When was the last time you really stopped to consider the stern warning found in 1 Corinthians about taking communion in an unworthy manner? “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” 1Cor. 11:27
Most of the time when communion is served this passage is read and there is time given for reflection, but what are we reflecting on? If we are only reflecting on and confessing the sins we committed the night before we may be missing a significant aspect of what Paul is teaching in this passage. Let’s take a deeper look.
“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, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we should not be judged.” 1 Cor. 11:28-31
It is appropriate and necessary for each of us as individuals to examine ourselves to make sure there isn't sin in our lives. We must be right before the Lord before we partake in communion. However, if our focus is only on ourselves then we have failed to rightly judge the body.
In these verses and in the larger context of chapter eleven the term body is used in two ways. It is used in reference to the “body” of the Lord Jesus verse 24-27. It is also used in reference to the church in verses 29-30. Incorrect fellowship was one of the significant issues that Paul was addressing in the Corinthian church.
This issue was so bad in the church at Corinth that some believers were literally sick and dying, verse 30, while others were feasting and getting drunk, verse 21. They failed to acknowledge their relationship and dependence on one another.
Incorrect fellowship is also one of the significant issues in the church today. As believers, we can quickly make our relationship with Jesus so personal that we neglect those around us. When this happens believers fail to recognize sins like neglecting the needs of others, unforgiveness, resentment, jealousy and so on. We also fail to recognize the Lord’s instructions to go to a brother and make things right, Matt. 5:23-24. Jesus made it clear that the greatest commandments were to love the Lord and love each other. If we neglect either of these we are guilty and will receive the Lord’s discipline.
Conversely, when we take the time during a communion service to examine ourselves and our relationships with each other powerful things can happen. We have seen relationships restored, people come back to the Lord and healings take place simply because believers took the time to love the Lord and to love each other.
Are you right with the Body of Christ or are you guilty?
This month’s Ministers training event will be discussing these and other aspects of communion. Join us for the new event format by Clicking Here.
Chat with you soon,Pastor Dave SmuinPresidentwww.NCCChurch.org