Summary: Explains what it means to take communion "unworthily"
Title: Commuion: Eating and drinking "unworthily"
Text: 1 Corinthians 11:23-34
I want to take you to a most troubling portion of scripture. I have read it often in my studies and generally passed over it. Many times we take it lightly.
Look with me now at 1 Cor 11:23-27
1 Cor 11:23 ¶ 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 (covenant) in my blood: this do ye, as oft (often) 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. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged
We all know what the first portion of scripture is about. This is a common practice in the Christian church. It is was we call Communion or the Lords Supper. Some even call it the Eucharist.
As Jesus stated it is a reminder of the New Covenant that was made through the death of himself. He tells us all “do in remembrance of me”. This communion has one purpose and it alone and that is to focus our attention on the Lord.
That is what we do during this time. It is also what we do during our service times. Not only is this true for communion but also for church. Church is not a time to catch up on this weeks activities. It is not a time to tell about the latest problems but it is a time to refocus our attention on the Lord. We have come to get a hold of God. We have come in contact with an almighty God.
Notice Paul says that this supper shows two things: the death of Jesus and the coming of Jesus. “26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.”
Yet he criticizes the Corinthian church because of their lack of the attention on Christ. They had turned this celebration into a meal. There was divisions because of those who could not afford to feast. There were factions or heresy’s because of the cliques that had been formed. The sins just piled up. People were not coming to focus on Christ but to fill their own bellies.
It was a mess. Church should not be a mess. Church should be a place of rest not a place of tension. It is sad that we have to come to the house of God and do everything possible to get their mind on the creator and the savior of the world.
Yet Paul says something next that really disturbs me. Look at verse
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. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged
Paul says there is a problem in the church. This problem has many consequences. The problem is that many people were drinking unworthily. The effects are as followed
1) people are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord
2) eateth and drinketh damnation to himself
3) many are weak and sickly among you, and many are sick
Wow! These are one of sets of scripture that you wish you could read and say, “That is for the past.” But Paul is talking about the Lord’s supper and what can happen if it is taken unworthily.
So what does unworthily mean?
Eat and drink unworthily
Unworthily means to partake of the Lord’s table in an indifferent, self-centered, careless, and irreverent spirit, without any intention or desire of departing from known sins and of accepting the covenant of grace with all its promises and obligations. One who participates in such an unworthy manner sins terribly against the Lord.