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Children and the Lord's Supper

07.28.14 | Documents | by Rob Connelly

    A General Response to Children and the Lord’s Supper

    When people inquire about children taking the Lord’s Supper at North Wake, please keep in mind that the table is open to all present believers, including children who are:

    • Trusting (note this is the present action tense!) in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins and the fulfillment of all His promises to us (including eternal life); and
    • Who intend to follow Him as Lord and obey His commandments.

    Therefore, children are welcome to participate in the Lord’s Supper:

    • When they can understand its significance,
    • When they are able to give a credible profession of faith in Christ, and
    • When they consciously intend to follow the Lord in obedience.

    There is no “test” or class children attend to help establish their readiness.  Here at North Wake we believe that parents know the temperament and spiritual readiness of their child best and will be able to gauge when their young disciples are ready.

    Is your child ready to partake in the Lord’s Supper?

    Here at North Wake, we recommend that you wait until your child is Baptized before they partake in  the Lord’s Supper.  However once again, we believe that parents know best the spiritual readiness and temperament of their child and should be able to gauge if their child is ready.  Here are some things to think through to help determine if your child is ready to come to the Table…

    • Wait for Understanding- Is your child able to understand the meaning of the Lord’s Supper?
    • Wait for More Independent Thinking- Did they come upon their belief in Christ on their own?  Can they put into words why they believe and what the Lord’s Supper is?
    • Wait for Significance- waiting to take Communion until a later age can impress upon your child the significance and privilege of the Lord’s Supper.
    • Wait for Anticipation- Building up joyful anticipation can make their first and every experience at the table sweeter and more meaningful.
    • Wait for Maturity- Is your child old enough to understand the meaning and significance of the Lord’s Supper ? Can they share with you their testimony?

    But, I don’t want my child to feel left out…

    If your children feel left out, neglected, or deprived because they can’t participate in the Lord’s Supper, it may be because explanations have been given in terms of denial, not anticipation.  “No, you can’t” is very different from, “Not yet; it’s important that you wait.” Parents should communicate a spirit of longing for their child to participate: “ Oh, I can hardly wait until you’re old enough!”  Each time you go to the front to receive communion, prayerfully think of ways to help get your children involved in this time of anticipation for the day they can take the Lord’s Supper.
    One father writes of his experience of helping his sons wait to take communion “ As we sat in the pew, or we knelt at the front of the church, I would hold the bread and cup in my hands.  I had each of the boys’ cup his hands around mine.  With each, the bread and the juice- I was receiving, I would explain the meaning of each of these sacred symbols and tell them that God’s love was extended to them in a special way in Christ’s death and resurrection.  They were drawn into the remembrance with me…I am sure that my toddlers did not understand all this truth on a theological level, but during Communion after Communion for many years they grew into the mystery.  They knew by my tears, the gravity of my voice and the persistence of the message that this was a profoundly significant event.  As the boys grew up, explanations deepened. “ To think of how much God loved us… how much it cost Jesus to be obedient unto death to save us…what it must have meant for God to take our sin and place it on His perfect Son… Little by little the message, the elements, the symbolism and the implications for the boys’ own faith took root.  As they grew older, I began to see an increasingly serious mood and manner in them during Communion. Their senses of awe for this ultimate gift would be evident, joy deepened; resting in God’s secure love bought at a great price.”

    So, REALLY what is the Lord’s Supper?

    The Lord’s Supper is one of the ordinances given by Christ to the church. Since these ordinances are commands from Christ, the Lord of the church, they are not optional. Baptism by immersion is a one time act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in a new way of life. It serves as an outward sign of conscience confession of repentance and faith. The Lord’s Supper is an ongoing symbol remembering our Lord’s death, burial, resurrection, and promised return.
    (MATTHEW 28:18-20, 26) As surely as all believers are commanded to be baptized, likewise all believers are commanded to partake of the Lord’s Supper.

    The Bread represents the Body of Christ, broken for you
    The Cup represents the Blood of Christ, shed for you

    How then should we receive the Lord’s Supper?

    1 Corinthians 11:26-28 gives an overview of four important looks that one should take before, during, and after taking the Lord’s Supper:

    • The first is to look back to the cross. The Lord’s Supper’s primary message is about remembering the cross of Christ and what was accomplished there for our sins. Any celebration of the Lord’s Supper without acknowledging the cause of its celebration causes one to become guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. (v 27). The purpose of the Lord’s Supper is, as verse 26 states, “to proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
    • Secondly, one must also take an inward look to examine one’s own heart and motives (v 28). Are you considering what this Supper represents? Are you right with God and your brother? These matters must be dealt with properly before receiving the Lord’s Supper.
    • Thirdly, a forward look is needed. We must look forward to the Second Coming of Christ. Every celebration of the Lord’s Supper is an occasion to look forward to the day when we consummate this great feast with Jesus Christ Himself at the head of the table.
    • * Adapted from Children Desiring God Children and the Lord's Supper resource.

    To Listen to a sermon on "The Ordinance of the Lord's Supper," click on the link below.