The Lord’s Supper is a participation in the body and blood of Christ by faith (1 Corinthians 10:16-18). Jesus established this spiritual feast when he said: “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).
It is important to recognize, however, that only those who are truly repentant of their sins and put their hope and trust in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation are able to participate. Paul tells us that “A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognising the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1 Corinthians 11:28).
Ordinarily, the elders would like to meet with visitors prior to the Lord’s Day to discuss the significance of this sacrament. God has given them the responsibility to oversee the life and doctrine of the church (1 Timothy 4:11-13, 1 Corinthians 11:17-34). Nevertheless, in order to examine yourself, we ask you to consider the following questions:
Do you stand with this church in holding to the articles of true faith?
As Christians, we are called to believe and confess what the Bible teaches concerning God and the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Heb. 11:6).
The Lord’s Supper is a visible expression of the unity of believers in Christ as together, we all partake of the one bread that is broken (1 Corinthians 10:17) and as together, we all profess the Lord’s death until he returns (1 Corinthians 11:26).
In this church, we believe that Christians must believe everything God promises us in the gospel and that this gospel is summarised for us in the articles of the Apostles’ Creed - a creed which is beyond doubt and confessed by believers throughout the world.
I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit;
I believe a holy catholic* church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.
* Please note that the word “catholic” means “universal” and should not be confused with the Roman Catholic church.
Do you believe, alongside the church of all ages, as well as the Reformed Church of New Plymouth, that this creed is a faithful summary of the teachings of scripture? And are you able, in good conscience, to join us in unity around the Lord’s Table as together, we profess the Lord Jesus Christ and what he has done for us?
Is there any teaching of this church that you openly oppose that would prevent you from expressing unity with us at the Lord’s table?
Do you trust in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation?
In this sentence, the word “alone” is crucial. Without that word, many people would agree with this statement easily. Some would do so with the understanding that there are many ways to be saved – for example, saying that all religions lead to God but they choose Christianity; others would say that if you are a good person you go to heaven and Christ teaches you how to be a good person; still others would say that belief in Christ is crucial but we cannot be saved without our own acts of righteousness also.
Scripture clearly teaches against all these three positions. The apostle Peter boldly declared to the Jews that “there is salvation in no one else [than Christ Jesus], for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). This was true even in the Old Testament where God declared “I am the Lord, and besides me there is no saviour” (Isaiah 43:11).
Salvation cannot be bought with money (1 Peter 1:18-19) or a good life (Ephesians 2:8-10). Our works are woefully inadequate, but: “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy” (Titus 3:5).
Do you profess that you are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone?
Do you strive to live a repentant, upright and godly life?
Paul states that “whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:27). It is not sufficient to simply believe that there is one God; “Even the demons believe—and shudder” (James 2:19).
Instead, as Christ taught, there must be fruit in the believer’s life: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit” (John 15:5); it is this fruit that glorifies the Father and proves that you are Christ’s disciples (John 15:8).
And what is that fruit? “If you love me you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:12-14).
Do you repent of your sin, and being forgiven in Christ, continually strive to keep God’s commandments and put to death your sinful nature (Romans 8:12-13)?
Are you a communicant member in good standing in a Christian church?
For many Christians these days, this is a difficult question to answer. Formal church membership is not “in vogue” in our society.
Scripture teaches, however, that Christians must be committed to making “a good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12), and in doing so, display a spiritual maturity whereby you are welcomed into full participation of the life and responsibilities of the church. We are called to submit ourselves to the spiritual leaders God has given us: “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account” (Hebrews 13:17). We are called to make use of our gifts to love one another and serve one another (John 15:12; Gal 5:13); and to “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another...” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Although your church may not practice formal membership, have you committed to serving Christ by serving his bride in these ways?
Having considered these truths, if you still desire to join with us in communion, we ask that you speak to an elder or the pastor prior to the service (preferably before Sunday). Contact details can be found on our home page.