The Lord’s Supper by Thomas Watson
“Branch 3. Does Christ offer His body and blood to us in the Supper? Then with what solemn preparation should we come to so sacred an ordinance! It is not enough to do what God has appointed—but as He has appointed. ‘Prepare your hearts unto the Lord,’ 1 Samuel 7:3. The musician first puts his instrument in tune—before he plays. The heart must be prepared and put in tune—before it goes to meet with God in this solemn ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. Take heed of rashness and irreverence. If we do not come prepared, we do not drink—but spill Christ’s blood! ‘Whoever shall eat this bread and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord,’ 1 Corinthians 11:27. ‘That is,’ said one, ‘he shall be judged a shedder of Christ’s blood.’
We read of a wine cup of fury in God’s hand, Jeremiah 25:15. He who comes unprepared to the Lord’s Supper turns the cup of the Lord’s Supper—into a cup of fury. Oh, with what reverence and devotion should we address ourselves to these holy mysteries! The saints are called ‘prepared vessels,’ Romans 9:23. If ever these vessels should be prepared—it is when they are to hold the precious body and blood of Christ.
The sinner who is damned—is first prepared. Men do not go to hell without some kind of preparation. ‘Vessels prepared for destruction,’ Romans 9:22. If those vessels are prepared which are filled with wrath—much more are those to be prepared who are to receive Christ in the Lord’s Supper. Let us dress ourselves before a Scripture looking-glass, before we come to the Lord’s Supper; and, with the Lamb’s wife, make ourselves ready.
How should we PREPARE for the Lord’s Supper?
1. We must come with SELF-EXAMINING hearts. ’But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread,’ 1 Corinthians 11:28. It is not enough that others think that we are fit to come—but we must examine ourselves. The Greek word ‘to examine’ is a metaphor taken from the goldsmith who carefully tries his precious metals. So before we come to the Lord’s Supper, we are to make a careful and discerning trial of ourselves by the Word. Self-examination is difficult. It is hard for a man to look inward—and see the face of his own soul. The eye can see everything, but itself.
But this work is necessary because, if we do not examine ourselves, we are at a loss about our spiritual estate. We know not whether we are savingly interested in the covenant—or whether we have a right to the Supper. Also, because God will examine us. It was a sad question the master of the feast asked, ‘How is it that you are here—without a wedding garment?’ Matthew 22:12. So it will be terrible when God shall say to a man, ‘How did you come in here to My table—with a proud, vain, unbelieving heart? What have you to do here—in your sins. You pollute My holy things!’
What need, therefore, is there to make a heart search before we come to the Lord’s Supper! We should examine our sins that they may be mortified, our spiritual needs that they may be supplied, our graces that they may be strengthened.
2. We must come with SERIOUS hearts. Our spirits are feathery and light—like a boat without ballast, which floats in the water but does not sail. We float in holy duties and are full of vain excursions, even when we are to deal with God and are engaged in matters of life and death. That which may fill our hearts with seriousness, is to consider that God’s eye is now especially upon us—when we approach His table. ‘When the King came in to view the guests, He saw a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes,’ Matthew 22:11. God knows every communicant, and if He sees any levity and indecency of spirit in us, unworthy of His presence—He will be highly incensed and send us away with the guilt of Christ’s blood—instead of the comfort of it.
3. We must come with INTELLIGENT hearts. There ought to be a competent measure of knowledge, that we may discern the Lord’s body. As we are to pray with understanding, 1 Corinthians 14:15, so ought we to communicate at the Lord’s Supper with understanding. If knowledge is lacking, it cannot be a reasonable service, Romans 12:1. Those who do not know the meaning of the Supper—do not feel the comfort of it. We must know—God the Father in His attributes, God the Son in His offices, God the Holy Spirit in His graces. Some say they have good hearts—yet lack knowledge. We may as well call that a good eye—which lacks sight.”