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1 Corinthians 11_17-34 Invitation to His Supper

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Invitation to His Supper

1 Corinthians 11:17-34


1 Corinthians 11 is a didactic or teaching periscope wherein Paul addresses the importance of observing the Lord’s Supper properly.

You have in your bulletin an outline of the passage.  It is my intent that the outline serve as a guide for us when we partake of the Lord’s Supper.  Each time I will focus on a different aspect of the teaching outline.  However, for you Type C personalities who are not happy until all details are worked out, we will fill in the blanks each time.

I.             Problems observing the Lord’s Supper

A.          Division among the believers (17-19)

17 But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse.
18 For, in the first place, (Interesting, there is no antithesis expressed.  This is the primary reason for Paul’s condemnation and the only one given.)  when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it.
19 For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.

Divisions is exemplified best in early writings as a splinter of wood.  Splinters hurt in two ways.  First, they hurt the people that are unaware of the splinters and innocently rub them the wrong way.  Those people get stuck.

Second, it actually hurts the wood.  Each splinter is a weak spot.  In the same way it is with us.  When we are divided we hurt others and ourselves.

B.          Selfishness among the believers (20-22)

20 Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper,
21 for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk.

Socrates bade his attendant either to place each small contribution on the table for the common use, or else to distribute his share of the same to each.  He insisted that his generation not commit the same sin as the Corinthians.

22 What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you.

It was a mere grab-game.  The picture Paul paints of their Lord’s Supper reminds me of a time when I was in High School.  My friend Roger came over to eat dinner, as usual.  There was one piece of chicken left on the plate.  We were all eyeing it.  Suddenly the lights went out in the dining room.  Roger yelled.  The lights came back on within a matter of seconds.  In the back of Roger’s hand was Grandma’s fork.

Solution: Restore not Remove (33)

33 So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.

This is common courtesy.  Wait in turn.  We pass out elements then wait for everyone to have one before we eat.

II.           Purpose of the Lord’s Supper: To Edify the Church

A.          We should look back: “Show the Lord’s Death” (23-25)

23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which 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 He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

1.           We must remember THAT he died (24)

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.”


John 10:17
17 “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.

2.           We must remember WHY he died (25)

25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

“The new covenant” – covenant is the Hebrew word “to cut.”  Like “to cut a deal.”  But in ancient times it really meant cut.  To form a covenant something or someone must be cut into.  The concept of the covenant is best described in Genesis 15:9-18.

Genesis 15:9-18
9 So He said to him, “Bring Me a three year old heifer, and a three year old female goat, and a three year old ram, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”
10 Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, and laid each half opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds.
11 The birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away.
12 Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him.
13 God said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years.
14 “But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions.
15 “As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age.
16 “Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.”
17 It came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces.
18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:

Now let’s  read Hebrews 9:15-17.

Hebrews 9:15-17
15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
16 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it.
17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives.

The wine was a poignant reminder of Christ’s blood, without the shedding of which there could be no forgiveness from sin and through which cleansing and a new relationship (a covenant) with God was made.  The word “covenant” referred to a relationship in which one party established terms which the other party accepted or rejected.  The focus of the Old Covenant was the written Word.  The focus of the New Covenant is the Living Word.

3.           We must remember HOW he died: “in my blood”

It is obvious that Paul is speaking about the cross.

B.          We should look ahead: “till he come.” (26)

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

The Lord’s Supper is the great preacher of the death of Christ till his second coming.

C.          We should look within (27-28)

27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.
28 But a man must examine himself, (Test himself as he would a piece of metal to see if genuine.  Not auricular confession to a priest, but self-examination is necessary.)  and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

This is serious.  More serious than baptism.  God has never killed someone for taking baptism lightly.  But he has made some sick, and weak, and actually killed some concerning taking the Lord’s Supper.

Why is that?  Hebrews 6:6 says it like this: “it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.”

If we have difficulty understanding the force and impact of what he is saying, we should look around.

D.      We should look around (29-30)

29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.
30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.

The Lord’s Supper serves as a backward look to the cross.

It serves as a look ahead to the crown.

It serves as an inward look to the conscience.

It serves as a look around at the church.

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