He was a good man but, like many another good man, he had been tripped up. Something had happened in the church that had upset him, and so he stayed away. He was denying “the fellowship of the Holy Spirit”. He was absenting himself from the worship and from the Lord’s Table. The pastor went to see him, and after they had talked over the issues involved, as they were sitting by an open fire, the pastor took the tongs from the hearth and separated the flaming coals and spread around the outer circumference of the open grate. In a few moments the flame died down, and in another few minutes the coals lost their brightness and grew ashen and dull. The pastor looked at his member and said, “Do you understand?” The man had grace and wisdom enough to say, “Yes, pastor, I understand”.
Then he took the tongs again and, taking the coals from the outer edge of the grate, he drew them all together; and you know what happened. They had not been together many moments before they began to glow once more. Then they came up in flames and the dire was strong. Again the pastor looked at his erring member and said, “Do you understand?” Do you? Let nothing divide you in your fellowship with your fellow-believer, because you will both be the losers. Not only will you both be the losers, but so will the integrity of the church: the flame will go down, and the fires of revival will depart.
The Lord’s Supper by E.F. Kevan pages 66-67
The service is not complete merely in bread and wine. The active faith of the believer in taking the elements is of immense significance. He is feeding on the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Thus, while the elements are mere representations, the service is more than representation. It was Mr Spurgeon (if I may hide behind him for orthodoxy here) who urged his people in one of his sermons on the Lord’s Supper to “feast on Him”, and it is this spiritual reality which is expressed in the familiar Anglican formula, “feed on Him in your hearts by faith”. Again, to quote from Mr Spurgeon’s well-known sermon, “We not only eat of his bread, but symbolically, we feast upon Him.”
The Lord’s Supper by E.F.Kevan (Page 22)
Whilst writing to the church in Corinth Paul instructed them not to take communion unworthily. What though did Paul mean by that phrase unworthily? I recently read the following piece which explains this well.
We are told in 1 Corinthians 11:27 that “Whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord”. What does that stumbling word “unworthily” mean? So many true-hearted believers have been disturbed by a misunderstanding of this. It is said if you feel ashamed, and crestfallen and depressed because of your failure and sin that therefore you must not come. Oh no! That is the right way to come. To take the Lord’s Supper unworthily is to take it without regard to its true worth. To do it unworthily is to come complacently, to come light-heartedly, to come without a care about your own sin and your shame. But to be burdened with your sin, even to be weighted down with a sense of your guilt and utter unworthiness – that is the take the Lord’s Supper worthily. Only in this spirit do you truly reckon it at its worth.
Let me illustrate this by a lovely incident in the life of Dr Duncan of Edinburgh. The story is of a communion service at which Dr Duncan was presiding. In the front row there was a woman weeping and obviously distressed over her own spiritual state. As the elder was proceeding along the line handing the cup first to one and then to another, this weeping woman shook her head and bade the elder omit her. At once perceiving the spiritual situation, the minister stepped down, gently took the cup from the elder and, stepping back, held it to the woman and said: “Take it, woman, it’s for sinners.” That is the way to take it. It is for sinners. That is the truly reverent and worthy attitude.
This requires that we shall approach the Lord’s Table with self examination. In 1 Corinthians 11:28, Paul says, “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup”. It is with searching of heart that we must come to the Lord’s Table. Let us not come contemptuously or unmindful of the deep solemnities of it. What a searching kind of remembrance this is!
The Lord’s Supper by E.F. Kevan (Page 27-28)
We must never forget that church is supposed to be a hospital for sinners, where the lost can find Christ the crucified One, and the backslidden can find Christ the compassionate One. We all need The Great Physician, Jesus Christ!
The above quote was taken from Soul Winning Info
It’s Friday night and a man arrives home from work exhausted after a tough week in the workplace. He takes off his shoes and collapses onto the sofa. His wife comes into the lounge to greet him and the following conversation takes place:
Wife: How was work today?
Man: I’ve had another tough day.
Wife: Would you like to have some food?
Man: No it’s ok I had something to eat on Sunday.
Wife: Yes I know but that was five days ago. You must have something to eat. It’s not right just to eat once a week.
Man: But I’ve only ever eaten on Sundays.
Wife: I know! You need to change that habit. You must eat every day. If you don’t you will starve and your health will deteriorate. You will end up dying.
I guess most of us will think the man in this situation was behaving stupidly. I mean who only eats once a week? Imagining only eating on Sundays? None of us would copy this example or recommend it to others.
However I wonder how many of us only feed ourselves spiritually once a week? Sunday is the day we attend church and read the Bible, pray and sing our songs of worship. The rest of the week we don’t bother praying or reading the Bible. All of us need to spend time with God daily, getting to know Him and having our strength renewed. If we don’t do that it’s unlikely we will grow as Christians.
Erik Kowalker has been running a website on the writings of J C Ryle since 2009. The website contains many challenging quotes from Ryle. The following link is to the top 25 most viewed quotes since the site was launched in 2009:
Top 25 Ryle Quotes
I’ve seen the following articles today which are worth reading:
It’s Time To Go – Brandon Cox argues here that the time to start living the life God intended you to live is “now” and not someday in the future.
Children and parents unaware of Bible stories – This article looks at the widespread ignorance that exists among children and parents about the contents of the Bible. The Bishop of London says in it “too few children have the opportunity to hear and reflect on what this life-changing book contains”
I Wonder if Sunday School is Destroying our Kids – This article argues that what is taught in Sunday School is destroying the Gospel message.
Fruitful in Old Age – In this devotional, based on Psalm 92:14, Mark Roberts encourages us to be fruitful no matter how old we are!
Are you someone who is full of hope? In the second month of this year would you be described as a person of hope? Often when we are younger we can be very optimistic about the future. We believe that we will be the generation that changes the world and right all wrongs. However as we get older we can often lose hope. The optimism we once had slowly disappears and we can become cynical about life. Where once we thought radically about the future we now settle down into the status quo and just accept things the way they are.
Last Sunday the sermon we had in our church was about Mary and Joseph presenting Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:22-40). In this passage we are introduced to an elderly female prophet called Anna. Luke 2:36 says “She was very old.” Amazingly this lady “never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying.” Anna had not lost her hope. She was still hungry to know God. What an amazing lady.
Let us learn from Anna’s example and be people that remain full of hope!
Last week the Daily Telegraph published an article entitled Thou shalt not Tweet in an ungodly way, Church of England tells worshippers. The article concluded with nine commandments relating to how Christians should tweet, two of which particularly caught my attention:
No 1 – Don’t rush in
No 3 – You’re an ambassador for the church
The first commandment “Don’t rush in” reminds me of James 1:19:
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, (NIV)
I think if there is one piece of advice which everyone who uses Twitter or any other social media tool should heed it is to think before they post. Don’t just post the first thing that comes into your mind especially if you become involved in a discussion which is beginning to get heated. If you are getting angry then put your phone / tablet / PC down and make yourself a cup of tea or coffee before you post.
The third commandment “You’re an ambassador for the church” is a challenging thought because when we tweet we are not only ambassadors for the church but more importantly ambassadors for Christ. If we have declared in our profile that we are Christians and then tweet inappropriately we dishonour Christ. That’s a sobering thought!
Whilst you can have theological discussions or share your faith on Twitter it is right to do this in a respectful way as 1 Peter 3:15 says:
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (NIV)
There is no need to be rude towards anyone who might disagree with you. I know it’s difficult sometimes to convey thoughts in 140 characters. However if you would not say to someone in real life what you are about to tweet should you really tweet it?
An interesting quote from Martin Luther on the Book of Romans
This epistle is really the chief part of the New Testament, and is truly the purest gospel. It is worthy not only that every Christian should know it word for word, by heart, but also that he should occupy himself with it every day, as the daily bread of the soul. We can never read it or ponder over it too much; for the more we deal with it, the more precious it becomes and the better it tastes.