By Bill Jackson
In looking into 1 Corinthians 11, we have
these words from the apostle to help us see Corinth’s
condition as regards to worship:
1. Coming together for the worse (v. 17).
2. Coming together in a divided state (v. 18).
3. Coming together with an allegiance to men (v. 19).
4. Coming together with no thought as to the significance of
the supper (v. 20).
5. Coming together in mixing their common meal items in with
worship (vv. 21-22).
6. Coming together with no discernment of the body of the
Lord, and thus their participation was in an unworthy manner
The apostle indicates a great spiritual
sickness in their midst, with some of them actually “in
death” (v.30). The wonderful privilege of worship was being
abused, perverted and mishandled. We must continually
examine ourselves (II Cor. 13:5), in this and in every way,
that we insure that our worship will be in spirit and in
truth (John 4:24).
But we want to speak of the abuse of the
Lord’s Supper in our own time, and in some particular ways
wherein we should now stop and examine ourselves with a
determination to improve. We make mention of these points
regarding the abuse just noted:
1. We abuse the Lord’s
Supper when there is no anticipation of worship.
The Christian is a worshiper, and worship is to be a great
and continual part of his life. Yes, “exhort one another”
(Heb. 10:25). The Supper is mentioned as a rallying cause of
the saints on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). If the
Supper is meaningless to us as we think of it, and as we
approach the observance of it, it will be meaningless as we
partake as well.
2. We abuse the Supper if
we have the view that “this is all that matters.”
There are five avenues of worship, and if five are
necessary, then all five are important. There has been too
much of an attitude that says, “Just so I get the Lord’s
Supper!” For all its importance, it is not ALL IMPORTANT! It
is fruitless to be half-hearted in all other worship, and
then to try to be of a spiritual mind when it is time to
observe the Supper.
3. We abuse the Supper if
we think that observance somehow makes up for the time
misspent in sin, indifference and carelessness. Not
one word is said in the New Testament about the Lord’s
Supper affecting “cleansing” for the disobedient child of
God! If he is unfaithful to God, he is in no better position
to partake of the Lord’s Supper than he is to sing or pray.
Without making proper correction in life, he only adds sin
to sin in going through the motions of Lord’s Supper
4. We abuse the Supper if
we so spend the week or weekend in fun and games, perhaps
on vacation, and just barely squeeze in time to make a
service, arriving late and nearly to the point of
exhaustion, and we do manage to “get the Supper.”
Body and mind in such shape for worship is needed to worship
“in spirit” — with spirit and understanding (I Cor. 14:15).
It is an abuse of all worship, and not just the Supper, when
I can BARELY find an hour to give to God!
5. Finally, one of the
most flagrant abuses is on the part of those who willfully
absent themselves on Sunday mornings, and then will rise
to partake on Sunday evenings as if some matter beyond
their control blocked them that morning. We know
that sicknesses and emergencies arise, but we are thinking
of the willful absence, and then the Sunday evening
partaking, as if God would subsidize the negligence. This is
an abuse of the purpose and intent of the Lord’s Supper — a
memorial with significance for Spiritual people!
May we examine ourselves in this
avenue of worship, and in all others, that we will truly
worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), and that our
coming together be for The Better! (I Cor. 11:17).
- Bill Jackson (Deceased); via the Belvedere Beacon, the
weekly bulletin of the Belvedere church of Christ,
Belvedere, SC. Ken Chumbley preaches for this
congregation, and he may be contacted at their website:
http://www.belvederechurchofchrist.org [Brother Chumbley
made this appropriate note: "These words from the late
brother Jackson should be kept in mind as regards to the
Lord’s Supper that we partake in a worthy manner (I