Fairmont First Baptist Church
At the Table: At the Lord's Table
- Come, Ye Thankful People, Come
1 Corinthians 11:17–28CSB
- IntroLast week of this series: At the TableFirst week - God’c ProvisionSecond Week - The table is part of Jesus’s plan for redemption and reconciliation.Third Week - At the table we can both experiance and demonstrate God’s grace.This week we are looking at the Lord’s TableCommunion or the Lord’s Supper is one of two ordinances of the ChurchOrdinances are those things that Jesus did that he taught us/told us to do.The two are:BaptismLord’s Supper/communionIf we are going to be talking about the table in scripture, we have to talk about the Lord’s Table.Really was hoping that we’d be able to celebrate the Table together today, but given the recent rise in cases, decided not to.But I can assure you, that as soon as we feel secure we will be celebrating the table together!Now in giving this instruction I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. For to begin with, I hear that when you come together as a church there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. Indeed, it is necessary that there be factions among you, so that those who are approved may be recognized among you. When you come together, then, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. For at the meal, each one eats his own supper. So one person is hungry while another gets drunk! Don’t you have homes in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What should I say to you? Should I praise you? I do not praise you in this matter! For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. So, then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself; in this way let him eat the bread and drink from the cup.Centrality of the TableThe Lord’s Table has been central to Christian faith and practice since the earliest days of the church, as we see here from PaulWhat appears to be the case, and we see this here in 1 Cor but also in other writings as well, is that the community would gather for a love meal, and agape meal. Think potluck or Wednesday night supper.As part of that meal they would have a ceremonial observance of the Lord’s Last Supper.blessing of the bread and cupThis larger meal and the ceremonial meal that was a part of it, was an expression of Christian community, koinoniaIn fact, it is from koinonia that we get the word communion.Eventually the agape meal and the communion meal became separateBut even when that happened, the communion became central to Christian Worship.Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, LutheransAll celebrate every weekAs do many in the Churches of Christ/Disciples of Christ traditionOthers that came out of the Reformation (Presbys, Methodists, Baptists, Anabaptists, others) have other viewsYou are seeing a trend in many even Baptist churches to see the celebreation of the table happen more often.After all, it is an ordinance of the Church, something Jesus gave to us and told us to do.TextIn this portion of 1 Cor we see that the church in Corinth is having two main issues with the table.Issues of unityIssues of unworthynessThey seem to have lost the thread, forgetting what it is all about.1 Cor 11:20When you come together, then, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper.It is supposed to be a time of generous fellowship and unityCorrupted by selfishness and social hierarchies.All are supposed to be equal at the tableThe meal is meant to honor the Lord and what we has done1 cor 11:23-26For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.But instead they are using it to honor themselves and to break unity.this is reminiscent of what happens in Acts 6Some people weren’t getting enough at the Table.Institution of the office of Deacon to serve the community and ensure that all were equal before the tableLeaving the wordly hierarchies at the door and the fellowship.It is our Baptism that unites us, that makes us part of God’s family and that levels out the hierarchies of the worldWhile there are certainly levels of maturity in our life with God, there is not one believer that is “more than” another.Our Baptism, in particular the confession that we make at Baptism that (a) we are sinners in need of grace and (b) that Jesus is Lord and that only by his mercy and Grace are we saved, this is what unites us.This is what brings the unity that the table should reflectThis unity can drive us to do seemingly reckless things, at least by the world’s standards.One of my favorite stories from history is that of RCIII.Tell only if there is time.This unity that is found in our baptism, and the reflection of it at the table, is why that table should be open to all baptised believers.AllBaptizedThe second aspect of the text is that of self-examination and unworthiness.1 Cor 11:27-28So, then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself; in this way let him eat the bread and drink from the cup.What is meant by “unworthy manner”DisunityCorinthians do not sense within themselves a genuine affirmation of unity, or a willingness to affirm unity, then they have failed to recognize the body of the Lord, which is made present in order to unite all with Christ. They eat and drink judgment on themselves.Unrepentant sinWe don’t like to think about it, but scripture is pretty clear about what happens to us when we allow unrepentant sin in our own lives but also in the life of the church.If we allow disunity, or corruption, or just plain old sin to fester in the body, we are not worthy to participate in the Lord’s Supper and God simply won’t bless the work of church or its members.When was the last time you came to the table and really took a hard look at yourself and decided that maybe you shouldn’t participate because you felt ill will to a brother or sister in Christ? Or because there was some unrepentant sin in your life?And let’s be clear what repentance means:Doesn’t mean saying “oops, i’m sorry”Repentance means that you have done a 180 degree turn away from that sin.If you keep confessing the same thing over and over and aren’t turning away from it, that is unrepentant sinand unrepentant sin breeds disunity in the Body of Christ because it is a violation of your baptismConclusionRussell Moore:“As we eat together around the table of Christ, we're called to a recognition that we are at the table of a kingdom. And we are called there to recognize the presence of the King—not so much in the elements themselves or in our individual spiritual reflection but in the body he has called together, a body of sinners like us. Only then will we really get what the Scriptures mean when they call us to ‘fellowship’”Fellowship: unityThis holy meal, shared together, is the pinnacle of fellowship.Must ask ourselves the question: When we approach the table together, do we really experiance that unity, or have we forgotten the message of the table?Are we worthy to come to the table?Through the table, we see the atoning work of Christ in the here and now.We are but a band of misfits, united in receiving grace.As your friends and family come together at your table, we are no longer outcasts, unwanted, or hungry; instead, we are filled with the beauty of communion.The beauty of a glimpse of the true restoration and banquet that is to come.The most intimate meal we will share with one another is around the Lord’s table. United in confession and need, sisters and brothers in Christ find their true home.
1 Corinthians 11:20CSB
1 Corinthians 11:23–26CSB
- Only Trust Him
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