Beloved in our Lord Jesus Christ:
In this service our Lord Jesus Christ offers us the opportunity of coming to his table to declare his death.
First hear, however, what Christ said when he instituted the Holy Supper in the night in which he was betrayed:
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave to his disciples saying, Take and eat; this is my body. Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom (Matthew 26:26-29).
According to these words the Lord's Supper is an ordinance instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ. Until he comes again it is to be observed for a perpetual remembrance of his sacrifice in his death. The physical elements, representing the broken body and the shed blood of the Saviour, are received by true believers as signs and seals of all the benefits of his sacrifice upon the cross. They signify and seal the forgiveness of sins and nourishment and growth in Christ, and are a bond and pledge of the communion of believers with him and with each other as members of his body. As signs and seals of the covenant of grace they not only declare that God is faithful and true to fulfil the promises of the covenant but they also summon us to all the duties of the children of God, and call us to renewed consecration in gratitude for his salvation.
It is my solemn duty to warn the uninstructed, the profane, the scandalous, and those who secretly and impenitently live in any sin, not to approach the holy table lest they partake unworthily, not discerning the Lord's body, and so eat and drink condemnation to themselves. Nevertheless, this warning is not designed to keep the humble and contrite from the table of the Lord, as if the supper were for those who are free from sin. On the contrary, we who are invited to the supper, coming as guilty and polluted sinners and without hope of eternal life apart from the grace of God in Christ, confess our dependence for pardon and cleansing upon the perfect sacrifice of Christ, base our hope of eternal life upon his perfect obedience and righteousness, and humbly resolve to deny ourselves, crucify our old natures, and follow Christ as becomes those who bear his name.
Let us, therefore, according to Paul’s admonition, examine our minds and hearts to determine whether we do discern the Lord’s body, in order that we may partake to the glory of God and to our growth in the grace of Christ.
Let us now humble ourselves before God and in true faith plead for his grace.
Merciful God and Father, we pray that you will work in our hearts by the Holy Spirit as we celebrate this Supper so that, in true faith, we may give ourselves ever more and more to our Lord Jesus Christ. Grant that our contrite hearts may be fed with him as the only heavenly bread. Strengthen our faith so that we shall not doubt that you are our gracious Father who no longer imputes our sins to us, but who cares for us as his beloved children and heirs. Supply us with all we need for body and soul. Grant us your grace that we may not live in our sins, but live in him, and he in us. Give us your help that we may patiently take up our cross, deny ourselves and confess our Saviour. Teach us in all the troubles of this world longingly to expect him who shall make our mortal bodies like his glorious body and who, in your kingdom, shall celebrate with us the marriage supper of the Lamb. All this we ask, gracious Father, in the name of him who was delivered for our transgressions and raised for our justification and who, according to His promise, always prays for us in your presence. Amen.
Now lift up your hearts to heaven where Jesus Christ is, in glory at the right hand of the Father, and do not doubt that you shall, by the working of the Holy Spirit, be fed and refreshed with his body and blood, just as truly as you receive the bread and wine in remembrance of him.
The bread which we break is a communion of the body of Christ. Take, eat, remember and believe that the body of our Lord Jesus Christ was given for a complete atonement for all our sins.
The cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks is a communion of the blood of Christ. Take, drink from it all of you. Remember and believe that the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ was shed for a complete atonement for all our sins.
Let us now together pray the Lord's Prayer: