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Fractured Fellowship. Corinthians 11

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                   FRACTURED FELLOWSHIP

1 COR.11:17-34

INTRO: (EX: THOMAS CAMPBELL & COMMUNIONI SERVICE IN 1807 IN PA.)  THE EARLY CHURCH OFTEN MET TOGETHER (IN HOMES) FOR “LOVE FEASTS” (SHARED MEAL) BEFORE THEY SHARED LORDS SUPPER (ACTS 2:46-48)—MANY OF THESE CHRISTIANS WERE SLAVES SO THIS MIGHT BE ONLY DECENT MEAL THEY WOULD HAVE ALL WEEK.  BUT IN COR. THIS MEAL WAS CAUSING PROBLEMS—THE MEANING WAS LOST—THERE WERE DIVISIONS—SOME WERE EXCLUDED AND PAUL SAID HE BELIEVED MUCH OF THIS REPORT (V.18)—SO WITH ALL THIS PAUL COULD NOT PRAISE THEM (V.17,22)  (EX:POEM)  REMEMBER JESUS INCLUDED JUDAS AT PASSOVER MEAL AND EVEN WASHED HIS FEET.  WHAT CAN WE DO (REMEMBER) TO AVOID THIS KIND OF FRACTURED FELLOWSHIP?

I.                  REMEMBER DIVISIONS DAMAGE THE SPIRIT OF THE LORDS SUPPER (V.17-22)

PAUL WAS VERY CONCERNED ABOUT THE “DIVISIONS” (SCHISMS, TEARING APART) & “FACTIONS” (DIFFERING OPINIONS). THE MTGS WERE DESTRUCTIVE—THEY WERE NOT ACTING LIKE BORN-AGAIN BELIEVERS. YES ITS POSSIBLE TO COME TO LORDS SUPPER & END UP WORSE THAN WHEN WE CAME—THESE BELIEVERS WERE SHOWING LACK OF LOVE FOR GOD & FOR ONE ANOTHER—THEIR ATTITUDES BETRAYED THE WHOLE PURPOSE OF THE LORDS SUPPER.  IN THESE POT-LUCK (PITCH-IN) MEALS PEOPLE WOULD BRING WHATEVER FOOD THEY COULD & THEN ALL WOULD SHARE—THEN THEY WOULD SHARE LORDS SUPPER. BUT NOTE THE MEAL WAS NOT THE FOCUS—JESUS WAS & IS! THESE MEALS WOULD BE HELD IN HOMES OF THE WEALTHY (THEY HAD BIGGER ROOMS)—THE “BEST ROOM” (TRICLINIUM) WOULD SEAT 12 & THEN OTHERS WOULD BE IN LARGER ROOM (ATRIUM) & WOULD HOLD 40.  THE WEALTHIER PEOPLE CAME IN EARLY AND BEGAN EATINIG & DRINKING—THEN LATER OTHERS CAME—AND THERE WOULD BE LITTLE FOOD OR DRINK LEFT---SO INSTEAD OF A CELEBRATION OF LOVE/SACRIFICE—THE MEAL DEGENERATEED INTO A VERY SELFISH GATHERING. THE CHURCH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST & THIS IS WHERE BARRIERS ARE BROKEN (REVIEW ACTS 2:44) –EVENTUALLY THESE LOVE FEASTS DISAPPEARED (MAYBE BECAUSE OF THESE ABUSES).  BUT PAUL WARNED THEM—IF YOU CANT SHOW LOVE/RESPECT FOR ALL IN THE BODY THEN ITS BEST TO STAY AWAY.

II.               REMEMBER THE PURPOSE OF THE LORDS SUPPER (V.23-27)---

PAUL RECEIVED INSTRUCTIONS ABOUT THIS MEAL FROM LORD (MAYBE WHEN HE SPENT 3 YRS IN ARABIA IN DESERT). ON THE NIGHT JESUS WAS “BETRAYED” (HANDED OVER) HE SHARED A PASSOVER MEAL WITH HIS DISCIPLES—FOR JEWS PASSOVER WAS HOLIEST OF FEASTS—IT WAS TIME OF COVENANT RENEWAL & REMEMBRANCE. BUT JESUS FILLED THAT MEAL FULL OF NEW MEANING/POWER (JER.31:31-34). JESUS BROUGHT IN THE PROMISES NEW COVENANT—“THIS IS MY BODY WHICH IS FOR YOU”—IN THIS MEAL JESUS TAUGHT ABOUT HIS DEATH—HIS BODY WAS GIVEN FOR YOU (PL)—THAT IS THE WHOLE CHURCH.  THE ORIGINAL PASSOVER IDENTFIED ISRAEL AS GODS CHOSEN PEOPLE. IT ENCOURAGED THEM WITH HOPE & DELIVERANCE. IT BROUGHT GLORY TO GOD & IT WAS TO BE PASSED ON TO FUTURE GENERATIONS. THIS WAS ABOUT PHYSICAL DELIVERANCE/FREEDOM.  BUT HOW MUCH MORE!  OUR PARTICIPATION IN THE NEW COVENANT CELEBRATES PERMAENT SPIRITUAL DELIVERANCE FROM SIN/DEATH. ON PASSOVER NIGHT JEWISH CHILD WOULD ASK “WHY IS THIS NIGHT DIFFERENT FROM OTHER NIGHTS?” & THE FATHER WOULD EXPLAIN THE EVENTS AS THEY WENT THRU THE MEAL.  WHEN JESUS PASSED THE 3RD CUP OF BLESSING—“THIS IS THE NEW COVENANT “IN” (OR AT THE COST OF) MY BLOOD”.  JESUS WAS THE TRUE LAMB TAKING THE WRATH WE DESERVED—ALL THAT NAUSETING MESS WAS PUT UPON HIM---“HE BECAME SIN FOR ME!”  (REV. 5:9-12)—JESUS DRANK THE CUP OF GODS WRATH FOR US—THE ONLY ONE WHO COULD—THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN BRING US TO THE FATHER—THERE IS NO OTHER NAME—NO OTHER FOUNDATION!  THIS IS TIME TO MEDITATE ON HIGH COST OF FORGIVENESS—TO REFELCT ON THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST—TO SEEK THE MIND OF CHRIST. HE DIED TO MAKE US ONE  (EPH. 2:14-22)---THIS MEAL IS A PROCLAMATION TO THE WORLD OF HIS VICTORIOUS DEATH—AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO HIS COMING AGAIN—THIS PROCLAMATION IS TO CONTINUE TILL HE COMES AGAIN. SO THIS IS MEAL OF HOPE, EXPECTANCY—A DRESS REHERSAL FOR THE WEDDING SUPPER OF THE LAMB THAT IS TO COME.

III.           REMEMBER TO MAKE A PROPER EXAMINATION OF YOUR HEART  (V.27-34)

THE COR. MADE A MOCKERY OF THIS SACRED MEAL BY THEIR BEHAVIOR—THEY NEEDED TO REPENT OF THEIR UNGODLY ATTITUDES—CHRIST DIED TO END DIVISIONS! THEY WERE SHARING IN AN “UNWORTHY MANNER (ATTITUDE)—THEY KEY HERE IS THEIR BEHAVIOR AT OR DURING THE LRODS SUPPER—NOT AN INDIVIDUAL SIN. BY DOING WHAT THEY WERE DOING THEY WERE “GUILTY” (LIABLE, ANSWERABLE) FOR THE BODY & BLOOD OF THE LORD. WHEN WE FAIL TO CHECK OUR ATTITUDE TOWARD THE BODY (CHURCH) WE SHED CHRIST’S BLOOD AGAIN. UNWORTHY MEANS UNEQUAL WEIGHT—BUT IT DOESN’T REFER TO NEEDING FORGIVENESS FOR SOME SIN—ONLY THE UNWORTHY (THOSE WHO NEED HEALING) CAN APPROACH. THIS IS COMING TO HIS TABLE WITHOUT ANY EXAMINATION OR REPENTANCE.  THE POINT HERE IS SHOWING DISREGARD FOR LORDS DEATH & WHAT IT ACCOMPLISHED BY TREATING OTHERS IN THE BODY WITH DISRESPECT—EATING/DRINKING IN SELFISH WAY—FAILING TO WAIT FOR OTHERS—SOME GETTING DRUNK/FULL WHILE OTHERS HAD NOTHING.  JESUS BROUGHT IN NEW WAY OF LIFE & SERVICE. SO THE FOCUS IS JESUS & HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS—NOT OURS!  SO HERE AT HIS TABLE WE REMEMBER HOW GOD BLESSED/PROTECTED US EVEN IN TOUGH TIMES WHEN WE WONDERED WHERE HE WAS (EX: AFRICAN CEREMONY OF BROTHERHOOD)  NOTICE HOW SERIOUS PAUL’S WARNING WAS:  SOME GOT SICK (FROM UNFORGIVING SPIRIT?) PAUL INDICATED SOME KIND OF JUDGMENT WAS TAKING PLACE & SOME WERE DYING (V.30).  THEY WERE LIVING IN A HYPOCRITICAL WAY FROM WHAT THEY WERE PROFESSING TO BELIEVE  (EX: ANNIAS & SAPPHIRA)—SO TAKE TIME TO EXAMINE THE HEART—“AM I LIVING IN  AN ATTITUDE OF LOVE WITH OTHERS?  AM I INTERFERING WITH THE PURPOSE OF JESUS’ DEATH?  PLEASE NOTE THERE ARE NO MANDATES ON WHO OFFICIATES OR DISTRIBUTES THE BREAD & CUP—THERE IS NO MANDATE ON WHAT IS TO BE SAID OR EVEN THE FREQUENCY.  LORDS SUPPER IS TO BE A FAMILY MEAL—IT PORTRAYS THE LOVE GOD HAS FOR US & WE ARE TO REFLECT THAT LOVE. IN THIS MEAL WE REMEMBER WE ARE UNITED TO HIM & TO EACH OTHER.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

     MEDITATE ON THE CROSS & CHURCH

     PRAY FOR PEOPLE—SOMEONE IS HURTING OR NEEDS LORD

     EXAMINE THE HEART TO MAINTAIN UNITY

     REALIZE ITS OK TO SHARE LORDS SUPPER IN SMALL GROUPS OR IN YOUR HOMES WITH OTHER BELIEVERS. THERE IS NO RESTRICTION IT HAS TO BE ONLY ON SUNDAY.

     WE HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN—GIVEN NEW LIFE, NEW HOPE. LET US CELEBRATE IN JOY & VICTORY!   HE IS COMING BACK FOR HIS BRIDE—THE CHURCH!

(EX:  PAUL BRAND AND THE LEPROSY PATIENT)

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