Putting God's Word into Practice…

1 Corinthians 11:17-34 Unworthy Manner

on September 29, 2012

Taking communion (the Lord’s supper, the eucharist, the bread and cup) together as a body of believers is supposed to be a symbol that unifies the body and points it to Christ.  In Corinth, the times of communion were dividing people into social classes–the rich were humiliating the poor by basing their sharing on outward appearances.  Paul said they were despising the church!  Taking communion together should remind us that there is common ground at the cross; that freedom and forgiveness is for all without favoritism.  When someone truly understands grace, mistreating others is not an option.  

Another way the church was taking the bread and cup in an unworthy manner was by putting self first.  It is called the “Lord’s supper,” not “my supper!”  The Lord’s supper is about receiving not taking.  Verse 23 says, “On the night he was betrayed took bread.”  Think about that!  He was about to be betrayed and handed over to people who would beat Him, mock Him, spit on Him, tear out His beard, and nail Him to a cross.  Yet, Jesus gave thanks and gave the bread and cup as a symbol of Him giving His life.  That’s my Jesus–give, give, give!  By fixing our eyes on Jesus, we take self out of the equation and can receive in a worthy manner.

There are consequences to taking the Lord’s supper in an unworthy manner.  It results in guilt, judgment, and discipline from the Lord.  And Paul also says that physical discipline is probable–weakness, illness and death.

So, how can we take communion in a worthy manner?  Humbly examine and truthfully discern our hearts in light of Jesus’ sacrifice, and put others first.  Eating and drinking goes to the inside of our body and nurtures it.  Christ’s sacrifice was not to make us look good on the outside but to purify and cleanse us within!

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