Remembering the Covenant
Adult 1 Sunday School Class 1 Corinthians 11:23-34 November 26, 2017
Theme: It is often easier to make promises than to keep them. How can we remember to keep the promises we make? Paul exhorted believers to remember these promises through celebrating the Lord’s Supper.
Please interpret the meaning of the following verses.
The interpretation of the verses is in bold print which follows the original verse in regular print.
1 Corinthians 11:23 “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread.” Paul comes to Corinth to remind the believers that the Communion practices are unacceptable and reminds them of what Christ wanted the act to be. Corinth was a prosperous city with significant number of wealthy Christians. A love feast meal preceded the celebration of the Last Supper. Paul complaint was that the wealthy did not wait for the poor to come and eat, this was abhorrent to Christ. Then Paul proceeded to provide historical perspective of Christ at the last Supper.
The Last Supper occurred just before He was betrayed by the Jews and handed over to the Romans. During the Last Supper which we now celebrate as Communion, Paul explains that God will discipline those who do not take Communion seriously, because of their unworthiness in not following the directions which Christ set up.
v.24,25,26, “And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you, this do in remembrance of me. 25. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had stopped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he comes.” Paul reminds them that Christ broke the bread and said this is my body broken for the redemption of sins. Then He passed the cup of wine which represented His shed blood on the Cross. Jesus’ blood was for the cleansing and remission of sins (Matt 26:28). Jesus’ blood represents the New Covenant, and replaces the Old Covenant which God made with Israel. “The new testament in my blood”, refers to the new covenant which God make with His people.” “as often as you drink it.” which means, the Communion service should be performed often. We should understand that we should continue the practice as often as necessary until Christ returns. Communion announces His death has made forgiveness and salvation available to all until the Second Coming
v.27 and 28, “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.” Paul warns the Corinthians that if they are unworthy of taking Communion due to immorality or unethical practices, Paul instructs us through Christ to avoid sinning before taking communion. However, to sin before taking Communion is to dishonor the body and the blood of Jesus Christ. If you have sinned, it is better that you do not take Communion at all.
v. 29 and 30 “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” Paul wants the Corinthians to understand the significance of Communion, but to come into this service unworthy because of their sins casts a bad reflection on Christ and the rest of the church. They employed 1 table, 1 loaf of bread, 1 cup of wine, and proclaimed through Jesus’ death; the one body in Christ which is the church. Communion bring about a oneness which Christ created by His death and resurrection. For those who disrespect Communion Paul says, “many will become weak and sickly and others will fall asleep (die).
v.31 and 32, “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” Paul says that we should self-examine ourselves before we come to the Lord’s Supper so as not to be disciplined with the results of verse 30 as punishment. For believers who come to the Lord’s Supper for the few sins that they have committed, the discipline is to bring them to repentance here on earth, to avoid losing their soul forever. However, for the evil doers God’s judgement will be damnation for the continual sins which they have done.
v. 33 and 34, “Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. 34. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto damnation. And the rest will set in order when I come.” Paul sums up his letter to the Corinthians by reiterating what Christ requires of us as we partake of the Communion and what we should not do. For example, if you are hunger eat before you come, this is not a meal for self-pleasure. It represents the agony on the Cross which Jesus suffered as a redemption for our sins and the new covenant that God made with His people. This meal is taken in remembrance of Christ who showed the world that He died, and His sacrifice has made God accessible to all. For Christians to not self-examine themselves before partaking in Communion, and if found to be in sin, they make a mockery of Christ. If this and other acts of pervasive behavior by Christians are seen by the world at large, it will show our hypocrisy. The hypocrisy will reflect on the Christian church and will make people leave the church or not attend at all.