Summary: Instructions for Worship regarding our approach to Communion
SERIES: PRESCRIPTIONS FOR A HEALTHY & HOLY CHURCH:
A Study in 1 Corinthians Applied To The Church Today
III. MAINTAINING PROPER DIET & EXERCISE
C.) TRAINING ETTIQUETTE (Instructions for Worship)
“CORPORATE NUTRITION” (1 Cor. 11:17-34)
Rev. Todd G. Leupold, Perth Bible Church, June 7, 2009 AM
George F. MacLeod: “The Bible is all about community: from the Garden of Eden to the City at the end.”
Jean Vanier: “A community is only a community when the majority of its members are making the transition from ’the community for myself’ to ’myself for the community.’
With these principles in mind, let us turn back to the Scripture and it’s instructions for Worship regarding our approach to Communion.
I.) THE PROBLEM - DIVISIONS (vv. 17-22)
“... you come together not for the better but for the worse.”
Returning to our fuller context of this situation and writing, the Apostle Paul is telling the Corinthian Church that they are abusing their freedoms to Christ’s disgrace.
Rather than choosing that which is helpful, beneficial, and edifying, they are choosing that which is simply permissible and self-benefiting.
Rather than choosing that which most glorifies God, some are choosing that which most pleases themselves and their clique.
Not everyone is doing this, and not all who are doing it are doing so for the same reasons or in the same way. The church is beset by “divisions” and “factions.”
“There must, indeed, be factions among you, so that the approved among you may be recognized.”
A very interesting statement and truth that should not be missed!
Though that which leads to divisions and factions (ungodly attitudes, sin, wrong doctrine, selfishness, emotionalism) is dishonoring to God, they are nonetheless to be expected and certain in the Church.
Whoa, can that be right?
Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit declares it to be so. Jesus, in keeping with Jewish teachings, also proclaimed this to be true – and increasingly so as the End approaches.
As a tool to identify the true believers from the false. Those who trust in God’s revelation(Scripture) from those who trust in their own understanding. The approved (of the LORD) from the dis-approved. The good fruit from the bad. The genuine from the pretenders.
Dr. David Gill explains: “The ’test,’ and thereby ’God’s approval,’ is adherence to Paul’s teaching as an apostle. The implication is that within the Corinthian Church there are some who do not accept Paul’s apostolic authority.”
(Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, pg. 160)
“Therefore . . .”
When you come together, you do so with the wrong attitudes, motives, and actions.
You come prepared to make sure that YOU & ’YOURS’ benefit - without regard to others.
It’s not enough for you to act like this in the privacy of your own homes, but you choose to bring it into the house and community of God as well.
For “this” - imposing of your own values, habits, and indulgences – there can be “NO praise”!
“You are proud of yourselves for attending the ’love feast’, but you where is the love? You care for yourself and those in your ’circle’, but not anyone else. If all you’re coming together for is to lavishly enjoy yourselves, hold on to your wants, be entertained, and/or impress and support only those of your ’circle’, do that at home. When you come to God’s house, then come for full Christian fellowship. Be prepared and willing to share, mingle with and love everyone!”
What, then, is God-honoring, beneficial and wise?
II.) THE MEANING OF COMMUNION (vv. 23-26)
The meaning of Communion is that which Christ Himself gave it, NOT what we desire to make it - to be maintained according to its original form and without change.
And, it “was given on the night He was betrayed.”
On the cusp of betrayal, but only after the betrayer was dismissed, Jesus instituted and explained this memorial that the faithful may be unified.
As Ironside expresses: “Why does the apostle slip in the expression, ’In which He was betrayed,’ if not for us to realize that the Lord’s Supper was meant to appeal to the hearts of His people and so to remind them that in that very night when our blessed Saviour was to know to the fullest the untrustworthiness, the wickedness, the treachery, the perfidy of the human heart, He gave this feast in order that His people might have before them the continual expression of His loving heart in giving Himself for them.” (pp. 346-347).
A.) Life (vv. 23-24)
In the Passover celebration, this was known as “the Bread of Affliction” (Dt. 16:3).
Jesus takes what was “the Bread of Affliction” for a people without a Savior and infused it with a new meaning for those who would partake of it after He laid down His life and rose from the grave as the Savior!