Midweek Lent 5: Frequent Reception of the Lord’s Supper

Lessons: Psalm 43, 1 Kings 8:54-58, John 10:7-21, Passion History
Hymns: LSB 421, 423, 887

No audio is available for tonight’s service.

       Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

      Tonight is our final night look at Christian Questions with Their Answers. It is my prayer, however, that these are not the last time you look at them. Remember the note at the end of these questions: “These questions and answers are no child’s play… Let each one pay attention and consider it a serious matter.” As you prepare to receive the Lord’s Supper each Sunday, it is good to remember your own sinfulness, repent of your sin, and pray to the Lord. I urge you to prepare well before eating and drinking the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. A great way to aid you in your preparation for the Sacrament is to turn to the Catechism and review these Christian Questions with Their Answers. You are welcome to do so every week. Or less often, if you desire. Maybe you want to review them every month. And, as you review them, take time to read the chapters in the Bible that are referenced.

      Over the last four weeks, we confessed, and did not deny, but confessed that we are sinners for breaking the Ten Commandments, we are sorry for our sins, that we hope to be saved from our sin through Christ who loves us and shed His Blood for us, that we will receive the Body and Blood of Jesus for our forgiveness in the Sacrament and also to proclaim the Lord’s death, and finally that we wish to go to the Sacrament to believe that Christ out of great love died for us and learn from Him to love God and our neighbors.

      Tonight covered two more questions. The first is:

      Question: What should admonish and encourage a Christian to receive the Sacrament frequently?

      Answer: First, both the command and the promise of Christ the Lord. Second, his own pressing need, because of which the command, encouragement, and promise are given.

      This question is not: how little can I get by with receiving the Sacrament or is it ok to go just four times a year or do I really need to go at all? Instead, the question is: how should I be admonished and encouraged to receive the Lord’s Supper often?

      The answers are simple. First, we should receive the Lord’s Supper frequently because of God’s command. Jesus did not say “Omit this” but He said, “Take eat; take drink; do this in remembrance of Me.” Jesus didn’t give this command to create new, oppressive burdens and rules upon His people. Instead, He gave the command in order to invite us to this salutary gift. In tonight’s reading from John 10:17-18, Jesus said, “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” Jesus fulfilled the charge (or command) of His Father. And He did so with absolutely willingness. It was an invitation that He accepted, for He saw that His suffering and death would result in the salvation on mankind. In the same way, we are invited now to gather as His guests at His table to receive a most precious meal for our greatest benefit.

      Second, we should receive Holy Communion because of His promise. In our reading from 1 Kings, we heard a blessing Solomon gave to God’s people after they dedicated the newly built Temple. Solomon, guided by Holy Spirit, testified, “Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant” (1 Kings 8:56). God has never quit keeping His promises. He kept them throughout the Old Testament, He kept them in sending His Son to pay for our sins on the cross, and He continues to keep His promises today. He promises that, when you go to the altar, you will receive the Body and Blood of Jesus for your forgiveness.

      We should finally go to the Sacrament of the Altar because of our own pressing need. We are, after all, sinners. We need forgiveness in order to be saved. You heard how debased mankind was when they crucified Jesus. We are no better. Our sins brought about our Lord’s crucifixion.

      And so, the last question in “Christian Questions with Their Answers” asks: What if I didn’t know about my need to receive the Sacrament and don’t desire to receive it? While we are given a three-fold answer, there’s something common to all of them. They basically say, “Believe what the Bible says about these things.” Believe the Bible. Trust God and His Word. He does not lie. He does not fail you.

      Therefore, believe what the Bible says about your flesh. Galatians 5:19-21 declares, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.”

      Next, believe what the Bible says about the world. Jesus declared in John 15:18-21, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.”

      Finally, believe what the Bible says about the devil. God declares in 1 Peter 5:8-10, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

      When you believe these things, you will see that the Lord’s Supper is not a nice extra or just for certain religious types. We are all being assaulted by our own flesh, by the world around us, and by the Devil himself. We all need the strength the Lord’s Supper provides. We all need the Holy Spirit to strengthen our faith. We all need the forgiveness of our sins, for we do not fare well against the temptations of the flesh, the world, or the devil. This, by the way, is known as the unholy trinity.

      But in Holy Communion, our God—the Holy Trinity—is at work to sanctify us. The Father sent His Son to pay for our sins. Jesus died in our place on the cross and rose from the grave. He now gives us His Body and Blood in the Sacrament. And the Holy Spirit is strengthening our faith through this most sacred and blessed meal.

      And so Jesus says, “Come to the banquet. Feast and eat. This is here for you! Given in love. So that you can life in My name.” Amen.        

     The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus to life everlasting. Amen