The officers in Christ’s Church are alone given the right to steward the mysteries of God. Children, unordained men or women, are not to be serving the Lord’s people the elements of the Table. The Scriptures are clear that order is to be observed in the worship of God’s House.
Last week we looked at Baptism and one of the things we noted about it is that it is to be understood as a public initiation of sorts into the Kingdom of God. As 1 Cor. 7 shows us the infant (or adult for that matter) is covenantally holy internally by the work of the Holy Spirit before the actual applying of the water onto the head of the recipient. However, there is still a need for the Church to testify to this existing reality. There are benefits both to the world and to the people of God to see and be reminded of the Lord’s promises to His children. The same could be said about the next sacrament we are going to look at: The Lord’s Supper. However, unlike Baptism, this Holy gift is for professed believers alone. It is not, despite what John Wesley taught, an ordinance open to everyone regardless of ecclesiastical status. Only those approved by the Church through the oversight of the Elders may partake.
This is true primarily because the bread and the cup is an exercise of grace and praise, in which those who have been found in the fruit of the Spirit are gathered together to be nourished at the breast of peace. It confirms our present faith in Jesus Christ and our resting in His bloody sacrifice for sin. Unbelievers cannot do that and it is folly (or worse) to tell them they can. In fact the Apostle in 1 Corinthians 11 explicitly warns against it for a physical as well as a spiritual penalty comes towards those who eat and drink unworthily.
That which the ancients declaimed as cannibalism we profess as a blessed feasting on the Savior of souls. We do what we do in the congregation of the faithful so that we might not only grow in strength by our spiritual union with the Lord in the act, but so that all may know that we as a people have no other hope in this life but the assurance offered in Christ Jesus our High Priest, slain for our benefit.
It’s such a beautiful and wonderful work which we take seriously for what it represents and what it does for us by the Triune God.
Here are the Catechism questions for this week:
Q. 96. What is the Lord’s supper?
A. The Lord’s supper is a sacrament, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine according to Christ’s appointment, his death is shewed forth; and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment, and growth in grace.