Summary: Paul is writing to the church in Corinth and he has some strong things to say to them about how they are observing the Lord’s supper.
1st Corinthians 11:17-22
Paul is writing to the church in Corinth and he has some strong things to say to them about how they are observing the Lord’s supper. You will remember that I have reminded you before that this book, although it contains plenty of history, it is also as fresh as today’s newspaper. So when ZPaul writes these words he is not only speaking to the church in Corinth, he is also speaking to Eagle’s Landing. Listen carefully to what he says.
1st Corinthians 11:17-22
This is the setting: the apostle Paul is teaching on the subject of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus has already ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. It is the apostle Paul himself who is serving the communion.
Now I know these are strong words Paul has written but I want to remind you that whenever Paul wrote letters to the churches, he always had a specific purpose in mind. Typically there was a problem; remember the gospel was new to them and there were many times when they just weren’t getting it right; they were teaching doctrine that was not correct; some were not obeying what the scripture was teaching ….. truth is that it was much like the church of today. And that is why the message is so relevant. So Paul was writing to addresss those problems.
(1) First of all Paul noticed there were divisions in the church and many times by meeting they were actually doing more harm than good. Some were eating so much of the bread there was none for the others. Some were drinking so much of the wine they were getting drunk and others had none. They were abusing the Lord’s supper which is actually sacred. The problem was not with the supper; the problem was with the people. But Paul makes an interesting remark in verse 19. He is saying here no doubt there are differences among you so that those who are doing thr iright thing will stand out. Your witness will ne noticed. They weren’t properly sharing the food and some were consuming all the wine to the point they were getting drunk.
(2) Paul gives them a solution to the problem. Paul is saying that every time you come together you must examine yourself. (v. 28-29) The supper is not to be received casually.
• Here is the way Paul puts it. He says “there are those among you who are receiving the supper and you have not really examined yourself. You take it casually. And as a result you are eating and drinking judgment upon yourselves.” He says further, “that is the very reason that some of you are weak and sick and some have even died.”
• Paul is telling us that when we receive this supper we must stop and consider what Christ did on the cross to make this moment possible. To make our salvation possible.
• He says “Examine yourself.” This is a spiritual exam. Kind of a check up. Is there any unconfessed sin in my/your life? Is there any problem between you and any of your brothers and sisters in Christ? Rememmber in the scripture there was a man who was bringing his gift and Jesus told him before he places his gift on the altar to go first and makes things right with his brother and then come back and give the gift. Jesus is concerned that when we give that our heart is in the right place. Your heart matters more than anything else.
He goes on to speak and at the close of his message he quotes Jesus Himself and tells them this….”whenever you drink of the cup and whenever you eat of the bread always….. always……always…. do this in remembrance of Jesus. What did he mean? What are we supposed to remember when we come to this secial time? I think there are 3 things to focus on. 3 things to remember.
(1) Remember how much Jesus loves you. Jesus has you on His mind right now. Right now He is thinking about all of His children. Right now He is listening to all of His children. He is responding to prayer. He is working on our behalf. There is no limit to all He is doing on your behalf right now and He is protecting you in ways we cannot even imagine. All of this because He loves you. His Holy Spirit is protecting you.
(2) Remember that He died for you. He paid the greatest sacrifice of all when He died for our sins. He stepped out of Heaven and into our sin-filled lives to save us. He did that for one reason. To save us …. Because He loves us. He loves you and Heaven will not be the same without you there. He died for you. Remember that.