The Lord’s Supper is a place of intimacy and connection to the remembrance of Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection and the body of believers. The Corinth church was using the Communion table for the wrong purposes and Paul reminded them with his loving rebuke not to be unworthy or dishonoring to one another or the true meaning of Communion. He encouraged them to “examine themselves”, confess and reconcile so that they could receive Communion with the right hearts, therefore bringing edification to the body of believers.
1 Corinthians 11:17-18- “I hear there are divisions among you”
- What were the divisions Paul heard about?
- When the Lord’s Supper was celebrated in the early church, it included a feast or fellowship meal followed by the celebration of Communion. In the church in Corinth, the fellowship meal had become a time when some ate and drank excessively while others went hungry. There was little sharing and caring. This certainly did not demonstrate the unity and love that should characterize the church, nor was it a preparation for Communion.” – Life Application Bible Commentary
- Paul lovingly rebuked the Corinth church of their actions and reminded them to focus on the real purpose of Communion.
1 Corinthians 11:27-32 “Examine your yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup”
- :27 don’t take The Lord’s Supper unworthy-Paul was speaking to the church members who were participating in communion without thinking of its meaning. When he talks about “guilty of sinning against the body” he is meaning, that it does not honor the body of Christ. The word honor means to have great esteem or great respect for. Without this mindset or attitude toward the body of believers, there is division within one’s heart.
- :28 this is why Paul says, “you should examine yourself.” Go make right what is wrong so there isn’t any division in your heart toward the body of Christ. This is why Christ died. He came to make us right by His sacrifice and covered our wrongs with His grace. So when we approach the communion table in remembrance of Him, we are reminded of His great love for us, so we should do the same toward others. Make right what is or has been wrong.
- :31 “If we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God.”
- :32 “Yet when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined.”
- The words judged and discipline here are not bad words – The word states that the Lord disciplines those he loves like a Father to a son.
“For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights” – Proverbs 3:12
- Discipline is for time but there is purpose to build the believer back up afterwards.
“For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” – Hebrews 12:10-11
- There is sin in our hearts, division as for this context
- The sin dishonors the body of Christ and the meaning of coming to the communion table
- Examine yourself, confess your sin so the body of Christ is honored
- Receive the loving rebuke of your heavenly Father for the purpose of receiving the Lord’s Supper with a clear heart
Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned…
“We are all sinners saved by grace. This is why we should prepare ourselves for Communion through healthy introspection, confession of sin, and resolution of differences with others. These actions remove the barriers that affect our relationship with Christ and with other believers. Awareness of your sin should not keep you from Communion but should drive you to participate in it.” – Life Application Bible commentary
- Can you look inside your heart and ask, “Is there division that is separating me from the closeness that God desires to have with me? Are there any barriers inside me that I need to confess?” Take a moment to do that and journal through your thoughts or pray through them.
- Not only may you confess that sin to God himself, but when you are able, by the sincere grace and strength of God, will you commit to reconciling your differences with that person or people?
- Are you a person that is able to receive the discipline of God as a good thing?
- Is there evidence of unforgiveness in your heart that is keeping you from the power and influence of fellowship with God or other believers and the real purpose of the Communion table?
Oh, Lord may you pour out your Spirit upon us, that we have eyes to see our sin and hearts to recognize that it is separating us from You. Let see where we need to confess our differences with others and give us the grace and strength to make right what has been wrong.
Let us not be unworthy or dishonoring to your Communion table. May we be a people who desire unity among the believers, even if it means personal sacrifice. May You be honored and glorified through us. Amen