The Lord’s Table Is More Than Grape Juice And Stale Crackers

Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash

Is it possible to be a Christian, and yet live as sinful as a non-Christian? The answer is both “yes” and “no”.

Please turn with me to 1 Corinthians chapter 11. As you turn, let me give a little introduction
to this wonderful text.

The Corinthian writings are called “Church Epistles”, or more clearly, “letters written to the local Churches”. Most of the letters that the Apostle wrote to local Churches contained doctrine or teachings for the Church from the Apostles. The Bible is so very important because God founded His Church on …

Ephesians 2:20 … the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

The Church is founded on Bible doctrine, written doctrine or teachings from the prophets (the Old Testament) and the apostles (the New Testament). Right after God started the Church on the Day of Pentecost, the Bible says:

Acts 2:41-42 …. they that gladly received {Peter’s preaching of Christ} were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And {the early Church} continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

There were no “Church Rolls” or membership lists. Those who were baptized in water were considered members of Christ’s Church. The Church “continued steadfastly”, heeding:

  1. The “Apostles Doctrine”. The teaching of the Bible.
  2. Fellowship. Believers gathered together to grow in Christ.
  3. Breaking of bread. They enjoyed the Lord’s Table.
  4. Prayers. The Church prayed together. The Christian prayed alone.

The reason believers gathered together, as we do today, is so that we can build one another up in our faith. The Bible says that as Christians,

1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 …. God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

As believers we come together to encourage one another, to build up one another, not to tear one another down. We offer comfort to those in our midst who are suffering through prayer. We edify one another. The word “edify” is the Greek οἰκοδομέω oikodoméō, (pronounced oy-kod-om-eh’-o), which means “to build a house together”.

We who are saved are, the Scripture says,
“The House of Christ” (Hebrews 3:6). We are
to build this House upward, Godward.

The Christian is commanded to “not forsake the assembling together of ourselves”, but to come together to “exhort one another”, the Greek παρακαλέω parakaleō (pronounced par-ak-al-eh’-o), or literally “to call to one’s side so as to comfort and encourage”. Many today say, “I don’t have to be a part of a Church to be saved”. As the Bible says:

1 Corinthians 12:18 … now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

The Church is a part of God’s Plan of salvation. It is a world in microcosm, a world whereby we show love one to another, practicing to be like Jesus. We are to imitate God, to follow Jesus. Thus when we gather as a Church, we are to come together for the better – to better one another.

When The Gathered Church Is Selfish
It Hurts The Cause Of Christ

It is possible for a Christian to fall into sin. It is possible to step away from your calling momentarily. When you do this, it does not just hurt you. It hurts Christ’s Church. When God speaks of our mission, He always speaks of GROUPS of Christians. Not individuals, but GROUPS. Hear this:

1 Peter 2:9-10 … ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: 10 which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

The Christian is “called out of darkness, and brought into God’s marvelous light”. It is not normal for a Christian to live in sin. We who are saved are to live IN THE WORLD, loving those around us. But we are never to IMITATE THE WORLD. We do not belong in sin. Jesus said:

John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

We are called to walk TOGETHER with one another as we walk WITH Christ. The Church and Christian walking in the light of Christ will be hated by the lost.

Beloved – and I speak to God’s Church – now we are the Children of God (1 John 3:2). The Beloved Apostle John said:

1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with {Jesus}, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

The Christian & the Church are designed to walk in the light with Jesus.
The Christian & the Church are designed to live out the Word of God.
The Christian & the Church are designed to obey the commands of Jesus.
The Christian & the Church are designed to live so as to honor our King.

Let’s look at our text.

1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

FOLLOWERS. That’s plural. We – TOGETHER – follow the Word of God, the Apostle’s Doctrine. We FOLLOW Paul, Peter, Matthew, Mark, Luke. We follow both OLD and NEW Writings, the fully Bible. When we follow God TOGETHER we are blessed TOGETHER. When we do not – we hurt ourselves and others.

Paul was not pleased with Corinth. He wrote:

1 Corinthians 11:17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.

When we come together, loving God and loving one another, we promote the Kingdom of God. This is our calling.

Ephesians 5:1-2 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us…

Philippians 2:4-5 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Believers, we are not to come together to satisfy OURSELVES.
We gather together and honor God.
We gather together and love one another, as Christ loved us.

Love is a door that swings outward, blessing others.

That is the Way of the Master.

When we do not love one another, word gets around. The Apostle said:

1 Corinthians 11:18-19 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

Paul was in Roman bondage, awaiting trial by Caesar. How did he hear of Corinth’s sins? Somebody told him. When the Church does wrong, word gets around.

The local Church at Corinth was not unified spiritually, because the factions in the Church were living for themselves and not for Christ. There was warring and fighting in the Church, totally contrary to the will of Christ. Some were false Christians who, though outwardly professing Jesus, inwardly were just living for themselves.

1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

The stony ground “Christians” (Mark 4:16-19) never grow deep roots. When the world strikes at their faith they quickly backed away, going back to Egypt, rather than staying faithful to the Word of God. The Corinthians had grown so Christless in their meetings that they perverted the meaning of the Lord’s Table.

1 Corinthians 11:20-22 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. 21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. 22 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.

When the Corinthians came together to partake of the Lord’s Table, it was the Lord’s Table in name only. It was not what Jesus told us. When Jesus first gave the Lord’s Table, He told us:

Luke 22:19 this do in remembrance of Me.

The Lord’s Table Reflects The Love Jesus
Wants Us To Have For One Another

The Lord’s Table is to remind us how much Jesus loved us. It is to remind us that He suffered in Body on Calvary’s Cross, shedding His Blood so that we might be saved. The person next to you who takes of the Lord’s Table is a person of equal value to yourself. There are no second class citizens at the Lord’s Table. As we were loved, we love. As Jesus gave, we give. How did the Church at Corinth take the Lord’s Table? Selfishly. Sensually.

1 Corinthians 11:21 … in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken

Word Study A beautiful ritual had been degraded to a common boozer. The word translated “drunken” is the Greek μεθύω methýō, {pronounced meth-oo’-o}, which means to drink to the point of intoxication. The Apostle tells them if they are going to “party” like this, then do so at home, not where the Church is gathered. The intent of the Church gathering is to honor God and to love one another. Period!

Sometimes as believers we commit sins because we are ignorant that what we do is a sin. Though most of our sins are with knowledge, there are some that happen because we just don’t know any better. The Corinthians knew better. The Apostle wrote:

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 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: 24 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. 25 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. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

Paul was not Paul when Jesus had His last supper with the disciples. Paul was Saul, unsaved Saul.

Before Paul was Paul, he was Saul the Pharisee, and he hated Christians. After Christ was crucified and resurrected, Saul met Jesus on Damascus Road (Acts 9:3-6), and was born again by the Holy Spirit through faith in Christ to be Paul the Apostle. Someone had to show Paul the Lord’s Table, so that Paul could show the Lord’s Table to others. What the Corinthians were doing was not Christlike, not by a long shot. What they were doing was worldly. They ignored the command of Christ, and made the church like the world.

When the Church is like the world, it cannot reach the world. When the Christian acts just like the unbeliever, the Christian cannot be light, but is instead darkness. The intent of the Lord’s Table is “to show the Lord’s Death”, to show how much Jesus loved us, and proved His love by His willing sacrifice.

Illustrate Many years ago my Pastor, Dr. Benny Woods, told me at the end of a Lord’s Table, “David, I ruined that Table”. Concerned, I asked Brother Benny what he meant. I didn’t see anything wrong in what he did. Then he told me, and the light bulb came on. “I offered the Church the Cup before I offered the Bread”. When you hear that, you might think “that’s not so bad”. What makes it bad is that it is not in the order that Jesus gave it. You see, Jesus had to be beaten, bruise, humiliated, and stripped naked before the Cross. His body had to be torn up so that the Blood could be shed on Calvary. When you get a soft drink you always open the container before you drink it. Jesus had to be opened up so that the wrath of God could be satiated.

Ever since that day I am always careful to make sure the BREAD is first blessed and offered BEFORE THE CUP.

To Defile The Lord’s Table Is To Bring
Divine Judgment On Yourself

1 Corinthians 11:27-30 … 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. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Christians, God disciplines His children. He paddles us when we get off course of the faith. The Corinthian believers were weak and sickly, subject to disease, because they had defiled the Lord’s Table. Some were even put to sleep. This doesn’t mean to nod off in a service. No. The word “sleep” is often used in Scripture to describe the death of a saint, a believer in Christ. When Jesus’ friend Lazarus died, Jesus said:

John 11:11-14 … Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. 14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

I always ask you, as Christians, to prepare your hearts before partaking of the Lord’s Table. I ask you to do this now. Cleanse yourselves of sin. Seek Christ, our Great Mediator, in prayer. Confess your sins before Him, pleading the Blood of Calvary. If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Do so now. Do not partake of the Lord’s Table unworthily. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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