Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Are you ready for some...thing more than football?

If you're a football fan at all, you know the theme song of Monday Night Football that Hank William, Jr sings...Are you ready for some football?!! I'm a football it as a matter of fact. But there are lots of things we should be longing for and preparing for ahead of some the sacrament of the Lord's Supper.

We are celebrating the sacrament of Communion this week in church. We have, on our web site, a tab you can click that takes you from the Home page to of the Resources we offer are Communion questions. Unfortunately, very few know that we offer these questions, so I thought I'd offer them on my blog today...

First, take time in advance to prepare by reading 1 Corinthians 10:16-17: What are some things we need to prepare for? “Is my heart prepared as far as faith in the promises related to the sacrament? Am I really understanding that Christ is offered to me—His body, His blood, His life—that my organic union is strengthened through the sacrament? Am I prepared to believe that as I eat and as I drink? Am I acknowledging my need for the life of Christ to flow into me in deeper measure? Am I guilty of not preparing adequately for the sacrament?” Do I come to the Table believing I participate in the Supernatural? After all, if, as we learn in 1 Corinthians 11:29-30, coming in an unbelieving, unrepentant manner to the Table can cause sickness or worse, how much more are we to expect that if we come humbly, confessing our need and believing in God's goodness shall we we expect supernatural help for life and Spirit-empowered transformation?!

Second category of questions: “Am I believing the Gospel promises and living in light of them daily?” In other words, “Am I truly understanding the wonder of my justification? Do I really have an illumined heart that understands what it means to be treated just as if I’d never sinned, and just as if I’d done everything right? The promise of the life of Christ is offered in the sacrament to enliven that grace and to illumine my mind and heart to that doctrine. Am I believing that through union with Christ, I’m dead to sin, but alive to righteousness?” Another way to look at it, “Where am I living in self-reliance? Where am I using the sacrament as an opportunity for self-reformation rather than trusting the life of Christ to transform me?”

Third group of questions: “Am I ready to receive the life of Christ specifically, according to particular needs in my life?” In other words, “Where do I perceive in my life the beginning of hardness of heart? What areas of a sin am I giving in to more and more, and not really that repentant over? That is where I need the life of Christ to be strengthened in me. Where do I perceive that I’m sorely tempted, that I’m particularly tempted, and I need the life and blood of Christ to enliven me against that temptation? Where is my repentance shallow? Where am I sorry because I feel guilty and not sorry because I offended God’s holiness? Where am I not truly hating and despising my sinfulness?”

Fourth category: “What particular sins have I committed this past week that need repenting of? What sins of omission? What have I not done that I was supposed to do? What sins of commission? What have I done that I wasn’t supposed to do? What needs to be repented of that needs the life of Christ to transform me over? What idols are thee in my life that I’m trying to suck life and joy from, rather than getting life from the life of Christ Himself?”

Fifth category: With respect to the communion of the saints, “Am I living in light of my communion with others? See, if I’m organically united with Christ, and you’re organically united with Christ, then we’re united to each other. Am I living in light of that? Am I deeply concerned for the spiritual well being of Christians around me? Am I willing to forgive those Christians who have wronged me in any way? Am I concerned for those yet to be converted, that they would become converted? Looking at the Supper as an installment of the final supper, am I desiring the return of Christ, or am I too at home in this life?

Then lastly, am I willing to rest in the work of Christ, in the work of the Holy Spirit, even if I don’t experience anything? Am I willing to wait on the experience of the power of Christ, even though I may not feel it?”

One of the great tragedies of the contemporary church is that we have a tendency to de-supernaturalize the Christian life. We tend to deny the power of the Risen Christ in our midst when Paul reminds us clearly in 1 Corinthians 5:4, that as we assemble in the Name of the Lord Jesus that the Power of our Lord Jesus is present! Christ is spiritually and supernaturally present with the Church, especially in the Sacrament of Communion...are you ready?!

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