I Corinthians 11:23-34

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Text: I Corinthians 11:23-34

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 .

We have already seen that -

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

We have also seen that -

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

So, what is the Lord's Supper all about?

III. THE LORD'S SUPPER IS A MEMORIAL OF CHRIST'S CRUCIFIXION - 11:23-25

We should remind ourselves that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself established the Lord's Supper on the night He was betrayed.

I Corinthians 11:23-25 - 23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:

24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

I Corinthians 11:23 23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:

For I have received of the Lord is For I received from the Lord (i.e. from the Lord Jesus Christ).

That which also I delivered unto you is what I also gave over (or passed on) to you.

What Paul passed on to the Corinthian believers is found in the rest of verse 24 and all of verse 25.

That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread means that Jesus took bread on the night the betrayal took place, thus initiating the Lord's Supper.

I Corinthians 11:24 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

When he had given thanks indicates that Jesus thanked God the Father for the bread.

He brake it is He broke it.

Then, Jesus said, Take, eat, i.e. Take this bread and eat it.

This is my body, which is broken for you speaks of the bread which Jesus had broken.

This is, referring to the bread, means this symbolizes or this represents.

Since Jesus was standing and handing a piece of bread to each of the apostles, the bread was not His actual, physical body.

Jesus did not say that the bread somehow would become His body or that His body would somehow be mystically present in the bread. It was bread and never changed its substance or composition.

My body refers to Jesus' physical body. It means that the bread represents or symbolizes Jesus' physical body.

Which is broken for you is literally the thing on behalf of you (plural) being broken and refers to the bread. It appears that Jesus was breaking off one piece of bread at a time and giving each piece to one of the assembled apostles, you being a reference to the apostles minus Judas Iscariot.

Someone might wonder whether broken could refer to Jesus' physical body which was about to be crucified. The reader is reminded that none of Jesus' bones was broken. The only possible way in which which is broken for you might refer to Jesus' body is that the skin of His hands and feet would be broken when penetrated by the nails used in the crucifixion and when the soldier's spear penetrated His side because John 19:33 says, They brake not his legs and because John 19:36 , quoting Exodus 12:6 , Numbers 9:12 , and perhaps referring also to Psalms 34:20 , says, For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.

This do in remembrance of me.

This do is this be doing, (i.e. continue or keep on) doing.

This do refers to an ongoing observance of the Lord's Supper by the local church.

In remembrance of me is for my remembrance or for the reminder of me. By observing the Lord's Supper the people in the local church call to conscious mind the crucifixion of the Lord's body and the shedding of His blood for sin.

I Corinthians 11:25 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

After the same manner means in the same way, similarly, or likewise.

Also suggests something which is in addition to breaking the bread and distributing it.

He took the cup indicates that Jesus took His drinking vessel, which contained the grape juice, the fruit of the vine.

When he had supped is after He ate (i.e. after He dined, after He had eaten, or afer He had dined).

Saying is understood in the sense of and said.

What He said was, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

By this cup Jesus meant the contents of the cup rather than the cup itself. It referred to the grape juice which they were about to drink.

Is indicates a timeless truth, something which is true at all times under all circumstances. Here it is understood in the sense of symbolizes, represents, or is a representation of.

The new testament is the new covenant.

In my blood reminds one that the basis for the new covenant was the blood which Christ shed on the cross at Calvary in procuring redemption for all humanity.

This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

This refers to partaking of the cup in the observance of the Lord's Supper.

Do ye, where ye refers to the believers in the church at Corinth as well as to all believers everywhere, is be doing, continue doing, keep on doing, or do repeatedly.

As oft as is as often as. It indicates uncertainty regarding the length of time between observances of the Lord's Supper. It is not necessarily weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. It is also not always the same interval.

Ye drink it refers to the Corinthian believers and, by extension, to all believers everywhere, is you would drink it or you might drink it.

It, which refers to the contents of the cup, has been supplied by the translators as indicated by the italics.

In remembrance of me, where me is Christ, indicates the goal or direction of their drinking the contents of the cup representing the blood of Christ.

In remembrance implies unto remembering, and the one to be remembered is me, i.e. Christ. It is in order that they might remember what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for them in providing for their eternal redemption.

IV. THE LORD'S SUPPER CONTINUES TO PROCLAIM THE LORD'S DEATH UNTIL HE RETURNS - 11:26

I Corinthians 11:26 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

Notice that Paul never instructs the believers how frequently they were to observe the Lord's Supper.

Instead, Paul advises them that whenever they did eat this bread and drink this cup, they were proclaiming the Lord's death until He comes back for them.

As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup implies whenever you eat this blood and drink this cup.

Ye do shew is you are showing, you are proclaiming, or you are proclaiming solemnly.

The Lord's death refers to Christ's crucifixion on the cross at Calvary where He shed His blood while dying for the sins of all humanity.

Till he come is until He comes. It refers to His coming for believers at the rapture.

Although the time of His coming is uncertain, the fact of His coming is not uncertain. He is coming again, but no one knows the exact time of His coming. Observing the Lord's Supper as a local church is a proclamation of the Lord's death on the cross for sin and pictures the gospel message. His body was crucified, and His blood was shed for the sins of all humanity. The Lord's Supper proclaims this message every time it is observed.

The manner in which the Corinthian believers were observing the Lord's Supper was not worthy of the Lord or of what the Lord's Supper represented; so, Paul advises them that -

V. THE LORD'S SUPPER MUST BE OBSERVED IN A WORTHY MANNER - 11:27-34

I Corinthians 11:27 27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

In view of the solemnity of the Lord's Supper proclaiming the Lord's death, believers should be careful that they take it seriously and observe it in a worthy manner, not as the Corinthian believers had been doing. There should be no fooling around, no failure to wait for others in an accompanying fellowship meal with the result that some have nothing to eat, no drunkenness, and no sinful behavior.

Wherefore introduces a strong inference drawn from the solemnity of the Lord's Supper.

Whosoever is whoever.

Shall eat this bread refers to the eating of the bread in the observance of the Lord's Supper. It represents the Lord's body which has been crucified for them.

And drink this cup of the Lord refers to drinking the grape juice in commemoration of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus.

Unworthily means in an unworthy manner. It does not mean that the person is unworthy, even though he is unworthy of all the Lord has done and continues to do for him.

Shall be guilty is used mostly as a legal term in the sense of shall be liable or shall be answerable.

What he will be guilty of or answerable to is the body and blood of the Lord, which speaks of what the memorial symbols in the Lord's Supper represent.

He would be receiving the Lord's Supper in an irreverent manner, not taking seriously something which God takes very seriously.

To avoid being guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, a believer must examine himself, making certain that his heart is right with the Lord and that his manner is right before he participates in observing the Lord's Supper -

I Corinthians 11:28 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

But let a man examine himself, where man is the generic term for human being and may refer to a female as well as to a male. It is understood in the sense of a person.

He (or she) must examine himself (i.e. put himself to the test).

Of course, he should examine his life to see if he is right with the Lord, which is standard practice in Bible-believing, Baptist churches. If he has unconfessed and unforsaken sin in his life, he should confess it and forsake it.

In this context, however, he must be examining the manner in which he is observing the Lord's Supper. If his manner is unworthy, careless, or irreverent, he is to correct it before observing the Lord's Supper lest he find himself in trouble with the Lord.

So refers to let a man examine himself which precedes the following statements and is understood in the sense of in this manner or thus. Once he has examined himself and straightened out anything which was needed, he may proceed to participate in the observance of the Lord's Supper.

Let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup suggests he/she must observe the Lord's Supper.

The one who observes the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner brings judgment upon himself because he does not discern the Lord's body -

I Corinthians 11:29 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily is for the one who eats and drinks (or is eating and drinking) in an unworthy manner.

Eateth and drinketh damnation to himself is eats and drinks (or is eating and drinking) judgment for himself in the sense of a judicial verdict or condemnation, which may include the subsequent punishment itself. Damnation is judgment, not eternal hell.

Not discerning is because he does not discern, because he does not judge correctly, or because he does not recognize.

What he does not discern or recognize is the Lord's body, i.e. the Lord's physical body which was crucified on the cross for the very sins of the one who is observing the Lord's Supper and eating and drinking in an unworthy manner.

The Lord's body was given in order that our sins might be put away. If we go on living in sin, while at the same time partaking of the Lord's Supper, we are living a lie. If we eat the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner or with unjudged sin upon us, we do not discern the Lord's body which was crucified to put sin away.

As a result of not discerning the Lord's body, some of the Corinthian believers had already become sick; and others had even died -

I Corinthians 11:30 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

For this cause is because of this and refers to people bringing judgment on themselves because of observing the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner.

Many are weak is many are powerless in the sense of many are sick or many are ill.

Sickly is also used in the sense of sick or ill.

Among you suggests among the believers in the church at Corinth.

And many sleep

Many is not the same word translated many earlier in this verse. This one is used in the sense of sufficient, adequate, or large enough. It is also used generally in the sense of large or much when speaking of number and quantity. Here, it is used in the sense of in large numbers or many.

Sleep is are sleeping or are falling asleep and is used euphemistically of are dead, are dying, or are passing away.

Large numbers (of you Corinthian believers) are dying (or passing away).

If, however, believers would judge themselves, they would not be judged by the Lord, whether in the observance of the Lord's Supper or in anything else -

I Corinthians 11:31 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

For is explanatory and is understood in the sense of now. Paul's explanation is in the form of a conditional statement.

The condition is if we would judge ourselves, and its conclusion is we should not be judged. The structure of this condition indicates that it is contrary to fact. Inasmuch as the condition is false, the conclusion is also false.

The condition is understood in the sense of if we were to judge ourselves and implies but we don't judge ourselves.

Its conclusion is then understood in the sense of we should not be judged and implies but we are being judged.

The fact is that we do not always judge ourselves. If the Corinthian believers who ate the bread and drank the cup of the Lord unworthily had judged themselves, they would not have been sick and dying or dead; but they did not judge themselves.

How do we judge ourselves? By confessing and forsaking our sins and by staying out of (or avoiding) sin in the first place.

I John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Proverbs 28:13 - He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

The ones who had abused the Lord's Supper had been judged and had experienced justice being administered to them. They could have avoided the consequences of their sins by not eating and drinking the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner. If you don't commit the sin, you don't receive the consequences the sin.

Verse 31 presents a general, timeless truth that believers need to judge themselves. If they do not, God will eventually judge them. If they are not discerning about what they do, God will administer whatever justice they need just as He did in Corinth to those who had abused the Lord's Supper. No indication is given regarding how long the Lord might delay before administering judgment, but it could be immediate.

The Lord's judgment of believers is understood as chastisement in order that they not be condemned with the world -

I Corinthians 11:32 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

When we are judged implies by the Lord.

We are chastened, i.e. we are chastised (or disciplined with punishment) and speaks of a positive instruction through correction.

Of the Lord is by the Lord and has been placed in a position of emphasis in the Greek text, which reads literally, by the Lord we are chastened.

That we should not be condemned with the world provides the reason believers are chastened when they are judged. God has gone to a lot of trouble to save them and is not about to let them involve themselves in a bunch of sin. He will hinder their efforts to sin. Don't ignore God's roadblocks.

We should not be condemned, where we speaks of believers generally, is we should not be under sentence.

With the world implies with the people who reject Christ as Savior, i.e. the world of unbelievers.

Hebrews 12:5-11 - 5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Paul then admonishes the Corinthian believers to wait for one another when they come together to observe the Lord's Supper (11:33) and to eat at home if they are hungry rather than bringing judgment on themselves (11:34). Paul also advises them that he will deal with a few additional matters when he gets to Corinth.

I Corinthians 11:33-34 - 33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.

34 And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

Wherefore is the same word used to begin verse 27. It draws a strong inference from verses 20-28.

When ye come together is understood in the sense of when you gather or when you assemble.

Tarry one for another is be waiting for each other.

If any man hunger is assuming that someone is hungry, perhaps, so hungry that he cannot wait to eat.

Let him eat at home is not a suggestion. It is a third person imperative or command for which English has no equivalent. It means that he must eat at home.

Perhaps, there was not enough food to go around so that everyone could be satisfied. Someone who is especially hungry should not ruin the occasion for everyone else by complaining about not getting enough to eat, but he should eat something else after he goes home.

It would be better for those who have little or nothing at home to be satisfied than for someone who has plenty at home to eat the food he brought before others arrived with the result that some had nothing to eat.

That ye come not together unto condemnation is a negative purpose clause meaning in order that you not (or lest) you be coming together (i.e. gathering or assembling) for judgment.

And the rest will I set in order when I come indicates that Paul has more to say on this subject of abusing the Lord's Supper but that he will wait to say it until he gets to Corinth rather than write it in this letter.

CONCLUSION:

We have seen that the Lord's Supper is a local church ordinance, that the Lord's supper is typical of the unity found in the local church, that the Lord's Supper pictures and serves as a reminder of His crucifixion for our sins, that the observance of the Lord's Supper continues to proclaim the Lord's death until His return, and that the Lord's Supper must be observed in a worthy manner.