It is A Big Deal — Why We Should Approach the Lord’s Supper with Honor & Reverence

Posted: July 13, 2015 in 46-1 Corinthians
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

1 Corinthians 11:17-34 — Today, we take our final look at the Lord’s Supper passage found in these verses. In closing out the passage, Paul talks about how we are to approach the Lord’s Supper. There are two things we must discuss about it. First, how we as Christ followers should approach the meal and, second, should those who have not accepted Christ as their Savior participate in the meal?

Like so many things that we do repeatedly in life, they can lose their meaning. It’s kind of like your commute to your job every morning. The first day on a new job you remember every moment of the drive to work. It was a new path to your daily grind and it was a new job. Now, after a few years on the job, you sometimes get to work and wonder how you got there. You were on auto-pilot mindlessly driving to work. It’s like being in the shower and you are about to get out and dry off and all of sudden you can’t remember whether you washed your hair or not. You are pretty certain that you did it but you can’t remember with 100% certainty that you did. That’s how many of us approach the one of the two rituals ordained by Christ for His church. Baptism is one and what we are talking about here is the Lord’s Supper. We often approach it without any care. It’s become routine. We take the bread and eat it and we take the wine and drink it and we don’t really think about what we are doing. It has become religion instead of a wonderful rite that we get to participate in. It has become habit instead of glorious remembrance of what Christ has done for us. It become your daily commute instead an adventurous drive to work. It has become washing your hair and not remembering it five minutes later. That type of approach to the Lord’s Supper was not what Christ intended it to be.

Paul tells us that we are not honoring the body and blood of Jesus Christ when we approach the meal unworthily. When we do not approach, as Christ followers, the Lord’s Supper with honor and reverence we miss its meaning. Paul implies that we should approach the meal with great introspection about our service to our Lord and Savior. We should think of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us and compare it to our own level of commitment to our Lord. We should approach the Lord’s Supper with examination of our sins and repenting of them and seeking forgiveness from God through Christ. We should approach the meal with examination of how well we are loving our friends, neighbors, our enemies, and strangers. We should never approach the Lord’s Supper with hatred or angst toward another in our heart. We should seek to resolve and reconcile relationships before participating in this meal. We should consider any barriers in our life that get in the way of our relationship with Christ and with other believers. Awareness of our sins should drive our preparation for the Lord’s Supper. After all, it is where we honor Jesus Christ and the sacrifice that He made to set us free from the penalty of sin and death. It is where we honor Him for stepping in our place and taking the punishment for sin that we deserve. The meal itself imparts nothing to us. The wine and the bread do not have any special properties because they are used in the meal. They do not give us salvation. But, Jesus Himself said we should do this in remembrance of Him. The meal is an honor to our Lord and Savior. It is where we say in a symbolic way that we thank you Jesus. It is here that we symbolically say that we are one with Christ. It is here that we say symbolically that we accept the grace of His sacrifice for us. It is here at the Lord’s Supper that we identify ourselves with Jesus Christ. It’s here that we remember that death was not the end and that Christ will one day return to claim His people and judge the world. This is not just a meal. It is an honor that should never become habit. We should always consider it an honor and a privilege and approach it with the reverence that it deserves. Christ gave us this remembrance to strengthen our faith in Him.

When you consider these things, it then brings up the question as to whether those who have not accepted Christ as their Savior should participate in the meal? Because of the gravity of what the Lord’s Supper represents and Paul says we should not approach it without reverence, then, in theory, it should be closed to only believers participating. However, that presents a problem for church leadership when serving the Lord’s Supper. How can we as leaders of the church know whether a person is a true believer or is just in church for the heck of it? Therefore, I think that is why Paul addresses this part of 1 Corinthians to the believers themselves not to the leadership. He is telling believers that they should approach the meal with honor in their hearts for what Christ has done for them. If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, then, you should consider that yourself and show respect to those who do by not participating in the meal. Paul puts the onus on us individually. He is saying that believers should examine their amount of reverence for the Lord before they partake in the meal and thus it goes without saying that those who do not believe in Jesus Christ cannot show honor for what He has done for them if they have not accepted it as their own. How can you honor what you do not believe in? Paul gives warning to the Corinthian believers if they approach the meal with irreverence that they invite God’s punishment upon themselves. It stands to reason then that non-believers would do invite the same punishment upon themselves.

I am not saying these things to create some us vs. them thing between us Christ followers and those that do not believe in Him. The Lord’s Supper is an honor and privilege that we have as Christians to thank Jesus Christ for the sacrifice for our sins that Jesus made and thereby making us right with a righteous and just God. That non-believers should respect what that means to us and respect that by not participating is what I am saying. It is also a call to us as believers to spread the gospel. The Lord’s Supper is an opportunity to witness to others about what Christ has done for us. It is a call to evangelize. It is a call to serve Jesus Christ. It is a call to go make disciples. Jesus called us to make disciples so that all my one day with right hearts and minds join us at the banquet table of the Lord’s Supper. It is our job to live a life that draws non-believers to us and it is our job to teach them of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for them on the cross so that they can come to know Jesus Christ as their own personal Savior and so that they can have a place at the table for the Lord’s Supper. We are all unworthy sinners made worthy through grace and that is what we remember at the Lord’s Supper. It is not routine. It is not a checklist thing. It is deeply personal between you and Jesus Christ. Do this in remembrance of Him!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s