The night before the LORD Jesus Christ went to the cross he had an opportunity to illustrate his sacrifice at the Passover meal. As he and the disciples ate the LORD took bread and broke it and said this is my body that’ll be broken for you. Then He took the cup and said this is my blood in the New Testament, drink all of it. This is a huge statement because everything the Jews based their lives on was the Old Testament. The agreement in Moses was the basis for society. And Jesus Christ says my offering replaces the old agreement in an eternally better way.
With this sacrificial illustration in mind, Paul criticizes the Corinthians for how selfish they are. And it serves as a rebuke and time of self-examination for anyone who would call themselves Christian.
This is a memorial of the LORD Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. It is not a mass. It is not the actual body and blood of Christ nor does it turn into that. This is a memorial of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Typically, memorials are remembrances of sacrifices, and Paul uses the word remembrance to describe what this is.
Divisions (vss 17-22)
- (vs 17) You never imagined you’d hear a pastor or better yet the scripture suggesting it were better if someone had stayed home rather than come to church, but that’s what Paul just said.
- If you coming to church makes you mad at people, angry and bitter at the preaching, and resent God, you’ve completely missed the point of what is going on here.
- Worship is not “to each his own.”
- They’re getting together in “church” was doing damage to them. Not because it was wrong to get together, but they forgot what the point of getting together was.
- Heretical divisions
- (vs 18) …I partly believe it. Paul doesn’t like secondhand information and doesn’t rush to conclusions just because he heard something about someone. But in this case, the information is basically correct.
- It’s that fruit of the spirit that the heretics will envy and argue against.
- Selfish divisions
- (vs 20)…therefore…this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. Since everyone has their own agenda and doctrine, whatever you think you’re doing together, you’re not. Why? Because everyone has a different reason for being there.
- Just because you say that’s what you’re doing doesn’t mean that’s what you’re doing if it isn’t according to the Bible.
- (vss 21-22) Many people are there for entertainment. Paul says, Look, I’m not anti-entertainment, just keep things in their proper place. There is a time to sanctify the Lord in your heart as a congregation. Let those couple of hours of sanctified time stay sanctified for that purpose. You’ve got the rest of the week to do other things.
Direction for the memorial service (vss 23-26)
- Worship is not “to each his own.” Paul said I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you. Meaning this didn’t start with you or me and it isn’t yours or mine to change.
- The Lord Jesus Christ would begin his ministry with John the Baptist saying, Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. Making clear that Jesus Christ is the Passover lamb.
- John 19:14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!
- 1 Corinthians 5:7 …For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
- This is done in remembrance; it’s a memorial of Jesus Christ’s selfless sacrifice.
Duty for the participants (vss 27-30)
- So who participates in this memorial? Saved people who have trusted Jesus Christ as their sacrificial lamb and will examine their own lives in light of that sacrifice.
- When you consider Christ’s selfless sacrifice on the cross you have to consider your own selfishness. Unworthy partaking comes from an unexamined life in light of the body and blood of the Lord. Latter days men become lovers of their own selves.
Desirable motives for the memorial (vss 31-34)
- Practice self-examination in light of the cross of Christ.
- Not all participants in the supper before the cross were clean. Judas Iscariot was unclean and knew it.
- Peter said he’d die for Christ, but Jesus said he’d deny him before the night was over. Peter spoke out but was unproven.
- The unexamined life of a Christian brings the chastening hand of the Lord.