A Plan of Regathering for TMC

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

1 Timothy 1:5

By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you (His disciples) have love for one another.

John 13:35

In humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 2:3b-5a

Finally, [family], rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

2 Corinthians 13:11

We begin this way because we always want to lead with the Bible. And we want the Bible to lead us. And particularly during a season of so much disagreement and polarization, we think it fitting to set before us the supernatural affections that ought to mark us as God’s people in Christ. We may not all agree on regathering at the stated time or the steps taken to do so in a safe and thoughtful way, but we must all agree to love and serve one another, to be others-centered, considerate, charitable, and gracious in Christ. His presence and glory are displayed in us.

So what an opportunity to display it in Spirit-ual unity. We need to be mindful, as the old Puritan said, ‘of how much Satan hath gained, and Christ’s interest hath sensibly lost, by those unhappy divisions and alienations amongst brethren, and fellow-laborers in the work of the Lord.’ Even in our day, one has remarked what a shame it would be for the church to regather only to socially distance again for lack of grace and charity. So the Puritan adds, ‘Love and union bring every believer’s gifts and graces into the common bank, and instead of monopolies, they drive a free and open trade, to the great enriching of the church.’ Against the adversary then, let’s have Christ be famous among us for our self-sacrificial love and unity.

Date for Regathering

As it stands today, we plan to regather for corporate worship in our sanctuary on Sunday, May 31.

We have not reached that decision without several hours of counsel with one another, with you, and with other pastors in our area. To be clear, some sibling churches are waiting another week or two but, as best as I can tell, for more pragmatic rather than substantive reasons. On the flip side, some churches have already begun to meet as early as a week ago, May 10.

One thing that should be noted is that some of those churches waiting another week or two are a) already regathering in parking lots and/or b) are much larger than we are at present. The size and generational dynamics for TMC are different. We are smaller and, relatively speaking, we are younger. Words for our more at-risk members will follow below.

Your pastors are in full accord about this regathering date, but will add the caveat that, should more solid information come out concerning cases in our area between now and Saturday, May 30, we will be sure to make you aware of any delay in regathering for corporate worship. Again, the goal right now is Sunday, May 31.

Details for Regathering

What follows details our commitment to regathering safely:

Sanitization. Amy has already cleaned her way through the church facility, sanitizing major touch points. Give her her due praise! A couple of notes for you: one, the cafe will not be operative this summer. Two, if you bring your own coffee and/or breakfast, you are accountable for sanitizing your area. This will keep Amy and others from unnecessarily having to put themselves in the path of your germs. Three, musicians, before you leave service, do your best to sanitize your touch points. Four, if possible, if we could have a couple of deacons and/or anybody else willing to stay after service and sanitize the building, that would be quite helpful. Five, there will be hand sanitizer placed throughout the building.

Seating. In order to be more spaced out, we will be temporarily removing seats from the sanctuary. We will also require families to sit together throughout the service. Finally, in order to mitigate the spread of a virus that can be asymptomatic and, yet, live on certain things for up to and beyond two weeks, we think it prudent to assign seating during this season. This way, hopefully, if a carrier attended service the week before, someone else won’t sit in their seat the next week and contract the virus. So on May 31, find a seat, mark it somehow, and make it yours until further notice.

Sermon outlines. These will be placed in the rows to mitigate many hands going to one place.

Service length. In an attempt to decrease the likelihood of germ-sharing, we will shorten corporate worship. Temporarily, we will move back to four instead of five songs. We will not have a time of offering in service. We won’t be passing the box. The offering boxes will be left at the front of the sanctuary. You are free to worship in giving by simply dropping your offering in that box before or just after service. I will also continue to make myself available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday-Friday, in order to receive any offerings you’d like to bring at that time. Lastly, we will do our best to shorten the length of sermons. Please pray for me!

Meeting and greeting. There will be no ‘meet and greet’ during service until further notice. As far as hanging out with one another (which we love and commend), this needs to be done outside the church’s facility. In other words, as you arrive on Sunday mornings, fellowship outside as much as you can. After the service, don’t hang around in the sanctuary. Move the fellowship outside. We will be sure to include this in the announcements each week.

Welcome, hospitality, and masks. It is our recommendation that every non-infant person, member and visitor, attending our service for corporate worship wear a mask. It was brought to my attention by other pastors that singing, in particular, could project the viral spores up to 13 feet! So again, to prevent this possibility, we recommend wearing masks.

Those leading in teaching, praying, singing, etc., will not wear masks while serving in these ways. If you serve on our welcome team, you need to wear gloves, as well as a mask. You will also need to offer a mask to any visitor. The church is doing it. We’d appreciate our visitors doing it for the sake of the church. We have placed an order on disposable masks. We hope to have those by May 31. In the event they are slow coming to us, go ahead and plan to have your own. I think they even have some Clemson-branded bandanas now! Until service actually begins, we do also suggest keeping the front doors of the sanctuary open, both to minimize touch points and to allow for outside air within the facility.

Online services. We will continue to visually record the call to worship, pastoral prayer, and sermon. We will not be live-streaming the service. We will put what’s been recorded in a playlist and post that to Slack and Facebook as soon as possible. With this in mind, a word to our more at-risk members (60+ years of age and/or immuno-compromised):

We love you. We completely understand if you are hesitant to regather. We completely understand if you refrain from regathering for a time. No one will think ill of you. No one will judge or shame you. As we await a more suitable time of return, we will commit to praying for you, keeping you ‘in the loop’, and attending to the care of your souls.

You will not be forgotten or neglected. Your elected leaders will see to it! And we are confident the whole body will follow suit! Church, what an opportunity to get creative, to expand our arsenal of Christian hospitality, service, and care; to think beyond the Lord’s Day gathering to how we might extend fellowship and relief to every day to every one of our members; to be the church.

Common sense. Beloved, wash your hands a lot. If you or anyone in your family happen to get sick, stay home. Don’t ‘brave it.’ Love the church by staying home. What’s written just above applies here also.

Families with children. Our plan for the children is a bit more phased. For at least the first few weeks of regathering, corporate worship will be family worship, like those fifth Sundays. Again, families will sit together, parents and children. As far as infants go, we will not be having nursery until further notice. Our suggestion is that dad or mom keep infant in the cafe area. This will keep infants from swapping germs, ideally restricting them to their parents. We will broadcast the service to the television in the cafe area for viewing.

We know that this might be the most difficult service of all, but it will help the service, confine the germs and, Lord willing, only be short-term. You parents are awesome! We love you! Our hope, then, is that after a few weeks, as we head into mid-summer, the older kids can begin to resume normal activities during corporate worship. At first, this will be done outside on or around the basketball court. We will be working with Amy to make sure this can be done safely, securely, profitably, and with parent approval. While children are in service, we will also continue to put together packets to profit their heart’s attention.

Small groups. As we begin to regather for corporate worship, we will begin to regather for our small groups. Again, if you’re uncomfortable with that, we understand. Grace to you. But as the days grow longer and hotter, there will be greater opportunity for resuming these studies outside if deemed most prudent.

Final Thoughts

In the event that one of our members contracts the virus, we will of course suspend all gatherings for at least 3 weeks. Let’s pray that doesn’t happen. Let’s pray that our merciful Father will preserve us, soul and body. Let’s pray He does this for our benefit and His glory. I trust you’ve missed corporate worship, gathering with the body, as much, if not more, than I have! Thinking about regathering, even if strangely still for a time, makes me extremely excited and grateful to God! I praise Him that He’s kept us safe to date! I pray He’ll keep us so in the days ahead. Will you join me in that? I know you will!

Now to Him Who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21

It’s with great love and hope and expectation in the Lord that we write these things to you.

TMC elders

All Together In One Place

Over the past couple months, we have been teaching here on church ordinances, namely baptism and the Lord’s supper. You can always review the blog history to read, but this post will serve as a table of contents for those posts. Happy study!

Looking forward to gathering (in person!) soon, Lord willing. Praying for you to grow in faith and in the knowledge of the love of our great savior, Jesus Christ!


Detailing Our Practice of the Lord’s Supper

Well, we’ve arrived! In this last post of our series, I want to simply detail how we will practice the Lord’s Supper in the context of our corporate worship.

  1. We will practice the Supper just after the sermon. The preacher will close the sermon in prayer, then lead into our family ‘meal.’
  2. He (or perhaps another one of our pastors) will give a biblical description of the Lord’s Supper according to much of what we have tried to detail about it in these posts. Together, we want to feel the gravity and gladness of this ordinance.
  3. He will then ‘fence’ the table. Again, here’s how I will do this: ‘This meal is for (1) believers who have been (2) baptized (upon their profession of faith in Christ) and are (3) members (4) in good-standing with this local church or another Gospel-believing local church.’ I will then add a word to the unbeliever or any believer not fitting that description. To the unbeliever, that word is simply to come to Christ. This meal may pass you by, but don’t let Christ pass you by, etc. To the believer, it’s trickier but, essentially, that word is to bring your profession of faith into full obedience to the Word of Christ concerning (1) baptism, (2) membership, and/or (3) manner of life.
  4. At this point, in order to capture the celebratory nature of this ordinance, I will invite the musicians to come up. They will receive their portion of the bread and cup from those administering the Supper. They will then go to their instruments, and they will lead us in a song suitable to the Supper.
  5. When they begin to lead us in song, you may come as you are ready to receive your portion of the bread and cup. Most songs last at least 4 and half minutes, so if you’d like to sit a minute to reflect upon all the things detailed about Christ and His grace towards you, about your present life and relations in the church, etc., that would be the time to do it. Note, we will also remind you ‘week-of’ that we will be practicing the Lord’s Supper and to get your heart in order, so to speak.
  6. When you are ready, you may come forward, singing with joy in the Lord as you come!, take the elements, and return to your seat. Do not consume the elements yet! We will do that together as a show of our unity in Christ. In fact, once the song is over, the Supper-leader will read from one of the Last Supper accounts.
  7. When he does this, we will, in turn, take the bread and, then, the cup together.
  8. The Supper-leader will pray.
  9. We will close in final song. On ‘Lord’s Supper Sundays,’ the order of service will shift a bit. Really, the only difference is that we will sing 3 songs before the sermon instead of 4. The fourth song will be the song we sing during the Lord’s Supper. Our closing song will be our typically fifth and final song.


Looking forward to taking the Lord’s Supper with you all. Until then, continuing to aim only for fully-informed minds begetting fully-rejoicing hearts as we, in spiritual unity and with holy accountability, come to remember the Lord’s death until He comes again. Devoted to the most Scriptural display of Christ’s glory in and through you,

TMC elders

Relating Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (2)

In the last post, we began to look at how baptism and the Lord’s Supper are related. In today’s post, we will complete that thought. So picking up where we left off:

…As baptism is the front door into the family of God, the Lord’s Supper is the family meal. It marks off the church from the world.

Relating Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

Who Can Participate in the Lord’s Supper?

This is why, understanding what baptism is and what the Lord’s Supper is and what they do, I believe only baptized believers should participate in the Lord’s Supper. All I’m really saying there is that the Lord’s Supper, making the church visible, should be let out only to those who have publicly identified with the Lord and His church (affirmed by said church) in baptism, which makes the Christian visible. Put another way, baptism says, ‘here’s a Christian,’ such that without baptism, we and they have no rite to the Supper that says, ‘here’s a Christian church.’ Baptism says you belong to Jesus and His people. The Lord’s Supper reaffirms that. And by the way, historically, every sect of Christendom has made this connection, just some more biblically than others.

It’s for this reason that I think it’s most prudent and honoring to Christ that at least four things be required for participation in the Lord’s Supper. One, a credible profession of faith in Christ. It’s for believers, not unbelievers. Two and three, baptism and what follows, church membership. These are what make one’s profession of faith ‘credible,’ visible. Four, good-standing as a member of a Gospel-believing local church. Baptism and membership in a heretical ‘church’ invalidates one’s profession of faith. This should be obvious. If a non-Gospel believing church has affirmed your ‘faith,’ it’s not likely a true faith. Charity and prudence here. More, if you are a member of a Gospel-believing church, but not in good-standing, that is, under discipline for any reason, or even if, as we saw in 1 Corinthians 11:29-34, your relations in the church are strained and embittered without repentance, I would ask you to kindly abstain from taking the Lord’s Supper.

So who would we invite to the celebration of the Lord’s Supper? After addressing the meaning of the Lord’s Supper, I would ideally say something like this, “This meal is for (1) believers who have been (2) baptized upon their profession of faith in Christ and are (3) members (4) in good-standing with this local church or another Gospel-believing local church (as I believe it likely that ‘visiting communion’ is taking place in Acts 20:7).”

Next time, we’ll finish our study with a few details about practice in our gathering for corporate worship. Until then, continuing to aim only for fully-informed minds begetting fully-rejoicing hearts as we, in spiritual unity and with holy accountability, come to remember the Lord’s death until He comes again. Devoted to the most Scriptural display of Christ’s glory in and through you,

TMC elders

The New Testament Teaching on the Lord’s Supper (2)

In our last post, we surveyed the Last Supper as preparatory for the Lord’s Supper. This post will focus on Paul’s instructions about the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 10:14-22 and 11:17-34. But before we do that, let’s recall what we learned from the Gospels’ account of the Last Supper. Reason being, whatever we discovered there is meant to rollover into Paul’s instruction about the practice of the Lord’s Supper in our church-age. Concerning the Last Supper (for the Lord’s Supper), we learned:

  1. The Lord’s Supper is a look-back upon the redeeming work of Christ.
  2. The Lord’s Supper is a look-ahead to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
  3. The Lord’s Supper is a remembering of the ratification of the New Covenant.
  4. The Lord’s Supper is drawing a line around Christ’s disciples, the church.
  5. The Lord’s Supper is reaffirming our faith-commitment as Christ’s disciples.
  6. The Lord’s Supper is reaffirming our service-commitment to Christ’s disciples.
  7. The Lord’s Supper is equipping us for spiritual battle.

Paul’s Instructions

Now let’s take a look at Paul’s instructions. And we’ll just make a few notes in the order of the verses laid out above:

The Lord’s Supper is a participation in the benefits of Christ’s redeeming work (1 Corinthians 10:16). To be sure, ‘blood’ and ‘body’ here do not denote the literal blood and body of Christ. The ‘blood’ is still the fruit of the grape. The ‘body’ is still ‘bread.’ Paul’s point is to say, however, that something spiritually wonderful is really happening when we take the Lord’s Supper. The elements aren’t merely symbolic. It’s a presentation to sight and tongue of the Gospel and, as we see it and taste it, we are participating in the grace this meal represents to us. We’re receiving Christ anew in the sense, as above, of reaffirming our faith in Him, while being nourished by it’s Gospel truths, even as we might in a sermon.

The Lord’s Supper (as with baptism) makes the church visible (1 Corinthians 10:17). This is very important. What’s the difference between random Christians accumulating to shop at Ingles and a local church? Well, a local church is more than any random gathering of Christians. It’s a group of Christians that have committed themselves to one another for the glory of Christ. And this is where the ordinances come into play. It’s how a group of Christians enact and display that commitment, yes, to Christ, but also to one another. As for the Lord’s Supper, we see in the verse mentioned that the ‘many’ are made ‘one body’ because ‘we all partake of the one bread.’ Paul’s saying that (with baptism) it’s participation in the Lord’s Supper that actually constitutes a local church, takes the many and makes them one! It’s what differentiates a Christian conference from a local church. It’s what marks us off as a body. In it, as above, we reaffirm our service-commitment to one another as heirs of grace and glory.

The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance (1 Corinthians 11:17, 18). Note the repeated words ‘when you come together.’ Paul’s saying at least two things: one, the Lord’s Supper is a Christian ordinance. It’s not for all. It’s for Christ’s people. Two, it’s a church ordinance. It’s normative practice is restricted to the gathering of the local church. Again, what’s the Lord’s Supper doing? It’s making the local church visible. It’s not just revealing, ‘here’s a Christian,’ but ‘here’s an assembly of Christians covenanted together as a Gospel people.’ ‘Here’s a local church.’ Additionally then, the Lord’s Supper isn’t for all Christians indiscriminately. In 1 Corinthians 11:29, Paul makes this clear by a point we’ll tackle in the next post. The point here, remembering again what the Supper does, is to say that only Christians who are members of a Gospel-believing local church should participate in the Lord’s Supper. Membership matters! Having a church affirm your profession, and you commit to them, becoming one with the many, that matters! Indeed, it’s how you’re faith is objectified. Become a visible member of the family, then you can participate in the family meal.

Devoted to the most Scriptural display of Christ’s glory in and through you,

TMC elders

Relating Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (1)

In our last couple posts, we surveyed Paul’s instruction concerning the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 10:14-22 and 11:17-34. In this post, we want to come now to relate what’s been taught about the two ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

How They Differ

Baptism and the Lord’s Supper differ in two main ways:

  1. Baptism is a one-time only event. The Lord’s Supper is a repetitive reaffirmation of the faith that went public at baptism.
  2. Baptism is something the whole church does to an individual. The Lord’s Supper is something the whole church does as one. Baptism expresses an individual’s personal faith in Christ and commitment to His people gone public. The Lord’s Supper expresses a local church’s corporate reaffirmation of faith in Christ and commitment to His people. As one put it, ‘baptism binds one to many, (whereas) the Lord’s Supper binds many into one.’

How They’re Linked

They make the church visible. As we’ve learned, baptism is a church’s act of publicly affirming an individual’s faith in Christ by immersing them in water. It’s also that individual’s act (they are not passive in this event as some claim for infant baptism) of making their faith in Christ and commitment to His people public by the same means. That’s why baptism is, in essence, the entry point of church membership. It’s the front door into the house or family of God. It’s the Christian becoming a visible member of a covenanted group of Christians. Baptism marks off the believer from the world. It takes the one and binds them to the many.

The Lord’s Supper, however, takes the many and makes them one. It’s the whole church publicly reaffirming their faith in Christ. As baptism is the ‘initiating oath sign of the New Covenant,’ the Supper is the ‘renewing oath sign of the New Covenant.’ In baptism, a believer is united to a church. In the Lord’s Supper, believers, plural, are united as a church, one body. As baptism is the front door into the family of God, the Lord’s Supper is the family meal. It marks off the church from the world.

Devoted to the most Scriptural display of Christ’s glory in and through you,

TMC elders

The New Testament Teaching on the Lord’s Supper (3)

In the last post, we moved from Last Supper to Lord’s Supper. We looked at three ideas:

  1. The Lord’s Supper is a participation in the benefits of Christ’s redeeming work.
  2. The Lord’s Supper makes the church visible.
  3. The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance.

Today we continue digging deeper into what it will mean for us to come together as a body to the table.

The Lord’s Supper unites the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:18-34). Sadly, Paul’s writing to this local church about the proper practice of the Lord’s Supper because they were abusing it by abusing one another. They were practicing in self-preference, immodesty, and abiding disunity. In my opinion, that’s what informs the enigmatic phrase ‘discerning the body’ in 11:29. They were taking the Lord’s Supper without ensuring that all was well with the body of Christ.

Before partaking, they needed to put off their self-centered ways. They needed to mend any broken relationships. They needed to see to the unity of the body. As they didn’t, Paul says God disciplined them! Some grew sick. Some died! The Lord is watching to bless or judge. One cup. One bread. One body. See a pattern? Jesus ordained the Lord’s Supper to remind of, display, and effect our unity in Him.

The Lord’s Supper is a time for personal examination (1 Corinthians 11:28). There is an unworthy way to take the Supper (1 Corinthians 11:27). There is also, then, a worthy way. Prior to practicing the Lord’s Supper, we should examine our hearts, our lives, our relationships in the church. As best as we can, we need to aim at being a holy people, those watchful to obey the Lord and live in increasing love for Him and His people. This meal offers a reminder of the need for sanctification, of continuing to walk closely with Jesus. It’s a time for personal examination.

The Lord’s Supper is another powerful way we preach the whole Gospel (1 Corinthians 11:26). I want to end here because, well, it’s the goal of all we do as a local church. As often as we take the Lord’s Supper, we climb a pulpit! We declare to the ear, the eye, the taste buds, to all gathered, to principalities and powers, to our triune God and Savior, ‘Jesus has won! He’s redeemed! He died for us, but He rose for us, as will be evident to all when He returns!’ The Supper is the church’s sermon about her Savior and His salvation, from first to last, from the cross to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Well, I hope this survey of the Lord’s Supper has only further whet your appetite! Next time, we’ll go into the relationship between baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Until then, continuing to aim only for fully-informed minds begetting fully-rejoicing hearts as we, in spiritual unity and with holy accountability, come to remember the Lord’s death until He comes again. Devoted to the most Scriptural display of Christ’s glory in and through you,

TMC elders

The New Testament Teaching on the Lord’s Supper (1)

In our last couple of posts, we made a brief survey of five Old Testament types or prefiguring foretastes of the Lord’s Supper. In the next two posts, we want to briefly survey the New Testament substance in the Lord’s Supper itself. This mainly draws our attention to the Last Supper, found in Mt 26:17-35, Mk 14:12-31, Lk 22:7-23, and Jn 13:1-30, and Paul’s instructions about the Lord’s Supper in 1 Cor 10:14-22 and 11:17-34. This post will focus on the Last Supper in the Gospels.

The Last Supper

In our Old Testament survey, you may have wondered, ‘what about the Passover?’ We were just waiting for the Last Supper. It’s a Passover meal celebrating God’s redemptive work towards Israel in Exodus 12:33-50. But this specific reenactment is different than any other before it. In fact, Jesus forever alters it for His people.

He’s the climactic fulfillment of God’s redemptive work! He’s the Passover Lamb (Jn 1:29; 1 Cor 5:7)! He’s the Lamb Who before His shearers will be silent and slaughtered under the wrath of God as a penal substitutionary atonement for us.

Put another way, He brings about a New Exodus through His death and resurrection, one that leads His people out of their bondage to sin, death, Satan, and hell, and into the glorious freedom of the children of God!

And in the Last Supper, He means for His disciples to see this, in all of it’s wonderful effects, and to remember it moving forward, to feed on the grace of Christ’s Person and Work in what’s now called the Lord’s Supper. So let me highlight, all too briefly, some of the graces we’re to spiritually feast on in the Lord’s Supper, as taught most explicitly during the Last Supper:

  1. It’s a look-back upon the redeeming work of Christ. In this hour, Christ’s work was still future. But He instituted this as a meal of remembrance for them (Lk 22:19). Remember what? His death and resurrection (implied in His words about partaking of it again with them in the kingdom of Heaven). In the Supper, we’re to remember what Jesus has done to save us from our sins.
  2. It’s a look-ahead to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Lk 22:16). So we have OT types of the Lord’s Supper, and the Last Supper as transitional to the Lord’s Supper. And then, when we come to the Lord’s Supper itself, we find that it also is but a foretaste of a meal still greater! It’s a meal that, even as it points us back to the cross, roots us in the fact of the resurrection, pointing us ahead to the fellowship of Glory (Rev 19:6-9). It not only reminds us what we’ve been saved from, but what we’ve been saved for, and that forever!
  3. It’s remembering the ratification of the New Covenant (Mt 26:28). All the promises of God are ‘Yes’ in Christ (2 Cor 1:20). By His blood, more precious than silver or gold that perishes (1 Pet 1:18-19), the Son of God purchased every saving grace for His people, to be applied most graciously by the Spirit at conversion. This includes chiefly the full forgiveness of all our sins (Mt 26:28), but also, it would then seem from contextual clues, our adoption (‘Father’s kingdom,’ Mt 26:29), preservation (Mt 26:30-32), and qualification for Glory (Lk 22:16).
  4. It’s drawing a line around Christ’s disciples. As implied under the foregoing point, the Lord’s Supper is the meal of Christ’s New Covenant people. To be as clear as one can be, it’s only for (I think the Bible teaches, baptized) believers in Christ. It’s a meal that separates the visible church from the onlooking world as God’s heirs of grace and glory. In turn, the Supper is evangelistic, not in that it invites unbelievers to participate, but in that it alerts them to the fact that they aren’t Christ’s, nor His grace theirs; but they and it can be! Next point then,
  5. It’s reaffirming our faith-commitment as Christ’s disciples. This is probably my favorite part of practicing the Lord’s Supper. As we come forward to take and eat and drink the elements together, we are, as it were, coming to Christ all over again! It’s not that we are being re-converted, but that we are reconfirming that we still believe Him. That we’re continuing to publicly love Him and identify with Him and hope in Him and say, to world and principalities and powers, ‘the Gospel is true! Grace is real! Jesus is Lord! And God is worthy of being all in all to us!’
  6. It’s reaffirming our service-covenant to Christ’s disciples. In Christ, God is creating a new covenant, new creation community by the Spirit—one that will be marked by self-sacrificial love and humility towards one another. The Supper is a family meal taken together in order also to reaffirm our love and devotion to one another. We see this mostly in John’s account (Jn 13:14), though there are hints of it in Lk 22:26-27.
  7. It’s equipping for spiritual battle. Swirling around the Last Supper is a spiritual world we may be inclined to ignore. Satan’s there. Satan plants his man there. That man, proving to be what he always was, betrays Jesus. Apostates are exposed, even as authentic believers are revealed. Even after the Supper, Satan shows up to sift one of the authentic ones—to no final avail on account of Jesus’ preserving mercies (signified in the New Covenant realities of the Supper). So before it, during it, after it, Satan’s working overtime to do harm to Christ and to His people. Thus, it seems to me that the Supper is a spiritual battlefield. It’s the King’s table prepared for His citizens in the midst of our now scrambling enemies. With it’s focus on God’s redeeming grace, it really, spiritually strengthens us to live for Christ, assured of victory.

Well, I hope this survey of the Last Supper has only further whet your appetite! Next time, we’ll go into Paul’s instructions concerning the Lord’s Supper as practiced in our church-age. Until then, continuing to aim only for fully-informed minds begetting fully-rejoicing hearts as we, in spiritual unity and with holy accountability, come to remember the Lord’s death until He comes again. Devoted to the most Scriptural display of Christ’s glory in and through you,

TMC elders

Old Testament Shadows of the Lord’s Supper (2)

Let’s continue looking at the Old Testament foreshadowing we began yesterday. Today, we turn to the Psalms and the Prophets.

Psalm 23

In verse 5 of this well-known Psalm, we read, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” These are the words of David and likely the foundation for his table-fellowship with, say, Mephibosheth. David had experienced the shepherding love of the Lord. It met his every need. It afforded him peace. It restored his soul. It led him into obedience. It created courage in the valleys. It led and disciplined him for his truest comfort. It filled his cup. It assured of divine goodness and mercy as his constant travel companions. It assured of eternal life.

And in verse 5, it promised victory over enemies. When a king triumphed in battle, it was customary then to set up a feast in the midst of his defeated foes. David says the Lord does this for him. The fulfillment of this comes to us in King Jesus, the Lord. He has fought and ultimately won all our battles. His enemies and our enemies are defeated foes. Sin, death, Satan, Hell, etc., all are subject to us in our Lord Jesus. How shall we celebrate this? By setting up His ordained table in the presence of our enemies. The Lord’s Supper has a little bit of smack talk in it! Like baptism, it preaches to our foes, ‘you’re defeated. For Christ has conquered! And by His grace, we, who were on the losing side, are now on the winning side. We’ve been redeemed. God is for us. He’s our Shepherd! And all His benefits are ours!’

Isaiah 25

We read this for our call to worship on Easter Sunday. I hope you noticed verse 6. Isaiah prophecies about the Day when the Lord will swallow up Death. It’s the Day of the Resurrection, when our risen Jesus will raise all and His own to that state of full glorification. What will take place on that Day, when we are forever brought back into face to face fellowship with God in Christ? “The Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.” God’s going to put on a party! Let’s call it the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Rev 19)! It’s a table-fellowship that will fulfill it’s foretaste… which we practice in the Lord’s Supper. This ‘meal,’ remember, not only points us back to what Christ has done but forward to what Christ will do. While we live in the balance, it nourishes our hearts on the food of future grace bought by His blood.

I hope this survey of the Old Testament’s shadows whet your appetite! Next time, we’ll go further into the New Testament’s teaching on the Lord’s Supper. Until then, continuing to aim only for fully-informed minds begetting fully rejoicing hearts as we, in spiritual unity and with holy accountability, come to remember the Lord’s death until He comes again. Devoted to the most Scriptural display of Christ’s glory in and through you,

TMC elders

Old Testament Shadows of the Lord’s Supper (1)

We’ve taken a fairly in-depth look at the Bible’s teaching on baptism. Now, we want to begin to dive into the second ordinance left for us by our Lord, His Supper. We’ll look first at some Old Testament shadows of the Lord’s Supper. Then, we’ll try to tackle the teaching of the New Testament. Third, we’ll tie the two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, together. And finally, we’ll speak to our practice of the Lord’s Supper as a church. So off we go.

Genesis 3:8

Prior to the Fall, it would seem that God commonly ‘walked’ about the garden sanctuary, so that Adam and Eve abided in the presence of God. It follows, then, that they ate in community with Him. At His hospitality, they sat at His table in the joy of unbroken fellowship.

Exodus 24:9-11

After the Fall, this table-fellowship, an expression of their more summary fellowship with God, was broken. But not beyond the hope of restoration in a promised Christ (Genesis 3:15). At this point in redemptive history, God’s plan of redemption circles around Moses and the Mosaic covenant. And as that covenant points us ahead to the New Covenant in Christ, it also prefigures the meal that’s emblematic of it.

In the text listed above, that covenant of works, again, pointing to the grace climaxed in the New Covenant, is set in place and put into play for the people through the sprinkling of blood (Exodus 24:8). In it’s own way, it at least outwardly reconstituted an uneasy relationship with God. The immediate expression of this relationship is an invitation extended by God to Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy elders (note, not every member of the community) to see the God of Israel and to worshipfully eat and drink in His heavenly presence. It’s a foretaste of the Supper that signifies a far greater reconciliation to God through the grace of Christ.

2 Samuel 9

In this chapter, King David, a type of Christ, shows kindness to the grandson of an enemy, Saul, the son of a beloved friend, Jonathan. So explicit in the text is a kind of steadfast love and mercy on Mephibosheth. The expression of this kindness, this steadfast love and mercy? An indefinite invitation to eat at the King’s table! More compelling here, Mephibosheth is crippled, something that likely made him something of an outcast and, in response to David’s invitation, counts himself no victim of circumstance, but as a ‘dead dog’ who is undeserving of such mercy. So David ups the mercy! Point being, we have a figure of Christ extending indefinite table-fellowship to a ‘dead dog’ on the basis of covenant love and steadfast mercy. Mephibosheth’s eating and drinking the rest of his life will be a reminder of the lavish and ‘redemptive’ grace of Israel’s King. Mercy will nourish as much as food.

Tomorrow, we will continue with two more ‘shadows’ leading us towards a proper understanding of the Supper. Until then, continuing to aim for fully-informed minds begetting fully rejoicing hearts as we, in spiritual unity and with holy accountability, come to remember the Lord’s death until He comes again.