Day of Reflection

JANUARY 31 (Year One)

Day For Reflection
The thirty-first day of the month

1) Review previous day’s readings.
2) Meditate on what God has revealed to you.
3) Ask yourself how God wants you to put His Word into action.


The 6-Year Plan is designed for both study and reflection. Every Bible passage appears on two consecutive days. The first day is the ESV translation with verse numbers. Use Commentaries, Thesauruses, Study Guides, etc. to study the passage.

The second day repeats the same passage using one of nine alternative translations but without verse numbers. The second day is always meant for reflection. The thirty-first day, however, allows time to review all of the previous passages so that an action plan develops emphasizing that THE WORD is LIFE .

Question 52

Question

What hope does everlasting life hold for us?

Answer

It reminds us that this present fallen world is not all there is; soon we will live with and enjoy God forever in the new city, in the new heaven and the new earth, where we will be fully and forever freed from all sin and will inhabit renewed, resurrection bodies in a renewed, restored creation.

Proof Text: Revelation 21:1–4

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Prayer

Eternal God, we eagerly await the fullness of your kingdom. We long for every tear to be dried. We groan for the day when we no longer struggle against the flesh. Let the sure hope of everlasting life give us courage to face the trials of this life. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

Video Commentary

Timothy Keller

Who is Timothy Keller?

Transcript of
Timothy Keller’s
Video Commentary

The catechism answer tells us two things about the glorious future that the gospel assures us is coming.

First, we are going to enjoy God forever. Because God is triune within himself, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have been glorifying each other, delighting in each other, adoring each other, loving each other. Therefore, God within himself has infinite joy. And we were created to share in that joy. We were created to glorify him and to participate in that glory and joy. But none of us, even the strongest Christians today, have ever experienced what that joy is—perfect, cosmic, infinite, endlessly growing—because all of us worship and adore other things. Someday we will be freed from sin, and then we will know and experience that glory and joy. We will enjoy him forever.

Second, we will enjoy him forever in the new city, in the New Jerusalem, in the new heavens and new earth. We will experience this cosmic joy not in a purely immaterial condition. But, rather, we will be in a restored material creation. We will have resurrection bodies like Jesus’s body—physical bodies. And what that means is, as Christianity envisions, the body and the soul, the physical and the spiritual, are together in perfect harmony forever. No other religion envisions that. We will not float about as disembodied spirits, but we will dance. We will march. We will hug. We will be embraced. We will eat, and we will drink in the kingdom of God. It means all of our deepest longings will be fulfilled. All of our greatest sorrows will be swallowed up.

What could be better than that? And that’s what we’re in for. Nothing less.

Historical Commentary by
J. C. Ryle

Who is J. C. Ryle?

Let us settle it then in our minds, for one thing, that the future happiness of those who are saved is eternal. However little we may understand it, it is something which will have no end: it will never cease, never grow old, never decay, never die. At God’s “right hand are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11). Once landed in paradise, the saints of God shall go out no more. The inheritance is “incorruptible, undefiled, and fadeth not away.” They shall “receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away” (1 Pet. 1:4; 5:4). Their warfare is accomplished; their fight is over; their work is done. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more. They are travelling on towards an “eternal weight of glory,” towards a home which shall never be broken up, a meeting without a parting, a family gathering without a separation, a day without night. Faith shall be swallowed up in sight, and hope in certainty. They shall see as they have been seen, and know as they have been known, and “be for ever with the Lord.” I do not wonder that the apostle Paul adds, “Comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:17–18).

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Question 52

What hope does everlasting life hold for us?

Answer

That we will live with and enjoy God forever in the new heaven and the new earth, where we will be forever freed from all sin in a renewed, restored creation.

Question 51

Question

Of what advantage to us is Christ’s ascension?

Answer

Christ physically ascended on our behalf, just as he came down to earth physically on our account, and he is now advocating for us in the presence of his Father, preparing a place for us, and also sends us his Spirit.

Proof Text: Romans 8:34

Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Prayer

Interceding Savior, you have not stopped showing compassion for your people. You were tempted in every way as we are, and you now intercede for us when we are tempted. Plead for us to your Father, for you are our advocate before the judge of all the earth. Amen.

Video Commentary

Bryan Chapell

Who is Bryan Chapell?

Transcript of
Bryan Chapell’s
Video Commentary

The ascension is Christ’s enthronement as King over all. When he ascended, he showed that he ruled over death and that he continues to assume his place of authority over all the world. The very One who created the world is the One who continues to rule it by the word of his power.

Now when we say that Christ rules, we mean that in his ascension he assumed the office of King that he had before he came to earth. While on this earth, he continued to maintain all things and accomplish all his purposes, even to his death and resurrection. But as now the ascended Lord, he is Lord over all. He is the One who controls all things so that they are working for the good of those who love him.

But he’s not simply King. He, in his ascension, is interceding for us at the right hand of God. He continues to fulfill the office of a priest as well, providing what is needed as advocacy and intercession before the Father. As we repent of our sins, as we pray to God, our sins are taken by the Son of God, acting as a priest on our behalf, as the One who now intercedes for us, so that God will listen and act in our behalf.

Not only is Jesus acting as that King and as Priest in our behalf, he continues to send his Word into our hearts by the work of his Spirit. The Holy Spirit, remember, was to testify of Christ. The very reason that we can understand God’s Word—not just its logic but its significance—is that the Holy Spirit sent by Christ himself is opening our hearts to it. This means that as that Word comes from Christ and is given to us by his Spirit, Jesus continues to operate as a prophet on our behalf, giving us the Word of God so that we can walk with him, understand him, and understand his grace.

All this means that Christ in his ascension is operating for our present good. He’s ruling our present circumstances. He’s advocating for us in our present circumstances. He’s sending his Word into our hearts so that we can handle our present circumstances. But that’s not the end of his job.

As Prophet, Priest, and King, he’s also preparing for our future. All things are being worked toward a divine end, a culmination, a consummation of the glory of God by the One who rules over all for the purposes that he has designed. He, as King, is preparing a place for us of God’s great blessing. As Priest he is going to ensure that when we stand before the throne of judgment, we will be made right before God by the cleansing work of his blood. Jesus’s priestly nature will again come to the fore as we bow before the Lamb of God, who by his blood purchased men and women for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. That priestly role Christ will also fulfill as he prepares a future for us. And, ultimately by his Spirit, he will secure all who are his own. So that God by his Spirit is accomplishing his will not only in the present world but also in eternity. He is securing by the power of the Spirit all that God intends, sent by the purposes, power, and ultimate love of Jesus Christ.

That ascended Lord is the One who, by being Prophet, Priest, and King, is ruling over our present and preparing for our future.

Historical Commentary by
Charles Wesley

Who is Charles Wesley?

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Question 51

Of what advantage to us is Christ’s ascension?

Answer

Christ is now advocating for us in the presence of his Father and also sends us his Spirit.

Question 50

Question

What does Christ’s resurrection mean for us?

Answer

Christ triumphed over sin and death by being physically resurrected, so that all who trust in him are raised to new life in this world and to everlasting life in the world to come. Just as we will one day be resurrected, so this world will one day be restored. But those who do not trust in Christ will be raised to everlasting death.

Proof Text: 1 Thessalonians 4:13–14

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

Prayer

Resurrecting God, make us mindful that death is not the end for us. Save us from the judgment we deserve, and make us faithful to implore others to flee from the wrath to come. We look in hope to the joy that will be ours when, saved from that wrath through the merits of Christ, we will be clothed with resurrected bodies to reign on a renewed earth. Amen.

Video Commentary

D. A. Carson

Who is D. A. Carson?

Transcript of
D. A. Carson’s
Video Commentary

The resurrection of Jesus Christ carries with it many, many wonderful implications. The first is that it vindicates Jesus. In other words, some people thought that if Jesus died on the cross, it could only be because he deserved it. He was declared guilty by a Roman court. And the Old Testament itself insists that anyone who hangs on a tree is under the curse of God. But as it turns out, he did not die as a damned man because of his own sin. Rather, he was bearing the sin of others, and that sacrifice so pleased God that God raised him from the dead. Thus, his resurrection is a form of vindication. It is proof positive that when Jesus said with his dying words, “It is finished,” God agreed. His Father agreed. The work of redemption had been accomplished, and the Father vindicates Jesus through the resurrection.

The resurrection also demonstrates the gospel’s concern for human beings embodied. In other words, some people think of our ultimate state as kind of ethereal spirit beings without any connection with bodies. But part of elementary, fundamental Christian truth is that in the new heaven and the new earth, the ultimate goal, the home of righteousness, there will not be just heavenly existence. It’s earthly existence. It’s a new heaven and a new earth, and we will have resurrection bodies like Christ’s. That’s one of the great arguments of 1 Corinthians 15. Paul argues that if Christ rose from the dead in a resurrection body—which, however strange in some ways and remarkable it was, could be touched and handled, could be spoken to, could be seen, and could actually eat human food—then when we, who are finally resurrected on the last day, come into that final state, we will have resurrection bodies like his resurrection body. That is our destination. So his resurrection is the firstfruit of what is often called a general resurrection at the end of the age. All human beings will be resurrected, whether to life or to condemnation, because we are essentially embodied people.

And with this comes also a vision of life and existence beyond this life. We should not think that Christianity merely sorts out some problems in our lives here. Rather, the ultimate goal is beyond this life. When we get older and more hairs fall out and arthritis kicks in, or we slink away into dementia, suddenly resurrection existence begins to look very good indeed because our hope is not to survive to seventy or eighty or even ninety. Our hope finally is a body like Christ’s resurrection body. And his is the firstfruit; ours has been secured by him, and we are coming along behind him to join him in resurrection existence: full-bodied resurrection existence in the new heaven and the new earth, the home of righteousness. That’s why 1 Thessalonians 4, the great resurrection chapter, ends with the words “Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

Historical Commentary by
Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Who is Martyn Lloyd-Jones?

The whole creation will have been delivered from the bondage of corruption and will be enjoying “the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21). Everything will be glorified, even nature itself. And that seems to me to be the biblical teaching about the eternal state: that what we call heaven is life in this perfect world as God intended humanity to live it. When He put Adam in Paradise at the beginning Adam fell, and all fell with him, but men and women are meant to live in the body, and will live in a glorified body in a glorified world, and God will be with them.

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Question 50

Question 50
What does Christ’s resurrection mean for us?

Answer

Christ triumphed over sin and death so that all who trust in him are raised to new life in this world and to everlasting life in the world to come.

Question 49

Question

Where is Christ now?

Answer

Christ rose bodily from the grave on the third day after his death and is seated at the right hand of the Father, ruling his kingdom and interceding for us, until he returns to judge and renew the whole world.

Proof Text: Ephesians 1:20–21

He raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

Prayer

Risen and Ascended Lord, though you no longer walk this earth, you rule over us from your throne. All authority and power are in you. Your name is above all names. Raise us up at the last day to live with you in your kingdom. Amen.

Video Commentary

David Bisgrove

Who is David Bisgrove?

Transcript of
David Bisgrove’s
Video Commentary

No doubt you’ve heard the phrase “out of sight, out of mind.” Someone who’s not around, whom you haven’t seen in a long time, doesn’t have much impact or relevance in your day-to-day life. The Bible tells us that after Jesus’s resurrection, he ascended into heaven, disappearing from view, out of sight. But we’re also told that because of where he now resides, we can be assured that he’s relevant in our daily lives.

So where is Jesus now? He’s seated at the right hand of God the Father. But what difference does that make to us in our day-to-day lives? First, it reminds us that Jesus rules over all creation. Psalm 110 paints a beautiful picture of God’s enemies as a footstool of Jesus as he sits at the Father’s right hand. Can you see the comfort of that in your daily life? When you struggle with discouragement or disappointment or bitterness about the way your life is going, or when you’re discouraged and angry about all the injustice and evil in the world, and like David in Psalm 37 you’re tempted to ask why the wicked seem to flourish, consider where Jesus is now. He’s at the right hand of God the Father. See him there. Enemies are his footstool. The One who conquered death is now ruling the world. Ephesians 1 says that Jesus was given all authority and will one day return and make the crooked places straight. So let where Jesus is now give you hope and courage to trust and follow him.

But there’s even more. Not only is Jesus the King who rules, but he is the Priest who intercedes. Hebrews 10 tells us that Jesus is the great High Priest, who on the cross offered himself as the ultimate sacrifice for sin. He is now interceding and praying for us at the Father’s right hand. He is our Advocate in every sense of that word. So to see Jesus at God’s right hand as our High Priest is to remember that there is no condemnation for our sin, that Jesus sacrificed himself so that we could be united with him. We have the full rights, therefore, as God’s children.

So, yes, Jesus is out of sight. We can’t physically see him. But he is active in our day-to-day lives and in this world at the right hand of God the Father ruling as our King, interceding as our Priest, and waiting to return, when he will wipe away every tear, beat swords into plowshares, and flood the world with his glory and grace.

Historical Commentary by
Charles Wesley

Who is Charles Wesley?

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Question 49

Where is Christ now?

Answer

Christ rose bodily from the grave on the third day after his death and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

Question 48

Question

What is the church?

Answer

God chooses and preserves for himself a community elected for eternal life and united by faith, who love, follow, learn from, and worship God together. God sends out this community to proclaim the gospel and prefigure Christ’s kingdom by the quality of their life together and their love for one another.

Proof Text: 2 Thessalonians 2:13

But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

Prayer

King Over All, you have brought us together as the family of God. Keep us faithful to worship together, to love one another, and to provide for each other’s needs. Let our fellowship be genuine, and help us to spur one another on in the faith. Amen.

Video Commentary

John Yates

Who is John Yates?

Transcript of
John Yates’s
Video Commentary

The church is the family of God. In the New Testament it’s called the community of the new covenant. It’s the body of which Christ is the Head. It’s the bride of Christ. We’re called a holy people, a holy nation, a royal priesthood. The church is the people who have been made God’s children, adopted by God through Jesus Christ. And the church consists of all cultures, all ethnic groups, people across the ages, all those who have come to know Jesus Christ as Lord.

In my tradition, the Anglican tradition, we have a statement of faith called the Thirty-Nine Articles. They describe the church this way:

The local, visible church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men and women, in which the pure Word of God is preached and the Sacraments are duly ministered according to Christ’s ordinance. . . .

The church has no authority except in submission to Christ, and it is not lawful for the church to ordain anything that is contrary to God’s Word written, and neither may it so expound one place of Scripture that it be repugnant to another.

The ancient creeds describe the church as “one holy catholic and apostolic.” It is one because the church is one body under one head. It is holy because the Holy Spirit indwells it and consecrates it, directing the members of the church in the work of God. It is catholic, meaning worldwide, proclaiming the whole apostolic faith to all people to the end of time. And it’s apostolic. That means we continue the teaching and fellowship of the apostles, and we’re sent out on Christ’s mission to all people.

We don’t choose who is going to be in the church, just as we have no say in who our brothers and sisters or cousins are. God chooses. Whatever particular denomination or group they may belong to, God’s people are part of the church and our brothers and sisters.

The church is summed up in this wonderful old hymn by Samuel J. Stone:

The church’s one foundation
is Jesus Christ her Lord;
she is his new creation
by water and the word.

From heaven he came and sought her
to be his holy bride;
with his own blood he bought her,
and for her life he died.

Elect from every nation,
yet one o’er all the earth;
her charter of salvation,
one Lord, one faith, one birth;

one holy name she blesses,
partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses,
with every grace endued.

Historical Commentary by
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Who is Charles Haddon Spurgeon?

My brethren, let me say, be ye like Christ at all times. Imitate him in public. Most of us live in some sort of publicity; many of us are called to work before our fellow-men every day. We are watched; our words are caught; our lives are examined, taken to pieces. The eagle-eyed, argus-eyed world observes everything we do, and sharp critics are upon us. Let us live the life of Christ in public. Let us take care that we exhibit our Master, and not ourselves—so that we can say, “It is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me.” Take heed that you carry this into the church too. . . . Be like Christ in the church. How many there are of you . . . seeking pre-eminence? How many are trying to have some dignity and power over their fellow Christians, instead of remembering that it is the fundamental rule of all our churches, that there all men are equal—alike brethren, alike to be received as such. Carry out the spirit of Christ, then, in your churches, wherever ye are; let your fellow members say of you, “He has been with Jesus.”

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Question 48

What is the church?

Answer

A community elected for eternal life and united by faith, who love, follow, learn from, and worship God together.

Question 47

Question

Does the Lord’s Supper add anything to Christ’s atoning work?

Answer

No, Christ died once for all. The Lord’s Supper is a covenant meal celebrating Christ’s atoning work; as it is also a means of strengthening our faith as we look to him, and a foretaste of the future feast. But those who take part with unrepentant hearts eat and drink judgment on themselves.

Proof Text: 1 Peter 3:18

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God. . . .

Prayer

Conqueror of Death, we celebrate your finished work when we take the Lord’s Supper. May our eating be a confession of faith, that though we are unworthy, we have been joined together with the worthiness of Christ. May we come to your table with repentant hearts, putting away pride and self-sufficiency, enjoying the free grace you offer to us. Amen.

Video Commentary

Leo Schuster

Who is Leo Schuster?

Transcript of
Leo Schuster’s
Video Commentary

I recently saw a restaurant advertisement that simply had the name of the restaurant and the words spiritual dining. It made me wonder about whether dining, at its best, is more than a mere material experience. And it made me think about the Lord’s Supper, the spiritual meal, and what it does and doesn’t do. There are actually three dimensions to what the Lord’s Supper does: past, present, and future.

When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, he told his disciples, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19), underscoring that what he was urging them to do would point back to what he had done for them. When we remember what Jesus did for us, we ground our lives in his finished work. The Lord’s Supper isn’t a way you can earn your salvation; it is spiritual dining for those who are saved. It doesn’t add anything to the finished work of Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice, but confirms and strengthens us in him. It becomes a sort of gospel shorthand where, as an ancient writer put it, first we hear the gospel, then we taste the gospel, and so the gospel goes forward in our lives on two legs. As Paul put it in 1 Corinthians, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (11:26). As Christians we eat and drink to remember Jesus’s triumph. That’s the past dimension.

Paul points to the present dimension of the Lord’s Supper when he writes in 1 Corinthians, “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” (10:16). That word participation could also be translated “fellowship” or “communion.” It’s where we get the term communion. Think of what that means—the Lord’s Supper is not only a symbolic reminder of what Jesus has done for us; it’s also a present communion with one another and with Jesus.

It’s important to note that the bread and wine don’t change in any way. Jesus isn’t present physically, but he’s present spiritually as the Holy Spirit exhibits him to us by faith. Now for those who are spiritually unresolved, the Lord’s Supper is a call to them to receive Christ rather than to participate in the meal. By witnessing Christians partaking, they’re encouraged to hear the echo of Jesus’s loving call: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). And when we as believers take communion by faith, Jesus meets with us, uniting us as a community, nourishing us with himself, and strengthening us to love and obey him. That’s the present dimension.

When Jesus gave his disciples the cup he said, “I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matt. 26:29). With these words he directed them to the future dimension of the Lord’s Supper, as a sign pointing forward to the great day of anticipation. It’s a foretaste of the marriage supper of the Lamb and the everlasting feast believers will enjoy with Christ in glory. Now we’re broken creatures due to sin. Through Christ’s broken body we’re made whole again. Yet in this life we continue to experience the brokenness of our fallen condition. The future dimension of the Lord’s Supper points us forward in hope to a day when we will be made completely whole and when we’ll enjoy, with our Savior and with one another, dining at its very best.

Historical Commentary by qqq J. C. Ryle

Who is J. C. Ryle?

Let us settle it firmly in our minds that the Lord’s Supper was not given to be a means either of justification or of conversion. It was never meant to give grace where there is no grace already, or to provide pardon when pardon is not already enjoyed. It cannot possibly provide what is lacking with the absence of repentance to God, and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. It is an ordinance for the penitent, not for the impenitent, for the believing, not for the unbelieving, for the converted, not for the unconverted. The unconverted man, who fancies that he can find a shortcut road to heaven by taking the Sacrament, without treading the well-worn steps of repentance and faith, will find to his cost one day that he is totally deceived. The Lord’s Supper was meant to increase and help the grace that a man has, but not to impart the grace that he has not. It was certainly never intended to make our peace with God, to justify, or to convert.

The simplest statement of the benefit which a truehearted communicant may expect to receive from the Lord’s Supper . . . is the strengthening and refreshing of our souls. Clearer views of Christ and His atonement, clearer views of all the offices which Christ fills as our Mediator and Advocate, clearer views of the complete redemption Christ has obtained for us by His vicarious death on the cross, clearer views of our full and perfect acceptance in Christ before God, fresh reasons for deep repentance for sin, fresh reasons for lively faith, fresh reasons for living a holy, consecrated, Christ-like life,—these are among the leading returns which a believer may confidently expect to get from his attendance at the Lord’s Table. He that eats the bread and drinks the wine in a right spirit will find himself drawn into closer communion with Christ, and will feel to know Him more, and understand Him better. . . .

In eating that bread and drinking that cup, such a man will have his repentance deepened, his faith increased, his knowledge enlarged, his habit of holy living strengthened. He will realise more of the “real presence” of Christ in his heart. Eating that bread by faith, he will feel closer communion with the body of Christ. Drinking that wine by faith, he will feel closer communion with the blood of Christ. He will see more clearly what Christ is to him, and what he is to Christ. He will understand more thoroughly what it is to be “one with Christ, and Christ one with him.” He will feel the roots of his soul’s spiritual life watered, and the work of grace in his heart established, built up, and carried forward. All these things may seem and sound like foolishness to a natural man, but to a true Christian these things are light, and health, and life, and peace.

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Question 47

Does the Lord’s Supper add anything to Christ’s atoning work?

Answer

No, Christ died once for all.

Question 46

Question

What is the Lord’s Supper?

Answer

Christ commanded all Christians to eat bread and to drink from the cup in thankful remembrance of him and his death. The Lord’s Supper is a celebration of the presence of God in our midst; bringing us into communion with God and with one another; feeding and nourishing our souls. It also anticipates the day when we will eat and drink with Christ in his Father’s kingdom.

Proof Text: 1 Corinthians 11:23–26

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Prayer

Bread of Life, we take the Lord’s Supper in reverent obedience. We do not want to receive it unworthily, so we come in repentance and faith. Help us to forgive the sins of those who have sinned against us, especially the believers with whom we share the bread and the cup. May our partaking of this meal proclaim your saving death and our desperate need of it. Amen.

Video Commentary

Ligon Duncan

Who is Ligon Duncan?

Transcript of
Ligon Duncan’s
Video Commentary

The Lord’s Supper is a covenant sign and seal. That means that it both represents and confirms to us the precious promise of God that, through Jesus Christ, he will be our God, and we are his people. In the Lord’s Supper we have a remembrance, a celebration of God’s presence, and an experience of communion. We also have something that nourishes us, and in the Lord’s Supper, we anticipate the glory to come.

First, we have a remembrance in the Lord’s Supper. In the Lord’s Supper, Jesus told his disciples that they were going to proclaim his death until he comes. The bread and the wine, the body and the blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper, is a representation of a covenant sacrifice. The two constituent parts indicate that Jesus’s death was a deliberate act on his part. He gave himself as a sacrifice in our place for the forgiveness of our sins. And so every time we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we are to remember the meaning and significance of the death of Jesus Christ on our behalf. We are to remember him. “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). We celebrate the glorious work of atonement that Jesus Christ accomplished for us.

Second, the Lord’s Supper is also a celebration of God’s presence. Isn’t it amazing that we’re invited to slide our knees up under the table of God? That is especially amazing in light of our rebellion. In Genesis 3, Satan said to Eve and to Adam, “Take and eat this fruit.” They ate the fruit against God’s command, and what was the result? Did it result in their satisfaction and fulfillment? No. It resulted in their being driven away from the presence of God. But at the Lord’s Table the Lord himself invites us back into his presence. When Jesus says to his disciples, “Take and eat,” he reverses the words of the Serpent in the garden. Derek Kidner has this wonderful line: “God will taste poverty and death before ‘take and eat’ become verbs of salvation.” We experience that every time we come to the Lord’s Table, every time we hear the minister say, “Take and eat, all of you.” It’s a celebration of our reunion with God, his presence with us, and our enjoyment of his near fellowship.

Third, the Lord’s Supper is a communion. It’s a communion with God and with his people. We not only commune with the living God by grace, we not only commune with the living God by what Jesus has done for us on the cross, but we commune with one another. When we’re united to the Lord Jesus Christ, we’re united to everyone who is united to the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s why Paul says to the Corinthians, “You must discern the body” (1 Cor. 11:29). He’s not telling them that they need to understand some mystical thing about the elements in the Lord’s Supper. What’s the body that he’s talking about? The body of Christ, the church, the fellowship of believers.

Finally, the Lord’s Supper is spiritual nourishment. It’s a means of grace. It’s one of God’s appointed ways by which he builds us up and nourishes us, confirms our faith, and strengthens us for growth. And the Lord’s Supper is an anticipation of the glory to come. Jesus washed his disciples’ feet on the night that he was betrayed, and he served them the elements of the Lord’s Supper. Interestingly, when Jesus speaks of the marriage supper of the Lamb in consummation (Luke 12:37), in glory, when the great end has come and all have acknowledged him to be King, he says that on that day he will bid us all to recline, just like the disciples reclined on the night of the Lord’s Supper, and he will gird himself and serve us.

Yes, in the Lord’s Supper, we anticipate the marriage supper of the Lamb, where we will sit down with one another in glory, and our Savior will serve us again everything that we need. What a joy it is to come to the Lord’s Table.

Historical Commentary by
Richard Baxter

Who is Richard Baxter?

O what unspeakable mysteries and treasures of mercy are here presented to us in a sacrament! Here we have communion with a reconciled God, and are brought into his presence by the great Reconciler. Here we have communion with our blessed Redeemer, as crucified and glorified, and offered to us, as our quickening, preserving, strengthening Head. Here we have communion with the Holy Ghost, applying to our souls the benefits of redemption, drawing us to the Son, and communicating light, and life, and strength from him unto us; increasing and actuating his graces in us. Here we have communion with the body of Christ, his sanctified people, the heirs of life. When the minister of Christ by his commission representeth a crucified Christ to our eyes, by the bread and wine appointed to this use, we see Christ crucified as it were before us, and our faith layeth hold on him, and we perceive the truth of the remedy; and build our souls upon this rock. When the same minister by Christ’s commission, doth offer us his body, and blood, and benefits, it is as firm and valid to us, as if the mouth of Christ himself had offered them. And when our souls receive him, by that faith which the Holy Ghost exciteth in us, the participation is as true as that of our bodies receiving the bread and wine which represent him.

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Question 46

What is the Lord’s Supper?

Answer

Christ commanded all Christians to eat bread and to drink from the cup in thankful remembrance of him.

Question 45

Question

Is baptism with water the washing away of sin itself?

Answer

No, only the blood of Christ and the renewal of the Holy Spirit can cleanse us from sin.

Proof Text: Luke 3:16

John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Prayer

Lamb of God, our baptism is a sign that we are saved not by our own righteousness, but because we have been given the righteousness of Christ. Let us not make baptism the object of our trust, but look instead to the cleansing work of Jesus, beautifully depicted in baptism. Amen.

Video Commentary

R. Kent Hughes

Who is R. Kent Hughes?

Transcript of
R. Kent Hughes’s
Video Commentary

The great classic text that celebrates and announces the believer’s baptism into Christ is 1 Corinthians 12:13: “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” That speaks of the Spirit’s initiating us into the body of Christ, and that happened to me when I was just twelve years old. I’d never heard of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but I was indeed baptized by the Holy Spirit. And now as the years have gone by, what was an objective fact has become a subjective reality in my life.

When I was baptized by the Spirit, I was regenerated, born again. I was born of the Spirit, John 3 says. What a beautiful picture. The metaphor of being born again describes a divine obstetrics because I was taken out of darkness and I was brought into light, and I began to see things.

At the same time I was regenerated, I was indwelled by the Holy Spirit. Jesus says in John 14 that the Spirit “will live with you” and “will be in you.” I lost my father when I was a little boy and had a sense of being alone in this world. When I became indwelt, a sense of paternity overtook my soul, of being adopted. I didn’t know that I’d been tagged by the Holy Spirit or sealed by the Holy Spirit. As it says in Ephesians 1:13–14: “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” That further gave me a sense of protection and reality, that I was tagged for eternity by the Holy Spirit when I was baptized by the Spirit.

When I was baptized in the Spirit, I was also prayed for. Romans 8:26 says, “Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought.” The Holy Spirit prays with groanings that cannot be uttered because he knows our hearts (Rom. 8:26).

And then, at the same time, I was enlightened. I can remember as a boy at a camp going back to my cabin, getting out my Bible, underlining in it, and having the Word come alive to me, as it has continued to come alive in my life. Now when John the Baptist pointedly said, “I baptize you with water, but [Christ] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire,” he was talking about the superiority of Jesus’s baptism. Water can wash only the outside, but the Spirit and fire regenerate and cleanse the inside. And so that is the great abiding reality and joy of being baptized with the Spirit and fire. The Holy Spirit is making all things new and constantly conforming us to the image of Christ.

Historical Commentary by
John Calvin

Who is John Calvin?

“He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” It is asked, why did not John equally say, that it is Christ alone who washes souls with his blood? The reason is, that this very washing is performed by the power of the Spirit, and John reckoned it enough to express the whole effect of baptism by the single word Spirit. The meaning is clear, that Christ alone bestows all the grace which is figuratively represented by outward baptism, because it is he who “sprinkles the conscience” with his blood. It is he also who mortifies the old man, and bestows the Spirit of regeneration. The word fire is added as an epithet, and is applied to the Spirit, because he takes away our pollutions, as fire purifies gold.

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Question 45

Is baptism with water the washing away of sin itself?

Answer

No, only the blood of Christ can cleanse us from sin.