C. H. Spurgeon
Sermon Notes From Charles Spurgeon
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205. Examination before Communion.

But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. - 1 Corinthians 11:28.

THE Lord's Supper is not for all men, but only for those who are able spiritually to discern the Lord's body.

It is not meant for the conversion of sinners, but for the edification of disciples. Hence, the need of examination, lest we intrude ourselves where we have no right to be.


1. That the communicant may eat and drink. "Examine, and so let him eat." He is not to examine in order to justify his stopping away.

2. That he may know that the responsibility rests with himself. The examination is not by priest or minister; he examines himself.

3. That he may communicate solemnly and not come to the table carelessly as a matter of course. He is to make heartsearching inquiry and so approach the table with self-humiliation.

4. That he may come to the table intelligently, knowing to what he comes, and why, and wherefore.

5. That he may do so with appreciative confidence and joy. After examination, he will know his right to come and feel at ease.

Many good results would follow if this examination were universally practiced. "A man" in this text means "any man" and "every man."

The examination should be as frequent as the eating of the bread. No man has reached a point at which he is beyond the need of further self-searching.


Points of examination may be suggested by the following thoughts ---

1. It is a feast.

Have I life? The dead sit not at banquets.

Have I appetite? Else how can I eat?

Have I a friendship toward the Lord who is the Host?

Have I put on the wedding garment? Jesus bids us show forth his death.

Have I faith in his death?

Do I live by his death?

3. Jesus bids us do this by eating bread.

Is this eating a symbol of a fact, or is it a mere mockery?

Is Jesus really and truly the food of my soul?

4. Jesus bids each believer do this in union with others.

Am I truly one of his people, and one with them?

Am I dwelling in love with them all?

5. This cup is the New Covenant in Christ's blood.

Am I in covenant with God in Christ Jesus?

Do I rest in that covenant for all my hopes?

6. Jesus calls his people to remember him in this supper.

Can I remember Christ, or am I attempting a vain thing?

Do I know him? How else can I remember him?

Are my past dealings with him such as I wish to remember?

Is he so loved by me that I wish to bear him in my memory?

Our profession, experience, conduct, hopes, and designs should all pass the test of this self-examination.


1. To eat of the bread.

Not to neglect communion, or postpone it, or go away trembling from the table; but to partake reverently.

2. To drink of the cup.

This is specially commanded. Hence, we cannot go to popish mass where there is no cup.

3. To eat and drink so as to discern the Lord's body, having the mind awake to see Jesus symbolized in this ordinance.

4. To give thanks unto the Lord for so great a privilege. Twice did our Lord give thanks during the Supper, and at the close he sang. It is not a funeral, but a festival.

Ye who have come to this table heedlessly, repent of your wicked intrusion, and keep away till ye can come aright.

Ye who have never come at all, remember, if you are not fit for the communion below, you are not fit for heaven above.

All of you, bethink yourselves of Jesus, and having examined yourselves to your humbling, behold him to your consolation.

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