No communion without commitment
1Cor 11: 17 -22
Paul is here is talking about the love feasts (cf. Jude) which were now doing more harm than good. The rich were exploiting the poor and many were getting drunk and were forgetting to put the other before them.
These abuses were now spilling over into the observance of the Lord’s Table, which was usually celebrated at the end of the agape feast.
Text: 1Cor 11:23-27
Vs. 23 it is not something that Paul is instituting, but what he received he is delivering.
Something rooted in history – in the night which he was betrayed took bread…
Vs. 24 gave thanks (eucharisto) broke … (reminds one of the feeding of the 4000, Mat 15:37)
This is my body which is for you… it is God’s gift. Reason enough for thanksgiving.
Do this in remembrance of me.
Vs. 25 … This cup is the new covenant in My blood… celebrates a new covenant.
…do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.
Vs. 26 for as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lords death… It is a proclamation of the gospel – of the Lord’s death.
…until He comes. It is also an expression of the Christian confidence. He will come again.
The Lord’s Supper is the unchanging statement of that which is unchanging in Christianity. The center of Christianity is what JESUS DID. The Lord’s Supper in its dramatic picture states that just as it is.
Preaching talks about it, theology interprets it and conceptualizes it, the ordinance announces it.
The sentence repeated is do this in remembrance of me…
Do this in remembrance of Me…
It is a call against forgetting. Remembrance is more than a mental exercise; it involves a realization of what is remembered.
· What Jesus did and suffered for us. It is rekindled and reborn
Isaiah 42:1a Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom my soul delights.
The delight of the Father, the well beloved Son, in whom the Father was well pleased.
· We remember once again to receive. This is My body for you… receive again and again for we sin again and again; in order to appropriate once again what Jesus Christ has done for us.
· We remember Someone who is gloriously alive.
Memory turns into an experience and an encounter. He is not specially present in the symbols, but we are specially made aware of His presence.
To remember, to realize, to appropriate, to encounter… It is not a pious thinking of someone dead. But a remembrance of Christ’s incomparably significant suffering and dying, as the ransom for many (Mk 10:45), of His obedience until death (Phil 2:8), of the life which he gives for the life of the world (John 6:51), and of His fulfilling the command of His Father (John 10:18).
The center of it all stands the dying and the bearing of fruit of the wheat (John 12:24)
· Such remembrance should end in renewed dedication.
A renewed pledge of loyalty to one King – a deeper devotion
The principle that led Christ to the cross should guide our lives.
Of the several meanings the word Sacrament has one of them meant for the Roman soldier’s declaration of loyalty to the Emperor, to the regiment. Loyalty to the extent of sacrificing one’s life to keep the pledge.
To join with Christ’s people in the ordinance and to take the bread and wine in our hands and on our lips is a pledge of absolute loyalty to Jesus Christ, whom we are called to remember in this fashion.
Vs. 27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner…
Chapter 11 is basically not a discussion of the character of the worshipper, but the focus is on the conduct of worship. Therefore the call is to look at divisiveness, the selfishness, drunkenness that has crept into the observance, unworthy of such a sacrifice.
The issue is not of one not being prefect, for the Lord’s Supper is a constant reminder that God’s forgiveness and grace is available.
It is a warning not to come when we are insensitive to God’s presence and unloving to our fellow Church members. Not sensitive to the price that God had to pay to call us to this table of remembrance.
In the East to invite a person to the table was always a sign of friendship.
Ps 23:5 Thou dost prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
The picture here is of a man fleeing from his enemies across the desert toward an encampment. As he stands at the open tent of a family at meal, he knows that if he is invited and offered food, bread and salt, he knows he is safe and accepted.
It is a sign of committed friendship.
Yes, even as we examine ourselves, we ask, have we realized the cost that God had to pay to extend his hand of friendship in His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Have we heard the voice, Jn 15:15 … I have called you friends…
I believe that sensitivity is what God is looking for. When we realize God’s grace in extending his hand of friendship to us, we will be able to extend our hand of friendship to others. That is something that God requires as we come to his table.
29. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on oneself.
For the one who eats and drinks without careful regard 1 for the body eats and drinks judgment against himself. NET
Here what is under consideration is the church of God which is the body of Christ.
Not sensitive about the Church of God – the body of Christ.
The cost that God paid to purchase the church – as a bride for his Son, how do we look at this body, of which Christ is the head?
Our relationship with the visible local church tells us of our view/attitude towards the body of whom Christ is the head.
How serious are we about this body? Christ died for this body – his Church. If you think that this body can be taken lightly, Paul here is telling us to stay away from the Lord’s Supper.
Today it is in the local Church where the kingdom of God finds its expression. If this is not your first priority then you should not take part of the Lord’s Table and if you do then you are eating and drinking damnation on yourself.
Testing by Freedom Pavel Poloz, (1987) exiled from Russia, Moody Monthly, April, 1989
In Russia, Christians are tested by hardship, but in America you are tested by freedom. And testing by freedom is much harder.
“Nobody pressures you about your religion. So you relax and are not so concentrated on Christ, on His teaching, how He wants you to live.”
“Will you please tell me in a word,” said a Christian woman to a minister, “what your idea of consecration is?”
Holding out a blank sheet of paper the pastor replied, “It is to sign your name at the bottom of this blank sheet, and to let God fill it in as He will.”