Membership Class Week 6 - Fed by God
A big welcome to those joining our class this week!
Click the audio box below for an introduction.
There are three primary ways God strengthens are faith. We call these the Means of Grace. The first is hearing God's Word preached regularly. The second is what you are doing right now as part of this class: you are submitting to the discipline of the Church- being formed into the image of Christ as you learn. Last week, the class learned about our first sacrament: baptism- being marked forever by God. This week, we see how God spiritually feeds us through our lives in the form of communion.
There are five parts of this class, and I would encourage you to a part each day this week.
The Belgic Confession explains why God commands us to participate in communion:
Now those who are born again (regenerated) have two lives in them.
The one is physical and temporal—
they have it from the moment of their first birth,
and it is common to all.
The other is spiritual and heavenly,
and is given them in their second birth—
it comes through the Word of the gospel
in the communion of the body of Christ;
and this life is common to God’s elect only.
Thus, to support the physical and earthly life
God has prescribed for us an appropriate earthly and material: bread,
which is as common to all people as life itself.
But to maintain the spiritual and heavenly life that belongs to believers,
God has sent a living bread
that came down from heaven:
namely Jesus Christ,
who nourishes and maintains
the spiritual life of believers
that is, when appropriated
and received spiritually
How does our physical need to eat compare to the need to feed ourselves spiritually?
Why do you need to participate regularly in Communion?
After answering, take some time to thank God for providing for your needs, both physically and spiritually.
The Belgic Confession goes on to explain both the reason and goal for participating in Communion, as well as the responsibility we have to prepare for it:
With humility and reverence we receive the holy sacrament
in the gathering of God’s people,
as we engage together,
in a holy remembrance of the death of Christ our Savior,
and as we thus confess
and Christian religion.
Therefore none should come to this table
without examining themselves carefully,
lest by eating this bread and drinking this cup
they “eat and drink judgment against themselves.”
by the use of this holy sacrament
we are moved to a fervent love
and our neighbors.
'Examining ourselves' means looking at the way we are living, identifying & repenting of the sin in our lives, and making sure we are completely trusting in Christ alone. Why do you think it's important that we do this?
What's the purpose of this sacrament according to the last paragraph? How does participating help us do those things?
After answering, spend time in prayer confessing your sin to God, asking for His forgiveness, and thanking Him for giving you a new life.
Being commanded to eat and drink the flesh and blood of Jesus seems like a really odd thing to do. The Heidelberg Catechism helps explain why we do it.
Q. Why then does Christ call
the bread his body
and the cup his blood,
or the new covenant in his blood,
and Paul use the words, a sharing in Christ’s
A. Christ has good reason for these words. He wants to teach us that
just as bread and wine nourish the temporal life,
so too his crucified body and poured-out blood
are the true food and drink
of our souls for eternal life.
But more important,
he wants to assure us, by this visible sign and pledge,
that we, through the Holy Spirit’s work,
share in his true body and blood
as surely as our mouths receive these holy signs in his remembrance,
and that all of his suffering and obedience
are as definitely ours
as if we personally had suffered and made satisfaction for our sins.
Why do we eat Christ's body and drink His blood?
How does this sacrament benefit you?
As you pray today, thank God for joining you to Him through Christ. Remember that your advocate, the Holy Spirit, is expressing your words to God in groans that go beyond vocabulary.
Not everyone is invited to the Lord's Table. The Heidelberg Catechism helps explain who should not come:
Q. Should those be admitted to the Lord’s Supper who show by what they profess and how they live
that they are unbelieving and ungodly?
A. No, that would dishonor God’s covenant and bring down God’s wrath upon the entire congregation.
Therefore, according to the instruction of Christ and his apostles, the Christian church is duty-bound to exclude such people, by the official use of the keys of the kingdom, until they reform their lives.
God commands the people He as saved to die away to their old, sinful lives and to come to life as people who flee from sin and seek to look like Jesus. Why does God command the church to keep ungodly people away from the Table?
What is the church's goal in keeping a person from communion (= ex-communicate)?
Thank God for inviting you to His table, and pray for those close to you who have separated themselves from the Church.
The Heidelberg Catechism helps explain who ought to come to the Lord's Table:
Q. Who should come to the Lord’s table?
A. Those who are displeased with themselves
because of their sins,
but who nevertheless trust
that their sins are pardoned
and that their remaining weakness is covered by the
and those who also desire more and more
to strengthen their faith
and to lead a better life.
Hypocrites and those who are unrepentant, however,
eat and drink
judgment on themselves.
Why do you want to participate in communion this Sunday?