Summary: A communion message.
"A Communion Commentary"
1 Corinthians 11:17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. 18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. 20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. 21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. 22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. 23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. 27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
Introduction: Today's message is especially appropriate considering that fact that we will observe communion this morning together. This 11th chapter begins with some instructions from the Apostle concerning what would be proper worship. It shouldn't be necessary to tell folks how to behave in church but when there is a careless disregard for propriety and a lack of discernment for proper decency and decorum it becomes vital and valuable. Paul's statement in verse 17 is an acknowledgement that things weren't right! 17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For better or worse may be good in your marriage vows but it is not good in worship! What a tragedy when this is the case but I'm afraid it is happening all too frequently today! What does he say?
I. The Inditement
a. Paul mentions the corruption of their worship v. 17
The goal of every believer should be to worship God "...in spirit and truth..." but for that to happen the focus of true worship should Him and not us; unfortunately this is sometimes not the case. The Corinthians worshipped but their worship was not "...for the better, but for the worse." What a tragedy this was for them and is for us when we don't come together for the better! A good deal of what passes for worship today is not worship at all by Biblical standards. The focus of worship today has become experience based on feelings and not enlightenment based on facts! Often modern worship is started by a worship leader asking "how do you feel?" not "what do you know!" Modern worship is no longer participatory but performance oriented. Worship can only take place when we acknowledge who God is and what He has revealed Himself to be in His Word. That is the only proper starting place for true worshippers.
b. Paul mentions the conflict in their fellowship v. 18
Division is always the result of improper and inappropriate worship. Worship that focusses on the individual rather than the Infinite One is bound to be conflicted. We know from other passages that some were focused on Paul, some on Peter, some on Apollos and a really super-spiritual group who claimed that Jesus was their focus. Their worship was immature and their walk reflected it!
c. Paul mentions the criticism that they deserve v. 19-22
As you read these four verses you cannot help but see the self-serving, selfish, and self-centric behaviors that they were displaying. The sad truth is we see many of these same behaviors in worship today. Communion is not about us, it is about Christ, His sacrifice and His death on the cross for our sins. In our self-centric world we often make worship about us; our inward focus needs to be refocused on Christ! Remember, He said, "...this do, in remembrance of Me." 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.