Thursday, December 6, 2012

1 Corinthians 11

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. 1 Corinthians 11:27

Chapter 11 of the first epistle to the Corinthians discussing some issues that state a particular cultural
emphasis. In that, it speaks about head covering when worshipping and praying that women in the first century churches wore covering on there head as a sign of authority, and men did not cover there heads. Most scholarly stuff that I have read on this seem to hold that it is indeed a cultural emphasis. Although we certainly still hold to the part that men should not be covered when worshipping. Although men who practice Judaism do have their heads covering. We all know that there are some things that were done in the first century Church that are no longer required for the Church today. Most have to do with dietary restrictions, feasts and festivals, and other mostly Jewish customs.

One of the most defining moment in the separation of the Church from certain customs was of course the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which moved the Christian Sabbath to Sunday and no longer Saturday in honor of the day which Christ rose from the dead. Also, there is the Church ordinance or sacrament of the Lord's Supper, which Jesus established and celebrated on Passover just before His crucifixion. Paul brings the importance of this sacrament to the attention of the Corinthians who were misbehaving in their celebration of the Lord's Supper. They were eating in such a way that Paul says you are not celebrating the Table when you act in the way they were acting, there was a sort of classism going on in the Church those in one group felt superior to others because of the gifts or knowledge they possess and others were left out of the participation of the Supper for various reasons, so could not eat because other's had eaten more than their share and some were even getting drunk! Paul says "do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing?"

We have to remember that there was major divisions in the church, there was also sexually immorality, and Paul had took them that with those kinds of activities going on they were not in a position to boast but to be in mourning, also that many in the church here had come out of pagan worship and were having a time breaking from those traditions. But Paul has more warning to give them in their treatment of the Lord's Supper. He says that the reason that many of them were sick and weak and some had died because of the way they participated in the Lord's Supper. Paul stresses the seriousness of this, he goes over it again to them expressing how the Lord Jesus, Himself had started this and for anyone to eat the bread which represented the broken body of Christ, in that this is what was required to bring salvation to Humankind, and to drink the cup which represented the spilled blood of Christ. These articles of the sacrament represent the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Although we did not see Jesus crucified, no one experienced that but some in the first century church, yet each time we gathered at the Table we are to remember the crucifixion. When we hold the bread in our hands we are to remember that Jesus Christ had to come to earth, be born and grow up, preach and teach the kingdom of God and then die, He had too, we are to remember that, the same with the cup, when we hold it, we are to remember that we are in a covenant bought by the blood of Christ. These are holy things, no wonder people got sick and died when they ate and drank in a unworthy manner. Paul says if we partake in an unworthy manner we eat and drink judgment on ourselves. We are to examine ourselves, Paul says, we are to search our hearts and repent of any sin, and let the the body and blood cleanses us. Paul says that when the Lord judges His people He disciplines us, God's purpose when He disciplines His own is to make sure we do not wander into the way of His condemnation along with the world. Let us always hold the Lord in our hearts as holy. We have a loving Father who's purpose is to get a people for Himself, for sure a stubborn people, but a people who are increasing become more and more loyal, more and more eager to please this Great God! Let us look forward to coming together and partaking in the Lord's Supper, remembering what cost Christ paid for our souls, let us come in holy joy, humbly thankful. Worshipping Him who loved us so much.


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