In a recent sermon the issue was highlighted regarding the marks of the true convert as revealed in Acts 2:42-47. One of the marks of true followers of the Lord Jesus is that they are “hungry for the Supper” (vv. 42, 46). That is, those who have been born again—those who have been given spiritual life—are committed to regular participation in Communion, the Lord’s Supper.
The Bible teaches that, since the Lord commands His people to eat this meal, BBC is sinning if we do not hold one another accountable to this ordinance. The elders are in full agreement that we need to be more faithful as shepherds in this area. The open letter below is one attempt towards our repentance.
Though we do not experience a widespread disregard for the Lord’s Table at BBC, such neglect does characterise some of our members.
What, then, shall we do? Would a letter such as the one below be necessary? Perhaps. For instance, if neither public appeals from the pulpit, nor subsequent private counsel results in an obedient response, would not this kind of a letter be useful to remind those who are sinning of the gravity of such behaviour?
If you received such a letter from the eldership, how would you respond?
If you are a believer then we anticipate that you would repent. The purpose of publishing this open letter is to exhort the membership of BBC to obedience to the Lord concerning the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. As you read it, our prayer as an eldership is that we as a local church will grow in unity in our commitment to that which God prescribes for corporate worship and biblical community. We trust that such a letter will never need to be sent, but if it does, then at least no one should be surprised or needlessly offended.
Perhaps you have some questions regarding your own participation in the Lord’s Supper. You may be concerned about how often you should or are able to partake. Maybe you are in need of some instruction concerning the conditions for partaking, or perhaps you have some other related questions. Let me appeal to you to speak with one of us. We delight to serve you!
Again, as an eldership our sincere intention is that this open letter will be used by the Spirit of Christ to impress upon each member of BBC the importance and privilege of being a part of the family that sings together, prays together, learns together and sups together at our Lord’s appointed meal.
It is truly with heavy hearts that this letter is being sent to you. As shepherds of God’s flock we are burdened when church members seemingly pay no heed to the voice of the Chief Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. We are concerned that this is so in your case. We speak with particular reference to your apparent withdrawal from the Lord’s Table.
The Lord Jesus Christ instituted His Supper on the night on which He was betrayed. From that night forward the Lord Jesus has expected His disciples to observe this Communion meal. One purpose for His Supper is that it serves as a covenantal testimony that one belongs to Him. This is further substantiated by Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34. Thus to continually withdraw oneself from the Lord’s Supper is a virtual denial of His body and blood; an action that receives the severest condemnation in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29.
By your refusal to heed the regular call to obedience to this ordinance you are sinning against God as well as against the Body to which you have covenanted to belong. We therefore appeal to you to make amends and to attend the next observance of the Lord’s Supper with a view to further regular attendance as well.
If you continue to reject this ‘meal’ then we will honour your unspoken indication to no longer be a member of the Brackenhurst Baptist Church. We will do so by following the biblical principles laid out for us by the Head of the Church to attend to your withdrawal.
As we are sure that this is a hard letter to receive we can also assure you that it is a difficult letter to send; but when it comes to the welfare of your soul and to the honour of Christ’s Church we are compelled to do the hard thing. We appeal to you in Jesus’ Name to respond with cheerful obedience to the Lord’s command and ‘save yourself from this’ self-absorbed ‘generation.’
Helpers of your joy,