As we’ve been seeing throughout this series, this church was a mess. They couldn’t even do the Lord’s Supper right. An event that was supposed to reflect their unity actually reflected their divisions. So today, by looking at their bad example we are going to see what communion should be and how it should look in the church.
1 Corinthians 11:17–34
17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 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. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. 20 So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 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. 22 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!
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 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.” 25 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.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
27 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. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. 32 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.
33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. 34 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.
Church shouldn’t feel like the high school cafeteria. (v. 17-22)
- Luke 6:20–21 20 Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
- 1 Corinthians 10:16–17 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.
Communion is a memorial of the cross (v. 23-26)
- Exodus 24:8 8 Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
- Jeremiah 31:31 31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.
At communion we should…
- Reflect on the accomplishments of the cross (v. 23-26)
- Examine ourselves and our relationships with others in the church (v. 27-29)
Failure to love others in the church during communion can result in discipline (v. 30-32)
Big Idea: Your religious duties mean nothing if not accompanied with genuine love for the people around you.
John 13:35 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Matthew 5:22 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister, will be subject to judgment.
Matthew 5:23–24 23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.