Summary: A brief Message given prior to Observing this Ordinance
The Lord’s Supper
* (Read the text)
* Every time we come to the Lord’s Table we are to honor the Lord by proclaiming His death. Like no other collective time, this event should evoke in us a time of personal challenge. I fear we have reduced this Holy time to another event on our “church calendar.” And by doing so, we have invited sickness and death in.
* From our text, allow me to offer 3 steps of action for us;
1) Realize our Circumstances – Paul writes to give the Corinthians instructions about a number of things, one being “The Lord’s Supper.” The implication is that this occasion should be one of joy, love, peace, and holiness. However, Paul tells us that it has become;
a) Distracting – He says, “I really want to say a good word about you, but the truth is I can’t. And the reason is that your conduct, you interaction distract the attention from our Lord.” Did you know that every time we gather, God wants to be able to “praise us?” Paul doesn’t just stop there, he continues by saying;
b) Discouraging – “it’s not for the better.” Somewhere along the way in our tradition, we have bought into “going to church” as being the answer. Paul says, “It’s not for the better that you are together.” Nothing is more discouraging to an authentic believer than to be a part of an assembly where it’s an unhappy gathering. Know why? The whole affair is:
c) Displeasing – Paul says, “Not only is not for the better” but the next step is this; “it is for the worst.” Yes, you’re getting together, it’s doing more damage than good. Why would Paul say something like this? Because the truth is; rarely do we realize our own circumstances. We meet like we’ve always met, do like we’ve always done, and don’t understand why outsiders don’t just love all that we do. The truth is, it is easy to see the us through the lens of familiarity.
d) Deceit – Verse 20 teaches us that we can become “self-deceived.” You can “say” this is the Lord’s Supper, but it really something else. Consider this truth; this is not only limited to the “Lord’s Supper.”
2) Recognize our Conflict - People tend to think that peace is the absent of conflict, that is, the absence of an ongoing fight. Yet, conflict expresses itself in other ways.
a) Cliques - Verse 18 and 19 draws us a picture of our problems when the words “divisions and factions” are used. The Greek word translated “division” come from the word “schism” which means a split, a rupture, or fracture. Seems like in the congregation at Corinth Paul had to address a 21st century congregation. (It gets better). The KJV word for faction is heresies. To simplify this concept is similar to the passage which talks about getting teachers to teach what you want to hear, following false doctrine, getting on tangents, and having a group who does so.
b) Celebrities - Paul was identifying a problem of not following the anointed and appointed leadership but rather choosing their own favorites. I call this “celebrities” because by loyalty to a particular man we make them our hero, our teacher, our God, & Paul says, “This will always bring conflict in the church.”
c) Conceit – The scripture says, Taking you food and implies drink in front of others. One of the huge sins which plague believers is the sin of pride, arrogance, or better said, conceit. We have to take care of number one. Paul tells us this ungodliness is a cause of conflict in the church which leads us to selfishness.
d) Concern – We get so concern about ourselves that we lose the greatest trait which Jesus desired for us to have, and that is, concern for others. Jesus said, “no one can serve two masters.” James says, “a double minded man is unstable.” We cannot serve Christ and self, it is a physical impossibility. When I make “me” my primary concern I am less like Jesus than ever.
* We can never be ready for the Lord’s Supper until we realize and recognize the sin or short-comings in our life. The life of a believer is about Jesus, His Church, & word.
3) Retrieve our Connection – To be ready to eat of the Holy Meal means we have to be rightly connected to the author of our life, forgiveness, and hope.
a) It’s Passed Down – Just as surely as with Paul, the Lord Jesus desires to speak to us. When you read the text, it is clear that the Lord gave Paul a word about the truth of the Lord’s Table. Seems to me that God hasn’t stop talking, but maybe we’ve stopped listening or worse yet, maybe we hear but don’t pass it on. When we don’t let it out, we become a “bottleneck” to the spirit of God working. The result is that the Lord’s work becomes something OTHER than what HE desires for it to be. It we are to be “rightly connected” we have to be connected at both ends.