Rules for the Lord's Supper
17Your worship services do you more harm than good. I am certainly not going to praise you for this. 18I am told you can't get along with each other when you worship, and I am sure that some of what I have heard is true. 19You are bound to argue with each other, but it is easy to see which of you have God's approval.
20When you meet together, you don't really celebrate the Lord's Supper. 21You even start eating before everyone gets to the meeting, and some of you go hungry, while others get drunk. 22Don't you have homes where you can eat and drink? Do you hate God's church? Do you want to embarrass people who don't have anything? What can I say to you? I certainly cannot praise you.
The Lord's Supper
(Matthew 26.26-29; Mark 14.22-25; Luke 22.14-20)
23I have already told you what the Lord Jesus did on the night he was betrayed. And it came from the Lord himself.
He took some bread in his hands. 24Then after he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Eat this and remember me.”
25 After the meal, Jesus took a cup of wine in his hands and said, “This is my blood, and with it God makes his new agreement with you. Drink this and remember me.”
26The Lord meant that when you eat this bread and drink from this cup, you tell about his death until he comes.
27But if you eat the bread and drink the wine in a way that isn't worthy of the Lord, you sin against his body and blood. 28This is why you must examine the way you eat and drink. 29If you fail to understand that you are the body of the Lord, you will condemn yourselves by the way you eat and drink. 30This is why many of you are sick and weak and why a lot of others have died. 31If we carefully judge ourselves, we won't be punished. 32But when the Lord judges and punishes us, he does it to keep us from being condemned with the rest of the world.
33My dear friends, you should wait until everyone gets there before you start eating. 34If you really are hungry, you can eat at home. Then you won't condemn yourselves when you meet together.
After I arrive, I will instruct you about the other matters.
There are two issues in today’s reading: relationships between people in the church, and attitudes towards the Lord’s supper.
Paul exposes three attitudes that were destroying the Christian fellowship in Corinth (v 17). They always destroy fellowship – watch for them and root them out!
The cliquish mentality: Note what it leads to (vv 18, 19).
The selfish mentality: These are the people who use the church as a place to have a good time socially (vv 20, 21). Their attitude to the church is “self-centered,” not “Christ-centered.”
The snobbish mentality: This feeds on anything which makes you feel you are better than others (v 22): more money, higher education, greater faith.
The Lord’s Supper. It is a very simple service (vv 23-26). Many have found that it has been at its most helpful when it has been at its simplest. In essence, there are two parts to it:
Looking back to Christ’s cross (vv 24, 25), a way of remembering that my salvation does not depend on my life but on his death and
Looking ahead to Christ’s coming (v 26), for we do not remember a dead Christ but a living one!
The bread and the cup are just ordinary things, but they stand for the precious body and blood of your Saviour (v 27). How then should you treat them? Have you ever really obeyed verse 28?
O God, I pray for the worship services in my church. May we truly worship you when we take communion. I pray that this will show in the way we relate to one another. Amen.