Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This Do In Remembrance of Me

I Corinthians 11:17-34

"I don’t like going to Fishgrab family gatherings, They all talk and pretend like they love each other and are enjoying themselves. My family’s gatherings are a lot more real.” That was a comment by my ex-sister in law shortly before leaving my brother. She didn’t allow her two sons to come to any of our get-togethers while they were kids.

Twenty years later, at his half sisters wedding, one of her sons told us about her comments at the end of the time together. He said he didn’t know whether the love was real or not, but even if it was a pretense, it was much nicer than her family’s gatherings. It was obvious they didn’t like each other, fighting continually. The only reason anyone came was because his Great Grandmother told them to come and they knew that she wouldn’t give them an inheritance unless they did what she said, They didn’t want someone else to get their share.

The church at Corinth had fallen into the same attitude of bickering over everything from who was the best pastor to whether it was right for a man to wear his hair long and whether a woman must wear a hat to church. Their meeting did not strengthen, but rather tore down the church with their unspiritual standards and attitudes. He rebukes them for this attitude.

“Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” (I Corinthians 11:17-19)

Many people today develop that same attitude of trying to make sure everyone knows they are right, and cause conflict in the church. The conflicts clearly show that the people involved are not walking in the Spirit and thus are not pleasing God, although it seems as if they think they are more spiritual than those who are not fighting.

Paul was especially concerned that the conflicts were affecting their observation of the communion service. Jude describes the communion as a feast of charity, or love feast. Paul said they should not observe the Lord’s Supper when there was conflict among them, because of the attitude it produced, the wanting to set one above another.

“When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.” (I Corinthians 11:20-22)

The Communion is not the time to straighten out conflicts, nor is it to be a time of satisfying fleshly desires, whether of pride or of physical hunger. The focus is to be on what Christ did for us, and in us. It is to be done as a reminder to us of those things, however often we do it. Anything which takes away from that focus needs to be eliminated.

“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come.” (I Corinthians 11:23-26)

To partake of the communion in a manner which detracts from it’s meaning is to make a mockery of Christ’s sacrifice. Focusing on ourselves, for what ever reason, whether about strife with others, or our business, or anything else can keep us from taking the communion properly. Partaking when one has not accepted Christ implies that one does not consider his sacrifice that important. Paul warns of the results of this.

“Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” (I Corinthians 11:27-30)

To avoid bringing God’s judgment on ourselves, it is imperative that we examine ourselves and our heart attitude before we partake of the Communion.

“For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” (I Corinthians 11:31-32)

Make sure that observing the Lord’s Supper is in a manner that focuses on the Lord, not on the flesh.

“Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.” (I Corinthians 11:33-34)

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