1 Corinthians chapter 11 vs 17 to 34 – Take Eat this is my Body
New converts to Christ could not help but be impressed by just how simple the worship of the Christian was.
Converted from idol worship and brought into his new found faith in Christ he had seen one by one all of those old symbols exit out of the front door!
The altar had gone; “We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.” (Heb 13:10)
The sacrifices had gone; “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;” (Heb 10:12)
The old priesthood had gone, we now have but one Great High Priest
The idols were gone, we have someone far surpassing the idol; “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2Co 4:6) – we have the reality of God in Christ
The only symbols these Christians were left with are the 3 we have in chapters 10 to 11 of 1 Corinthians:
Symbol of Baptism (chp 10) – Salvation in Christ
Symbol of head covering (chp 11) – Sovereignty of Christ
Symbol of the cup and loaf (chp 11) – Sacrifice of Christ
These 3 symbols give but 1 message – Christianity is solely and completely about Christ.
This third section begins with a shocking admission by the apostle (11:17); “that ye come together not for the better but for the worse”
After all that has been and shall be said concerning the value of and the importance of gathering together – it is possible to gather “for the worse”
The Person present: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Mat 18:20)
The Power of God operating: “And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.” (1Co 14:25)
The Privileges – the demonstration and working of gifts by the Spirit of God (cf. Chapter 12)
You may have thought that automatically, by virtue of the fact they gathered, blessing and Divine approval was guaranteed, not so however.
What could have gone wrong for it not to have been for the better, but for the worse?
So far in 1 Corinthians we have seen:
Schism (chapters 1 to 3)
Sin (chapter 5)
Selfishness (chapters 6 to 10)
So which was it?
Sin (11:27, 30-34)
Ironically here is the very time when we would be remembering:
Unity and fellowship
The selfless sacrifice of Christ
The cost to God of the once and for all offering for sin
What was the breaking of bread / Lords Supper meant to be about?
It was about:
A simple matter; a simple instruction, obedience is essential:
“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” (1Sa 15:22-23)
'eat' (11:24) – aorist imperative active
'do' (11:24) - aorist imperative active
'do' (11:24) - aorist imperative active
When? - First day of the week (Acts 20:7)
Obedience to Christ would surely take presidence over our:
Why remember every week?
Is this not overkill?
We remember each week because:
It is Essential lest we forget
The God who made us knows the difference between our short term and our long term memory
Each week, the memory of Christ is brought again from the long term to the short term memory.
Gods complaint of His OT people:
Jeremiah 2:32; 3:21; 18:15; 23:27
Ezekiel 22:12; 23:35
Hosea 4:11; 8:14; 13:6
It is the Essence of Worship
It is the Exercise of Spiritual battle
It is the Examination of Self
Recall that the letter to the Corinthians is set in an in between place:
Between Grace given (1:4) and Grace fulfilled (15:57)
Between Egypt and the promised land (1 Co 10)
Between redemption and resurrection
Between Calvary (11:23) and the Coming again (11:26)
Notes from a sermon preached as part of our systematic bible study series on 1 Corinthians.
Free audio, mp3 downloads available above, of these messages as we expound verse by verse through the first epistle of Paul to the Corinthians.
Yours by Grace in Christ
Dr J Stewart Gillespie