In our last study about the Lord’s Supper, we learned about the many problems the Corinthians caused in their church through the sins of division, pride, jealousy, greed, sex, idol worship, eating food sacrificed to idols, misuse of spiritual gifts, disorderly conduct in public worship, gluttony, and drunkenness (to name some of the problems). These are symptoms of a deeper problem. The root was a lack of love for God and others. Interesting how everything goes back to what Jesus said when he was asked about the most important Commandment in Moses’ Law.
“Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31
The Corinthian believers, Jews and Gentiles, were disobeying the most important Commandments of God – leading to their many sins and the sickness and premature deaths that plagued the young Church. The Apostle Paul prescribed the spiritual medicine that would heal them.
“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 1 Corinthians 1:10
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18
“He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” 1 Corinthians 1:31
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:5
“I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you.” 1 Corinthians 4:14
“Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” 1 Corinthians 5:8
“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
“Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.” 1 Corinthians 8:13
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one whobeats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
“Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. ” 1 Corinthians 10:11-14
“You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He? All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.” 1 Corinthians 10:21-24
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
“Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1
This is Paul’s advice as he approaches specific instructions about the Lord’s Supper. It’s important that we read the full letter to understand Paul’s context as he approaches. It’s important that we think on these things carefully before interpreting meaning to and problems with the Lord’s Supper. I say that because the Church today is greatly divided about something so precious and important. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is and has been for many years. Thoughts on those differences in the next part of our study.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”