“Examining Ourselves” (1 Corinthians 11:27–34)
Listen to the Sermon:
Hear now the word of Lord from 1 Corinthians 11:27-34,
27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another— 34 if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come
1 Corinthians 11:27-34, ESV
This is the word of the Lord and it’s given to us in love as we study this morning.
As I begin this morning, I want to ask a question. What do you first think about when you think about the Lord’s Supper? What’s the first thing that comes into your mind? Maybe if you’re honest you think to yourself, why exactly are we doing this? This is so different from all the rest of Christian worship, what is the Lord’s Supper all about?
Maybe you’re thinking sort of theoretical questions, I wonder what’s happening in the Lord’s Supper? There are debates about whether the bread and wine in some sense become the physical body and blood of Jesus Christ or whether we’re on the other side of the spectrum and view it as only just remembering him in a strict sense. Or maybe you’re wondering whether, as we teach at this church, we have real spiritual fellowship, that’s a feast by faith, on Christ in the Lord’s Supper. Maybe as you think about the Lord’s Supper, you’re thinking primarily emotionally that this is something that you cherish and treasure and prized, and you can’t think of anything right now except how much you miss being able to receive the bread and the cup and worship the Lord through the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
Do we ever, as we think about the Lord’s Supper and especially at times when we’ve been taking the Lord’s Supper week by week, do we ever reflect on the fact that the Lord’s Supper is dangerous? It’s dangerous, so there is a clear and present threat to our health our lives and even our eternal destiny every time we approach the Lord’s Supper.
This is probably the first time in my life there has been a serious sustained discussion about the danger of the Lord’s Supper. Right now all we’re talking about is how not to transmit coronavirus as we serve the elements, but Paul here talks about people getting sick and weak and some of them dying. Paul talks about the judgment and the condemnation that we incur. Paul talks about that when we come together it might be not for our good, but for our judgment. This is a dangerous thing we are doing when we approach the table of the Lord.
Our big idea today is this; At the Lord’s Supper, Christ gives us communion with himself and with his church.
Because of this real fellowship, real participation in this communion that we have with Christ and with the church, there’s a danger that arises. There’s a danger that we need to be aware of and that we need to prepare for.
So our three points this morning are;
1. Examine Yourselves Concerning Christ
2. Judge Yourselves in Discerning the Church
3. Practice Christ’s Hospitality in the Church
Examine Yourselves Concerning Christ
Well let’s start with the first warning that Paul gives, examine yourselves concerning Christ found in verses 27 through 28. Now last week we looked at verses 23 through 26, where Paul laid out the true tradition. He said,
23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, ESV
This tradition that was delivered to them is the tradition that Christ was delivered up for them. So, what Paul is teaching is that every time we receive the Lord’s Supper, we both stand in that tradition and then we also deliver on that tradition to others, especially to our children. By proclaiming the Lord’s death until he comes those, are the last words before the passage we’re looking at today, as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
Now Paul gives us warnings in light of all of this that he’s been teaching there are warnings and in verse 27 Paul warns us about eating unworthily. He says,
27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.
1 Corinthians 11:27, ESV
Well what does this mean, to eat in an unworthy manner? It doesn’t mean that we have to be totally sinless, that we are worthy only when we can totally clean up our lives, totally get sin out of our lives, and then we are confident and able to approach the Lord’s Table. That’s not at all what Paul is talking about. Indeed, part of the very purpose for the Lord’s Supper is to comfort those who are doubting, it is to strengthen those who are weak.
It is only the unworthy who come, and they come looking for their worth, not in what they have been able to do to clean up their own lives, but as they look to Jesus Christ by faith. It’s unworthy people, not worthy people, who approach the table. So, Paul isn’t saying that only the worthy may come, he rather saying that he is not talking about unworthy people, but he is talking about eating in an unworthy manner, eating unworthily.
David Garland puts it this way he says, “Although no one is worthy of the Lord’s Supper, one can eat it worthily.” Worthily, in a worthy manner; what would that mean then? What does it mean to eat the Lord’s Supper and drink the Lord’s Supper in a worthy manner? Well that means that we are approaching the table not dependent on ourselves, not dependent on our own merit before Christ, but rather we come by right faith in Jesus Christ and in right relationship with other believers.
Now Paul says that this is important. We’ll talk more about what that means, but Paul says this is so important that if we don’t get this right, we will be guilty concerning the body and the blood of the Lord.
Now what does that mean? Well it doesn’t mean that the bread physically becomes the literal physical body of Jesus or that the cup literally becomes the physical literal blood of Christ. This has to do not with that Christ as a sacrifice offered up, but with Christ’s body and blood offered to us in the sacrament of the bread and the wine. This has to do with the aspect of the Lord’s Supper as a sign and a seal of the body and blood of Christ.
Probably the best way to illustrate this is to think of a wedding ring. So, you think about a wedding ring. The wedding ring is a symbol of a person’s marriage and it also authenticates it, a seal that confirms the wedding.
I have performed a wedding a couple of days ago and the bride and the groom both said to each other, “with this ring I thee wed.” By putting this ring on your finger, what I am doing here is authenticating and confirming my covenant vows in marriage to you. At the same time is important as a wedding ring is, it’s not essential to being married. Some people in some cultures don’t use a ring for marriage, it’s not essential.
We also can’t overstate the importance of it. Yes, with this ring I thee wed, but if I take off my wedding ring you haven’t just witnessed me dissolving or eliminating my marriage. If somehow, I were to lose my wedding ring and I had to get a new wedding ring, that wouldn’t somehow invalidate or restart my wedding. In fact, this actually isn’t the ring that Allison gave me on the day of our wedding. We had to get it resized so sorry if that’s scandalizing, but the point here is that we can’t overstate the significance of the actual ring. Even though we can’t overstate the significance, we can’t understate the significance of the ring as a sign and a seal of a covenant relationship in marriage to one another.
Think about for example and imagine a businessman on a trip a traveling with co-workers a Christian businessman. They finished a day’s work and the other co-workers say to this man, “Hey let’s all take off our rings and go out and whatever happens here stays here.” Imagine if the Well if the Christian businessman does that, he’s guilty concerning his marriage. Not because of the guilt of just taking off a ring, there’s nothing inherently wrong about that, but because of what that ring is symbolizing. By taking off the ring he’s trying to display himself as available and unmarried so that whatever happens stays there. Well this is where we can’t overstate it, we also can’t understate the importance of the sign and the seal of a covenant relationship. There are ways to abuse the sign and the seal so as to be guilty concerning our covenant relationship.
The same thing is true with Christ. If we misuse and abuse the signs and the seals of the sacrament of Christ’s body and blood in the Lord’s Supper, then we’ve betrayed Christ like Judas betrayed Christ by eating the Lord’s Supper and then heading off to turn against our Lord. That’s what it would mean to eat and drink unworthily.
In this first exhortation then, this first warning, Paul insists that we’ve got to consider the vertical aspect, the vertical element of the Lord’s Supper, our relationship directly with Christ by the Holy Spirit. That is, we must eat and drink with a full appreciation, a full meditation, a full getting in our minds and in our hearts of Christ and him crucified. When we approach the table we are not doing it casually and carelessly, nor with an intention to go on sinning, but we are eating and thinking by repentance and faith in Christ and him crucified.
So, in verse 28 Paul gives us an application for this since you’ve got to think about this vertical element. therefore verse 28,
28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
1 Corinthians 11:28, ESV
As we prepare for the Lord’s Supper then, the first thing we must do is to examine ourselves in this regard. We must think am I really repenting of my sins or is there something I’m holding back and have no intention of turning over to Christ? Am I really looking to Christ by faith or is my mind a hundred miles from Jesus? As we approach the table, we’ve got to examine ourselves.
There are two other points we should note in verse 28 about examining ourselves. When Paul says, “Let a person examine himself then and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup”, the first thing we should notice is that this is one proof against the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation.
In the Roman Catholic theology when you come to the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, what they are saying is that even though that tastes like bread, smells like bread, looks like bread, and the same thing with the wine, it tastes like, looks like, and smells like wine; in fact the substance of those things is not actually bread and not actually wine. They say you are eating and drinking something very different, you are eating the actual physical body of Christ and the actual physical literal blood of Christ.
Yet here Paul says that when we eat and drink, we’re really eating bread, not the body of Christ. We’re eating bread, “let a person examine himself and so eat of the bread”, and we’re really drinking of the wine, “and so drink of the cup.”
Paul says here that what we get in the Lord’s Supper, what we ingest, is real bread and real wine, even though it’s more than that as we spiritually are communing with Christ by faith. The Scriptures tell us exactly what we’re eating and drinking and it’s bread and wine.
The second thing to notice about this particular passage is that this verse explains the rationale, the reason, why we don’t practice paedo-communion, offering our children the elements of the Lord’s Supper, even though we do practice paedo-baptism, when we baptize our infants.
The difference is about the preparation and the participation of the one receiving the sacrament there’s a big difference between baptism and the Lord’s Supper is that in baptism all the imagery in Scripture about baptism is of the one being baptized as a passive a reception, the receiving of baptism.
So, baptism is described as being buried with Christ. I don’t know how many funerals you’ve been to, but the corpses don’t take an active role in their own burial. The Bible talks about being sprinkled or purified with clean water and that’s something that happens to us. It is not something we do to ourselves. Also, the language in Scripture is of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We don’t pour out the Holy Spirit, Christ pours out the Holy Spirit, whom he has ascended to receive from his Father, on the church. In the same way baptism is something we receive, not something we take for ourselves.
In 1 Peter 3 where we read about baptism being like Noah and his family. Noah and his family weren’t in control of the floods, they were trusting that the Lord would keep them safe as the Lord brought them, in the ark, through the flood.
Even our Lord Jesus Christ himself was passive at his baptism as he went into the waters of baptism. The Father spoke from heaven, “this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”, and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove. Yet we read of no action in the midst of the baptism that our Lord Jesus himself takes; he simply receives the baptism to fulfill all righteousness.
Baptism is something that we passively receive and therefore it’s fitting for our children to passively receive baptism in the same way. Just as the children of believers in the Old Testament were circumcised passively, baptism is a passive reception.
However, the Lord’s Supper, as Paul explains in this passage, is not passive, it’s active. Now the language of institution of Jesus teaches us as much, he says “take this, eat this, drink this, all of you.” This is something that we actively participate in. Jesus didn’t say open your mouth and I’ll drop a piece of the bread in and open your mouth and I’ll try to tip some of the wine, try not to miss. No this is something you take and eat actively for yourself. So, it’s fitting that our preparation should be active.
It requires active examination, and this is the reason our children, though they are baptized, are not permitted at first to receive the Lord’s Supper. They can’t do this self-examination; they’re still learning what this would mean. They must wait until they are able to give a credible profession of their faith, by which they join all the rest of us who are professing our faith by proclaiming the Lord’s death as a functional confession of our faith as we approach the Lord’s Supper until he comes.
Now in the meantime, as I talked about last week, that doesn’t mean we’re just sort of ignoring them and hope they figure it out. We’re actively teaching them, leading them, and preaching to them in this. We’re catechizing them, we’re praying with and for them to help them to understand and to foster the faith that we hope is growing in their hearts by the grace of God. That’s why our children do not partake of the Lord’s Supper, because in fact it would be dangerous for them to do so until they can give a credible profession of their own faith.
The first exhortation that Paul gives us is, “don’t eat and drink unworthily” apart from true, active, living, saving faith. The application of this first exhortation is that we must examine ourselves before eating of the bread and drinking of the cup. So again, this first part of this passage has to do with our vertical relationship with Christ, the vertical aspect of the Lord’s Supper and our communion fellowship and participation with him.
Judge Yourselves in Discerning the Church
Paul’s second exhortation is turned to the next few verses now directs our attention to the horizontal aspect of the Lord’s Supper, our relationship with one another, with the church.
So the second point again is, judge yourselves in discerning the church.
Look what Paul says in verse 29,
29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 1 Corinthians 11:29, ESV
Now what does it mean to discern the body? There’s a lot of debate about this. Some say this means distinguishing the Lord’s Supper as a holy meal as opposed to all of the common meals that we eat in life. There’s a differentiation we have to make between these two kinds of meals. That could be the case, that’s probably true to some degree, but it’s a very generic interpretation that doesn’t quite fit all the specific details of the words that Paul gives us here.
Others then say that this is a requirement that we think about that vertical aspect, to meditate upon Christ’s sacrificed body for us at the cross. That also could be, but if that’s true why does Paul only mention the body of Christ and not his blood? Look back at verse 27, sort of the parallel to this idea of what it would mean to meditate on the on the vertical aspect. Notice here we not only have the bread and the cup, but we also have the body and the blood. When we’re thinking about the vertical aspect, about Christ, we might be guilty concerning the body and the blood of the Lord. Or back in the 1 Corinthians 10:16 Paul wrote,
16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 1 Corinthians 10:16, ESV
When the Lord’s Supper is a sign and a seal of our communion with Christ, that’s a part of it. Paul mentions both the body and the blood of Christ together, we always have the whole, Christ’s body and blood.
So, probably what this means is we’re not talking about the vertical aspect. We’re talking about the horizontal aspect to the Lord’s Supper, about looking at the body of Christ, that is the church of Christ. The parallel is in 1 Corinthians 10:17 when Paul shifts from talking about our participation in the blood and the body of Christ in the Lord’s Supper, and then he talks about the horizontal aspect of the church. Notice what he says,
17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.
1 Corinthians 10:17, ESV
Our unity in the body of Christ is given in terms of one body, not one blood. The unity is one body and therefore it’s mostly symbolized in the bread. So when Paul here is talking about discerning the body, he’s talking about eating and drinking, but talking about discerning of the body. Then this idea of body is our relationship to one another, as members one of another in the body of Christ. Remember it’s only a few verses later that Paul is going to begin one of his famous passages on the various members of Christ as one body.
So 1 Corinthians 12:12
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:12, ESV
We are one body composed of many members, the limbs and organs of Christ, under our head the Lord Jesus Christ. So, what Paul means here in chapter 11:29, that we must discern the body lest we eat and drink judgment on ourselves, is not just that we think about this theologically, sort of have this fixed in our minds. It also means that we have to think about and evaluate our horizontal relationships with one another, our actions and attitudes toward one another. That’s the horizontal aspect of the Lord’s Supper.
So, Paul says here we’re thinking about our relationships to others in the church. Well in verse 30 here’s what he says,
30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.
1 Corinthians 11:30, ESV
He warns us, he says you have got to have this warning in your mind that many become weak and ill and some have died; this is not a minor issue, this is something that could literally kill you, this is a dangerous thing to do if you’re mistreating fellow Christians as you approach the Lord’s Supper. It’s dangerous in this life and the next.
Now what Paul says here is that there’s a direct correlation between their sin at the Lord’s Supper and their sufferings, and in some cases their deaths. Now while our previous generations may have been too quick to assign specific outcomes to specific sins or actions, well I’m receiving this in life because at that point in my history I did that, we are probably a bit too slow. We just say there’s no connection whatsoever, things just happen and who knows why they happen. Maybe we give a naturalistic scientific reason for it. Well that’s not so much the case, it probably is a little of both.
The Scripture teaches us that some disasters come without any specific provoking cause. In the case of Job, they keep saying look at your sufferings surely there must be some sin in your life; we’ve got to find it. That wasn’t the case.
In John chapter 9 there was a man born blind and Jesus’s disciples asked him so was it his sin or was it his parents’ sin, and Jesus said it wasn’t because of their sin but it was so that God might be glorified in this. So not all disasters are connected with a specific provoking cause, but the Scriptures nevertheless teach us that some are.
So, when Jesus in in Luke 13 is asked to reflect upon a great disaster of his day, he turns it around on them he said, don’t worry about what they may have done to incur this. When you see these disasters happening, here’s the meaning for you; you need repent you or you will all likewise perish.
It’s akin to what Paul tells us to do here, he says we need to repent. He talks about this in verses 31 and 32 as the idea of judging ourselves so that we are not judged by a God. Judging ourselves to discover the sins in our lives and to bring those before the Lord and seek his mercy in repentance, so that God isn’t the one judging us and exposing and bringing out our sins by which he condemns us. Paul says in verse 31 and 32,
31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
1 Corinthians 11:27-34, ESV
We must judge ourselves by confessing and repenting of our sins so that we do not need to be judged and condemned along with the world. As we prepare for the Lord’s Supper this means we need to be repenting of our sins in our vertical aspect against the Lord, but also that we need to be repenting of our horizontal sins against one another in the church.
There are two ideas as we think about examining ourselves concerning Christ and discerning and judging ourselves in discernment of the church. Both these are really timeless principles these relate to every church, in every time period, as the church through all generations and all cultures have prepared themselves to receive the Lord’s Supper.
Practice Christ’s Hospitality in the Church
The last thing that Paul will say in verses 33 and 34 are not one of these two timeless principles, but a very specific application of these two timeless principles. It still applies to us living today but with a narrower focus that reflects the situation that was going on in Corinth. Let’s come to our third point, that we must practice Christ’s hospitality in the church.
In verse 33 Paul is draws a conclusion he says,
33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another—
1 Corinthians 11:33, ESV
His word “come together” it shows up again in the next verse as well, “when you come together”. This is the language that’s used five times in this larger section on the Lord’s Supper. It’s the requirement, the basic necessity for the Lord’s Supper. We can’t celebrate the Lord’s Supper when we are distributed each in his own home. That’s why we haven’t been celebrating the Lord’s Supper virtually. We can’t do it by household anymore. It is only right and fitting to celebrate the Lord’s Supper when we come together as a church.
Paul says when we come together wait for one another. Now this language of waiting could have an idea of time, just like what we mean I’m going to wait for you until you come here and it’s a matter of checking my watch and seeing how long the time has passed as I wait for you to come. In the context of meals, this word for waiting often has another idea, the idea of hospitality.
English actually has a pretty similar idea, we can talk about waiting for someone, but we can also talk about waiting on someone, like a server at a restaurant waiting on someone waiting at their table. I used to be a server and when I did that I had to wait on people, to show them hospitality and sometimes that meant waiting for them as they made up their mind. The emphasis was on the hospitality I was showing them. Now I don’t necessarily think of a server in a restaurant, that’s not probably quite exactly what Paul means here. I’m simply showing that the word wait has that hospitality connotation in our mind too.
The word really is getting at the hospitality of Christ that we’re called to show one another. The rich shouldn’t be gorging themselves and getting drunk, while the poor have nothing to eat. What Paul says is if there’s an issue of hunger, verse 34, “if anyone is hungry let him eat at home”. The coming together of the church for the Lord’s Supper is not for filling our bellies. Rather he says, “so that when you’ll come together”, there’s that word again, “it will not be for judgment.”
What we’re doing here is dangerous, we want to make sure that when we come together it’s not for judgment. Then Paul closes in saying, “about the other things I will give directions when I come.” This concludes Paul’s section in 1 Corinthians on the Lord’s Supper.
So, as we close this teaching on the Lord’s Supper, before moving on to the next issues of corporate worship and the church that Paul wants to address, there are three applications that we need to draw for our own lives.
1. Prepare yourself for communion with Christ. Again, normally this should be an ongoing process in our lives but now that we have to wait before we can receive the Lord’s Supper again this is a time for deep preparation, for a spring cleaning. A time in our lives to really think through how we are preparing as we come together to receive the Lord’s Supper when we are able to do it next.
This is going to require all of us to do a little bit of introspection. Now for some of us introspective comes fairly easily. For others introspection is maybe a little bit harder. Some of us are perhaps too introspective so that we do a little more in our lives than navel-gazing, but for others this is a very hard thing to think about.
If you are thinking what am I supposed to do as I prepare, et me give you a very simple process for self-examination that you can use as you prepare for worship.
First, think through your week or think through this period of time we have had while we have been apart. It’s not a week, it’s been about two months or a little over that. So be thinking about this time and as you’re thinking about everything that’s gone on, examine your actions and your attitude. I’m talking about what you have done and why you have done those things.
Sometimes you’ll see you’re sin really clearly, the yelling that you might have done in anger, some act of greed or lust or something along those lines. Sometimes your actions are very clear. but sometimes your heart may be a swirling cesspool of sin and yet you don’t act on it. Well you need to repent of that as well. All of these swirling sins in your hearts, both actions and attitudes, think through these things.
Number two, examine these things.
Then number three you’re not quite done yet. When you have passed your own self-examination, you need to ask God to examine you. We see this commanded in Psalm 139:24, the psalmist teaches us to pray this,
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalm 139:24, ESV
Then also Psalm 19:14,
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
Psalm 19:14 , ESV
So think through the passing time since we’ve received the Lord’s Supper. Examine your attitudes and your actions. Ask God to reveal any secret sins, whether you see them or whether God brings them to mind by illuminating his word in prayer.
The fourth thing to do is to repent, to confess those sins to the Lord, to turn from them in sorrow and horror. Not just because they were bad and wrong and you need to sort of apologize begrudgingly, but because you’re horrified of them and you want to come back to the Lord. Turn to the Lord in faith, repent from your sins, and turn to Christ.
Remember that the Lord’s Supper is not for worthy people, but for those who approach worthily by faith in Christ. There’s no one way to do it. None of us are worthy or meritorious on our own, we can only come when we’re pleading the blood of Jesus Christ shed for us.
Then finally remember the love of God for you, displayed perfectly at the cross of Jesus. From eternity past God planned a rescue mission to send his son into the world to die in order that you might be saved. Then in the fullness of time Christ concealed and veiled his glory, he took to himself a true body and a reasonable human soul, he subjected himself under all the miseries of this life and under all the requirements of God’s law, and even under the wrath and curse of God at the cross. This is what we are remembering when we do this in remembrance.
Preparation then requires us to be in remembrance of Christ in advance. So, prepare yourself for communion with Christ. Not just for the vertical aspect, but also for the horizontal aspect. Prepare yourself for communion with the church, remember that we are many members of Christ’s body members, Christ’s limbs and organs under our head the Lord Jesus Christ. Preparation for the Lord’s Supper requires us to think through our relationships, our actions, and our attitudes toward our fellow Christians.
So, we’ve got to examine our life. We’ve got to ask God to reveal any secret sins of our actions and attitudes, and we have to judge ourselves by repenting to the Lord of these, and where necessary by reconciling with offended brothers and sisters in Christ as we ask for God’s grace to grow in our fellowship with other believers. So number two, prepare yourself for communion with the church.
3. The Lord’s Supper then is supposed to bring about results, a fruit in our lives. The third thing is we need to live a life transformed by the example of the Lord’s Supper. Christ’s death was an example to us. It was not only an example; it was far more than an example. When Christ gave up his life at the cross, he did for us what we could never have done for ourselves and what we still can never do for ourselves.
It’s not like he did it and we look at that example and say oh I can do that and now that we have the tutorial for how we can save ourselves. No, Christ’s death was unrepeatable. Christ endured God’s wrath and curse against us and He fulfilled all righteousness by humbling himself in obedience to death on a cross. This is the rescue mission.
We’re promised in the gospel that all who look to Jesus Christ by faith will be saved from their sins. We’ve got to start with the basic of the gospel right there, but the fruit of believing in the gospel is a life that’s transformed by the gospel. We don’t transform our lives in hopes that we might then be received and be saved by the gospel. It’s not something that leads up to salvation, it’s the fruit, the result of salvation.
Christ’s death then becomes the model, the example, that we’re supposed to follow. We are to live sacrificially toward one another as we remember Christ’s broken body and shed blood.
Specifically, as we wait on one another and wait for one another, we are called to live hospitably toward one another. We are to provide for one another as we remember how Christ took us into his own family and provided for us entrance into his glorious kingdom when we were children of wrath, condemned as rebels of the Almighty God.
The Lord’s Supper is a time to reflect upon how to show Christ Jesus’s love and hospitality and provision to others, especially to fellow believers. What burdens can we help one another carry? How can we encourage one another? Where can we build relationships with fellow members of Christ’s body whom we maybe don’t know as well as we’d like to? How can we serve one another practically? Where can we use our riches and our strength to benefit others in the way that Christ did by living, not selfishly, but for the sake and the benefits and the building up of other people?
Brothers and sisters, as we approach the Lord’s Supper, when we do it, we can’t do it today we’re still separated, but when we do approach the Lord’s Supper we need to be prepared to come to the table. It is a dangerous thing in this life and the next.
So, until we come again, let us be in preparation, examining ourselves in relationship to Christ. Judging ourselves in our discernment of the body and trying to grow in hospitality.
Our Lord, we pray that you would give us grace to follow Jesus Christ in his footsteps and example. First to follow by faith, knowing that we have no hope except from what we received by faith in Christ. Secondly, we pray, Father, by the grace of your Holy Spirit, you would bring about the fruit of faith; holy obedience that is fitting for followers of Christ. So, we pray this looking to Jesus and asking that when we come together again, and that he would speed the day for that to happen, we would come together again to eat and drink of the bread and the cup and the feast by faith on the broken body and shed blood of Christ, that it would not be for judgment but it would be for our good. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.