1 Corinthians 11:17-34 You Proclaim the Lord's Death Till He Comes

The Lord’s Supper is central to our worship service each and every week at Fort Trial Christian Church. It is obviously important to us and there are many inquiries from family and friends from other churches on why the Christian Churches share this so often. Sometimes there is confusion on certain aspects of the Supper.

Several questions arise from First Corinthians 11 on this subject. Questions are asked such as:
1. Does this chapter teach weekly communion?
2. What is it to eat and drink in an unworthy manner?
3. How can I examine and judge myself?

I will not necessarily answer all of these questions directly, but they will all be addressed atleast indirectly as we move through the text.

READ Scripture- This is the Word of God

Point 1: We can determine the reasons for coming together based on the rebukes
1. (v17) “Since you come together not for the better but for the worse”
2. (v20) “Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper.”

We are to meet together as a church for the betterment of each other and for the Lord’s Supper. We know that the early Christians met weekly on the first day of the week. They practiced four devotions accounted in Acts 2:42 “the Apostle’s doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers.” Breaking of Bread is Luke’s way of saying what Paul calls the Lord’s Supper.

What are the Corinthians rebuked for concerning their meetings?
1. Their meetings were “worse” (v17)
2. There were divisions among them (v18)
3. They appeared to be there for the Lord’s Supper, but did not recognize the Lord while eating and drinking. (v29)
4. Many were taking their own food to eat and drink before the rest could get there and they were not sharing of their abundance with the needy. (v21)
5. Some were getting drunk during the assembly! (v21)

When we weigh all of these rebukes we can see what they should have been doing- edifying one another, sharing with one another, remembering the Lord.

Point 2: Unworthy Manner
There are certainly many ways to participate in the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner, but this text concerns ONE two-fold way:
1. Partaking while despising the church of God by shaming the needy.
2. In shaming the needy, they are disregarding the body of the Lord as
verse 29 says, “not discerning the Lord’s body.”

What the context seems to develop is the fact that there were wealthy Christians and needy Christians in the church. The wealthy Christians were bringing there own food and wine to the host house and treating the gathering as one of the pagan party banquets that were common in the city. Some of those wealthy may be part of the social elite that were used to hosting extravagant banquets.

Either these people were eating before others had a chance or they were not sharing with the whole church what they had brought to the house.

Paul said, “I hear that there are divisions among you” and then he says, “For there must also be factions among you.” On the surface it is as if Paul contradicts himself because here he says that there must be factions yet he has already said in 1:10 “I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you.” Which is it? What Paul is saying is that there will be factions among the church as revealed in 1 Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…” YET we are to fight against it with everything we have. We must fend off division and false doctrine with all of our energy. Now these two words, divisions and factions, are closely related but not the same words in the original language. The unworthy manner of partaking of the Lord’s Supper by some of the Corinthians was causing factions which is the same Greek word used in 2 Peter 2:1 of false teachers and their false doctrines which are there called destructive heresies.

Thus: Factions = Destructive Heresies and Eating/Drinking in Unworthy Manner = Proclaiming False Doctrine

vv27-32 are closely related to the idea of “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” The Apostle links an individual’s carelessness at the Table with specific consequences of divine discipline. Not all weakness and sicknesses are caused by sins, but some are caused by partaking of the Lord’s Supper with no thought of the Lord or His people.

Point 3: The Lord’s Supper
The truth of the matter is none of us are worthy to partake of the Lord’s Supper and thus none of us could do so in a worthy manner:
1. Romans 3:9 “For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.”
2. Romans 3:10 “There is none righteous, no, not one.”
3. Romans 3:23 “There is no difference; for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

But what is the reason for the Lord’s Supper anyway?
V26 “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.”
1. It is because of His death that we even assemble.
2. It is because of His death that we partake of the Lord’s Supper.
3. And it is because of His death that we are called worthy though we are NOT.

Romans 3:28 “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the Law.” Galatians 2:16 “Even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the Law; for by the works of the Law no flesh shall be justified.” Ephesians 2:13 “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” ** Romans 4:17 “God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did…”

Though we are unworthy, God calls us worthy based on the death of Christ!!!

Therefore, the Lord invites us to His table if we believe in Him!
The only prerequisite is to examine one’s self to solidify in the spirit the fact that Christ has died for our sins and the sins of those sitting around us (the church).

What the Corinthians are told is that if they merely want to eat and drink they can do that at home. When they are ready to worship, they can gather with the church and share in what the Lord has provided. Their gathering was to be a fellowship, a sharing, a remembrance of the Lord Jesus Christ and so is ours.

Worship should be focused on Christ Jesus. What better way can we worship, remember, and celebrate the Lord Jesus than by meeting for the Lord’s Supper?
This event focuses our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. It reminds us that we are justified freely by His grace which was accomplished on the cross. It reminds us that we are not worthy, yet God has called us worthy because we have believed in His Son.

When the bread and juice pass, we are told the Gospel.
It is important to note that we are doing more than remembering when we eat the bread and drink the cup of the Lord. We are in fact making a proclamation!

I am not the only preacher in this church; we all are when we gather at the Table.
V26 “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.”

I see this verse as probably the key verse of the section and the key idea of the Lord’s Supper. We examine ourselves leading us to confess our sins and we remember the Lord Jesus Christ, yet we also PROCLAIM the Gospel which is that:
1. Jesus Christ came in the flesh (1 John 4:2; Matthew 1:18; etc.)
2. Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2; etc.)
3. Jesus Christ was buried (Matthew 27:66; etc.)
4. Jesus was raised, first among many (Colossians 1:18; Romans 8:29; etc.)
5. Jesus is Lord and will return soon (John 14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; etc.)

That is the Lord’s Supper and that is the Gospel!!!