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At the Crossroads of the Lord's Table

1 Corinthians 11:17-33

The Lord’s Supper

17 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, 19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. 21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.
23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 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.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Co 11:17–34.

Paul has come upon the scene of an accident. In fact, this is how you could describe most churches. It involves a very distracted church, a very destructive church, and quite frankly a very dangerous church, and now his focus is on the table of the Lord, the Lord’s supper. And as the instructor today, Paul wants to save lives at the table of the Lord. So Paul is giving instruction v17, and directions v33. To get them focused, back on the road, and so nobody gets hurt… in the end, he wants to see people saved.

Here is some road safety tips for the church when you come to the crossroad of the Lord's Table.

TIP # 1. Don’t forget the personal evaluation required

v28 “let a man examine himself”

Examine for right attitudes: 11:27 “unworthy manner”

Examine: (δοκιμάζω) to make a critical examination of someth. to determine genuineness, put to the test, examine used in 28, and 29. Examine and discerning…

evaluate ourselves for a divisive spirit 11:17-19

Evaluate ourselves for partiality: 11:20

Evaluate for understanding about the work of Christ: 11:28

Gal 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Rich or poor… black or white… Want to know my pronoun? Child of God…and created male.”

  • 1 Pet 1:22-23 “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;”

  • Jesus said: Luke 6:32-33 ““If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.” Love your enemies and do good to them…The Lord is kind to the ungrateful… and the wicked.

  • Luke 14:12-13 “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind..."

TIP # 2. Don’t forget the serious personal consequences possible

  1. Guilt concerning the work of Christ: 11:27

  2. Discipline/judgment on himself 11:32

  3. weakness, illness, death 11:30

    • Annanias and Spahira. Acts 5:1-11

    • 1 Cor 3:17 “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”

    • Matt 18:5-6 ““Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

TIP # 3. Don’t forget the specific guidelines for our practice.

  • The passover: Exodus 12

  • The practice of passover with Christ and the disciples during passion week, ordinance assigned: Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20

  • Here the ordinance to the church observed .... 1 Cor 11:23-33

  • Its an ordinance for believers administered in the local church: “when you come together as a church” …1 Co 11:18, 20.

  • There is no prescription for how often, just regularly, and perpetually: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, to be practiced in perpetuity ...until he comes...until he comes.” 1 Cor 11:26

  • The elements are symbolic, and memorial: “Do this in remembrance of me.” --not repeating the sacrifice, but a remembering the sacrifice. 1 Co 11:24.

The highest form of corporate Christian worship is the Lord’s Supper. The celebration of the Supper directs our attention backward to the work of Christ on the cross and also encourages a forward look to the second coming of Christ. In addition, it provides a time for believers to examine their own personal relationship with God as well as their relationship with other believers while experiencing communion with the exalted Christ. The observance is one that is so simple a child can partake with a sense of understanding, yet it contains so many theological ramifications that even the most mature believer will not fully comprehend it’s meaning. — David S. Dockery
  • Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

  • 2 Tim 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”

TIP #4. Don’t forget the ultimate purpose of our Celebration

  • We are proclaiming the equal distribution of Grace. 11:23 - A broken body. This is what we celebrate together.

  • We are proclaiming the new covenant in his sacrifice. 11:25 - This is what we are united in.

“The whole of the punishment of his people was distilled into one cup; no mortal lip might give it so much as a solitary sip. When he put it to his own lips, it was so bitter, he well nigh spurned it.—“Let this cup pass from me.” But his love for his people was so strong, that he took the cup in both his hands, ans “At one tremendous draught of love He drank damnation dry,” ~Charles Spurgeon~
  • We are proclaiming him until he comes

    • Mark 14:22-25 “And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.””

    • Heb 12:2-3 “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”

    • Re 5:9–10 “And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.””

This is the message we have to tell:


It is yours, then, to remember the Lord Jesus that you may follow him. In sickness, recollect him in his patience. When you are persecuted, recollect him in his gentleness. In holy service, remember him with his burning zeal. In your times of solitude, remember him and his midnight prayers; and when you are in public, and have to bear witness, remember him and his lion-like declarations of the gospel. Remember him so that he becomes your pattern, and you are the reproduction of himself, and so the best memorial of him.
Thus enabled by the Holy Spirit to remember your Lord with gratitude as your Saviour, with reverence as your Lord, you will remember him with confidence as your strength. He has not left you in this world to serve him at your own charges, and to bear his cross alone. Remember him, for he remembers you so as to be ever with you. “Lo, I am with you alway,” saith he, even unto the end of the world.” Will you let him be near you unnoticed and unremembered? Never say, “I am lonely.” You are not alone if you remember Jesus. O widow and fatherless one, say not, “I am comfortless.” He hath said, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” Remember him without ceasing. When you are strong, remember him; for your strength comes from him. When you are weak, remember him; for he can give you the help you need. Oh, that in all times and places Christ were all in all to us!
“Remember thee! thy death, thy shame  Our hearts’ sad load to bear! O memory, leave no other name  But his recorded there!”

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