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How to Come to the Table Worthy

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The Message of 1 Corinthians iii. The Seriousness of Abuse (11:27–32)

Essentially you become guilty of shedding the blood of Christ: i.e. you place yourself, not in the company of those who are sharing in the benefits of his passion, but in the company of those who are responsible for his crucifixion.

The Message of 1 Corinthians iii. The Seriousness of Abuse (11:27–32)

Essentially you become guilty of shedding the blood of Christ: i.e. you place yourself, not in the company of those who are sharing in the benefits of his passion, but in the company of those who are responsible for his crucifixion.

The Message of 1 Corinthians iii. The Seriousness of Abuse (11:27–32)

‘The context implies that his self-examination will be specially directed to ascertaining whether or not he is living and acting “in love and charity” with his neighbours.’21

The process of self-examination is, etymologically, again linked with the root word dokimos.22 Each Christian is obliged, not to reach some moral or spiritual standard of perfection (imaginary or otherwise), but to pursue rigorous and honest self-scrutiny.

The Message of 1 Corinthians iii. The Seriousness of Abuse (11:27–32)

Essentially you become guilty of shedding the blood of Christ: i.e. you place yourself, not in the company of those who are sharing in the benefits of his passion, but in the company of those who are responsible for his crucifixion.

17 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse.

18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part,

19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.

20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat.

21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk.

22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.

23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread,

24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.

28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.

30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.

31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.

32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another—

34 if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come.

The Message of 1 Corinthians iv. Conclusion (11:33–34)

iv. Conclusion (33–34)

So Paul concludes his heartfelt plea to the Corinthians about two aspects of their life as a worshipping community. He was so perturbed about the way they were exposing themselves to the judgment of God in their approach to the Lord’s Supper, that he underlines its nature as a love-feast: wait for one another … if any one is hungry, let him eat at home (33–34). It is conceivable, according to Schlatter, that this marks the beginning of a separation between the love-feast and the eucharist. This may not be correct, but it is a timely reminder that Christian worship in Corinth was of a more informal nature, took place (in all probability) in private homes, incorporated both liturgical and spontaneous elements, and was not confined to one hour’s devotions in a specially-constructed building which remained virtually unused for the rest of the week. Some further implications of this kind of worship Paul proceeds to tackle in chapters 12–14.

Play Thor Clip: Thor being cast out
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3d9MEjq_S4

17 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse.

18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part,

19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.

20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat.

21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk.

22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.

23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread,

24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.

28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.

30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.

31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.

32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another—

34 if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come.

Introduction: Thor Analogy

Inside this clip , we find Marvel’s character Thor and his father King Odin in dispute. Thor has disobeyed his father’s command to refrain from fighting and to keep peace amongst the realms. Thor has great power. He is skilled in hand-to hand combat, he has an extended lifespan, he is immune to conventional diseases, he has enhanced endurance, he has superhuman strength, he has an extreme resistance to injury, and he could control lightning amongst many other powers. Thor is the firstborn son of Odin, heir to the throne of Asgard, born to be a King, but despite all of Thor’s powers and his birthright to be king, because he is selfish, cruel and self-consumed his father deems him to be UNWORTHY of his power, of his title and his loved ones. Thor is destined to be royal, but he does not have royal character.
On this first Sunday, we are gathered here to commemorate, to remember, what Christ has done for us on the cross. It is because of what he has done on the cross, that we too have great power. We have the power to live an abundant life. We have the power to walk in joy even in times of hardship and pain. We have the the power to walk in hope even when it seems like all hope is lost. We have the power to overcome depression and insecurity. We have the power to cast out demons and to pray where people may be healed. We have the power to forgive even when someone has stabbed us in the back 490 times (the Bible readers will catch that on the way out), we have the power to walk in holiness and the power to resist the attacks of Satan. It is because of what Jesus did on the cross that we have great power. It is because of what he did on the cross that we can hold the title of royal priesthood, to be son’s and daughters of a king, to be heirs to the throne grace. It is because of what he did on the cross, that we are able to wake up everyday to experience and to walk in the agape, unconditional love of God. It is because of what he did on the cross that we we have the power that we have, the title that we have and the love that we have.
Transition: Before we get into what it means to come to the table worthy, let us work our way up by first dealing with the consequences of not coming to the table worthy.
But the question here today as we come to the table of the Lord which reminds us of what Christ did on the cross, is are we worthy of the cross? Are we worthy of such power? Are we worthy of such title? Are we worthy of such love?
Transition: Before we get into what it means to come to the table worthy, we are going to work our way up by first dealing with dealing with the consequences of not coming to the table worthy.

What Happens When We Don’t Come to the Table Worthy

What is It?

What Happens When We Don’t Come to the Table Worthy

1. The Lord’s Supper Becomes Just a Formality (vs. 20-22)

The first consequence is found in verse 20-22. It reads:

20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat.

21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk.

22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.

2. We Become Guilty of the Body & Blood of the Lord (vs. 27)

2) We Become Guilty of the Body & Blood of the Lord (vs. 27)

Here is the first consequence: When we come to the table unworthy, the Lord’s Supper Becomes Just a Formality.
When we do something out of formality, we do it just for the sake of doing it, and it means nothing. Which is why Paul says in verse 20, to the Corinthians when you get together it’s not the Lord’s Supper that you eat.
You see, as you have heard pastor and I discuss in previous sermons, the Corinthian church was very divided. They were divided over which preacher they liked the most and they were divided economically. They were divided between the rich and the poor, the haves and the have-nots. And so what would happen during what we call the communion or the Lord’s Supper, the rich would provide most of the food (and it wasn’t set up like this where it was at a church and it was a cracker and a little cup of juice, but rather it was in their private homes and it was a full course meal.)
Could you imagine having a full course meal every first Sunday for communion?
Since the rich brought most of the food, this could have been such a wondrous occasion, where the rich took care of the poor and thus unifying the church across economic classes, but instead, what would happen, is that while the working class was still in the field and when the poor was running late, the rich would eat and drink all the food so when the poor arrived there was nothing left. And so what was suppose to bring unity, brought division.
As such, Paul says, when you come together, you can call it whatever you want to call it, just don’t call it the Lord’s Supper. Because it’s not the Lord’s Supper that you are having, you’re just going through the motions.
When we think about churches that hold communion on first Sunday, it is usually the most attended service out of the month, which means most people greatly respect the act of communion as we should. However, Paul would say that if there is great division amongst the church, it does not matter how many people show up, it doesn’t matter how many people respect the act of the Lord’s Supper. If there is great division, we’re not having the Lord’s Supper, we’re just going through the motions.
Why? Because communion comes from a Greek word meaning fellowship and a fellowship happens when a body is on one accord. And so if the fellowship is divided then it is impossible for there to be communion.
It becomes impossible because we do not allow communion to be what it needs to be.
There is nothing that God has instituted, decreed, ordained or commanded, including the Lord’s Supper, that is not designed to transform us in some way. And so if we participate in what we call communion, and we leave completely unchanged on a personal/corporate level, then it is not the Lord’s Supper we have eaten, but rather we have simply had a cracker and small cup of juice.
The Corinthians

2. We Become Guilty of the Body & Blood of the Lord (vs. 27)

2. We Become Guilty of the Body & Blood of the Lord (vs. 27)

20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat.

21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk.

22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.

The second consequence for coming to the table unworthy is found in vs. 27. When we come to the table unworthy, we become guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
In other words, we become guilty of shedding the blood of Christ: Instead of placing ourselves in the company of those who are sharing in the benefits of the cross, we place ourselves in the company of those who are responsible for putting him on the cross.
2. We Become Guilty of the Body & Blood of the Lord (vs. 27)
Essentially you become guilty of shedding the blood of Christ: i.e. you place yourself, not in the company of those who are sharing in the benefits of his passion, but in the company of those who are responsible for his crucifixion.

20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat.

21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk.

22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.

When we come unworthy to the table, there is no difference between us and the Roman soldiers that nailed him to the cross. When we come unworthy to the table, there is no difference between us and the Roman soldiers that put a crown of thorns on his head. When we come unworthy to the table, there is no difference between us and the Roman soldiers that pierced him in the side. When we come unworthy to the table, there is no difference between us and the Roman soldiers that gave him vinegar to drink when he was thirsty. When we come unworthy to the table, there is no difference between us and the Roman soldiers that crucified Jesus.
Essentially you become guilty of shedding the blood of Christ: i.e. you place yourself, not in the company of those who are sharing in the benefits of his passion, but in the company of those who are responsible for his crucifixion.
Essentially you become guilty of shedding the blood of Christ: i.e. you place yourself, not in the company of those who are sharing in the benefits of his passion, but in the company of those who are responsible for his crucifixion.
When we come unworthy to the table we literally strip away what Jesus did on the cross.

3. We Bring Judgment to Ourselves (vs. 29-34)

3. We Bring Judgment to Ourselves (vs. 29-34)

The third consequence for coming to the table unworthy is found in verses 29-34. When we come to table unworthy, we bring judgment onto ourselves.
The text goes on to describe what judgment can look like when we come to the table unworthy. It says that this is the reason why some of you are weak, ill and some of you have died. Now, Paul is not trying to say that every time somebody is weak, ill or has died it is due to sin or them coming unworthy to the table, but rather he is saying it a reason why some people are weak, ill and have died within the church.
Now many of us may look at weakness, illness and death as primarily a negative thing, but in the midst of God’s judgment, in the midst of him allowing weakness, illness and death to occur, we can still find God’s love and grace at work. Paul says when God judges us in this way, or when God allows weakness, illness and death to happen it is designed to discipline us so that we won’t be condemned in the final judgment.
In other words, when people come to the table unworthy, sometimes God will allow people to go through weakness, illness and death to wake us up and remind us that this life is just a speck on the timeline of eternity, that we are not to get too comfortable in this life, that this life is just temporary, our lives are nothing but a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow.
Sometimes, in a very paradoxical way, we humans leave God no choice but to use the vehicles of weakness, illness and death to spiritually save us. Sometimes it is only in the midst of weakness, illness and death that will cause a church to move and become what God needs it to be.
Transition: And so what have we learned so far. We have learned 3 consequences of coming unworthy to the table: 1) the Lord’s Supper just becomes a formality (It is not the Lord’s Supper we eat, but it is just a cracker and some juice 2) We are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord (it is as if we nailed Jesus to the cross ourselves) 3) We bring judgment to ourselves
1) the Lord’s Supper just becomes a formality
Now it is my hope that no one comes to the table unworthy on purpose and wants to face these consequences, so the big question here is how do I come to table worthy?

How Do We Come to the Table Worthy?

How Do We Come to the Table Worthy?

1. Self-Examination (vs. 28)

The answer is found in verse 28.
It says let a man examine himself. Let’s break that down.
Let a MAN. When it says man it refers to everybody, every girl, boy woman and man. Anyone who intends to eat of the bread and and drink of the cup is suppose to examine his or herself. No age will excuse us, for there has been aged hypocrites and young deceivers. In the words of Charles Spurgeon, the great theologian, no office is exonerated. No preacher, no deacon, no deaconess, no mother, no trustee, no usher, no Sunday School teacher, no member holding a position in the church can be excused from this self-examination. For there was even a Judas sitting at the Last Supper wit Jesus.
On that Thursday night before Jesus was betrayed, Jesus sat down with his disciples and said truly one of you will betray me. The disciples asked Jesus, who it was and he said “the one that will betray me is the one who dips his hand in the bowl with me.” This tells us two obvious things: 1) Judas is sitting at the table 2) Judas is siting somewhere close to Jesus.
Listen, I don’t know if there are any Judas’ in the room right now, but just in case, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but just because you have a seat at the communion table and just because you are in a position where it seems like you are close to Jesus, doesn’t make you less of a Judas.
I don’t know if there are any Judas’ in the room, but I’m sorry to be the bearere of bad news,
So it doesn’t matter what position you are in inside the church, it doesn’t matter where you are sitting, from the pulpit to the pew, every man must examine himself.
The text says let a man EXAMINE. When we say examine, we are not talking about a superficial survey where the results of the examination simply say “Brandon needs more work” or “Brandon is still in progress.” But when we say examine, we are like those who deal with precious metals, and when they place it in the fire, they seek to burn off all the extra stuff, so when they pull out the ore, the only thing that is left is pure gold. When it says examine, it means we ought to dig deep into our soul to see whether it be right or not. It means that we ought to search diligently, placing our soul under a microscope, looking for any ill-spot that is not like Christ.
When a person continually finds themselves, coughing, sneezing, having a running nose, light headed, and out of breath, you can’t just chuck it up to being sick. But rather you have to go to the doctor, have them examine you, and diagnose you to see whether or not you got the flu or if you got pneumonia. It’s not enough to just say I’m sick, because you can’t treat a sickness until you have named it.
As Christians, we all need some work, we all are in progress, but its not enough to just say that. We must examine ourselves in such a way that we are able to give a specific diagnosis on what the spiritual sickness really is. It’s not until we have named the sickness, that we are able to be treated. (Name some spiritual sicknesses here?)
The text says let a man examine HIMSELF. Pastor noted this in his sermon last week, but the key word here is “himself.” In other words, when we come to this table this is not the time for us to examine other people around us, but to examine ourselves. On another note, it is important to examine yourself instead of being content with the evaluation from others. Many of us have received all different types of recognition for our service in the church, we have recieved certificates for completing certain classes. But do not allow any recognition, certificate or ordination to puff you up in such a way that you think you need not to examine yourself when you come to this table. No one knows your filth like God, yourself and your spouse.
Transition: And so if we are going to come worthy to this table, we must examine ourselves. But after we have placed ourselves through the fire of self-examination, the question now is what do we do with the results when they come back?
After you have placed yourself through the fire of self-examination, the question is what do you do with the results when they come back?
The answer is quite simple: If you want to come worthy to the table of the Lord, you must be willing to die to yourself.
In the movie clip I showed you at the beginning, again we find King Odin deeming Thor to be unworthy of the power, title and love that he possessed. As such, he cast him earth with no powers. And though it seems like a hopeless situation at first, there is still hope. For in the midst of the banishment. The king inscribes on the side of Thor’s hammer, if anyone be worthy to to hold this hammer shall be worthy to the possess the power of Thor. When we fast forward to the end of the movie, there is this machine called the Destroyer that has entered the earth and it is reaping havoc searching to kill Thor in his human state. But it is not until Thor is willing die that he becomes worthy of his power, worthy of his title and worthy of his loved ones.
If we want to be worthy of this table and what it represents then we must be willing to die.
For the word of God says:
“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?
“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?
If you don’t want to turn the Lord’s Supper into just a formality, then you must be willing to die to yourself.
If you don’t want to be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, then you must be willing to die to yourself.
If you don’t want to bring judgment onto yourself, then you must be willing to die to yourself.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?
26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?
In other words, if one is to be worthy of Jesus, if one is to be worthy of coming to this table then he must be willing to take up his cross, he must be willing to lose his life.
25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
If you don’t want to come to this table unworthy, then you must be willing to die to yourself.
If you don’t want to come to this table unworthy, then you must be willing to die to yourself.
If you don’t want to turn the Lord’s Supper into just a formality, then you must be willing to die to yourself.
If you don’t want to be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, then you must be willing to die to yourself.
If you don’t want to bring judgment onto yourself, then you must be willing to die to yourself.
It doesn’t mean that you have all your “t‘s” crossed and all your “i’s” dotted. It doesn’t mean that you’re perfect. But it means that you are willing to die.
Die to your greed. Die to your selfishness. Die to your attitude problems. Die to unforgiveness. Die to bitterness . Die to being poor stewards over your finances. Die to laziness. Die to a gossiping mouth. Die to your sin.
Nudge your neighbor and say neighbor, I know you are not perfect, but as we get ready to come to this table of the Lord, have you examined yourself and are you willing to die to yourself? If not, then why are you taking it?
: Parable of the King inviting people to the feast.
: Parable of the King inviting people to the feast.
What does it mean to come worthy to the table? Well,
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