An Unworthy Manner

I Corinthians 11:17-34 has been on my mind pretty heavy this week.

But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse.

For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.

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

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; 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.”

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.”

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

But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to 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 would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.

So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgment. -(NASB)

I don’t pretend to understand this, though I have gained some clarification from an old post by Alan Knox, Waiting for one another, that sounds reasonable. From the post:

Paul’s call for examination and judgment in this context deals primarily with our relationships with other believers – not simply our own personal sin struggles – which we all have. But, if our sin is manifesting itself in our relationships with other believers, then we need to take steps to reconcile those relationships. And, as fellow family members, we need to “judge” others in a way that helps them reconcile broken relationships as well.

This brought to my memory something Jesus said;

Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. -Matthew 5:23,24 (NKJV)

This “love one another” thing sounds pretty serious.

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2 Responses to An Unworthy Manner

  1. If we look at the whole of 1Cor11. it starts with an exhortation.
    v3. I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God.
    v4. Every man praying or prophesying having his head covered, dishonours his head.

    It says that the head of man is Christ. In other words Christ’s head is the only head above a man’s head. N.B. This has nothing to do with hats!
    Therefore if I place another man over my head, as an authority, I dishonour my head who is Christ.
    Christ should be the only authority over my head. End of subject.

    Come to communion.1Cor11v27. ………whosoever eats this bread and drinks this cup unworthily shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
    v28 But let a man examine himself and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup.

    So what are we looking for? As your reference to Alan Knox rightly says, it is about relationships. However I would go further back that Alan’s starting point of v17. It starts at v3. The Corinthian church, as in all churches today, had a hierarchical pecking order. Some are further up the heavenly stairs than others because they have appointed status that the lowly members don’t qualify for.
    V3 is a rebuke against the placing of anyone above another person’s head, because it displaced Christ as head of the Body. It is a rebuke of the church hierarchy system, because it dishonours Christ.
    To participate in communion when anyone considers himself to have a position above another is an automatic pride issue.
    Chapter 12 expands this even more with its definition of the various parts of the body. All these parts were of equal value. None were above another except Christ as head. He alone decided the direction the body walked in. The establishment of countless alternative heads to direct Christ’s body has resulted in a body which acts as if it has Parkinson’s disease. Every part is striving in different directions under other alternative impulses.

    The fact that people were encouraged to look to those over their heads, (I am of Paul or I am of Apollos) meant that they did not seek the anointing which each man could walk in. Authority and structure was supplanting the Holy Spirit at this early stage of the church. They were bringing culture which had a powerful pecking order into the church.
    The anointing was being left aside.
    v29-v28For this cause many are weak and sickly, NOT DISCERNING THE BODY!
    This is the cause of weakness and sickness today just as much as then. We have created an alternative body structured after man’s strength and status.

  2. Wow, thanks Francis. It seems like how ever deep I am able to go, there is still more under the surface of what I’ve found.

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