I Corinthians 11:17-22

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Text: I Corinthians 11:17-22

Aim: To show the institution and significance of the Lord's Supper

THE LORD'S SUPPER

INTRODUCTION:

In many present-day churches, there are many unscriptural ideas about communion or the Lord's Supper.

In most Bible-believing churches the Lord's Supper is observed on a regular basis, some observe it monthly, others observe it quarterly. We must never lose sight of its significance, or, if we are not careful, the Lord's Supper may degenerate into a mere insignificant ritual. We see the significance of the Lord's Supper in I Corinthians 11:17-34 .

I. THE LORD'S SUPPER IS A LOCAL CHURCH ORDINANCE

The Lord's Supper was instituted by the Lord Jesus on the night of His betrayal - Matthew 26:26-29

Matthew 26:26-29 - 26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.

The Lord's Supper pictures the Gospel Message

The bread which has been broken pictures the body of the Lord Jesus which was crucified.

The grape juice pictures the blood of Christ which was shed for our sins.

The Lord's Supper is observed by the assembled local church - Acts 2:41-42

Acts 2:41-42 - 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

When ye come together . . .

I Corinthians 11:17 - 17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.

I Corinthians 11:20 - 20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

I Corinthians 11:33 - 33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.

Exception - Acts 20:6-7 - Guests who were not members

Acts 20:6-7 - 6 And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. 7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

We includes Paul, Luke, Silas, Timothy, and the men involved with the collection for the impoverished saints in Jerusalem.

II. THE LORD'S SUPPER SHOULD SHOW UNITY IN THE LOCAL CHURCH - 11:17-22

Their gathering together to observe the Lord's Supper was not what it ought to be (11:17). Rather than unity, there were divisions among them (11:18) in order that God might demonstrate which believers were genuine and faithful (11:19). What they were doing when they came together was not really what the Lord's Supper is all about (11:20). They apparently had a common meal before observing the Lord's Supper; but rather than sharing what they brought with others who were less fortunate, some of the Corinthian believers actually ate the food they brought before others from the congregation had an opportunity to share it with them. This resulted in some of the members going hungry. Some even made themselves drunk (11:21). Paul expresses his disgust with them for the way they were acting. They should have eaten and drunk at home and not demonstrated contempt for the church of God and for those who possessed very little (11:22).

I Corinthians 11:17-22 - 17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. 18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. 20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. 21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. 22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

I Corinthians 11:17 17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.

In this that I declare is literally this declaring. The content of this is that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.

I praise you not is I am not praising (i.e. expressing my admiration for or expressing my approval of) you.

Ye come together is you are coming together (i.e. assembling or gathering).

Not for the better suggests not for the more advantageous or not for the useful. Whereas their assembling ought to have seen growth and improvement in their Christian lives, it had not.

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to not for the better.

For the worse suggests for the lesser (i.e. inferior or weaker). Their coming together resulted in a decline in their spirituality. It would have been better for them not to have come together at all than to have come together and to have eaten the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner and experience the consequences of their sins.

I Corinthians 11:18 18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

For introduces an explanation of why it was for the worse rather than for the better when the believers in Corinth gathered.

First of all suggests in the first place.

When ye come together in the church speaks of their gathering together in their assembly as a congregation.

I hear (i.e. I am hearing) that there be divisions among you (i.e. that divisions exist among you).

And I partly believe it suggests that Paul finds the reports he has heard to be reliable, dependable, or trustworthy.

Partly, which means in part, softens Paul's response. It indicates that he may have found something believable in the reports he had heard and suggests that he may also have heard some things which he did not actually believe.

I Corinthians 11:19 19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

For there must be also heresies among you indicates that there have to be divisions among the believers in order that certain ones may be recognized for what they really are.

For introduces an explanation of what Paul has written in verse 18.

There must be is must be or it is necessary that (there are).

Also suggests in addition to divisions. It may instead be used in an emphatic sense and mean indeed, in fact, yea, verily, or certainly.

Heresies is dissensions or factions.

Among you is among the Corinthian believers.

That they which are approved may be made manifest among you

That is in order that or for the purpose that.

They which are approved is the ones approved by test, the tried and true ones, or the genuine ones.

May be made manifest is may become manifest and is used in the sense of becoming evident so as to be readily known, i.e. may become visible (i.e. clear, plainly to be seen, open, plain, evident, or known).

Among you suggests within the congregation. Factions will arise from time to time in local churches, and they are not always bad. God allows them in order to demonstrate which believers are genuine and faithful.

I Corinthians 11:20 20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

Verse 20 indicates that their coming together into one place is not really to observe the Lord's Supper as it was intended to be observed. It was not really what the Lord's Supper is all about.

They apparently had a common meal before observing the Lord's Supper, and it seems that some stuffed themselves while others went hungry; and some even made themselves drunk. This practice of having a love feast combined with the Lord's Supper was eventually abandoned in local churches because of abuses like these.

I Corinthians 11:21 21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

Verse 21 explains why their coming together was not for the purpose of eating the Lord's Supper. Some were not waiting their turn, and others were left hungry. Some were even drunk.

Taketh before is takes before and means that they do not wait for others.

Whether they crowd to the front of the line in front of others who are less fortunate and are able to bring little or nothing to the love feast, or whether they are unwilling to wait for others who are less fortunate to arrive, is not clear.

What is clear is that they took their own food before others had an opportunity to share it with them.

What he takes is his own supper, which means that he eats the food he brought. He does not share it with others who were unable to bring little or nothing.

There may not be enough food for everyone and one is hungry. He does not get enough to eat if he even gets anything. This one is representative of others who might also not get enough to eat because others have thoughtlessly eaten all that they brought without sharing it with the less fortunate. It was not demonstrating love.

And one is drunk suggests careless behavior on the part of others. This is apparently a meal eaten as a prelude to observing the Lord's Supper.

There wasn't much love being shown at this love feast.

I Corinthians 11:22 22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

In verse 22 Paul expresses his disgust with them.

He does not praise the way they have been conducting themselves. He asks several rhetorical questions, questions which do not expect an answer but where the answer is obvious.

1. Have ye not houses to eat and drink in? expects a yes answer.

2. Despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? expects a yes answer.

Despise ye is are you despising (i.e. looking down on, scorning, or treating with contempt)?

The church of God refers to the local church in Corinth.

And shame is and are (you) shaming (or putting to shame)?

Them that have not is the ones who do not have or the ones not having, i.e. those who are poor and unable to bring anything but themselves to the church meal. Others ate all the food before these poor people ever arrived or had opportunity to be served.

3. What shall I say to you? Paul has nothing good to say to them about this. What they have done is wrong.

4. Shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.