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  • Enjoying the Lord’s Table—Together!

     We celebrate communion every week at New City Fellowship. We do this for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is that the Table expresses our fellowship with Jesus through the Gospel. Another reason is that the Table emphasizes our unity with one another in Christ. The Lord's Table is a gift of God's grace that we're eager to enjoy together. 

    Who's Invited?

    Two spiritual realities qualify us to enjoy the Bread and the Cup.

    First, the Table is for us who are “in Christ.” It is for us who gladly trust Jesus as our Savior and our King. The Table is not for those who don’t know Christ, and it is not for those who are rejecting Christ.  But the Table is for us who “participate in” the blood and body of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16).

    Second, the Table is for us who are in Christ together. This means that when I come to the Table, I recognize that I’m not feasting alone. Instead, I enjoy this meal with my brothers and sisters in Christ who are at the Table with me. In fact, we participate in this Table as one body (1 Corinthians 11:17–34).

    Therefore, if we are united to Christ by faith, and if we are living in right relationship with our fellow believers, then we are ready to rejoice together with Jesus at his Table. We are ready to “proclaim” the Gospel together “until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).

    Two Table Rules

    When I come to the Table, I must understand the following two table rules.

    First, I must remember that I don’t invite myself to the Table, and I don’t earn a spot at the Table by means of my own efforts or performance. I don’t qualify myself. The truth is that being “qualified” for something is not the same as “earning” it. For example, my two-year-old daughter is “qualified” to eat at our family’s breakfast table. She is qualified to eat with us not because she earned the right, but simply because she is our daughter. She is qualified because she is “in” our family. So it is with the Lord’s Table. I don’t invite myself, but instead Jesus has invited me (Isaiah 55:1–2; Matthew 11:27–30). The Table communicates what is given to me, not what is earned by me (Luke 22:19–20). Praise God that he invites us to his banquet, even though (or better, since) we could never pay him back (Luke 14:12–14)! I come to the Table to receive from Jesus. God himself has qualified me to participate (Colossians 1:12). Let’s praise the glory of His sovereign grace!

    Second, I must understand that unity is not the same thing as maturity. A unified body is a body in which all the parts are working together in harmony, and where each member does its part. A unified body is a body that will grow to maturity (Ephesians 4:1–16). But it is important to understand that being “together” at the Table is about unity, not maturity.  Again, my two-year-old daughter is an example. She’s not yet a “mature” eater. She squirms in her seat, uses her fingers instead of a fork, and a lot of her food ends up where it wasn’t intended to go (for example, the floor, her face, or to the now-happy dog). She’s not yet a “mature” eater—but she is a unified eater! It’s not just her hands or her mouth that comes to the breakfast table, but she comes there as a whole person. Just like the parts of her body work together to digest the meal, so also our unity together in the church enables us to “digest” God’s love (Ephesians 3:17–19). When we come to our Lord’s Table, we come to it unified, and growing to maturity.

    Therefore, to be “living in right relationship with my fellow believers” emphasizes our unity, not necessarily our maturity. This means that I come to the Table recognizing the “one body” that we are together in Christ (Ephesians 2:14–16; 4:4). To “discern the body” (1 Corinthians 11:29) is to live in light of our unity with one another in Christ. It means I am living in Jesus-like love toward my fellow believers (1 Corinthians 13; Ephesians 4:31–5:2). Without question, we all  have a lot of spiritual growing to do! But our unity at the Table rejoices in the fact that we are growing in God’s grace together!

    In practical terms, this means that if I have sinned against one of my fellow saints, then I am seeking forgiveness and reconciliation. It means that I am always giving my fellow saints “the benefit of the doubt.” I do not entertain suspicions about them, and I refrain from criticizing them. Instead, I understand that we are united in love (1 Corinthians 13:4–7). I come to the Table while loving my brothers and sisters in Christ, and giving thanks for them precisely because Jesus loves them and has chosen us all to be beloved guests at his Table.

    Enjoying the Table—Together

    And so we come to the Table not focused on us, but focused on Jesus. We come with humble gratitude, saying to Jesus, “Thank you for inviting us to your Table! What a feast you have prepared for us!”

    When we come to the Table each week, our focus must be on Jesus. He is the one who invites us, qualifies us, and unites us together to enjoy fellowship together and with him.

    What amazing grace! What an amazing Savior!