While the sacrament is in one respect intended to focus our attention on the sufferings and substitutionary death of our Lord Jesus, the sacrament is more than a simple memorial. We believe that Christ is an active participant in the sacrament, communicating Himself to the believer in faith, making the believer a partaker in Christ and all His benefits, and giving him grace to enjoy Christ and the merit of His suffering and death. The bread and the wine in which the believer partakes physically dramatize and symbolize his partaking by faith in Christ Himself, the Bread of Life.
The symbols of bread and wine cannot be separated from the thing symbolized, the Body and Blood of Christ. In partaking of one, the believer by faith partakes in the other. We therefore affirm the real presence of Christ in the communion sacrament, not in a physical manner, as Christ remains seated at the right hand of the Father, but in a true spiritual participation and communion with His people.
Because of this real spiritual encounter, it is imperative that we treat this sacrament with solemn dignity and reverence. Communion is for believers to refresh their weary souls and regain their strength of faith; therefore, it is for sinners who look to Christ for forgiveness and rest. It is not, however, for the unbeliever who knows not Christ. For the unbeliever, partaking in this sacrament communicates not grace and strength to them, but judgment and condemnation.
When is it appropriate to participate?
Communion at All Saints Reformed Church is guarded, by which we mean that the sacrament is not open to any and all without qualification, but only to those who profess Christ and adhere to the sound doctrines of the Christian Church. Those who participate must meet the following qualifications:
(1) They must have made a credible profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,
(2) they must be a baptized member, in good standing, of a Reformed or other confessional Protestant denomination (e.g. URC, PCA, OPC, RCUS, RPCNA, etc.),
(3) they must affirm all the doctrines found in the Apostles’ Creed,
(4) they must affirm the real presence of the Lord in the sacrament.
Those who do not meet all the above qualifications, or have questions about whether or not they should participate should speak to the pastor or an elder prior to the worship service to obtain permission to participate.
When is it not appropriate to participate?
We would ask you to abstain from Communion if any of the following conditions are true:
(1) You do not meet the qualifications for communion listed above and have not received permission from the pastor or an elder,
(2) you are currently under the discipline of a Reformed or confessional Protestant denomination.
What about children of believers?
A minor child may commune if:
(1) The child has made a credible profession of faith in Jesus Christ and
(2) the child’s parents have received the permission of the elders.