of God
We are oft fortunate to get
copies of Bishop Jerry’s sermon notes.
Today is one of those Sundays.
Today’s sermon starts off with the collect, and like always, it will
give you a lot to consider in your heart.
Sunday after Trinity
Anglican Orthodox Church
14 July 2013,
Seventh Sunday after Trinity.
of all power and might, who art the author and giver of all good things;
Graft in our hearts the love of thy Name, increase in us true religion, nourish
us with all goodness, and of thy great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.
12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I
have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no
man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the
servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all
things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen
you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your
fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he
may give it you. 17 These things I
command you, that ye love one another. 18 If
the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his
own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the
world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember
the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If
they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my
saying, they will keep yours also. 21 But
all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know
not him that sent me. 22 If I had not
come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for
their sin. 23 He that hateth me hateth
my Father also. 24 If I had not done
among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now
have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled
that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you
from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he
shall testify of me: 27 And ye also
shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning
. (John 15:12-27)
We all have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of us are locked in
a relationship of belligerence and war with Christ. Some are in a very casual
and ineffectual relationship. But these kinds of relationships do not gain for
us the favor and grace of God. Our relationship with Christ must be that of a
friend, a brother of sister, a servant, and a soldier under His High Command.
What relationship do you enjoy with Christ? Is it effectual and worthy of His
favor and love? This is the most important questions of life. Do we not just
know of Christ, but do we know Him as a friend, brother, Lord, and Savior?
In the 12th
Chapter of the Gospel of St Matthew, we see
Jesus preaching and teaching the multitudes when His mother, brothers and
sisters came and stood without the gate to speak with Christ. 46 While
he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without,
desiring to speak with him. 47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother
and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.
12:46-47) There is some suggestion in this incident to shed light on the
spiritual relationship that the immediately family, including His mother, had
with Jesus. Yes, He was their brother and her Son in a corporeal sense, but not
necessarily a spiritual affinity to all that Christ taught. We do not see His
mother, Mary, following hard after the disciples to hear the preaching of her
Son. She was more concerned, as a mother, for His physical welfare than the
seemingly troublesome Gospel He was preaching.
The next actions of Christ reveal a great deal about the proper
spiritual relationship we should have with Him: 48 But he answered
and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother?
and who are my brethren? 49 And he stretched forth his hand toward
his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my
brethren! 50 For whosoever shall do the
will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and
. (Matt 12:48-50) The close relationships of Christ
are those who hear and do the will of the Father – PERIOD. By implication, the
immediate corporeal family of Jesus did not fit into this scenario. It may have
been after the crucifixion and resurrection before His mother, Mary, came to
know the full magnitude of who her Son truly was. The appearing of the Great
Angel Gabriel seemed almost like a dream of ages past to poor Mary.
Now we come to the occasion of the text for today. We are given
three factors of the work of God that are relevant to the text – The conditions
of Relationship in Christ, The Comfort to be enjoyed even under the World’s
Persecution, and the Work of the Holy ghost and of the Apostles.
The Condition that must be
Jesus lays out the one condition that establishes our Election in
Christ and sustains that Election: it is the simple four-letter word – LOVE! It
bears such a heavy weight as His royal Commandment that it is the one
Commandment upon which all others have their foundation. It is, in brief, a Circle
: God loved us before we loved Him. “We love him, because
he first loved us
.” (1 John 4:19) We owe God a DEBT of Love. Now, to
qualify that love that we have reciprocated to the Father, we must love those
others who likewise love the Lord. It is the very BANNER of Love under which
the people of God march, and there must be a mutual love of all who march under
that BANNER. 12 This is my commandment,
That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down
his life for his friends.
We use the term love a bit too casually in our day. We claim to love
chocolate ice cream, dogs, horses, roses, etc.; but that is not love. Who would
die for an ice cream (though I am tempted)? Or a dog? Or a rose? Love is an
overruling sentiment that dictates all else of our being. We certainly WILL die
for that which we love. Christ did, and so should we if the circumstances
warrant. If we say we love our fellow Christians, do we? Do we love them as we
are commanded to do by Jesus? And how does Jesus say we should love each other?
Just as He has loved us and gave His life for us. That is not a casual love, is
it? He tells us of that great love in verse 13 - Greater
love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
This is the standard of love required. Do you have it?
The Comfort to be had even in
the Persecution of the World
The athlete who survives a particularly bruising game of football, or the ballerina who suffers a ruined performance that
deprived her of the crown, may take a particular pride in duty well performed
as God has given them the Light to do so. Persecution of the world takes an
even more somber aspect of injustice. Though we may have conducted our lives
with greater righteousness than can be humanly expected, yet we suffer an injustice
of being punished for doing good. Such an injustice can be overwhelming to
those of little faith; but to those whose faith is grounded on the solid Rock,
there is an immense consolation in being unjustly tortured and beaten. The
satisfaction comes from the sure knowledge that we have, indeed, taken up our
cross and followed Christ – all of the way
! Christ’s counsel
rings loud and clear: 18 If the world
hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love
his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the
world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is
not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute
you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name's
sake, because they know not him that sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had
sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. 23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which none other
man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me
and my Father. 25 But this cometh to
pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated
me without a cause.
It is interesting to note the reciprocity of sentiment expressed by Christ in
His discourse. God loved us first; therefore, we are able to love Him. On the
other hand, the world hated Christ first; therefore the world hates us as well.
There is unity of both camps. The hate of the world is united against Christ
and His people while the Kingdom of God is united under that banner of love
discussed earlier. All of the work of a servant is truly the work of his
master. It is the will of the master that is operative in the labors of the
many servants of the household. If the master is well loved among the
community, the servants will be identified with that love as well. If the
master is treacherous, his servants will be treated as treacherous. Whatever
praise or ridicule belongs to the master will be visited on the servant. But
one wayward servant does not cast dispersions on the master. Christ is our
Master. It is His Person represented by every member of His household. But the
estate is called by His name and not ours.
The enemy on the battlefield neither knows, nor desires to know, the name of
the common soldier of the line; but you can be assured that they desire to
know, and DO know, the name of their Field Commander against whose mind they
plan their assaults. Christ is the Captain of our Soul. Wherever He is hated,
you will be hated too. If they show no mercy to our Leader, do you suppose they
will be more respectful of his followers? To be hated by the world without a
cause may bring no comfort at all; however, when we are persecuted for Christ’s
sake, we can know that He is aware and loves us the more.
The work of the Holy Spirit,
and of the Apostles
: The Comforter
which is the Holy Ghost, is sent to open our eyes to the Beauty of the Lord. He reveals truth to us that we may know in our
heads, but NOT in our hearts. You will note that the purpose of the Holy Spirit
is to “testify
” of Christ. But
the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name,
he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance,
whatsoever I have said unto you
. (John 14:26) The Lord has given
us a reading assignment that will be our food for learning by way of the Holy
Ghost. We note that the Holy Ghost is sent by the Father in the name of Christ.
We further note that the Holy Ghost will teach us all things of which we may
have read in Scripture, but not understood. We also note that the Holy Ghost
will “bring all things to our REMEMBRANCE
How can we be reminded of something in Holy Scripture if we have not even taken
the trouble to have read or studied it in the first place? We have a somber
duty here to perform. As good soldiers, we must take our training, bear our
weapons, and don our armor. Dare any of us to go into the heat of battle
bearing no arms or wearing no armor of defense?
We must reconsider our relationship to Christ. Are we His friend as He is
our friend? Do we love Him as He first loved us? Are we the ones who hear and
obey the Commandments of the Christ? “Ye are
my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you
.” Have we
done? Without grace, we could not have chosen Christ, for it was He who chose
us long before we even knew Him. If we are the children of God, and God is the
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, are we not likewise brothers and sisters of
Jesus? “For whosoever shall do the will of my
Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother
Now, once more, please ask yourself the question: What is MY relationship to
Note from Hap
– I am reminded of a quote from then General
Eisenhower the night before the invasion at Normandy when asked by a reporter if
God was on our side. The answer,
“It is not that God is on our side, but rather that we are on God’s side.”
Rev Rick Reid of
Saint Peter’s Sunday Sermon
We are happy to have a
sermon from Reverend Rick Reid, minister of Saint Peter’s, whose congregation
is right at the Worldwide Headquarters of the Anglican Orthodox Church. Rev Rick has all the resources and
challenges right at hand. I think
you will enjoy this sermon.
Feeding the Four
Thousand (Mark 8:1-10) Trinity VII
During His earthly
ministry, Jesus ministered mostly to the Jews as He also commanded the Apostles
when he first sent them out in St. Matthew’s Gospel. Matthew 10:5-6
5 These twelve Jesus sent out
and commanded them, saying: e“Do
not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of fthe
Samaritans. 6 gBut
go rather to the hlost
sheep of the house of Israel.
And as He explained to the Syro-Phoenician
woman also in
But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep
of the house of Israel. Even so,
there were occasions when Gentiles benefited from His physical presence. The
Syro-Phoenician woman's daughter was healed and there were also healings in the
area of Decapolis, including the deaf mute.
In this morning’s
gospel we hear of Jesus’ feeding of the four thousand.
We find a great
multitude, who had been with Jesus three days in a wilderness region, without
food, and were far from their homes.
Jesus had compassion
for the multitude and using only seven loaves and a few small fish Jesus
proceeds to perform this miracle.
commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves,
and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them.
And they had
a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them.
So they did
eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left… seven
baskets. And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them
Like the feeding of the 5,000 Matthew describes in the previous chapter,
the feeding of the 4,000 has implications of the Lord’s Supper or Holy
Jesus took the bread; and after giving thanks he broke the
bread and gave it to the disciples.
Many students of the Bible have been
intrigued by the numerical symbolism of the feeding miracles; in the first
miracle Jesus fed 5,000 people with five loaves and ended up with 12 baskets of
leftovers; in today’s Gospel miracle, Jesus fed 4,000 people with seven loaves
and finished with seven baskets of leftovers.
Some scholars believe that the feeding of the
5,000 symbolizes the Eucharist of the Jews …with the 12 baskets of leftovers
corresponding to the 12 tribes of Israel.
And that the feeding of the 4,000 symbolizes
the more inclusive Eucharist of the Gentiles ….with the 7 baskets of leftovers
corresponding to a number that throughout the Hebrew Scriptures is associated
with perfection and completeness.
In John’s Gospel (chapter 6), as the multitudes continued to follow Him
in order to receive more food, He revealed to them the true purpose for the
He declared, “Labor not for the meat which
perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the
Son of Man shall give unto you…I am the bread of life; he that cometh to Me
shall never hunger, and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.”
This was an answer that many of the Jews who had been following Christ
up to this point did not find rational at all.
In fact, on three separate occasions the people objected that His words
made no sense, and each time they did so, Christ replied with even bolder
He declared, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any
man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is
My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
As the people were appalled by
this statement, Christ then made what must have seemed the most
outrageous claim of all saying, Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat
the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso
eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him
up on the last day”.
Many of the thousands of people who had been following Jesus up until
this moment suddenly turned away and left Him over those words, they simply
would not accept what He had said.
Today there are many Christians today who will not accept Christ’s
words, but rather than abruptly leave Him, they simply reinterpret, that is
to say, give their own meaning to what would otherwise be a clear meaning they
do not like,
what He said to derive a meaning much more in accord with what
they want, then term it rational thought.
The early church understood the plain meaning of the miracle of the
feeding of the 5000 pointed directly to the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion.
Just as the loaves of bread were multiplied at the hands of His
disciples to feed everyone present with basketsful left over, so even today
loaves of bread are
multiplied at the hands of His ministers in churches
across the world to feed millions ….with the Body and Blood of Christ.
In the world today, many Christians have set a very poor example of
respect for this holy sacrament. A large percentage do not prepare properly, if
at all, to take communion. Many do
not even think about the prayers we pray before Holy Communion.
Is it any wonder then that so many of churches lack spiritual vitality, and that so many of our young people leave
the faith at their first opportunity, and that Orthodox Christianity seems to have so little an impact on
American culture and religion?
We must do our part to overcome Satan by approaching this sacrament
with the fear of God, and with faith
charity, and with love for our neighbors. Only then will we be able to
receive all the benefits that Christ promised us.
Rev Bryan Dabney
of Saint John’s Sunday Sermon
We are fortunate to
have Bryan’s Sunday Sermon. If you
want people to come to The Truth, you have to speak the truth, expouse the
truth and live the truth. This is really a good piece and I
commend it to your careful reading.
Seventh Sunday after Trinity
Today we celebrate the sixth anniversary of
St. John’s Church as an organized Anglican Orthodox body. Along the way, we have
experienced many joys, as well as our share of heartaches. Nevertheless, the
guiding hand of our good and gracious God has sustained us through the
intercessory work of his most blessed Spirit. There is an old Baptist hymn
entitled Count Your Blessings which is apropos as it calls on Christians to
look at the things they have and to give God the credit for them. Too often we
will focus on those things we do not have. That is human nature. But God has
called us out of the bondage of our natural state into a new and more
fulfilling life through his only begotten Son. And so today we celebrate this
anniversary of our church’s founding, giving God the glory for all the good
that is found therein.
The scriptures are replete with examples of
God’s provision for his own. Consider our gospel lesson for today (St. Mark
8:1-9) wherein our Lord exercised his creative powers to feed his hearers both
physically and spiritually. They had come into a desolate region to hear him
teach and our Lord had compassion on them for their apparent lack of
sustenance. God does not lead his people into the wilderness to die. In Psalm
37 we find the following: The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and
he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down:
for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. I have been young, and now am old;
yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread
Consider also Genesis 1:1 as it speaks of
God’s sovereign power in calling forth ex nihilo the whole of the Creation. I
once heard a fellow Christian refer to it as “In-Your-Face Theology” because it
gives the reader no recourse but to either accept or reject God based upon that
solemn pronouncement. It also sets the tone for the rest of Scripture as it
reveals the unimaginable and sovereign ability of the Godhead to act within our
frame of reference. God has created for a purpose, and he will sustain his
creation to complete that purpose. As long as we remain within God’s purposeful
will, we will be preserved and empowered in our service.
Returning to our gospel lesson, we read where
our Lord exercised that same capacity when he took five barley loaves and two
fish and fed a multitude with food to spare. Examine the text of the 23rd
Psalm: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in
green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he
leadeth me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk
through the valley and the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art
with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before
me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup
runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my
life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
God’s supply is more than sufficient. It is
more than adequate. It is more than mere subsistence. To use the psalmist’s
words: it runneth over. All creation is his, from the cattle on a thousand
hills to the myriads of edible sea creatures, to all the elements, both mineral
and metal which are found within the earth itself. And so it follows that
regardless of whether it is bread and fish, or the gift of grace, we should
understand that everything we have came from God. Therefore, we ought to give
him thanks and praise, not only for what we are and what we have; but for what
we will yet receive through the atoning work of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. God
the Father sent his only begotten Son to bring us more than the mere bread of
physical sustenance. He came to make us whole spiritually that we might be
redeemed: cleansed from all unrighteousness and made fit members of his body
and joint heirs with him in God’s heavenly kingdom.
The church was established to provide for the
spiritual, and at times, the material, well-being of its members. And the
Godhead continues to sustain all who are true believers by means of the Holy
Ghost, the Comforter. Think for a moment about the witness of St. Paul. He had
been sent on an evangelical mission to physically establish and spiritually
feed the various flocks of our Lord within the Roman Empire under the guidance
of the Holy Ghost. Generally, though not always, he came, he set in order, he
followed up as an overseer of the faith and he appointed just men to serve in
like capacity prior to his departure for another locale. And those churches
which he established were not left spiritually impoverished when the apostle
moved on because they were nourished and enriched by the teaching and
instruction of those whom the Lord had called into his service.
God sustains. God strengthens. God increases.
It is all due to his efforts, his will, his choosing. We are but his servants
whom he has called out of darkness into the glorious light of his gospel. We
are to work within this church to materially assist any member of the body of
Christ whom God has brought to our attention for such ministration. It is the
church’s duty to look after its own— not the state, and certainly not the
unregenerate of this world. Consider the words of the apostle James from his
epistle who wrote, What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath
faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or a sister be naked,
and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be
ye warmed, and filled: notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are
needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works,
is dead, being alone (2:14-17).
And let no able-bodied man think that he can
lay back and become a burden on others for it is written ... this we commanded
you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat (II Thessalonians 3:10).
There is no room in Christ’s church for the slothful and the lazy, neither is
there room for the willfully unrepentant. If that seems harsh, those were not
my words but those of the Holy Ghost who inspired the apostle Paul to command
of his listeners that, ... if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note
that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed (II
In closing, we learned from the Scriptures
that the Godhead is our Creator, our Sustainer as well as our Redeemer. He will
not lead us into a permanent state of privation and want, but into provision
and abundance. And though at times we might experience hardship and
tribulation; nevertheless we trust that our gracious and loving God will see us
through the days of darkness, and will lead us to green pastures and still
waters. He will turn our hunger into satisfaction and our lack into more than
what we could ask or imagine, and all because he loves us.
But we cannot know the fullness of his grace,
or the height and depth of his love without being obedient to his word. That is
why churches like this one are so important to the born-again Christian because
we teach what the Bible commands, and we encourage our members to properly
recognize who God is, and what our relationship should be with him. If you have
not been made right with God for whatever reason, ask him to turn your heart
and mind unto him today in the name of his only begotten Son. Confess your sins
and trespasses to him, for he is ready to forgive and to forget them. If you
will do so, you will experience that peace which only he can give; that love
which is beyond all else; and that joy which comes with the blessed assurance
of your salvation unto eternal life. Make that your prayer today, and may God
bless this church and the whole Anglican Orthodox Communion and keep it
faithful unto the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
and everlasting God, who has blessed us with
this church which bears the name of thy servant, St. John the Revelator; we
mostly humbly thank thee for its preservation and continuation as a body of
faithful Christians: where thy pure word is taught, preached and lived; that
through our obedience to thy word written, we might be received as citizens of
thine everlasting kingdom; and this we ask in the name of our Lord and Saviour,
Jesus Christ. Amen
Have a blessed week, Bryan+
First, let us review the applicable article:
is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian men
are discerned from others that be not christened, but it is also a sign of
Regeneration or New-Birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive
Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church; the promises of the for- giveness
of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are
visibly signed and sealed; Faith is confirmed, and Grace increased by vir- tue
of prayer unto God.
Baptism of young Children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most
agreeable with the institution of Christ.
Association Tract 193
It is a holy ordinance or sacrament
appointed by Christ, for the continual admission of new members into His
Church. Every Christian begins his Church membership by being solemnly baptized
with water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Baptism,
also, is a sign of regeneration or new birth, and has a most wholesome effect,
as the Twenty-fifth Article says, in those who receive it worthily. Moreover,
St. Paul says, "As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put
on Christ." (Gal. iii. 27.)
2. Do all baptized persons receive inward spiritual benefit from the
outward ordinance of baptism with water?
Most certainly not, to all
appearance. Myriads are outwardly
baptized every year, who, from the font to the coffin, and from their births to
their deaths, never give the slightest evidence that they have grace in their
hearts, or have received any inward spiritual benefit at their baptism. They
live and die apparently without knowledge, faith, repentance, obedience to God,
or meetness for heaven. In fact, notwithstanding their baptism, they exhibit no
more Christianity in their lives and haracters than many heathens.
Judas Iscariot, Simon Magus,
Ananias and Sapphira, and others mentioned in Scripture, were baptized but
certainly not regenerate.
It is that complete change of
heart and character which the Holy Spirit works in a person when he becomes a
real Christian. The Church Catechism calls it "a death unto sin, and a new
birth unto righteousness." It is the same thing as being "born
again," or "born of God," or "born of the Spirit."
"Except a man be born
again" means "except a man be regenerate." "If any man be
in Christ, he is a new creature;" that is, he is "born again, or
regenerate." (John iii. 3; 2 Cor. v. 17.)
4. What are the marks and evidences of regeneration?
They are laid down for us so
clearly and plainly in the First Epistle of St. John, that he who runs may read
them. It is written there, "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit
sin," "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of
God," —"Every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him,"
—"Every one that loveth is born of God," —"Whatsoever is born of
God overcometh the world," —"He that is begotten of God keepeth himself."
(1 John iii. 9; 1 John v. 1; 1 John ii. 29; 1 John iv. 7; 1 John v. 4; 1 John
v. 18.) If plain English words have any meaning, these texts mean that he who
has these marks is "born again" or "regenerate," and he who
has them not is not regenerate.
5. Have all regenerate persons these marks of regeneration in the same
degree of depth, strength, clearness, and distinctness?
Most certainly not. There is
a wide difference between the highest and lowest measure of grace possessed by
those who are "born again." There are real and true Christians who
are only "babes" in spiritual attainments, and there are others who
are "strong," and vigorous, and able to do great things for Christ.
(1 John ii. 12-14.) The Scripture speaks of little faith and great faith, of
little strength and great strength. One thing only is certain, —every
regenerate person has more or less the marks of regeneration, and he who has
none of them is not born again. (Matt. xiv. 31, xv. 28; Rev. iii. 8; Rom. xv.
6. But are not all baptized persons regenerate, and does not regeneration
always accompany baptism?
Certainly not. Myriads of
baptized persons have not a single scriptural mark of regeneration about them,
and never had in their lives. They know nothing whatever of "a death unto
sin and a new birth unto righteousness." On the contrary, they too often
live in sin, and are enemies of all righteousness. To say that such persons are
"regenerate" on account of their baptism, is to say that which seems
flatly contrary to the First Epistle of St. John. The Church Catechism says
that baptism contains two parts, —the outward and visible sign, and the inward
and spiritual grace. But the Catechism nowhere says that the sign and the grace
always go together.
7. But does not the Baptismal Service of the Church Prayer Book say of
every baptized child, "this child is regenerate," and does it not
tell us to thank God that it hath "pleased Him to regenerate the
infant?" What can this mean? How can it be explained?
The Baptismal Service uses
these expressions in the charitable supposition that those who use the service,
and bring their children to be baptized, are really what they profess to be. As
Bishop Carleton says, "All this is the charity of the Church; and what
more can you make of it?"—As Bishop Downame says, "We are to distinguish
between the judgment of charity and the judgment of certainty."
8. But is this explanation of the language of the Baptismal Service
honest, natural, and just? Is it the real meaning which ought to be put on the
It is the only meaning which
is consistent with the whole spirit of the Prayer Book. From first to last the
Prayer Book charitably assumes that all who use it are real, thorough
Christians. This is the only sense in which the Burial Service can be
interpreted, or the Service for Adult Baptism, or for the Churching of Women.
This is the only sense in which we can teach children the Church Catechism. We
bid them say, "The Holy Ghost sanctifieth me and all the elect people of
God." Yet no man in his senses would say that all children who say the
Catechism are really "sanctified" or really "elect,"
because they use these words. On the contrary, large numbers of children never
show the slightest evidence of sanctification or election.
9. But ought we not to believe that all who use Christ's ordinances
receive a blessing as a matter of course?
Certainly not. The benefit of
Christ's ordinances depends entirely on the spirit and manner in which they are
used. The Scripture expressly says that a man may receive the Lord's Supper,
"unworthily," and eat and drink "to his own condemnation."
The Articles of the Church of England declare that in such only as receive
sacraments "rightly, worthily, and with faith," they have a wholesome
effect and operation. The famous Hooker teaches that "all receive not the
grace of God which receive the sacraments of His grace." To maintain that
every child who is baptized with water is at once regenerated and born again,
appears to turn the sacrament of baptism into a mere form, and to contradict
both Scripture and Articles.
10. But do not all infants receive baptism worthily, since they offer
no obstacle to the grace of baptism? and are they not consequently all
regenerated, as a matter of course, the moment they are baptized?
Certainly not. No infant is
of itself worthy to receive grace, because, as the Catechism says, it is "born
in sin and a child of wrath." It can only be received into the Church and
baptized on the faith and profession of its parents or sponsors. No true
missionary thinks of baptizing heathen children without friends or sponsors.
The Church Catechism asks the question, "Why are Infants baptized?" But
it does not give as an answer, "Because they offer no obstacle to
grace," —but "because they promise repentance and faith by their
sureties." Let us always remember that an infant has no title to baptism
but the profession of its sureties. Surely when these sureties know nothing of repentance
or faith, or of what they are promising, common sense points out that the
infant is not likely to get much inward benefit from the sacrament. In plain
words, if parents or sponsors bring an infant to baptism in utter ignorance,
without faith or prayer or knowledge, it is monstrous to suppose that this
infant must, nevertheless, receive regeneration. At this rate it would matter nothing
in what way sacraments are used, whether with ignorance or with knowledge, and
it would signify nothing whether those who use them were godly or ungodly. The
children of believing and of unbelieving parents would receive precisely the
same benefit from baptism. Such a conclusion seems unreasonable and absurd.
11. But does not St. Paul say in his Epistles that Christians are
"buried with Christ in baptism;" and that baptized persons have
"put on Christ"? (Gal. iii. 27; Col. ii. 12.)
No doubt St. Paul says so.
But the persons of whom he said this, in all human probability, were not baptized
in infancy, but when they were grown up, and in days too when faith and baptism
were so closely connected that the moment a man believed he confessed his faith
publicly by baptism. But there is not a single passage in the New Testament
which describes at length the effect of baptism on an infant, nor a single text
which says that all infants are born again, or regenerated, or buried with
Christ in baptism. As Canon Mozley says, "Scripture nowhere asserts,
either explicitly or implicitly, the regeneration of infants in baptism."
(Mozley's Baptismal Controversy, p. 34.) Beside this, we are expressly told
that Simon the sorcerer, after his baptism, had "no part" in Christ,
and his "heart was not right in the sight of God." Simon, therefore,
could not have been regenerated, or born again in baptism. (Acts viii. 21.)
12. But does not St. Peter say, "Baptism doth also save us?"
and if it saves us, must it not also regenerate us? (1 Pet. iii. 21.)
No doubt St. Peter says so.
But those who quote this text should not stop at the words "save us,"
but read carefully on to the end of the sentence. They will then see that St.
Peter distinctly fences and guards his statement by saying that the baptism
which "saves" is not the mere outward application of water to the
body, but the baptism which is accompanied by the "answer of a good conscience
toward God." Moreover, it is a curious fact that St. Peter, who uses the expression
"baptism saves," is the very same apostle who told Simon after
baptism that he was "in the bond of iniquity," and his "heart
was not right in the sight of God." (Acts viii. 21.)
13. But does not our Lord Jesus say to Nicodemus, "Except a man be
born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God"?
(John iii. 5.) Does not that prove that all who are baptized with water are
Certainly not. It proves
nothing of the kind. The utmost that can be made of this famous and often quoted
text is, that it shows the necessity of being "born of water and the
Spirit" if we would be saved. But it does not say that all who are
baptized, or "born of water," are at the same time "born of the
Spirit." It may prove that there is a connection sometimes between baptism
and regeneration, but it does not supply the slightest proof that an invariable
connection always exists.
14. But may it not be true that all baptized persons receive the grace
of regeneration in baptism, and that it remains within them like a dormant
seed, alive, though at present bearing no fruit?
Certainly not. The Apostle
St. John expressly forbids us to suppose that there can be such a thing as
dormant, or sleeping grace. He says, "Whosoever is born of God does not
commit sin, for His seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin because he is born
of God." (1 John iii. 9.) This witness is true. When there can be light
which cannot be seen, and fire without heat, then, and not till then, there may
be grace that is dormant and inactive. The well-known words, "Stir up the
gift of God that is in thee" (2 Tim. i. 6), are far too often addressed to
the baptized, as if they referred to some gift received in baptism.
Yet common sense will tell
any one who refers to his Bible that these words were not used at all about
baptism, but about ordination. (1 Tim. iv. 14.)
15. But does not this view of regeneration, according to which many
baptized persons are not regenerate at all, and receive no benefit whatever
from their baptism, do great dishonour to one of Christ's sacraments, and tend
to bring it into contempt?
Not at all. The truth is
exactly the other way. To say that infant baptism confers grace mechanically,
as a chemical solution produces an effect on a photographic plate, and that if
water and certain words are used by a thoughtless, careless clergyman over the
child of thoughtless, ignorant parents, the child is at once born again, —to
say, furthermore, that an immense spiritual effect is produced by baptism when
no effect whatever can be seen, all this, to many thinking persons, seems
calculated to degrade baptism. It tends to make observers suppose that baptism is
useless, or that regeneration means nothing at all.
He that would do honour to
baptism should maintain that it is a high and holy ordinance, which, like every
ordinance appointed by Christ, ought not to be used without solemn reverence;
and that no blessing can be expected unless it is used with heart, and
knowledge, and faith, and prayer, and followed by godly training of the child
baptized. Above all, he should maintain that when baptism does good, the good
will be seen in the life and ways of the baptized. Those who do not feel satisfied
about this matter will do well to study attentively the strong language which God
uses about His own ordinances, when used formally and carelessly, in the
prophet Isaiah. (Isa. i. 11, 12.) What did the prophet mean when he wrote these
words: "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith
the Lord. I delight not in the blood of bullocks or of lambs." He evidently
meant that God's own ordinances may be made perfectly useless by man's misuse
16. But may we not believe that regeneration means nothing more than a
change of state, and does not mean a moral and spiritual change at all? May we
not believe that it is a mere ecclesiastical word, signifying nothing more than
admission to a state of Church privilege? And may we not then say that every
person baptized is regenerated in baptism.
Of course we may say and
believe anything we please in a free country like England, and this idea of an
ecclesiastical regeneration cuts the knot of some difficulties, and has always
satisfied some minds. But it is an insuperable difficulty that the word
"regeneration" is never once used in this sense in the New Testament.
Moreover, the parallel expression "born of God," in St. John's First Epistle,
most certainly means a great deal more than being admitted into a state of
ecclesiastical privilege! To say, for instance, "Whosoever is baptized
doth not commit sin, —and overcometh the world," would be ridiculous,
because untrue. Moreover, the Church Catechism distinctly teaches that the
inward and spiritual grace in baptism is not a mere ecclesiastical change, but
"a, death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness." Moreover,
the Homily for Whitsunday expressly describes regeneration as an inward and
spiritual change. One thing is very certain, no plain reader of the Bible ever
seems to understand how a person can be "regenerate" and yet not
The poor and simple-minded
cannot take in the idea of ecclesiastical regeneration.
me about Holy Communion and the AOC – From Bishop Jerry Ogles
Dear Friends: there has been a continuing interest in the nature of
the Lord's Supper - its nature, how it represents a Communion of the Body of
Christ with the Lord, how it must be individually prepared for, and precisely
what blessings ensue therefrom. Bishop JC Ryle was a courageous defender of the
faith and has many published works on the Holy Communion - one of which I
include below. I include the below in view of some serious questions regarding
this matter that have increasingly arising of late.
First, let us review the applicable articles:
XVIII. Of the Lord’s Supper.
of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among
themselves one to another; but rather it is a Sacrament of our Redemption by
Christ’s death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith,
receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of
Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.
(or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord,
cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of
Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to
of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and
spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten
in the Supper, is Faith.
Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried
about, lifted up, or worshipped.
XXIX. Of the Wicked, which
eat not the Body of Christ in the use of the Lord’s Supper.
Wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do carnally and
visibly press with their teeth (as Saint Augustine saith) the Sacrament of the
Body and Blood of Christ; yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ: but
rather, to their condemnation, do eat and drink the sign or Sacrament of so
great a thing.
Any postulation that exceeds the clear definition of Scripture and the
Thirty-Nine Articles is to be discounted. This will represent the position of
the AOC on the Lord's Supper.
Here is the paper by Bishop Ryle:
man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the
cup.” 1 Corinthians 11:28.
words which form the tittle of this paper refer to the subject of vast
importance. That subject is the Lord’s Supper.
no part of the Christian religion is so thoroughly misunderstood as the Lord’s
Supper. On no point have there been so many disputes, strifes, and
controversies for almost 1800 years. On no point have mistakes done so much
harm. The very ordinance which was meant for our peace and profit has become
the cause of discord and the occasion of sin. These things ought not to be!
make no excuse for including the Lord’s Supper among the leading points of
“practical” Christianity. I firmly believe that ignorant views or false
doctrine about this ordinance lie at the root of some of the present divisions
of professing Christians. Some neglect it altogether; some completely
misunderstand it; some exalt it to a position it was never meant to occupy, and
turn it into an idol. If I can throw a little light on it, and clear up the
doubts in some minds, I will feel very thankful. It is hopeless, I fear, to
expect that the controversy about the Lord’s Supper will ever be finally closed
until the Lord comes. But it is not too much to hope that the fog and mystery
and obscurity with which it is surrounded in some minds, may be cleared away by
plain Bible truth.
examining the Lord’s Supper I will be content with asking four practical
questions, and offering answers to them.
Why was the Lord’s Supper ordained?
Who ought to go to the Table and be communicants?
What may communicants expect from the Lord’s Supper?
Why do many so-called Christians never go to the Lord’s Table?
think it will be impossible to handle these four questions fairly, honestly,
and impartially, without seeing the subject of this paper more clearly, and
getting some distinct and practical ideas about some leading errors of our day.
I say “practical” emphatically. My chief aim in this volume is to promote
I. In the first place, “why was the Lord’s Supper ordained?”
It was ordained for the continual remembrance of the sacrifice of the death of
Christ, and of the benefits which we thereby receive. The bread
the Lord’s Supper is broken, given, and eaten, is meant to remind us of
Christ’s body given on the cross for our sins. The wine
which is poured
out and received, is meant to remind us of Christ’s blood shed on the cross for
our sins. He who eats that bread and drinks that wine is reminded, in the most
striking and forcible manner—of the benefits Christ has obtained for his soul,
and of the death of Christ as the hinge and turning point on which all those
is the view here stated the doctrine of the New Testament? If it is not,
forever let it be rejected, cast aside, and refused by men. If it is, let us
never be ashamed to hold it close, profess our belief in it, pin our faith on
it, and steadfastly refuse to hold any other view, no matter who teaches it.
subjects like this we must call no man master. It matters little what great
theologians and learned preachers have thought fit to put forth about the
Lord’s Supper. If they teach more than the Word of God contains—they are not to
be believed. I take up my Bible and turn to the New Testament. There I find no
less than four separate accounts of the first appointment of the Lord’s Supper.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul, all four describe it: all four agree in telling
us what our Lord did on this memorable occasion. Only two tell us the reason
why our Lord commanded that His disciples were to eat the bread and drink the
cup. Paul and Luke both record the remarkable words, “Do this in remembrance
Paul adds his own inspired comment: “For whenever you eat this
bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:25-26). When Scripture speaks so clearly, why can’t men
be content with it? Why should we mystify and confuse a subject which in the
New Testament is so simple?
“continual remembrance of Christ’s death” was the one grand object for which
the Lord’s Supper was ordained. He who goes further than this is adding to
God’s Word, and does so to the great peril of his soul.
is it reasonable to suppose that our Lord would appoint an ordinance for so
simple a purpose as “remembering His death?” It most certainly is! Of all the
facts in His earthly ministry none are equal in importance to that of His
death. It was the great settlement for man’s sin, which had been appointed in
God’s promise from the foundation of the world. It was the great redemption of
almighty power, to which every sacrifice of animals, from the fall of man,
continually pointed. It was the grand end and purpose for which the Messiah
came into the world. It was the cornerstone and foundation of all man’s hopes
of pardon and peace with God. In short, Christ would have lived, and taught,
and preached, and prophesied, and performed miracles in vain, if He had not crowned
it all by dying for our sins as our Substitute on the Cross!
His death was
our life. His death was the payment of our sin-debt to God. Without His death
we would have been the most miserable of all creatures!
wonder that an ordinance was specially appointed to remind us of our Savior’s
death. It is the one thing which poor, weak, sinful man needs to be continually
reminded. Does the New Testament authorize men to say that the Lord’s Supper
was ordained to be a sacrifice
, and that in it Christ’s literal
and blood are present under the forms of bread and wine? Most certainly not!
When the Lord Jesus said to the disciples, “This is my Body,” and “this is my
Blood,” He clearly meant, “This bread
in my hand is an symbol of my
Body, and this cup of wine
in my hand contains a symbol of my Blood.”
The disciples were accustomed to hear Him use such language. They remembered
His saying, “The field
is the world, and the good seed
the sons of the kingdom. The weeds
are the sons of the evil one”
(Matthew 13:38). It never entered into their minds that He meant to say He was
holding His own body and His own blood in His hands, and literally giving them
His literal body and blood to eat and drink! Not one of the writers of the New
Testament ever speaks of the Lord’s Supper as a sacrifice
, or calls the
Lord’s Table an altar
, or even hints that a Christian minister is a sacrificing
. The universal doctrine of the New Testament is that after the one
offering of Christ on the cross, there remains no more need of sacrifice.
anyone believes that Paul’s words to the Hebrews, “We have an altar”
13:10), are a proof that the Lord’s table is an altar, I remind him “Christians
have an altar where they partake. That altar is Christ our Lord—who is Altar,
Priest, and Sacrifice, all in One.” Throughout the Communion Service the one
idea of the ordinance continually pressed on our attention is that of a
“remembrance” of Christ’s death. As to any presence of Christ’s natural body
and blood under the forms of bread and wine, the clear answer is that “the
natural body and blood of Christ are in heaven, and not here.” Those Roman
Catholics who delight in talking of the “altar,” the “sacrifice,” the “priest,”
and the “real presence” in the Lord’s Supper—would do well to remember that
they are using language which is entirely non-Biblical.
point before us is one of vast importance. Let us lay hold upon it firmly, and
never let it go. It is the very point on which our Reformers had their sharpest
controversy with the Roman Catholics, and went to the stake, rather than give
way. Sooner than admit that the Lord’s Supper was a sacrifice, they cheerfully
laid down their lives. To bring back the doctrine of the “real presence,” and
to turn the communion into the Roman Catholic “mass,” is to pour contempt on
our Martyrs, and to upset the first principles of the Protestant Reformation.
No, rather, it is to ignore the plain teaching of God’s Word, and do dishonor
to the priestly office of our Lord Jesus Christ! The Bible teaches expressly
that the Lord’s Supper was ordained to be “a remembrance of Christ’s body and
blood,” and not a sacrificial offering. The Bible teaches that Christ’s
substituted death on the cross was the perfect
sacrifice for sin, which
never needs to be repeated
. Let us stand firm in these two great
principles of the Christian faith. A clear understanding of the intention of
the Lord’s Supper is one of the soul’s best safeguards against the delusions of
II. In the second place, let me try to show “WHO ought to
receive the Lord’s Supper?”
What kind of people were meant to go to
the Table and receive the Lord’s Supper?
will first show, who ought NOT to be partakers
of this ordinance
. The ignorance which prevails on this, as well as
on every part of the subject, is vast, lamentable, and appalling. If I can
contribute anything that may throw light upon it, I will feel very thankful.
The principal giants whom John Bunyan describes, in “Pilgrim’s Progress,” as
dangerous to Christian pilgrims, were two, Pope
. If the
good old Puritan had foreseen the times we live in, he would have said
something about the giant Ignorance
It is not
right to urge all professing Christians
to go to the
Lord’s Table. There is such a thing as fitness and preparedness for the
ordinance. It does not work like a medicine, independently of the state of mind
of those who receive it. The teaching of those who urge all their congregation
to come to the Lord’s Table, as if the coming must necessarily do everyone
good—is entirely without warrant of Scripture. No, rather, it is a teaching
which is calculated to do immense harm to men’s souls, and to turn the
reception of the Lord’s Supper into a mere religious form
never be the mother of acceptable worship, and an ignorant communicant who
comes to the Lord’s Table without knowing why
he comes—is altogether in
the wrong place!
man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the
cup.” “Recognizing the body of the Lord,”—that is to understand what the
elements of bread and wine represent, and why they are appointed, and what is
the particular use of remembering Christ’s death—is an essential qualification
of a true communicant. God commands all
people everywhere to repent
the Gospel (Acts 17:30), but He does not in the same way, or in
the same manner, command everybody to come to the Lord’s Table. No! this thing
is not to be taken lightly, or carelessly! It is a solemn ordinance, and
solemnly it ought to be used!
But this is not all. Sinners living in open sin
, and determined not
to give it up, ought never to come to the Lord’s Table. To do so is a positive
insult to Christ, and to pour contempt on His Gospel. It is nonsense to profess
we desire to remember Christ’s death, while we cling to sin—the accursed thing
which made it needful for Christ to die! The mere fact that a man is continuing
in sin is clear evidence that he does not care for Christ, and feels no
gratitude for the offer of redemption. The ignorant Roman Catholic who goes to
the priest’s confessional and receives absolution, may think he is fit to go to
the Roman Catholic mass—and after mass may return to his sins. He never reads
the Bible—and knows no better! But the professing Christian who habitually
breaks any of God’s commandments, and yet goes to the Lord’s Table, as if it
would do him good and wipe away his sins—is very guilty indeed. So long as he
chooses to continue his wicked habits—he cannot receive the slightest benefit
from the Lord’s Table—and is only adding sin to sin! To carry unrepented sin to
the Lord’s Table, and there receive the bread and wine, knowing in our own
hearts that we and wickedness are yet friends—is one of the worst things man
can do, and one of the most hardening to the conscience. If a man must have his
sins, and can’t give them up, let him by all means stay away from the Lord’s
Supper! There is such a thing as “eating and drinking in an unworthy manner”
and to our own “judgment.” To no one do these words apply so thoroughly, as to
an unrepentant sinner.
who think that they will be saved by their own works, have no
business to come to the Lord’s Table. Strange as it may sound at first, these
people are the least
qualified of all to receive the Lord’s table. They
may be outwardly correct, moral and respectable in their lives, but so long as
they trust in their own goodness for salvation they are entirely in the wrong
place at the Lord’s Supper. For what do we declare at the Lord’s Supper? We
publicly profess that we have no goodness, righteousness, or worthiness of our
own, and that all our hope is in Christ. We publicly profess that we are
guilty, sinful, corrupt—and naturally deserve God’s wrath and condemnation. We
publicly profess that Christ’s merit
and not ours; Christ’s righteousness
and not ours—is the only cause why we look for acceptance with God. Now what
has a self-righteous man to do with an ordinance like this? Clearly nothing at
thing at any rate, is very clear: a self-righteous man has no business to
receive the Lord’s Supper. The Communion Service of the Church bids all
communicants declare that “they do not presume to come to the Table trusting in
their own righteousness, but in God’s numerous and great mercies.” It tells
them to say, “We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under Your
table,” “the memory of our sins is grievous to us; the burden of them is
intolerable.” How many self-righteous professing Christians can ever go to the
Lord’s Table, and take these words into his mouth—is beyond my understanding!
It only shows that many professing Christians use the “forms” of worship
without taking the trouble to consider what they mean.
plain truth is that the Lord’s Supper was not meant for dead souls, but for
living ones. The careless
, the ignorant
, the willfully wicked
, are no more fit to come to the Lord’s Table than a
dead corpse is fit to sit down at a king’s feast! To enjoy a spiritual feast we
must have a spiritual heart, and taste, and appetite. To suppose that the
Lord’s Table can do any good to an unspiritual man—is as foolish as to put
bread and wine into the mouth of a dead person! The careless, the ignorant, and
the willfully wicked, so long as they continue in that state, are utterly unfit
to come to the Lord’s Supper. To urge them to partake is not to do them good,
Lord’s Supper is not a converting
ordinance. If a
man goes to the Table unconverted or unforgiven, he will be no better
he comes away (actually worse
due to the associated judgments for coming
after all, the ground having been cleared of error, the question still remains
to be answered, Who are the sort of people who
ought to receive the Lord’s Supper?
I answer that by saying, people
who have “examined themselves to see whether they have truly repented of their
former sins, steadfastly purposing to lead a new life—have a true faith in
God’s mercy through Christ, with a thankful remembrance of His death—they are
in love with all men.”
word, I find that a worthy communicant is one who possesses three simple marks
and qualifications—repentance, faith, and love. Does a man truly repent
sin and hate it? Does a man put his trust
in Jesus Christ as his only
hope of salvation? Does a man live in love
towards others? He who can
truly answer each of these questions, “I do,” he is a man that is Scripturally
qualified for the Lord’s Supper. Let him come boldly. Let no barrier be put in
his way. He comes up to the Bible standard of communicants. He may draw near
with confidence, and feel assured that the great Master of the banquet is not
a man’s repentance
may be very much imperfect
. Never mind! Is it
real? Is he truly
repentant? His faith
in Christ may be very
weak. Never mind! Is it real? A penny is as much true currency as is a one
hundred dollar bill. His love
may be very defective in quantity and
degree. Never mind! Is it genuine? The grand test of a man’s Christianity is
not the quantity
of holiness he has, but whether he has any true
holiness all. The first twelve communicants, when Christ Himself gave the bread
and wine, were weak indeed—weak in knowledge, weak in faith, weak in courage,
weak in patience, weak in love! But eleven of them had something about them
which outweighed all defects—they were real, genuine, sincere, and true!
let this great principle be rooted in our minds—that the only worthy
communicant is the man who has demonstrated repentance
toward God, faith
toward our Lord Jesus Christ, and practical love
toward others. Are
you that man? Then you may draw near to the table, and take the ordinance to
your comfort. Anything less than this I dare not change in my standard of a
communicant. I will never encourage someone to receive the Lord’s Supper—who is
careless, ignorant, and self-righteous! I will never tell anyone to keep away
until he is perfect, and to wait until his heart is as holy as an angel’s. I will
not do so, because I believe that neither my Master nor His Apostles would have
done so. Show me a man that really feels his sins, really leans on Christ,
really struggles to be holy—and I will welcome him in My Master’s name. He may
feel weak, erring, empty, feeble, doubting, wretched, and poor. But what does
that matter? Paul, I believe, would have received him as a right communicant,
and I will do likewise.
III. In the third place, let us consider “what BENEFIT
communicants may expect to get by receiving the Lord’s Supper.”
is a point of grave importance, and one on which many mistakes abound. On no
point, perhaps, connected with this ordinance are the views of Christians so
vague and indistinct and undefined. One common idea among men is that “receiving
the Lord’s Supper must do them some good.” Why, they can’t explain. What good,
they can’t exactly say. But they have a loose general notion that it is the
right thing to be a communicant, and that somehow or other it is of value to
their souls! This is of course nothing better than ignorance. It is
unreasonable to suppose that such communicants can please Christ, or receive
any real benefit from what they do.
there is any principle clearly laid down in the Bible about any act of
religious worship, it is this that it must be with understanding
worshiper must at least understand something
about what he is doing.
Mere bodily worship, unaccompanied by mind or heart—is utterly worthless. The
man who eats the bread and drinks the wine, as a mere matter of form, because
it is the “right” thing to do, without any clear idea of what it all means,
derives no benefit. He might just as well stay at home!
common idea among men is that, “taking the Lord’s Supper will help them get to
heaven, and take away their sins.” To this false idea you may trace up the
habit in some churches of going to the Lord’s Table once a year, in order, as
an old farmer once said, “to wipe off the year’s sins.” To this idea again, you
may trace the too common practice of sending for a minister in time of
, in order to receive the ordinance before death. Yes, how many
take comfort about their relatives, after they have lived a most ungodly life,
for no better reason than this, that they took the Lord’s Supper when they were
dying! Whether they repented and believed and had new hearts—they neither seem
to know or care. All they know is that “they took the Lord’s Supper before they
heart sinks within me when I hear people resting on such evidence as this. Ideas
like these are sad proofs of the ignorance which fills the minds of men about
the Lord’s Supper. They are ideas for which there is not the slightest warrant
in Scripture. The sooner they are cast aside and given up—the better for the
Church and the world. Let us settle it firmly in our minds—that the Lord’s
Supper was not given to be a means either of justification
or of conversion
It was never meant to give grace—where there is no grace already; or to provide
pardon—when pardon is not already enjoyed. It cannot possibly provide what is
lacking, with the absence of repentance to God, and faith toward the Lord Jesus
Christ. It is an ordinance for the penitent, not for the impenitent; for the
believing, not for the unbelieving; for the converted, not for the unconverted.
unconverted man, who fancies that he can find a “shortcut” to heaven by taking
the Lord’s Supper, without treading the well-worn steps of repentance
faith—will find to his cost one day, that he is totally deceived! The Lord’s
Supper was meant to increase
and help the grace that a man has—but not
the grace that he does not have. It was certainly never
intended to make our peace with God, to justify, or to convert. The simplest
statement of the benefit which a truehearted communicant may expect to receive
from the Lord’s Supper, is the strengthening and refreshing of our
souls—clearer views of Christ and His atonement, clearer views of all the
offices which Christ fills, as our Mediator and Advocate, clearer views of the
complete redemption Christ has obtained for us by His substituted death on the
cross, clearer views of our full and perfect acceptance in Christ before God,
fresh reasons for deep repentance for sin, fresh reasons for lively faith—these
are among the leading returns which a believer may confidently expect to get
from his attendance at the Lord’s Table. He who eats the bread and drinks the
wine in a right spirit—will find himself drawn into closer communion with
Christ, and will feel to know Him more, and understand Him better.
Right reception of the Lord’s Supper has a “humbling
effect on the soul. The sight of the bread and wine as emblems of Christ’s body
and blood, reminds us how sinful sin must be, if nothing less than the death of
God’s own Son could make satisfaction for it, or redeem us from its guilt.
Never should we be so “clothed with humility,” as when we receive the Lord’s
Right reception of the Lord’s Supper has a “cheering
effect on the soul. The sight of the bread broken, and the wine poured out,
reminds us how full, perfect, and complete is our salvation! Those vivid
emblems remind us what an enormous price has been paid for our redemption. They
press on us the mighty truth—that believing on Christ, we have nothing to fear,
because a sufficient payment has been made for our debt. The “precious blood of
Christ” answers every charge that can be brought against us. God can be “just
and the one who justifies, those who have faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).
Right reception of the Lord’s Supper has a “sanctifying
effect on the soul. The bread and wine remind us how great is our debt of
gratitude to our Lord, and how thoroughly we are bound to live for Him who died
for our sins. They seem to say to us, “Remember what Christ has done for
you—and ask yourself whether there is anything too great to do for Him!”
Right reception of the Lord’s Supper into hearts, has a “restraining
” effect on the soul. Every time a
believer receives the bread and the wine, he is reminded what a serious thing
it is to be a Christian, and what an obligation is laid on him to lead a
consistent life. Bought with such a price as that which the bread and wine call
to his recollection, ought he not to glorify Christ in body and spirit, which
are His? The man that goes regularly and intelligently to the Lord’s Table
finds it increasingly hard to yield to sin and conform to the world.
is a brief account of the benefits which a right-hearted communicant may expect
to receive from the Lord’s Supper. In eating that bread and drinking that cup,
such a man will have his repentance
deepened, his faith
enlarged, his habit of holy living
will realize more of the “real presence” of Christ in his heart. Eating, that
bread by faith, he will feel closer communion with the body of Christ. Drinking
that wine by faith, he will feel closer communion with the blood of Christ. He
will see more clearly what Christ is to him, and what he is to Christ.
will understand more thoroughly what it is to be “one with Christ, and Christ
one with him.” He will feel the roots of his soul’s spiritual life watered, and
the work of grace in his heart established, built up, and carried forward.
these things may seem and sound like foolishness to a natural man, but to a
true Christian these things are light, and health, and life, and peace. No
wonder that a true Christian finds the Lord’s Supper a source of blessing!
Remember, I do not pretend to say that all Christians experience the full
blessing of the Lord’s Supper, which I have just attempted to describe. Nor do
I say that the same believer will always find his soul in the same spiritual
frame, and always receive the same amount of benefit from the ordinance. But I
boldly say this: you will rarely find a true believer who will not say that he
believes the Lord’s Supper is one of his best helps and highest privileges. He
will tell you that if he were deprived of the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis
he would find the loss of it a great detriment to his soul. There are some
things of which we never know the value of, until they are taken from us. So I
believe it is with the Lord’s Supper. The weakest and humblest of God’s
children gets a blessing from this ordinance, to an extent of which he is not
IV. In the last place, I have to consider “why it is that so
many so-called Christians never come to the Lord’s Supper.”
It is a simple matter of fact, that myriads of people who call
Christians never come to the Table of the Lord. They would not endure to be
told that they deny the faith, and are not in communion with Christ. When they
worship, they attend a place of Christian worship; when they hear religious
teaching, it is the teaching of Christianity; when they are married, they use a
Christian service. Yet all this time they never come to the Lord’s Supper! They
often live on in this state of mind for many years, and to all appearance are
not ashamed. They often die in this condition without ever having received the
ordinance, and yet profess to feel hope at the last, and their friends express
a hope about them. And yet they live and die in open disobedience to a plain
command of Christ! These are simple facts. Let anyone look around him, and deny
them if he can.
why is this? What explanation can we give? Our Lord Jesus Christ’s last
injunctions to His disciples are clear, plain, and unmistakable. He says to
all, “Eat, drink: do this in remembrance of Me.” Did He leave it to our
discretion whether we would obey His injunction or not? Did He mean that it was
not significant whether His disciples did or did not keep up the ordinance He
had just established? Certainly not! The very idea is absurd, and one certainly
never dreamed of in apostolic times. Paul evidently takes it for granted that
every Christian would go to the Lord’s Table when it was available. A class of
Christian worshipers who never came to the Table, was a class whose existence
was unknown to him.
then, are we to say of that number which fail to receive the Lord’s Supper,
unabashed, unhumbled, not afraid, not the least ashamed? Why is it? How is it?
What does it all mean? Let us look these questions fairly in the face, and
endeavor to give an answer to them.
(1) For one thing, many fail to go to the Table because
they are utterly careless and thoughtless about true religion, and ignorant of
very first principles of Christianity.
They go to church, as a
matter of form—but they neither know, nor care anything about what is done at
church! Christianity has no place either in their hearts, or heads, or
consciences, or wills, or understandings. It is a mere affair of “words and
names,” about which they know little—and have little concern. There were very
few such false Christians in Paul’s times, if indeed there were any. There are
far too many in these last days of the world. They are the dead-weights of the
Churches, and the scandal of Christianity. What such people need is light,
knowledge, grace, a renewed conscience, a changed heart. In their present state
they have no part of Christ; and dying in this state they are thrown into hell.
Do I wish them to come to the Lord’s Supper? Certainly not, till they are
converted. No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born again.
(2) For another thing, many professing Christians
do not receive the Lord’s Supper because they know they are living in the
habitual practice of some sin, or in the neglect of some Christian duty.
Their conscience tells them so long as they live in this state, and do not turn
away from their sins, they are unfit to come to the Table of the Lord. Well,
they are so far quite right! I wish no man to be a communicant if he cannot
give up his sins. But I warn these people not to forget that if they are unfit
for the Lord’s Supper in that condition, they will be lost eternally. The same
sins which disqualify them for the ordinance, most certainly disqualify them
for heaven. Do I want them to come to the Lord’s Supper as they are? Certainly
not! But I do want them to repent and be converted, to cease to do evil, and to
break off from their sins. Forever let it be remembered, that the man who is
unfit for the Lord’s Supper—is unfit to die!
(3) For another thing, some are not communicant because
they imagine that it will add to their responsibility.
They are not,
as many, ignorant and careless about religion. They even attend church
regularly and listen to the preaching of the gospel. But they say they dread
coming to the Lord’s Table and making a confession and a profession. They fear
that they might afterwards fall away, and bring scandal on the cause of
Christianity. They think it wisest to be on the safe
side, and not
commit themselves at all. Such people would do well to remember, that if they
avoid responsibility of one kind by not coming to the Lord’s Table, they incur
responsibility of another kind, quite as grave, and quite as injurious to the
soul. They are responsible for open disobedience
to a command from of
Christ. They are shrinking from doing that which their Master continually
commands His disciples—confessing Him before men.
doubt it is a serious step to come to the Lord’s Table and receive the bread
and the wine. It is a step that none should take lightly and without
self-examination. But it is “no less a serious step to walk away and refuse the
ordinance,” when we remember Who invites us to receive it, and for what purpose
it was appointed! I warn the people I am now dealing with—to be careful what
they are doing. Let them not flatter themselves that it can ever be a wise,
a prudent, a safe line of conduct to neglect a plain command of Christ!
may find at length, to their cost, that they have only increased their guilt
and forsaken their mercies!
(4) For another thing, some false Christians stay away
from the Lord’s Supper because they believe they are not yet worthy.
wait and stand still, under the mistaken notion that no one is qualified for
the Lord’s Supper unless he feels within him, something like perfection. They
pitch their idea of a communicant so high that they despair of attaining to it.
Waiting for inward perfection they live, and waiting for it they die. Now such
people would do well to understand that they are completely mistaken in their
estimate of what “worthiness” really is.
are forgetting that the Lord’s Supper was not intended for unsinning angels
but for men and women subject to weakness, living in a world full of
temptations, and needing mercy and grace every day they live! A sense of our
own utter unworthiness is the best worthiness that we can bring to the Lord’s
A deep feeling of our own entire indebtedness to Christ for all we
have and hope for, is the best feeling we can bring with us. The people I now
have in view, ought to consider seriously whether the ground they have taken up
is defensible. If they are waiting until they feel in themselves perfect
hearts, perfect motives, perfect feelings, perfect repentance, perfect love,
perfect faith—they will wait forever. There never were such communicants in any
age—certainly not in the days of our Lord and of the Apostles—there never will
be as long as the world stands. No, rather, the very thought that we feel
literally worthy, is a symptom of secret self-righteousness, and proves us
unfit for the Lord’s Table in God’s sight. Sinners we are, when we first are
saved—sinners we will be—until we die! Converted, changed, renewed,
sanctified—but sinners still (though not like before—sin is not the pattern
a believer’s new life). In short, no man is really worthy to receive the Lord’s
Supper who does not deeply feel that he is a “miserable sinner.”
(5) In the last place, some object going to the Lord’s
Table because they see others partaking who are not worthy, and not in a right
state of mind.
Because others eat and drink unworthily, they refuse
to eat and drink at all. Of all the reasons taken up by those refusing to come
to the Lord’s Supper to justify their own neglect of Christ’s ordinance, I must
plainly say—I know none which seems to me so foolish, so weak, so unreasonable,
and so unscriptural as this. It is as good as saying that we will never receive
the Lord’s Supper at all! When will we ever find a body of communicants on
earth, of which all the members are converted and living perfect lives? It is
setting up ourselves in the most unhealthy attitude of judging others. “Who are
you, that you judge another person?” “What is that to you? You must follow me”
(John 21:22). It is depriving ourselves of a great privilege, because others
profane it and make a bad use of it. It is pretending to be wiser than our Master
Himself. It is taking up ground for which there is no warrant in Scripture.
rebukes the Corinthians sharply, for the irreverent behavior of some of the
communicants; but I cannot find him giving a single hint that when some came to
the Table unworthily, others ought to draw back or stay away. Let me advise the
non-communicants I have now in view, to beware of being wise above that which
was written. Let them study the parable of the Wheat and Tares, and mark how
both were to “grow together until
the harvest” (Matthew 13:30). Perfect
Churches, perfect congregations, perfect bodies of communicants, are all
unattainable in this world of confusion and sin. Let us covet the best gifts,
and do all we can to check sin in others; but let us not starve our own selves,
because others are ignorant sinners, and turn their food into poison. If others
are foolish enough to eat and drink unworthily, let us not turn our backs on
Christ’s ordinance, and refuse to eat and drink at all.
are the five common excuses why myriads in the present day, though professing
themselves Christians, never come to the Lord’s Supper. One common remark
may be made about them—there is not a single reason
among the five,
which deserves to be called “good,” and which does not condemn the man who
gives it. I challenge anyone to deny this. I have said repeatedly that I want
no one to come to the Lord’s Table who is not properly qualified. But I ask
those who stay away never to forget that the very reasons they assign for their
conduct, are their condemnation. I tell them that they stand convicted before
God of either being very ignorant of what a communicant is, and what the Lord’s
Supper is; or else of being people who are not living
unfit to die
short, to say, I am a noncommunicant, is as good as saying one of three things—
living in sin—and cannot come;
know Christ commands me—but I will not obey Him;
an ignorant man—and do not understand what the Lord’s Supper means.
know not in what state of mind this book may find the reader of this paper, or
what his opinions may be about the Lord’s Supper. But I will conclude
whole subject by offering to all some WARNINGS
which I venture to think are highly required by the times.
(1) In the first place, “do not neglect” the Lord’s
The man who coolly and deliberately refuses to use an
ordinance which the Lord Jesus Christ appointed for his profit—may be very sure
that his soul is in a very wrong state. There is a judgment to come; there is
an account to be rendered of all our conduct on earth. How anyone can look
forward to that judgment day, and expect to meet Christ with comfort and in
peace, if he has refused all his life to commune with Christ at His Table, is a
thing that I cannot understand. Does this hit home to you? Be careful what you
(2) In the second place, do not receive the Lord’s Supper
“carelessly, irreverently, and as a matter of form.”
The man who
goes to the Lord’s Table, and eats the bread and drinks the wine, while his
heart is far away—is committing a great sin, and robbing himself of a great
blessing. In receiving the Lord’s Table, as in every other means of grace,
everything depends on the state of mind and heart, in which the ordinance is
used. He who draws near without repentance, faith, and love—and with a heart
full of sin and the world—will certainly be nothing better, but rather worse!
Does this hit home to you? Be careful what you are doing!
(3) In the third place, “do not make an idol” of the
The man who tells you that it is the first, foremost,
chief, and principal precept in Christianity, is telling you that which he will
find it hard to prove. In the great majority of the books of the New Testament
the Lord’s Supper is not even named. In the letter to Timothy and Titus, about
a minister’s duties, the subject is not even mentioned. To repent and be
converted, to believe and be holy, to be born again and have grace in our
hearts—all these things are of far more importance than to be a communicant.
Without them we cannot be saved. Without the Lord’s Supper we can be saved. Are
you tempted to make the Lord’s Supper override and overshadow everything in
Christianity, and place it above prayer and preaching? Be careful. Pay
attention what you are doing!
(4) In the fourth place, “do not use the Lord’s Supper
Never be absent when the Lord’s Supper is
administered. Make every effort to be in attendance. Regular habits are
essential to the maintenance of the health of our bodies. Regular use of the Lord’s
Supper is essential to the well-being of our souls. The man who finds it a
burden to attend on every occasion when the Lord’s Table is spread, may well
doubt whether all is right within him, and whether he is ready for the Marriage
Supper of the Lamb. If Thomas had not been absent when the Lord appeared the
first time to the assembled disciples, he would not have said the foolish
things he did. Absence made him miss a blessing. Does this hit home to you? Be
careful what you are doing!
(5) In the fifth place, “do not do anything to bring
discredit” on your profession as a communicant.
The man who after
attending the Lord’s Table runs into sin—does more harm perhaps than any
unsaved sinner. He is a walking sermon on behalf of the devil!
opportunity to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme. He helps to keep people
away from Christ. Lying, drinking, immoral, dishonest, selfish communicants—are
the helpers of the devil, and the worst enemies of the Gospel. “For the grace
of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No”
to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and
godly lives in this present age!” Titus 2:11-12. Does this hit home to you? Be
careful what you are doing!
(6) In the last place, “do not despair” and be cast down,
if with all your desires you do not feel that you get a lot of good from the
Very likely you are expecting too much. Very likely
you are a poor judge of your own state. Your soul’s roots
strengthening and growing—while you think
that you are not growing. Very
likely you are forgetting that earth is not heaven, and that here we walk by faith
and not by sight
, and must expect nothing perfect. Lay these things
to heart. Do not think harsh things about yourself without cause.
every reader into whose hands this paper may fall, I commend the whole subject
of it as deserving of serious and solemn consideration. I am nothing better
than a poor or fallible man myself. But if I have made up my mind on any point
it is this—that there is no truth which demands such plain speaking, as truth
about the Lord’s Supper!
Post a Comment