Instructions Regarding the Lord’s Supper

Text: 1 Corinthians 11:23-34

Paul gave the brethren in Corinth instructions regarding the Lord’s Supper while also correcting some errors about it. It is important that we are periodically reminded of topics like this one. We need to observe the Lord’s Supper properly.

Instructions Were Given by the Lord (1 Corinthians 11:23)

  • Paul received this from the Lord – what he taught was the Lord’s commandment (1 Corinthians 14:37); we also have the record provided in the gospels (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19-20)
  • This is not a matter of human tradition – we are told not to hold to these (Matthew 15:6-9); instead, this was a divinely-given tradition (2 Thessalonians 2:15); these traditions must be kept

Memorial of Jesus’ Death (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

  • The bread represents His body – unleavened bread (Matthew 26:17; Exodus 12:14-15); body prepared by God (Hebrews 10:5, 10); He suffered and felt pain as we all do (Hebrews 4:15)
  • The cup represents His blood – fruit of the vine (Luke 22:17-18); the shedding of blood was necessary for forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22, 14; Ephesians 1:7); we can be cleansed by the blood that He shed in His death (Colossians 1:20)
  • When we observe the Lord’s Supper, we proclaim His death (1 Corinthians 11:26) – many things to remember about Jesus (birth, life, teaching, resurrection, ascension, authority, return); however, the focus of the Lord’s Supper is on His death; this was the purpose He gave for it
  • We engage in this practice until He comes (1 Corinthians 11:26) – as long as the world stands (cf. 2 Peter 3:10); this is to be a regular practice observed on the first day of every week (Acts 20:7)

Must Partake in a Worthy Manner (1 Corinthians 11:27-32)

  • Cannot be done thoughtlessly – not just “going through the motions” (cf. John 4:24); must examine ourselves to be sure we are partaking in the right way (remembering Jesus’ death); no one can examine us because no one can know our hearts (1 Corinthians 2:11)
  • Paul was talking about partaking in a manner that is unworthy (1 Corinthians 11:27) – not about a feeling of unworthiness; Paul recognized his own unworthiness (1 Timothy 1:12-15; 1 Corinthians 15:9); we have all sinned (Romans 3:23) and are undeserving of God’s grace (Luke 17:10), yet we must still partake; we must be sure we are focusing our minds as we should
  • We will be held accountable for how we partake (1 Corinthians 11:29) – if we fail to properly discern the body; this is a sign of spiritual sickness (1 Corinthians 11:30; cf. Hebrews 10:26, 29); the Lord disciplines us for this weakness (1 Corinthians 11:32) through this teaching (1 Corinthians 11:27-29; cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17); if we refuse to accept correction, we will be condemned as the world is (1 Corinthians 11:32)

To Be Done in the Assembly (1 Corinthians 11:33)

  • The proper place for the Lord’s Supper is in the assembly (Acts 20:7) – no authority to take it out of the assembly, no matter how well-intentioned people might be
  • Wait for one another – doesn’t mean we cannot partake unless everyone is present; means we give everyone the opportunity to partake (1 Corinthians 11:21)

Not to Corrupt the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:34)

  • The church in Corinth had corrupted the Lord’s Supper – turned it into a common meal (1 Corinthians 11:22); there is a proper time to satisfy hunger, but not when the church comes together
  • Not just that we keep the Lord’s Supper and “fellowship meals” separate – these brethren had combined them (1 Corinthians 11:20-22), but that was not the only thing that was wrong; they made meals part of the function of the church; these belong in the realm of the home (1 Corinthians 11:34)
  • Failing to respect the Lord’s Supper and the church’s given work results in condemnation (1 Corinthians 11:34)

Conclusion

  • The Lord’s Supper is the memorial that Jesus established for us to remember His death
  • It is important that we observe it each Lord’s day and partake in a worthy manner before Him

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