1 Corinthians 10:16-22 “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?”
Pew Research: Pew Research did a massive study on the behavioral patterns of members and guests of churches. In their most recent study, the respondents noted seven key reasons for choosing a church. They were allowed to offer more than one reason. Here are the top seven reasons for choosing a church:
We don’t come to church, to be a church. We come to Christ, and then we are built up as a church. If we come to church just to be with one another, one another is all we’ll get. And it isn’t enough. Inevitably, our hearts will grow empty, and then angry. If we put community first, we will destroy community. But if we come to Christ first and submit ourselves to Him and draw life from Him, community gets traction. - C.S. Lewis
We have a clash of cultures… that reflects some incompatible worldviews.
“Today’s totalitarianism demands allegiance to a set of progressive beliefs, many of which are incompatible with logic – and certainly with Christianity. Compliance is forced less by the state than by elites who form public opinion, and by private corporations that, thanks to technology, control our lives far more than we would like to admit.” Rod Dreher, Live not by Lies.
For the Corinthian church, their struggles had to do with influencers… who were swaying their affections toward past passions, and not present power. The resulting arrogance had led them to agreement with current philosophies, and trendy spirituality. It was showing up in their church in the acceptance of sin personally and corporately…The kind that robs you of your discernment, and drains the Gospel of its power. This conclusive statement on idol worship is really the reminder to them that what they have in common is that their is BLESSING at the table of the Lord…it is seen in that they were called out of something, and into something… at the Table of the Lord. It is seen in the symbolism of the Lord’s Table.
For Paul the symbolism of the Lord’s Table reminds of the blessings of our christian culture. So, where do we find the blessing at the Table of the Lord?
1. The CUP: We are blessed together in the atoning/satisfying work of Christ
Old Testament Passover instructions: Exodus 12:1-28 (Leviticus 23:4-8, Numbers 9:1-14, Deuteronomy 16:1-8)
Seen in the cup of Passover in the Gospels
Seen in the cup of Passover in the Early Church
1 Cor 5:6-8 “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
The sacrifice of the lamb leads us to the blood of passover…this cup… Jesus said is the new covenant in my blood.
This is the theological issue of “Atonement”: A SUBSTITUTIONARY ATONEMENT: Jesus Christ died in our place when He was crucified on the cross. We deserved to be the ones placed on that cross to die because we are the ones who sinned. But Christ took the punishment on Himself in our place—He substituted Himself for us and took what we rightly deserved.
“You stand before God as if you were Christ becasue Christ stood before God as If he were you.” - Spurgeon
2. The BREAD: We are blessed together in the Sanctifying (Separating) work of Christ
There is an issue of urgency: ISREAL WAS TO BE SET APART FROM EGYPT. “With the dough the Israelites had brought from Egypt, they baked loaves of unleavened bread. The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves” (Exodus 12:39). They were to remember this in the “Feast of Unleavened Bread.”
There was the issue of corruption: Elsewhere in the Mosaic Law, leaven represents sin or corruption. The law did not allow grain offerings made with leaven (Leviticus 2:11). In fact, no yeast was allowed to be burned on the altar in any sacrifice. The grain offering for Aaron and his sons (the priests) was also not to contain leaven and was to be eaten in a holy place (Leviticus 6:17).Leaven is also mentioned in the New Testament in Matthew 16:6–12, Jesus compared the false teaching, and legalism, and hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Sadducees to leaven.
A. the breaking of the bread - the whole loaf represented here, is broken… and distributed without leaven.... Just as the work of christ is without sin, and distributed his righteousness to us.
1 Cor 12:12-13 “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”
“I cannot endure the sight of God until I see Him in Christ, and He cannot bear the sight of me until he sees me in Christ. “ Spurgeon.
Application: apart from the purifying work of God we are unusable. His redemptive work is applied to us all equally.
Calls for deep introspection about our own holiness. 1 Pet 1:13-16
Calls for church discipline: 1 Cor 5:9-13
At one point: “15,294,764 members on the rolls of our churches. The weekly average attendance in worship was 5,577,088. When guests and children are considered, it is safe to say that nearly 10,000,000 Southern Baptists do not even show up for worship on a typical Lord’s Day. As bad as that average is, it is not unusual to find some Southern Baptist churches with an average attendance of less than 20% of their actual membership.” Tom Aschol
CRUSHES THE SIN OF PARTIALITY (RACISM & CLASSISM) James 2:1-3 “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,””
3. The Table: We are blessed together in the redeeming/separating work of Christ.
Prophecy of Christ being the fulness of the shadow:
Isaiah 53:7 “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.”
Prophecy fulfilled: John 1:29 “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
The Apostles tying it all together:1 Peter 1:18-19 “knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”
The reality will stand forever: Revelation 13:8 “and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.”
like the Israelites - Exodus 12:1-28 (Leviticus 23:4-8, Numbers 9:1-14, Deuteronomy 16:1-8)
But not like the heathen/pagans
Rev 18:4 “Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues;”
Application: I don’t participate with the evil because I have been bought by Christ.
Titus 2:13-14 "...as we await the blessed hope and glorious appearance of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. 14He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds."
Every time we celebrate the Lords supper we celebrate the blessing we have in the satisfying(atoning), sanctifying, and separating work of Christ.
“Although my memory’s fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.” ~John Newton