The Review and Herald

936/1902

June 7, 1898

The Lord's Supper and the Ordinance of Feet-Washing—No. 2

EGW

Those who come to the sacramental service with their hearts open to the influences of the Spirit of God will be greatly blessed, even if those who officiate are not benefited thereby. Christ is there to make the heart susceptible to his Holy Spirit, and to discern the entire dependence of his people upon him for their salvation. “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend forever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart.” RH June 7, 1898, par. 1

These ordinances were established that all might have the privilege of acknowledging their wrongs, and confessing their sins at this time. And as the heart is softened and melted under the movings of the Holy Spirit, the heavenly anointing gives them spiritual eyesight to discern their errors. Jesus has pledged himself to be present in the fulness of his grace to change the current of the minds that are running in selfish channels. This service can not be repeated without one thought's linking itself with another. Thus a chain of thought calls up remembrances of blessings, of kindnesses, and of favors received from friends and brethren, that have passed out of mind. The Holy Spirit, with its quickening, vivifying power, presents the ingratitude and lack of love that have sprung from the hateful root of bitterness. Link after link of memory's chain is strengthened. The Spirit of God is at work upon human minds. The defects of character, the neglect of duties, the ingratitude to God, are brought to the remembrance, and the thoughts are brought into captivity to Christ. RH June 7, 1898, par. 2

How the heart of Christ is pierced by the forgetfulness, unwillingness, and neglect to do the things that God has enjoined upon us! The heart needs to be broken, that selfishness may be cut away from the soul, and put away from the practise. If we have learned the lessons that Christ desires to teach us in this preparatory service, the Witness will respond to the feelings implanted in the heart for a higher spiritual life. RH June 7, 1898, par. 3

“Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” Christ does indeed manifest himself unto the believers who thus reveal their faith by coming together at the communion table with the simplicity of children to remember Jesus, his words, and his requirements, determined to exclude from the heart all selfishness and love of supremacy. RH June 7, 1898, par. 4

The broken bread and pure juice of the grape are to represent the broken body and spilled blood of the Son of God. Bread that is leavened must not come on the communion table; unleavened bread is the only correct representation of the Lord's Supper. Nothing fermented is to be used. Only the pure fruit of the vine and the unleavened bread are to be used. RH June 7, 1898, par. 5

We do not come to the ordinances of the Lord's house merely as a form. We do not make it our business, as we gather around the table of our Lord, to ponder over and deprecate our shortcomings. The ordinance of feet-washing included all this. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” We do not come with our minds diverted to our past experience in the religious life, whether that experience be elevating or depressing. We do not come to revive in our minds the ill-treatment we have received at the hands of our brethren. The ordinance of humility is to clear our moral horizon of the rubbish that has been permitted to accumulate. We have assembled now to meet with Jesus Christ, to commune with him. Every heart is to be open to the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. Our minds and hearts are to be fixed on Christ as the great Center on whom our hopes of eternal life depend. We are not to stand in the shadow, but in the saving light, of the cross. With hearts cleansed by Christ's most precious blood, and in full consciousness of his presence, although unseen, we may listen to his voice that thrills the soul with the words: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” On these occasions, heaven is brought very near to the true members of the Lord's family, and they are brought into sweet communion one with another. RH June 7, 1898, par. 6

There can be no union between our soul and God except through Christ. Union and love between brother and brother must be cemented and rendered eternal by the love of Jesus. Then do we not assemble around the communion table to meet and converse with Jesus as we receive the bread and wine symbolizing his broken body and spilled blood? Thus we must feed on Christ, or we can have no communion with him. RH June 7, 1898, par. 7

Christ knows that if we should allow our minds to become engrossed with earthly things, we would forget him in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered, and so lose the lifegiving power, the peace and joy, which the Lord wishes us to receive and retain. And he said: “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” RH June 7, 1898, par. 8

These things we are never to forget. The love of Jesus, with its convincing power, is to be kept fresh in the memory. We must not forget him who is our strength and our sufficiency. He has instituted this service, that it may speak constantly to our senses of the love of God that has been expressed in our behalf. He gave us all that it was possible for him to give,—he gave his life for the life of the world. RH June 7, 1898, par. 9

And his appeal to our love is strikingly made in the words of the apostle Paul: “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.” RH June 7, 1898, par. 10

Christ's second appearing, in the clouds of heaven, is ever to be kept before us. Almost his last words of consolation to his disciples were: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” RH June 7, 1898, par. 11

And the communion is to be a constant reminder of this. Says Christ: Under a conviction of sin, remember that I died for you. When oppressed and persecuted and afflicted for my sake and the gospel's, remember that my love was so great that I gave my life for you. Will you evidence your love for me, if required, by dying for me? When you feel your duties stern and severe, and almost too heavy to bear, will you remember that it was for your sake that I endured the cross, despising the shame? When your heart shrinks from the trying ordeal, remember that your Redeemer liveth to make intercession for you. “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” RH June 7, 1898, par. 12

Christ declared: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” We can not, as individuals, maintain our bodily life unless we eat and drink for ourselves of temporal food. In order to maintain spiritual life and health, we must feed on Jesus Christ by studying his word, and doing the things he has commanded in that word. This will constitute a close union with Christ. The branch that bears fruit must be in the vine, a part of it, receiving nourishment from the parent stalk. This is living by faith upon the Son of God. Christ has declared: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch can not bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” RH June 7, 1898, par. 13