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Summary: Some call it the Lord’s Supper. Some call it Communion. Some call it the Eucharist. Just as there are different names for the event, there are many different teachings about it. That confusion isn’t a new thing. It was going on even in the first century C

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As you can tell from the table that is set before us, we will be partaking of the Lord’s Supper this morning. So since that is the case, I think it is a good idea for us to spend some time talking about what that means. There are two reasons why that’s a good idea for us this morning. The first reason will apply to most of us here. Most of us have been in church for a long time. And when we’ve been in church a long time, the things we do in church can become a habit. Things that we do begin to lose their meaning. The songs and prayers and symbols become so familiar that we just spout them off out of habit. Before we know it we can become like robots that have been programmed to go through the motions. It’s almost like when you drive the same route every day. You do that day after day and week after week until you become numb to it. Then one day you get home and realize you were so zoned out during your drive that you can’t remember anything about it. Do you ever get home from church feeling like that? What did we sing this morning? What did the choir sing for a call to worship? What did Sandy play for the offertory? What is our Scripture passage? We can get into such a routine that we go on autopilot. For those of us who have been in the church for a long time, the Lord’s Supper can get like that. We like to say that we don’t celebrate the Lord’s Supper every week like some denominations do so that it won’t become an empty ritual that we do out of habit. That’s true. That’s the reason why we don’t have it every week. But is it any different if we only have it once a month? Is it any different if we only have it once a quarter like we do? Not if we allow it to become routine for us. There is always a danger of that—no matter how often we have it. But that’s just one of the dangers for us this morning. The other danger is that all of us haven’t been in the church a long time. Some of us have come from different backgrounds. I was told a story about a Muslim man in our community who went to church a few weeks ago. He had never set foot in a church before. Well, the Sunday that he went happened to be a Sunday when the church was baptizing a young person. He could not understand why that preacher was being so mean to that person. Now—think of it from the perspective of a person who had never seen a baptism before. He couldn’t see the water. He sees the pastor standing in a window next to a young person. Then all of a sudden, he grabs the person by the face and pushes him down. Then he pulls him back up and everybody seems to be happy about it. Wouldn’t that be confusing? The Lord’s Supper is the same way. If you are here this morning and don’t know anything about it, it will look very strange to you. They call it a supper, but all they eat are these little tiny stale crackers. And then they don’t even give you enough juice to wash it down with. And why does everybody look like they’re at a funeral? It’s not a new problem. As a matter of fact, it’s a problem that’s as old as the church itself. Within the first century of the church, the Romans were persecuting Christians for being cannibals. Do you know why? Because they talked about eating flesh and drinking blood during their Lord’s Suppers. They were also persecuting them for having orgies. Do you know why? Because they had fellowship meals right before the Lord’s Supper. They called those fellowship meals “love feasts.” Now, I don’t think we’ll have anybody accusing us of being cannibals or having orgies this morning. But there is a possibility that you might not have a clue what we’re doing here. And there is also a possibility that you might be so familiar with what we’re doing that you’re just going through the motions. That’s why we need to see what the Bible has to say about it this morning. Our passage this morning is toward the end of a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to the church he had planted a few years before in the city of Corinth. He had stayed with them for about a year and a half and then moved on to plant other churches. The city of Corinth was an extremely immoral city. It was so bad that even its name became synonymous with immorality. If somebody said that you were acting like a Corinthian, it was a bad thing. The good thing was that Paul planted a growing church there. The bad thing was that the people in that church had a hard time letting go of their past. Things were in check while Paul was there, but they went downhill in a hurry after he left. In his letters, he had to deal with everything from bad teaching to sexual immorality. They were messing up a lot of stuff. And one of the things that they were messing up was the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. Paul wrote this section to deal with that problem. In it he shows us three things concerning the Lord’s Supper. He shows us the abuse of the Lord’s Supper, the act of the Lord’s Supper and the attitude of the Lord’s Supper. First, he points out how the church at Corinth had been abusing the Lord’s Supper. Look back at verses 17-22:


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