Summary: This is the second of three sermons inspired by the book Come to the Table by John Mark Hicks
My Table and No Others
1 Cor. 10:14-22
Introduction: It is difficult to sit at two tables.
1. Ms. Doubtfire
Robin Williams plays a divorced man that dresses up as an English nanny in order to see his kids every day. He has three children. He becomes great friends with their mom (his ex-wife, who doesn’t realize his real identity). Ms Doubtfire is invited to a very important family dinner with his ex-wife’s new boyfriend and the children. Only he has an appointment with his T.V. producer at the same restaurant at the same time! He has to keep excusing himself to change from his disguise for his family to his real person for his meeting. Eventually, Ms. Doubtfire sits at the TV producer’s table and his mask fall off at his family’s table. Sitting at two tables becomes a disaster!
2. Sitting at two tables is impossible.
You know the experience. Two people invite you to dinner and one of them you have to turn down. Or even worse, you get invited to two weddings on the same day! You have to make a choice. You can’t go to both tables. Many of the Corinthian Christians were trying to do just that. They were trying to sit at the table of Christ and the table of idols. They didn’t understand that taking the L.S. meant choosing loyalty. It was a time of covenant renewal. God invites us to choose his table. But it is all or nothing proposition.
Move 1: Participation in the body and blood of Christ (14-17). Read entire text.
1. The problem of idolatry in Corinth.
Corinth was a center for Greek culture and therefore Pagan idolatry. New converts to Christ did not always part ways with their old habits in the temples of Apollo, Aphrodite, and others. Temple prostitution was a normal part of religious expression and was rampant in Corinth. Thus the problem of sexual immorality in Corinth. It was also common to go to a temple and eat meat sacrificed to idols. Apparently, the Corinthians did not see the implications of these practices. Paul’s solution is simple; FLEE!
2. The problem of idolatry in Israel.
This was not a unique problem to Corinth. Paul uses Israel as a prime example (1-13). Read V 7. Paul wanted them to learn from history. God did not tolerate the Israelites idolatry. He will not tolerate yours either.
3. The Lord’s Supper is union with Christ.
Paul believes that they will be sensible enough to understand this. No doubt the “cup of thanksgiving” and the “bread” are referencing the L.S. For Paul this is not just a memorial! It is actual participation with the blood and body of Christ! The word for participation is the same for fellowship. Lk 22:20 Jesus calls the cup the blood of the new covenant. This is not just remembering what Christ did. It is a covenant renewal every time we take the cup and the bread. It is actual fellowship with Christ.
4. Christ is one and so are we.
I believe Paul means “one loaf” quite literally here. This is something lost from moving communion into buildings, but it used to be around a table in someone’s house. They would take from one loaf of bread and this had real meaning. It represented that though there are many in the body of Christ there is only one body. Christ alone was sacrificed. It is Christ’s table we come to and we do so together.
Move 2: Take a lesson from Israel (18).
Again, Paul is giving a history lesson, wanting them to remember that when the Israelites sacrificed on the altar of God, and then ate at the table the meat of the sacrifice, they participated in everything that altar represented. The same was true if the Israelites sacrificed on the altar of an idol and then ate the meat of that sacrifice. They were united themselves to someone other than God. This reminds us of the connection between the OT fellowship sacrifice and the L.S.
Illustration: How do we view the L.S.?
Often we have been caught up in debates about the substance of the emblems. There is the Catholic view that says the emblems literally change into the body and blood of Christ. Scripture does not seem to teach that, nor is it necessary to the purpose of the Supper. OTOH, we have sometimes stripped the L.S. of any real meaning. When we say it is only a memorial, we remove the mystery and the grace of the Supper. Paul tells us that we literally fellowship or participate with the blood and body of Christ when we take the communion. Certainly, this is experienced through faith, but Christ is no less present. Communion is not a funeral. Jesus is alive and we eat at his table!