Tuesday Morning Early Start – Important Doctrines
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. (1 Corinthians 11:23-29)
Has The Supper Become Mundane?
The church in Corinth had a lot of problems. They were still a church of God but there were a few things Paul needed to sort out for them that needed attention. Among the many issues plaguing the church was the conduct of the Lord’s Supper. Their attitudes, actions and assessment of the remembrance of Christ’s death had reached an all-time low. What began as a doctrine of sacred memory had turned into a mundane, casual feasting with a select few neglecting others in their abuse of the supper. Some of Paul’s strongest language will come from this text.
Jesus instituted the supper during another important remembrance: the Passover. The first Passover was deadly. For those who did not follow the instructions of the Lord during that dreadful night death would come. The wail of sorrow filled the land as the Egyptians awoke to the death of the firstborn. Only a working faith in obedience to the specific instructions of the Lord would allow the judgment of God to pass over. Instituting the supper of Christ during the Passover feast was not a coincidence. It was meant to serve as a parabolic representation of what Jesus would do for man on the cross. His blood saves us from death. It was His sacrifice that gives us hope. But it also serves as a warning to those who would view the Lord’s Supper as a time to break off a crumb of bread and drink a slip of juice with no regard to the significance of our spiritual Passover.
The church in the past few years has realized that our worship services have more often than not become hastened activities of a check-list itemed ritual with little or no memory of what the Supper means. We hasten through the passing of the bread and the juice. Few words are said. Prayers are shortened to a rote memorization of common phrases. The spirit seems to be more on getting out on time than taking the time to get out as much of the memory of Christ’ death.
It should not go without warning the severity of Paul’s message to the Corinthians. A serious problem that is common among brethren is the forgetful nature of “discerning the body and the blood.” When the emblems are passed there is laughter, talking, playing with babies, writing of checks, reading the bulletin and a host of other things that clearly show the mind is not upon the suffering of Jesus. There is penalty attached to the Lord’s Supper if we allow it to become a mundane exercise of worship. Is it possible that in all the things we have to discuss with the Lord on the day of judgement that our eternal life is jeopardized because we ate the bread and drank the cup in an unworthy manner? How sad when we knew better. Judgment is allotted every Sunday upon those who treat the Lord’s Supper as common.
Jesus died and suffered so that we could be saved. There is nothing we can do to repay that sacrifice. What we can do is to reflect upon that message with a spirit of holiness, reverence and thankfulness that Jesus died for ME! Anything less is sin.
The [Lord’s Supper] is central: because it gathers up, expresses, and makes effective the whole meaning of the spiritual life. (Olive Wyon, The Altar Fire, 1954)