The Heidelberg Catechism
Question 82: Are those to be admitted to the Lord’s Supper who show by what they say and do that they are unbelieving and ungodly?
Answer: No, that would dishonour God’s covenant and bring down God’s anger upon the entire congregation. Therefore, according to the instruction of Christ and His apostles, the Christian church is duty bound to exclude such people, by the official use of the keys of the kingdom, until they reform their lives.
Application: In the time of the Reformation excluding people from the Lord’s Supper was seen as a big deal, it meant being excluded from the church community. But today people have a tendency to just go to another church. However, the church is called by God to preach the gospel and to encourage people towards faith and repentance. Where there is no faith or repentance there is no communion with Christ. That means that the church is called to confront sin in people’s lives and when if there is repentance there is celebration, but where there is hardness of heart there is discipline and prayer that God would be merciful and lead them to repentance. That is why we encourage people to search their heart before they partake of the Lord’s Supper, and if we are aware of unrepentant sin we exclude them from partaking.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, it’s not easy to see into the hearts of others, and sometimes it’s not easy to see into my own heart. But Lord I do love Jesus and I believe that it is only through His sacrifice on the cross that my sins are forgiven. Lord, if there are any sins in my life that I haven’t repented of, I ask that You will convict me that I will confess and receive Your forgiveness. I know that I am not righteous in myself, and so I put my faith in the righteousness of Jesus. May Your grace lead me to repentance and a life that brings You honour and glory. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.