1 Corinthians 11:27-32 - Take It Seriously
Frivolous warning signs are easy to ignore, but not all warnings are frivolous.
Read / Listen
Read 1 Cor. 11:27-32
27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. 32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.
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Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 82
Q. Are those to be admitted
to the Lord’s Supper who show by
what they say
that they are unbelieving and ungodly?
A. No, that would dishonor God’s covenant
and bring down God’s anger upon
the entire congregation.
Therefore, according to the instruction
of Christ and his apostles,
the Christian church is duty-bound
to exclude such people,
by the official use of
the keys of the kingdom,
until they reform their lives.
The celebration of the Lord's Supper in Corinth had become a farce. Earlier in this chapter, Paul writes of how some would go hungry while another would over indulge until he was drunk.
After reiterating the instructions Jesus gave for participating in His body and blood, Paul lays down a stern warning: those who come to the table in an unworthy manner are guilty of sinning against the body and blood of Jesus! So serious is this sin that it may even cause the entire congregation to get sick and even die (v30)!
This seems really harsh, but we're reminded that the Lord disciplines us now so that we will not be condemned with the rest of the world. The Lord's discipline, though sometimes painful, is actually an act of His grace!
One important key to coming to the Lord's table in a worthy manner is given in v28: you must examine yourself beforehand. That means, as one lexicon put it, "to try to learn the genuineness" of your faith. This is why most Reformed churches announce their communion celebration well in advance, and then spend time corporately as also individually preparing, so that each member of the congregation can examine their faith, hope and love to make sure it's firmly rooted in Christ alone.
We get so used to warning signs being slapped on to everything due to the overabundant caution manufacturers exercise as the result of often frivolous lawsuits stemming from people who hurt themselves by abusing the company's product. We see WARNING, DANGER & CAUTION placards so often now that we rarely take the time to read them or understand the dangers they communicate.
It's easy to convey that lackadaisical attitude toward scripture. Certainly there are all sorts of warnings, especially in the Old Testament but also in the New Testament, about the repercussions God's covenant people can expect if they transgress God's commands.
But as Christians we're so accustomed to downplaying and flat out disregarding these warnings because we know in the end our sins have been atoned for and forgiven in Christ, and that somehow that makes us exempt from God's discipline.
Don't make that mistake. Take the Bible's warnings against sin, and especially this warning regarding unworthy participation in the Supper seriously. Don't let it scare you away, but as you prepare for it, examine your life for indwelling sin and root it out as you ensure your faith is placed squarely in Christ.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who lovingly disciplines His children to save them from eternal condemnation;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you take all of the Bible's warnings against sin seriously;
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Luke 22