Summary: If we take responsibility for ourselves at the Lord's Table, it will not be necessary for Him to discipline us. Let us approach Him with reverence and awe as we worship.

“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.” [1]

It is a strong word which the apostle gives with these closing words detailing the manner in which we ought to observe the continuing ordinance, the rite we speak of as “The Lord's Supper.” The Apostle has delivered what is undoubtedly a needful word for this day, As was true in that ancient day, so grave distortion concerning the Living God continues even to this day. The Lord GOD is viewed in a strange fashion by many. Have you ever heard God referred to in what can only be considered the crass and crude term, “the little man up there.” This is an error of monstrous proportions.

Such conjecture is an attempt, conscious or otherwise, to remove God from serious consideration. It is an attempt to distance people from divine judgment, freeing them from all thought of divine rule. All such efforts are a blatant attempt to convince ourselves, usually unsuccessfully, that God will wink at sin, or that He will, after all, disregard His Word. Such thinking is folly wide the mark, ignoring as it does the revelation provided us by the unknown author of Hebrews, who has written: “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” [HEBREWS 12:28-29].

It is bad enough that such thinking prevails in the world, but that such distortion of Holy God should be tolerated even within a proportion of the professing people of God is unthinkable. Truly, the salt has lost its saltiness, the light has grown dim. The casual manner in which we worship among evangelical churches indicates that such is the case. Too often have we witnessed professing Christians performing rote rituals as though such mindless action was worship.

When we approach God in worship, we must approach with an attitude of reverence and with a determination to be obedient to His will. God is much more impressed with our attitude than He is with our formalities. He gave strict orders concerning acceptable forms of worship to His ancient people, the Israelites. Why could not a Jewish worshiper kill a dog or a hog and call it a sacrifice to God? Surely such animals could be considered valuable, just as they are today. But that was not the command of God! His command was that one must bring a bull, a goat, a lamb, or a dove. Why could not anyone who desired to do so come before the altar of the Lord as He wished? When Korah attempted to come before the Lord without divine consent, he, his family, and all those who associated themselves with him were slain for their effort.

Korah was killed for his arrogance; and his entire family and all associated with him were likewise slain when they persisted in sharing in his arrogance. In every instance provided in the Word, the first criteria for being accepted by God is that the one approaching God be possessed of an attitude of reverence and obedience. Holiness is the first criteria for coming to God to worship, and holiness is intimately associated with an attitude of reverence and respect toward Holy God.

Throughout the whole of the Bible we are reminded that God is vitally concerned with how we do the things we do. He is vitally concerned with the attitude demonstrated by those who would approach Him, especially as they propose to worship. For the individual who knows the will of God and yet chooses to exercise his own will over that of the Lord God, there remains but certain judgment. That is the assured teaching of the passage under consideration this morning.

JUDGEMENT PRONOUNCED — “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord” [1 CORINTHIANS 11:27 29] God does judge sin! Never allow yourself to fall into the trap of assuming that because God is a God of mercy, and that He is traditionally presented as such by Christian pulpits, that He shall overlook justice or ignore judgement. He will not! There are at least five judgements of which the Bible speaks, and we would do well to refresh our minds concerning those awesome demonstrations of divine prerogative, and reminding ourselves of the neglected or forgotten character of Holy God.

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