This Sunday we will partake of the ordinance of communion. As the word “communion” suggests, it is a time of fellowship. But the fellowship anticipated by the word is not communion with one another, but communion with Christ. It is an intimate reflection on and remembrance of the death and resurrection of Christ.
And as we are to come to the table of communion in a worthy manner (1 Cor. 11:27), we do well to examine our hearts for sin and also reflect on the great benefit of communion. While there is no transfer of salvific grace through communion, yet as John Flavel notes in the following passage, taking communion is of great benefit to the believer. Use this reflection to prayerfully prepare yourself for the table of communion this week:
[T]he believing and affectionate remembrance of Christ [in the Lord’s Supper] is of singular advantage at all times to the people of God. For it is the immediate end of one of the greatest ordinances that ever Christ appointed to the church.
To have frequent recognitions of Christ, will appear to be singularly efficacious [productive] and useful to believers, if you consider,
1. If at any time the heart be dead and hard, this is the likeliest means in the World to dissolve, melt, and quicken it. Look hither, hard heart; hard indeed if this hammer will not break it. Behold the blood of Jesus.
2. Art thou easily overcome by temptations to sin? This is the most powerful restraint in the World from sin: Romans 6:2, ‘How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?’ We are crucified with Christ, what have we to do with sin? Have such a thought as this, when thy heart is yielding to temptation. How can I do this, and crucify the Son of God afresh! Hath He not suffered enough already on earth; shall I yet make Him groan as it were for me in heaven! Look, as David poured the Water brought from the Well of Bethlehem, on the ground, though he was athirst, for he said, it is the blood of the men. That is, they eminently hazarded their lives to fetch it; much more should a Christian pour out upon the ground, yea, despise and trample under foot, the greatest profit or pleasure of sin; saying, Nay, I will have nothing to do with it, I will on no terms touch it, for it is the blood of Christ: it cost blood, infinite, precious blood to expiate it. If there were a knife in your house that had been thrust to the heart of your father, you would not take pleasure to see that knife, much less to use it.
3. Are you afraid your sins are not pardoned, but still stand upon account before the Lord? What more relieving, what more satisfying, than to see the cup of the New Testament in the blood of Christ, which is ‘shed for many for the remission of sins’? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is ‘Christ that died.’
4. Are you staggered at your sufferings, and hard things you must endure for Christ in this world? Doth the flesh shrink back from these things, and cry, spare thyself? What is there in the world more likely to steel and fortify thy spirit with resolution and courage, than such a sight as this? Did Christ face the wrath of men, and the wrath of God too? Did He stand as a pillar of brass, with unbroken patience, and stedfast resolution, under such troubles as never met in the like height upon any mere creature, till death beat the last breath out of His nostrils? And shall I shrink for a trifle? Ah, He did not serve me so! I will arm myself with the like mind (1 Peter 2:21).
5. Is thy faith staggered at the promises? Canst thou not rest upon a promise? Here is what will help thee against hope to believe in hope, giving glory to God. For this is God’s seal added to His covenant, which ratifies and binds fast all that God hath spoken.
6. Dost thou idle away precious time vainly, and live unusefully to Christ in thy generation? What more apt both to convince and cure thee, than such remembrance of Christ as this? O when thou considerest thou art not thine own, thy time, thy talents are not thine own, but Christ’s; when thou shalt see thou art bought with a price (a great price indeed) and so art strictly obliged to glorify God, with thy soul and body, which are His (2 Cor. 5:14), this will powerfully awaken a dull, sluggish, and lazy spirit. In a word, what grace is there that this remembrance of Christ cannot quicken? What sin cannot it mortify? What duty cannot it animate? O it is of singular use in all cases to the people of God. [quoted in Feasting with Christ]