Summary: We are warned not to partake of the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner - that is unless we discern or recognize His body . What does this mean?
1. Special occasions often celebrated by a special meal. The host spends much time preparing for the meal. The Lord’s Supper is a special meal in which not the host but the guests are to prepare themselves.
2. Have you prepared yourself for this meal? Did you listen to the call for self-examination last week, the preparatory to the Table? Have you considered your sins and your need for Christ’s blood to wash them away?
3. Today I ask you to do some more preparing as I bring word - not to scare you but I think we fail to fully understand what it means to be prepared.
a. Some err - no preparation - no examination - just come.
b. Some examine selves to such extent that they feel unworthy to come.
4. We come because we do acknowledge that we are not good enough and need Christ.
5. One of main reasons why we take our coming to table seriously is because of the great suffering and cost that Christ went thru- we do not want to and should not take that lightly.
6. Another reason is found in our passage this morning. (vs. 27, 29). "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body." (KJV v.29)
a. Important passage but so often misunderstood.
b. To not discern the body is to partake in an unworthy manner.
c. Paul is not talking about whether or not you are worthy of taking Supper but about whether or not the MANNER by which you take it is worthy.
d. What determines if the manner is worthy or not is whether or not we discern or recognize the body of the Lord.
7. First we need to understand what the body of X is.
a. What juice and bread represent.
b. Why Christ had to give up His body for us.
8. What Paul is really talking about in this passage has to do with the circumstance in the Corinthian church
a. Problem that he is thinking about - for he both begins and ends -
b. They have divisions - they followed different teachers, they had different beliefs - Paul seems to say in vs. 19 that it necessary to have some of these differences because that way they are able to discern those who are truly approved by God as faithful.
c. Differences can make us study God’s word and helps us to grow in the knowledge of it.
9. There were other divisions that trouble Paul.
a. Lack of unity.
b. Seen in Lord’s Supper.
c. In NT times, at beginning of Supper they partook of bread together, then enjoyed a meal or love-feast together (somewhat as a potluck dinner), at end they drank the wine together.
d. Stressed fact that as church they were the body of Christ - as we are today.
e. Meals meant for good - to build up fellowship, but they did opposite.
f. People got there and started eating rather than waiting for others - they did not consider those who came later or those who had nothing. Some even got drunk.
g. So the meal was a very personal meal rather than a community or communal meal.
10. They forgot what it meant to be a community of believers - more concerned about self rather than the community, the church, more about their own hunger or needs than the hunger or needs of the brother.
11. Paul says if hungry they should have eaten at home first.
12. In church we need to look to one another. To be prepared, to come to this table today means to understand that although it is personal time with Christ but it is also a time together.
13. The bread represents his body and that means the church.
14. We need to be in proper relationship with one another - as we come we are aware of the hurts and needs of each other.
a. Our pride, our self-hunger is not more important than the hurt of the brother or sister beside us.
b. Means that as Christ suffering, so as Paul says in Philippians, we are willing to suffer for one another.
15. So this morning I ask you - what is more important to you?
a. Your pride, your hurt, your hunger, yourself?
b. The unity of the body - the communion we share as people for whom Christ died.
c. Let us humble ourselves for sake of that body - for it is precious and holy.
16. Paul warns that if we do not, we eat and drink judgement on ourselves - someone
said that then the table becomes a table of judgement for us
rather than a table of grace.