Why can’t you take the Lord’s Supper? Is it because you are too young? Is it because you’ve sinned too much? Is it because you don’t know enough? Actually, it’s none of the above. It depends upon the answer to this question, “Are you a Christian?” It is that simple. It is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself. How you answer that question affects the rest of your life.
So, as we begin to answer that question, we also need to understand something about you from God’s point of view. Once we understand what the Bible teaches regarding who you are, then we can finally answer the question, “Why couldn’t I take the Lord’s Supper?”
Who am I?
God placed you in the church. Most of you were raised in Christian homes or born to believing parents. You did not have a choice in this matter. God placed you with the parents that you have and because He saved them, he also blessed them by placing you into their lives. They could not choose what kind of child they would receive nor could you choose what kind of parents you would have.
God, by His choice, placed you into a Christian home. Unless one of your parents was not a Christian, you probably would not be reading this. As it is, you are reading this and trying to learn what the Bible teaches about you. You are reading this because God brought you to this point.
The biblical view of children
In the Old Testament (OT) God promised the following regarding the children of God’s people: “I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.” (Is. 44:3) God promised to work in the children of believers by pouring His Spirit into them. Something like that began to happen in John the Baptist (“you shall call his name John…and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit” — Lk. 1:13-15).
In the OT, God considered all Israelites to be His people, not just the adults. The promises applied to both the adults and all their family members. The children of the OT were considered to be God’s people. The firstborn of Israel were specifically considered God’s (Num. 3:13, “for all the firstborn are mine”). God was very displeased with Israel because they did wicked things to their children. But they were in fact God’s children; He says of their children that they were His, children “they bore to Me [that is, “they bore to God”]” (Ezek. 23:37). God was telling them that their children were actually children born to Him. Also in Ezekiel, God speaks of children “born to Me” (16:20, 21).
King David would speak of his birth in this manner in Ps. 22:9-10: “Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.” God was “seeking godly offspring” (Mal. 2:15). Wow, God cast David upon Himself ever since David was born!
In the New Testament, the children of believers are considered “holy” (1 Cor. 7:14). God’s promises were specifically for those who would believe and their children (Acts 2:39). God calls the children of believers to obey their parents because this pleases the Lord (Col. 3:20).
So the Bible teaches us that you, a child of at least one believing parent, are specially marked out by God. He treats the children of believers differently. You are not with your parents by accident and you are not unrelated to the Lord. You are His and He treats you differently! What does that mean?
I’m different from other children
Each child of a believer is different from his or her neighbor. Because God set you apart for Himself through Christian parents, you are obligated to truly live a life pleasing to Him. So the Bible can say, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” (Eph. 6:1) The Bible addresses you. You have the privilege of being part of God’s people by birth.
With every privilege comes responsibility. You have the responsibility to trust in your Savior Jesus Christ and to please God. Your friends who are not believers run after the world and delight in the things of the world. They do not worship God and Sunday is a day to sleep in for them. They do as they please, but the Bible says you are to obey His commands, because this pleases the Lord (Col. 3:20).
When I came to America, I did not know how to speak English. I did not understand what was expected of me and could not understand what other people were saying. I was quite frightened. After a summer of being in America, I began my first year of school in September. It was very difficult. Now, do you think the teachers were more patient with me when I didn’t follow their directions or with those who could perfectly understand them? Of course, they were very patient with me because I did not understand everything. The other students had no excuse! I, on the other hand, did have an excuse because I could not make sense of everything they said.
You are in a different position than I was. You are like those students who understand perfectly what is required of you. Your neighbors or friends at school might not understand at all. God says in Luke 12:48, “And from everyone who has been given much shall much be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.” If you do not believe, your situation is worse than your friends who have not been raised in Christian homes.
I’m a sinner and am not automatically a Christian
Though we have said you are different, you are still like others, a sinner needing Christ’s forgiveness. The privilege does not necessarily save you or change you. [Yes, something might have already happened in your heart and if that something is new birth in Christ, then you are in a blessed position.]
What this means is that the privilege of being in God’s church and being raised in a Christian home does not automatically mean you have received God’s gift. In Abraham’s family, one of his sons (Esau) rejected God. So, unless you rest upon and receive Christ as He is offered in the Gospel, your privileges will become awful curses.
There are many young children who have assumed everything is O.K. with them because they go to church. They simply believe that they are better than other people because they know some things of the gospel and understand many Bible stories. They are like some college students who think they are smart simply because they go to college when in fact, many college students hardly study and apply themselves. They may go to college but it does not follow that they have studied and received what had been taught.
So the same situation presents itself to you. God has placed you into a Christian home and has made you one of the members of the church. Are you going to be one of those college students who just goes to college but never studies and assumes that he knows all things simply because he heard many lectures? Or, are you going to be one of those students who will seize the responsibilities? Your responsibility is to believe in the Lord Jesus and follow Him!
I need Jesus
You need Jesus just like any other sinner on the face of the earth. You might not remember when it happened but you must be able to say, “I believe in Jesus Christ. I am a miserable sinner who deserves eternal death. But I believe He has died on the cross for sinners like me and I rest on what He has done on the cross. I believe that his death has paid the penalty for all my sins and that I can do nothing to earn salvation. I receive and rest upon Jesus alone for my salvation.”
You must be able to able to really say that! If you don’t sense your need of Him, sense that you are a miserable sinner, sense that without Him you will perish in your sins then saying those things are just words. God knows your heart!
God does not automatically apply what Christ has done on the cross to your account. You must receive it by faith. If you do not presently know that Jesus is your personal Savior and Lord, then you must repent of your sins and look to your Savior Jesus.
Though God has placed you into his church, He did not automatically turn you into a believer. That is His secret work and if He has done that in you, you will know it by your faith in Jesus. Do you believe in Christ (Acts 16:30-31)? Do you love Him? If you do not, you will be cursed (1 Cor. 16:22). If you have truly believed in Him for your salvation, He will be your greatest delight. You will have a new heart and spiritual desires. Jesus will be the subject of your conversation, heavenly things will be the object of your meditation, and God’s word will be the treasure you cherish.
Young Timothy was reared in the faith by his grandmother and mother (2 Tim. 1:5). He was exposed to God’s word ever since he was a child — “from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). Notice, he was “acquainted” with God’s Word. God’s Word makes one wise unto salvation. But the last statement is the most important in this sentence. God’s Word made Timothy wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. He needed to personally exercise his own faith in Jesus Christ for his own salvation. Everything was there to help him but no one could believe for him. One writer (William Gurnall) said, “You must live by your faith, not another’s. Labor to see truth with your own eyes.” Timothy could not live on his mom’s faith nor could he see the truth of Gospel with their eyes. God enabled Timothy to personally believe in Christ.
Am I in Christ?
So the question you must ask yourself is, “Am I a Christian?” Or, “Am I just going along with my family and care very little about these things?” Some like the church, the people, the experience, and many other things but these things are not the same as being a Christian.
Have you ever gone somewhere with your father or mother but didn’t really like it? I remember my dad and mom loved to go to college basketball games when I was a around ten years old. They used to take my brothers and me. My brothers seemed to enjoy it but I personally did not care for it that much. I liked the fun we had, the time with the family, the soda from the concession stand, and many other things. But, I did not much enjoy the game. When I was old enough to stay home by myself, I usually chose to not go, though my brothers usually went. Is this the way you view your life in the church?
If you are going along to church just like the way I went with my family to the basketball games, then you probably are not a Christian. You are a member of the church but you have not personally received and rested on Christ as your great Savior. You need to repent. You need to realize that these privileges demand from you the holy responsibility of seeking the Lord. Will you believe in Him? Will you pray to Him today, tonight, or this evening? Will you say, “Lord, save me! I am a miserable sinner and I look to you and place my complete faith in Jesus to deliver me from the coming wrath! Deliver me from myself; have mercy on me and save me Lord!”
Why couldn’t I take the Lord’s Supper?
When Jesus set up the first Lord’s Supper, it is clear from the Bible that only his disciples partook of the Lord’s Supper. In the Gospels, Jesus was with his twelve disciples. In 1 Corinthians 11, it is certain that only church members partook of the Lord’s Supper. He said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” That means Christ’s disciples, those who believe in Him, must remember Him and recognize the many good things the Lord’s Supper brings to their souls.
Why couldn’t you take the Lord’s Supper? Because the church does not know if you have yet embraced what you have been taught. It is not automatically given to everyone in the church. You must be a disciple of Christ to receive the Lord’s Supper. Now is the time to seriously consider where you stand. Are you His disciple? Are you a believer? Or, Are you just going along for the ride?
1. Are children of believers just like the children of unbelievers? Explain.
2. Isn’t being raised in a Christian home good enough? Does that make you a Christian?
3. How does one know he or she is a Christian?
4. What is the point behind the story about the basketball game? Where do you stand?
5. Isn’t the Lord’s Supper for everyone in the church? Explain.