1 Corinthians 11:23-34 – The Purpose of the Lord’s Supper

Published On: 25 de April de 2023Categories: Bible Study

The book of 1 Corinthians 11:23-34 addresses the theme of the Lord’s Supper, which is one of the most important sacraments of the Christian church. Communion is an opportunity for believers in Christ to come together in fellowship and remember Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, as He instructed in Luke 22:19 : “And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and gave it to them, saying, : This is my body, which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

But, unfortunately, the Corinthian church was behaving inappropriately during the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, and the apostle Paul needed to get their attention. In this Bible study, we will explore the implications of the Lord’s Supper and how we should approach it with reverence and respect.

The Importance of the Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper is a sacred time when the church gathers to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. By sharing the bread and wine, believers remember Christ’s sacrifice and renew their faith and commitment to Him.

In 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 , Paul describes the institution of the Lord’s Supper by Jesus Christ and emphasizes its importance for the church: “For I received from the Lord what I also taught you: that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, he took bread; and having given thanks, he broke it and said, Take, eat; this is my body that is broken for you; do this in memory of me. In like manner he also took the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament 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 this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

The above verse highlights the importance of the Lord’s Supper as a way to remember Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and proclaim His death until He comes again.

The Lord’s Supper with reverence

The celebration of the Lord’s Supper is a sacred act that demands respect and reverence. Unfortunately, the Corinthian church was treating the Supper improperly, as Paul pointed out in 1 Corinthians 11:20-22 : “When you come together in one place, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat. For when you eat, each one takes his own supper ahead of time; and some are hungry, and some are drunk. Do you not have houses where you can eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I tell you? shall I praise you? In this I do not praise you.”

Paul was calling the attention of the Corinthian church to their irreverent and selfish attitude during the Lord’s Supper. Rather than focusing on the sacred purpose of the meal, they were more concerned with meeting their own physical needs.

Sadly, this attitude can still be seen in some churches today. Some people treat the Lord’s Supper as if it were just another meal, not paying attention to its spiritual significance. Others are distracted or talk during the celebration, instead of focusing on communion with God and with the brothers.

But the Bible exhorts us to treat the Lord’s Supper with reverence and respect. In 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 , Paul warns that those who partake of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner bring judgment upon themselves: “Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. Sir. Let a man therefore examine himself, and so eat of this bread and drink of this cup; for he that eateth and drinketh unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation unto himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.”

These verses highlight the importance of approaching the Lord’s Supper with humility, repentance, and reverence. We must examine our hearts and confess any sins or selfish attitudes before we partake of the supper.

The Lord’s Supper and the Unity of the Church

In addition to remembering Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, the Lord’s Supper also has a purpose of uniting the church in fellowship. In 1 Corinthians 10:16-17, Paul writes, “Is it not true that the cup of blessing which we bless is a participation in the blood of Christ, and the bread that we break is a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.”

These verses highlight that as we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we are coming together as one body in Christ. Supper is not just an individual experience, but an expression of our communion with God and with our brothers in Christ.

It is therefore important that the church treat the Lord’s Supper as a time of unity and fellowship, rather than allowing divisions and conflicts to interfere with that experience. In 1 Corinthians 11:18-19 , Paul points out that the church at Corinth was divided into factions, which was hindering their celebration of the Lord’s Supper: “First, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to a certain extent I believe so. For there must be differences among you, so that it may be known which of you are approved.”

These verses remind us of the importance of seeking unity and harmony within the church, especially during the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. We must work to overcome any divisions or conflicts and unite around the common purpose of honoring and worshiping God.

The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper

So far, we’ve talked about the importance of the Lord’s Supper as a sacred and communion celebration. But what is the deeper meaning of the Lord’s Supper? What did Jesus mean when he said, “Do this in remembrance of me”?

To understand the meaning of the Lord’s Supper, it is helpful to look at the context in which Jesus instituted the Supper. In Luke 22:14-20 we read:

“When the time came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them: “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat of it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Receiving a chalice, he gave thanks and said: “Take this and share it with one another. For I tell you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” Taking bread, he gave thanks, broke it and gave it to the disciples, saying: “This is my body given in favor of you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper, he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

These verses show us that the Lord’s Supper was instituted by Jesus during the celebration of the Jewish Passover. On that occasion, Jesus took the bread and wine and consecrated them as symbols of his body and blood, which would be sacrificed on the cross.

In this way, the Lord’s Supper is a reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross in our place. When we eat the bread and drink the wine, we are remembering Jesus’ death and his love for us. This celebration also reminds us of the promise of salvation that we receive through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

In 1 Corinthians 11:24-26 , Paul highlights the significance of the Lord’s Supper as a reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice: “And when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, Take, eat; this is my body that is broken for you; do this in memory of me. In like manner also, after supper, he took the cup, saying, This cup is the New Testament 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 this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

In addition to being a reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice, the Lord’s Supper is also an opportunity to renew our commitment to Him and to the community of believers. In 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 , Paul writes, “ The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread that we break a communion in the body of Christ? Because we, being many, are one bread and one body; because we all partake of the same bread”.

These verses show us that the Lord’s Supper is a time of communion with God and with the community of believers. By eating the bread and drinking the wine, we are expressing our oneness with Christ and with other believers. It is a time when we remember that we are part of one body, which is the church, and that we have a common mission to take the gospel to the world.

Discernment in the Lord’s Supper

So far, we’ve talked about the importance of the Lord’s Supper and its deep meaning. But there is an important aspect that we need to address: discernment during the celebration of the Supper.

In 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 , Paul writes, “Therefore, whoever eats this bread, or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man therefore examine himself, and so eat of this bread and drink of this cup. For whoever eats and drinks unworthily eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.”

These verses alert us to the importance of approaching the celebration of the Lord’s Supper with reverence and discernment. We must examine ourselves and confess any sins or conflicts that may hinder our fellowship with God and other believers. We are not to participate in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper lightly or superficially, but with humility and reverence.

It is also important to remember that the Lord’s Supper is a sacred time and should be treated with respect. We should avoid behavior that could be considered disrespectful or inappropriate during the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.

Paul’s Warning

“Because of this, many are weak and sick among you, and many are sleeping. Because if we judged ourselves, we wouldn’t be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord, so that we are not condemned with the world. So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you do not gather together for condemnation. As for the other things, I will order them when I come to you.”

These verses are an important reminder for the church in Corinth – and for us today – about the importance of approaching the Lord’s Supper with a sincere and repentant heart. In these verses, Paul alerts us to the importance of discerning the body of Christ during the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. He mentions that many of the Corinthians were weak, sick or even dead because they had not discerned the Lord’s body.

This lack of discernment was likely related to the way in which the Corinthians were celebrating the Lord’s Supper, which appears to have been disorderly and selfish. Instead of waiting for one another and lovingly sharing food, some were eating and drinking to excess, while others were starving and being humiliated.

Paul warns us that if we do not discern the Lord’s body, we will be disciplined by the Lord himself so that we will not be condemned with the world. He exhorts us to wait for one another and not to eat or drink to excess, lest we meet together for condemnation.

In summary, verses from 1 Corinthians 11:30-34 show us that it is crucial to discern the body of Christ during the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. We must be aware of the importance of this celebration and our attitude towards it so that we can honor God and be blessed in our walk with Him.

Conclusion

In summary, the Lord’s Supper is a sacred celebration that reminds us of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and renews our commitment to Him and the community of believers. It is a time of fellowship with God and other believers and a reminder that we are part of one body.

However, it is important to approach celebrating the Lord’s Supper with reverence and discernment, examining ourselves and confessing any sins or conflicts that may hinder our fellowship with God and other believers.

May we always remember the deep meaning of the Lord’s Supper and celebrate it with humility, respect and love for one another. May the Lord help us to have sincere and repentant hearts during the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, so that we may fully experience His grace and mercy in our lives.

In addition to the Lord’s Supper, the Bible teaches us that fellowship with God and with other believers is a fundamental aspect of our Christian life. In Acts 2:42 we read, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers.” This verse shows us that fellowship was a central aspect of early church life.

Fellowship with other believers can encourage, strengthen, and challenge us in our walk with God. In Hebrews 10:24-25 , we read: “And let us consider one another, to incite one another to love and good works, not forsaking our congregation together, as some are in the habit of doing, but admonishing one another; and so much the more as you see the day approaching.”

These verses show us that fellowship with other believers is an important way to encourage and spur each other on in our walk with God. It also alerts us to the importance of not abandoning the community of believers, but admonishing one another and meeting regularly for worship, teaching, and fellowship.

In conclusion, the Lord’s Supper is a sacred celebration that reminds us of Jesus’ sacrifice and renews our commitment to Him and the community of believers. It is a time of fellowship with God and other believers and a reminder that we are part of one body. But beyond celebrating the Lord’s Supper, the Bible teaches us that fellowship with other believers is an important form of encouragement and stimulation in our walk with God. May we cherish fellowship with God and fellow believers and celebrate the Lord’s Supper with reverence, humility, and love for one another.

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Written by : Ministério Veredas Do IDE

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