Under Gods Command

The Lord’s Supper: The Lord’s Supper (11:20) is a visible representation of the Good News of the death of Christ for our sins. It reminds us of Christ’s death and the glorious hope of his return. Our participation in it strengthens our faith through fellowship with Christ and with other believers.

1 Corinthians 11:17-34. In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!

     For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

     So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.

     So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment. And when I come I will give further directions.

 

Paul allows that there might be differences among church members. When they develop into self-willed divisions, they are destructive to the congregation. Those who cause division only serve to highlight those who are genuine believers.

 

When the Lord’s Supper was celebrated in the early church, it included a feast or fellowship meal followed by the celebration of Communion. In the church in Corinth, the fellowship meal had become a time when some ate and drank excessively while others went hungry. There was little sharing and caring. This certainly did not demonstrate the unity and love that should characterize the church, nor was it a preparation for Communion. Paul condemned these actions and reminded the church of the real purpose of the Lord’s Supper.

 

What does the Lord’s Supper mean? The early church remembered that Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper on the night of the Passover meal (Luke 22:13–20). Just as Passover celebrated deliverance from slavery in Egypt, so the Lord’s Supper celebrates deliverance from sin by Christ’s death.

Christians pose several different possibilities for what Christ meant when he said, “This is my body.” (1) Some believe that the wine and bread actually become Christ’s physical blood and body. (2) Others believe that the bread and wine remain unchanged, but Christ is spiritually present with the bread and wine. (3) Still others believe that the bread and wine symbolize Christ’s body and blood. Christians generally agree, however, that participating in the Lord’s Supper is an important element in the Christian faith and that Christ’s presence, however we understand it, strengthens us spiritually.

 

What is this new covenant? In the old covenant, people could approach God only through the priests and the sacrificial system. Jesus’ death on the cross ushered in the new covenant or agreement between God and us. Now all people can personally approach God and communicate with him. The people of Israel first entered into this agreement after their exodus from Egypt (Exodus 24), and it was designed to point to the day when Jesus Christ would come. The new covenant completes, rather than replaces, the old covenant, fulfilling everything the old covenant looked forward to (see Jeremiah 31:31–34). Eating the bread and drinking the cup shows that we are remembering Christ’s death for us and renewing our commitment to serve him

 

When Paul said that no one should take the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner, he was speaking to the church members who were rushing into it without thinking of its meaning. To not honor the “body of Christ” means not understanding what the Lord’s Supper means and not distinguishing it from a normal meal. Those who did so were “guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.” Instead of honoring his sacrifice, they were sharing in the guilt of those who crucified Christ. In reality, no one is worthy to take the Lord’s Supper. We are all sinners saved by grace. This is why we should prepare ourselves for Communion through healthy introspection, confession of sin, and resolution of differences with others. These actions remove the barriers that affect our relationship with Christ and with other believers. Awareness of your sin should not keep you away from Communion but should drive you to participate in it.

 

“Fallen asleep” is another way of describing death. That some of the people had died may have been a special supernatural judgment on the Corinthian church. This type of disciplinary judgment highlights the seriousness of the Communion service. The Lord’s Supper is not to be taken lightly; this new covenant cost Jesus his life. It is not a meaningless ritual, but a sacrament given by Christ to help strengthen our faith.

 

People should come to this meal desiring to fellowship with other believers and prepare for the Lord’s Supper to follow, not to fill up on a big dinner. “Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home,” means that they should eat dinner beforehand, so as to come to the fellowship meal in the right frame of mind.

 

 

Lets Bring it Home: Jesus said, “Do this, whenever often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” How do we remember Christ in the Lord’s Supper? By thinking about what he did and why he did it. Further, the remembering has both a backward and forward look. We remember Christ’s death, and we remember that he is coming! If the Lord’s Supper becomes just a ritual or a pious habit, it loses its significance. But when we appreciate what Christ has done and anticipate what he will do when he returns, the Lord’s Supper takes on a profound sense of purpose. Take time to prepare yourself spiritually for Communion. Gratefully recall Christ’s loving sacrifice for you. Let the reality that your sins are forgiven motivate you to love and serve him better.

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