Hindrances to Participation at the Lord’s Supper
Isn’t it beautiful that we can gather together on the Lord’s day, the first day of the week, and that there is liberty to voice praise to God and the Lord Jesus Christ for all that has been done on our behalf?
To shout out Christ’s worth publically and thank Him for the path he traveled, starting from his heavenly dwelling to this creation that has been made ugly by sin’s effects. That path continued all the way to the cross where he would be delivered up for the sins of many and would bear the weight and penalty of sin, the eternal wrath of a righteous God.
Qualifications to participation
It’s a lovely privilege to express this, but unfortunately what comes along with the remembrance meeting is a lot of baggage. There seem to be many unnecessary qualifications that we have in our heads concerning participation in this meeting.
It’s almost as if there is a graded system. We imagine in our heads that if someone is able to call out a hymn, that they are somewhat spiritual. We then think that if someone calls out a hymn along with a little comment, that they are that much more spiritually insightful, and the examples go on and on!
Discouraging men from participating
Unfortunately, this can turn participation in the remembrance meeting to something that is weighed and measured by the listeners – and it can turn it into an extremely intimidating time as a younger (or even older) brother to be involved.
We think (incorrectly) that we need to have some measure of spiritual status to raise up a prayer of praise or to participate by simply calling a hymn. Here are some key things for us to remember:
1. The only thing you contributed to being loved by God is your sin
There is no status that needs to be achieved to be able to praise the Lord except the status that Christ has secured for you. It is not by “works of the law” that you are able to stand before God (Galatians 2). It is simply by grace through faith.
Recognize your sinfulness and littleness before a righteous God and take the liberty to open your mouth in thankfulness for what Jesus has done for you, in the way that is real to you.
2. God is more concerned with your heart
God shows in his Word very clearly that he is much more concerned with your heart rather than an outward appearance or an outward show. By God’s Spirit, he says in 1 Samuel 16:7 that “… the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
We need to realize that God “knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.” (Psalm 103:14). He knows our souls, and what matters to him is the genuine praise being given to Him, not the fancy words or long prayers necessarily.
3. We are true worshipers, not simply people who worship
“…believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father…But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” – John 4:21, 23.
Jesus, speaking to the Samaritan woman, is emphasizing that worship is not confined to any specific place or any specific time. He’s saying that worship unto God the Father (and now unto himself) is primarily concerned with the state and “posture” of our minds and hearts.
Place and time don’t matter
Reason and culture tells us to elevate the “Sanctuary” or the place we gather and time we gather to a greater level than every moment of every day, but this is not what Jesus or the New Testament teaches! Jesus teaches us here, and Paul continues in the epistles that true worship has to do with Spirit and Truth, with the inner man, and that it is not dependent on a place or a medium (word, song, action, thought).
With this being said, let’s not devalue the breaking of bread meeting, but let’s realize the sacredness of every single moment of every single day, and see those times as an opportunity to offer up worship to our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
With this realization, let’s not be confined to formalities of what our worship or praise has to look like or sound like when we are in the breaking of bread meeting. Realize your feebleness, your smallness before a righteous God, yet your boldness to approach Him through Christ, and offer up thanks that is in your heart to Him!