Sermon on the proper use of the Supper and how to receive the Sacrament worthily. The text is 1 Corinthians 11:17-34
IV. How to Receive This Sacrament Worthily 299. Why is it important to receive the Sacrament worthily? It is very important because St. Paul clearly teaches: “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1 Cor. 11:27-29).
300. Is it necessary to fast before receiving the Sacrament? Fasting can be good training for the will, but God does not command particular times, places, and forms for this. 1 Tim. 4:8; 1 Cor. 9:24-27
301. When do we receive the Sacrament worthily? We receive it worthily when we have faith in Christ and His words, “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”
302. When is a person unworthy and unprepared? A person is unworthy and unprepared when he or she does not believe or doubts Christ’s words, since the words “for you” require all hearts to believe.
303. How are we to examine ourselves before receiving the Sacrament? We are to examine ourselves to see whether A. We are sorry for our sins; Ps. 38:18; 2 Cor. 7:10-11 B. We believe in our Savior Jesus Christ and in His words in the Sacrament; Luke 22:19-20; 2 Cor. 13:5 C. We plan, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to change our sinful lives. Eph. 4:22-24. As a preparation for the Sacrament, use “Christian Questions and their Answers.” (found on page 329-330 in the LSB hymnal)
304. May those who are weak in faith come to the Lord’s Table? Yes, for Christ instituted the Sacrament for the very purpose of strengthening and increasing our faith. Mark 9:24; John 6:37
305. Who must not be given the Sacrament? The Sacrament must not be given to the following: A. Those who are openly ungodly and unrepentant, including those who take part in non-Christian religious worship. 1 Cor. 5:11, 13; 1 Cor. 10:20-21. B. Those who are unforgiving, refusing to be reconciled. They show thereby that they do not really believe that God forgives them either. Matt. 6:15. Bible narrative The unmerciful servant (Matt. 18:21-35) C. Those of a different confession of faith, since the Lord’s Supper is a testimony of the unity of faith. Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 10:17; 1 Cor. 11:26; Rom. 16:17 D. Those who are unable to examine themselves, such as infants, people who have not received proper instruction, or the unconscious. 1 Cor. 11:28. Note: Pastors as stewards of the mysteries of God (1 Cor. 4:1) have the greatest responsibility as to who should be admitted to the Sacrament. Some of the responsibility also rests with the congregation and the communicant.
306. What is confirmation? Confirmation is a public rite of the church preceded by a period of instruction designed to help baptized Christians identify with the life and mission of the Christian community.
Note: Prior to admission to the Lord’s Supper, it is necessary to be instructed in the Christian faith (1 Cor. 11:28). The rite of Confirmation provides an opportunity for the individual Christian, relying on God’s promise given in Holy Baptism, to make a personal public confession of the faith and a lifelong pledge of fidelity to Christ. Matt. 10:32-33; Rev. 2:10
From Luther’s Small Catechism © 1986, 1991 Concordia Publishing House. Used with permission. www.cph.org.