I AM the God of Communion
The Corinthian believers truly were a problematic church, but are so typical of our own
natural selves trying to “do Christianity”. However, if it wasn’t for their problems, we would not have God’s answers to our own problems. This passage gives us another cultural example of what was practiced in the early church which is not practiced in the west as much, but brings up great questions for us. The Corinthians held real feasts as part of their communion practice as a church body. The Corinthian’s problem as stated below is that some in attendance didn’t get a fair share of the food offered while others got drunk. This is why Paul says that they were to wait for each other before they ate; it was so that all in that local body of believers in Christ could get some food to eat. The Bible knowledge commentary says; “Those guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord were those who despised a poorer member by utter disregard for his need (11:21–22).” Thus if we don’t judge ourselves in this matter before we partake, we may find ourselves being corrected by the Lord one day. So what is communion really about? Some religious exercise to make God happy with us? NO.
The Lord’s Supper
1 Cor 11:17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not! 23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world. 33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. 34 If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.
As we ponder God’s character from the above passage, I wonder if God would answer our signature question below in the following way…
Who are you Lord?
I AM the God who was sacrificed for you. Do not confuse this picture of what I have done for you as a means of earning my favor. It will not erase your sin debt. There is nothing you can do to earn my favor to my standard. This is why I sent my Son, so that he might procure my pardon for you. Only his life could obey me acceptably and perfectly. Only his blood is pure enough to save humanity. Communion is simply given to remind you of your need for my savior.
I AM the God who you say that you worship through communion. But my body is more than just a little piece of bread. Don’t confuse that little token of bread and that little cup as your sole responsibility in the church. Yes it represents my being broken for you, and that is good to remember often. But men and women in my church are my body now. If you want to remember me, if you want to show your love for me, then love and remember those in your presence who lack life’s necessities. That is your greater responsibility now. “If you have done it for the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.” “All men will know you are my disciples as you love one another.” “remember the widows and orphans.”
What is communion anyway?
One of the most important points that I can make regarding communion is that 1. The bread “which was broken for you” simply but beautifully represents Christ’s earthly life who perfectly fulfilled God’s holy law. He satisfied the righteous requirements of the law in your stead. Only because he did, is he the perfectly acceptable sacrifice (spotless lamb). 2. The cup represents his blood and is therefore completely pleased the Father on your behalf. Thus, having fulfilled the law (by his life), and the temple sacrifices (by his death in the shedding of his blood), by faith you too are accepted by the Father because of your trust in Jesus alone. Consequently, Communion is not a religious exercise to make God happy with you. You are not eating Jesus’ literal body to gain eternal life. Communion will not save you. There are no special points with God for doing it. Rather, to use an Old Testament illustration, it is like you have come to God by faith carrying the perfect Lamb of God as your sacrifice to the priests at the temple. God accepted Jesus’ obedient life just as God accepted a spotless lamb. His blood was spilt so that yours is not required. Consequently as proof, God raised him from the dead and seated him on his right hand in heaven and you with him. As you take communion, this is all that you are portraying to those around you. It is simply a testimony that you are trusting in the finished work of Christ on your behalf.
More to come,