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From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles
Some rationalize that administering the Sacrament, or Communion, to themselves is an act of personal devotion. This is disingenuous, for if they sincerely wish to commune, the surest and best way is in the administration of the Sacrament according to Christ’s institution. Communing oneself is a human notion, uncertain, unnecessary, and even prohibited. They do not know what they are doing, since they are following a false, human opinion and invention without the authority of the Word of God. It is not right (even if the matter were otherwise correct) for one to use the common Sacrament belonging to the Church, for private devotion, trifling with it outside the Word of God and the communion of his Church.
Pulling It Together
We confess in the Third Article of the Creed that we believe in the communion of saints. Personal Communion would say otherwise. Luther’s instruction on the Third Article is helpful. God “calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith” (Luther’s Small Catechism). The Sacraments are always given and received in the community of Christians: the holy, catholic Church. Christ is present in this communion of saints where we freely receive his grace in the forgiveness of sins and the promises of resurrection and eternal life. Let those who are earnest in faith, come to the altar with the rest of the Church.
Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for being present with your Church. Amen.
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Sola’s Word of Life series is a resource for those looking to develop small groups built around the Word of God. This model of small-group ministry is an excellent tool for evangelism since it is rooted in prayer and Scripture. Its primary focus is to empower those who believe in Jesus Christ to be comfortable sharing their faith and inviting others to experience a transformed life in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Meant for use in small group gatherings, each of the six sessions in Dwell in My Love is based on a primary Scripture text, with intentional time for reflection. There are questions, prayer, faith sharing, and mini evangelism case-studies. The series would be helpful for those involved in starting a Bible study fellowship, house church, or mission congregation. It can also be used by established congregations to aid in establishing a small group ministry.