This meditation was given at Christ Church Downtown on Nov 7 AD 2021.
In my exhortation earlier I encouraged you all to remember that the church is indeed one.
Despite our many differences, we are united by a common faith in Christ, and we are all part of one Body which has Christ as its head.
And yet while our oneness is a fundamental attribute of the church that can never be denied, it is still something that we must continually strive for and maintain at the same time. To do this we must avoid unnecessary divisions and conflicts which strike at and strain our fellowship and unity.
And it is here at this table where we find a means of grace toward that end.
It is here in this sacrament called communion where we all partake together as one.
For this table is the Lord’s and this table is one. It stretches across the earth and across time, and at it sits the Lord and His Bride.
As we partake of this bread and wine week after week, the Father delights in continuing to answer Christ’s prayer—that all who believe in Him would be made one in His perfect love.
So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.
Much more controversial than the doctrine of paedobaptism today is the doctrine of paedocommunion, or child communion. While welcoming children to partake of the Lord’s Supper is a practice found in the ancient Church, today very few Presbyterian or Reformed churches allow it. However, there are good biblical reasons for allowing covenant children to join the rest of God’s people at His table. But because this practice was not re-established by the Reformers, is rejected in many Reformed denominations today, and would be out of line for someone who subscribes without exception to the Westminster Standards; we ought to be humble in our support of this practice and not schismatic. We must recognize that advocation for paedocommunion would be part of a commitment to semper reformanda, always reforming our life and doctrine. As Reformed Christians we do indeed believe that the work of the Reformation and the subsequent confessional doctrines are part of God’s work in maturing and refining His church. However, we do not believe that the Reformers had the opportunities or the need to address every doctrinal issue, nor were they infallible. Scripture alone must be our highest authority. So now let’s turn to four arguments for welcoming covenant children to partake of the Lord’s Supper.
Having considered the sacrament of baptism, now let’s turn to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. As we have already noted, there are two parts of a sacrament: the outward and visible sign, and the inward and spiritual grace thereby signified (WLC 163). In the Lord’s Supper, the outward visible signs are bread and wine—consecrated, broken, poured, distributed, and received. The inward spiritual grace signified is Christ crucified for us and all of His benefits for us—including union with Him, the indwelling of the Spirit, adoption by the Father, regeneration, justification, sanctification, and future glorification.
The first sacrament to consider is baptism, for through baptism men, women, and children enter into the church. Baptism is not only what admits an individual into the church, but is also “a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life” (WCF 28.1). In baptism, individuals are washed with water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as was commanded and instituted by Christ in the Great Commission (Mt. 28:19).
Our Lord Jesus instituted two covenantal sacraments for the church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper (also called Communion or the Eucharist). Sacraments are holy ordinances instituted by Christ for His church, which are made up of a signs and seals of the covenant of grace (WCF 27.1).