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RCCG Miracle Land Dundalk
Thursday, June 08 2017

Contributor: Alex Alajiki

In last week’s study, we looked at the issue of head covering during prayer and worship. Paul’s instruction to women about covering their heads is to demonstrate to the angels and celestial powers their submission to God’s appointed authority. Paul does not present head coverings as a matter of his opinion, but as an apostolic tradition. He does not describe this as a matter of Christian liberty, or as a personal conviction, but as a matter of obedience. I Cor.11:13-15 summed it up; “Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonour to him? 15 But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her[a] for a covering”

This week, we are going to study about the proper order and revelation of the Holy Communion service.

1) Conduct at the Lord’s Supper: 1 Corn. 11:17-22

“Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. 18 For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. 20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. 21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? 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 do not praise you.”

Paul knew there were sharp division within the Corinthian Church (I Cori.6:1-8). Their coming together for fellowship and communion was not for the better but for the worse. Their coming together for the Lord’s super was supposed to be an opportunity to show love, but it is now an opportunity for the richer Christians to act in a greedy and selfish manner. If they shared their food, it was only with their rich friends. If they shared the wine, they kept too much for themselves. In the way the Corinthian Christians were conducting the Lord’s Supper, the poor were being publicly shamed and humiliated by exposing their deficiencies, rather than concealing them and providing for them. The Lord’s Supper, which commemorated the sacrificial gift of our Lord’s body and blood, had been perverted to an occasion for self-indulgence by giving way to selfish bodily lusts.

In the most general sense, the Lord’s Supper was a celebration of our Lord’s sacrifice on Calvary for our unmerited benefit and blessing (1 Pet. 2:24). The Lord Jesus set aside His own personal interests and sacrificed His body so that by His sufferings in His body, we might be saved. And yet at the Lord’s Supper in Corinth, there is no self-sacrifice but only self-indulgence. The saints are all more concerned with satisfying their own bodily appetites than those of their fellow-believers. The most self-indulgent are those who least need food or drink. Those most in need are denied sustenance. In whatever we do, we must always be conscious of the weak, poor, sick, oppressed and less privileged people among us.  There were poor people in that church; its members included several slaves (1 Cor.7:21-22)

2) Institution of the Lord’s Supper; 1 Corn. 11:23-26

“For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.”
Paul was not present with the original apostles when Jesus instituted the last super in Matt. 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-39; John13 to 17. He received this revelation from Jesus Himself. The last supper was originally a Passover celebration. Our Lord observed this Passover in an upper room, along with His 12 disciples. This “last supper” became the “Lord’s Supper.” Jesus instructs His disciples to continually observe this “supper” until His return. Note; Old Testament, it was flesh while it is now bread, why?  The one loaf of bread, which was broken by our Lord and divided among His disciples, and which we share in communion as well, represents the physical “body of Christ.” in which our Lord came to the earth, successfully endured all the temptations we face, and then in His body, suffered and died in our place (Isa.53:4-5, Matt.8:17).
Paul speaks of the bread as “one bread” (1 Cor.10:16-17), so that all who partake of it are “one body.” By partaking of a piece of the one loaf, we proclaim the unity of the church, the body of Christ, and our communion or fellowship with the rest of the saints, who have also partaken of the work of Christ.
1 Cor.10:17 “Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.”
As he shared the cup, he spoke about the result of his death. A new kind of relationship (Covenant) would now exist between God and his people. Christ’s blood was poured out of his body at his death. That blood makes this new relationship (Covenant) with God certain (Hebrews 9:14). A ‘covenant’ means the promises that establish a relationship. In the new covenant between God and people, it is God who has made the promises. He promised to forgive when people confess their evil deeds to him (1 John1:9). He promises to save people who trust him (Act 2:21, Rom.10:13). When people invite him into their lives, he promises to establish a right relationship with them (Matt.11:28). He can do these wonderful things in a person’s life because of Christ’s death. Whenever we share bread and wine at church, we are declaring the importance or significance of Christ’s death until His return.

3) Examine Yourself; 1 Corn. 11:27-34

“Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. 33 Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.

The bread and wine at the communion table are holy because of their connection with the death of Christ. Many Christians in Corinth had not recognised that fact. They thought that they were eating together merely in order to enjoy themselves. The ceremony is a holy occasion so it is very wrong for a person who is living in an unholy manner to accept those sacred gifts. So, at that special moment, Christians should examine their own lives in front of God. We must confess our wrong deeds to God, He will forgive us (1 John 1:7-9).
Paul warned the Corinthian Christian that they were acting in an unholy manner on a very holy occasion (Vs 29 “he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body”)
Those Christians in Corinth were not recognising the connection between their meals and Christ’s death. The result of their unholy behaviour was severe.
The Corinthians were experiencing weakness, sickness and death as a result of the unworthy manner at the Lord’s table. The illness or death of Christians is not usually the result of God’s judgement against them. However, it can be so sometimes, as Paul has just explained. God’s holiness is surely evident when He disciplines His children, and so is His faithfulness and love (Heb.12:6). Remember that even in the discipline of death, God’s actions are for our best interest: Vs 32 “But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord in order that we may not be condemned along with the world.”

Finally, Paul told the church leaders to make two simple changes to that meeting:
(a) Formerly, people had brought their own food to the meeting. At the meeting, they ate as much as they wanted. But now the church members must eat their food at home. At the meeting, they would just share a little bread and wine, to remember Jesus’ death.
(b) Formerly, people began to eat their food as soon as they arrived. This made the meeting like a party, except that each person brought his own food. But now anyone who arrived early would have to wait for the other members. So the meeting would begin at its proper time, probably with prayer. That would make the meeting a more serious occasion, and people would respect its importance.

The Lord’s Supper is the commemoration of our Lord’s sacrificial life and death for the salvation and sanctification of lost sinners in whose place He was condemned, and in Whom the saints have been forgiven, justified, and glorified. The Lord’s Supper means nothing apart from the gospel, and so it is by revisiting the gospel message through the symbols of the Lord’s Supper that we come to appreciate the significance of the Lord’s Supper. When we partake of the communion, we are not only reminded that we have partaken of Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins, we symbolically demonstrate that we have become a member of His body, the church. Communion symbolizes our identification with Christ and with His church.

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