Proper Worship: The Lord’s Supper

I Corinthians 11:17-34


The doctor tells you your weight would be perfect
for a man 17 feet tall.

You are responsible for a slight but measurable
shift in the earth’s axis.

Paramedics bring in the Jaws of Life to pry you out
of the EZ-Boy.

The potatoes you used set off another famine in

You receive a Sumo Wrestler application in your

You set off 3 earthquake seismographs on your
morning jog Friday.

Pricking your finger for cholesterol screening only
yielded gravy.

Representatives from the Butterball Hall of Fame
called twice.

Last week we looked at the first of Paul’s 3 teachings
regarding proper worship; recognizing God’s order in the
church and the relationship between husband and wife
and God and man. Today we are going to discuss his
teaching on the Lord’s Supper and as you can see, we are
going to observe it today as a church family.

Let’s turn to our text and read the first 6 verses.

I Corinthians 11:17-22

Corrupted Lord’s Supper

Since the beginning of the church in Acts, the church had
gathered in houses for meals, prayer and teaching. They
were all together and had all things in common.

In Corinth it was typical for people to gather in people’s
homes for meals. The rich would have eaten first leaving
the poor to remain hungry. This practice had crept into
the church.

Rather than enjoying each other’s fellowship and
celebrating what Christ had done on the cross, they were
causing disunity and displaying selfishness.

Disunity – Paul has already mentioned division in the
church previously in this letter. Paul is not happy with
their behavior and tells them he will not commend them
for it. Division has no place in the body of Christ.
Especially in the worship service. In the last chapter Paul
wrote “we who are many are one body, for we all partake
of the one bread.” I Cor. 10:17

Selfishness – Paul accuses them of not observing the
Lord’s Supper because some are getting food while
others go hungry, some are getting drunk while others
get no wine.

Paul cuts to the quick when he asks if they despise God’s
church and humiliate the poor. His point is this, the
church is made up of people from all walks of life and the
poor are not any less saved than the rich and powerful.
As Paul writes in Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew
nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is
neither male nor female, for you are all one in
Christ Jesus.”

Paul’s point is that the believers at Corinth had corrupted
the Lord’s supper. They were not behaving like the body
of Christ, they were being selfish and disunified.
Now, let’s take a look at the next 4 verses
I Corinthians 11:23-26

Celebrated Lord’s Supper

Paul had taught the church how to properly observe the
Lord’s Supper. He gives them a refresher course in these

He reminds them why they are to observe it. Jesus
taught His disciples to do it on the very night He was
betrayed, shortly before He would give His life as a
ransom for many on the cross.

Jesus took the bread and after giving thanks He broke it
and told them this was His body given for them.
The phrase give thanks is the Greek word Eucharisteo.
You may have heard the word Eucharist.

It’s actually fitting that this week is Thanksgiving,
because that is what the word really means.
Translated literally the first part Eu means good and the
second part charis means grace. So, good grace.
We should be grateful for grace.

Jesus wants us to Remember His Sacrifice.
Jesus became human so He could forgive the sins of
He shed His blood on the cross and
His body was pierced for our transgressions.

He also wants us to Remember His Promise.
As often as we observe the Lord’s Supper we are
affirming that we believe He is coming back.
Jesus told His disciples that He was going to prepare a
place for them.
John 14:3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again and will take you to myself, that
where I am you may be also.”

If we are going to observe the Lord’s Supper we must do
it with the proper attitude. That leads right into Paul’s
final point in this chapter.

I Corinthians 11:27-34

Conscientious Lord’s Supper

Paul wants to make sure the believers at Corinth aren’t
taking the Lord’s Supper improperly.
Paul mentions eating the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy
manner and eating without discerning the body.

He provides two consequences for these actions.
The first consequence is being guilty of profaning the
body and blood of the Lord.
The second divine judgment.
What does Paul mean by eating the bread in an unworthy
manner? He doesn’t mean that we have to be worthy to
receive God’s grace. He gives us that freely.

What he means is our attitude towards God and others as
we remember Him through this act of worship.
If you are harboring ill feelings towards someone, you
should get up and go get it handled or refrain from taking
the Lord’s Supper.

I read of a man whose wife got up in the middle of the
service and went to another person in the church and
reconciled with them before she accepted the bread and
the cup. She knew she would be eating and drinking
judgment on herself if she didn’t do it.

Paul’s main focus of this last section is self-examination.
If we are going to be conscientious as we observe the
Lord’s Supper we must start by looking inward.

Do we have any unconfessed sin?
Are we holding a grudge or bitterness towards someone?
Have we considered the incredible sacrifice our Savior
made for us?

Once we have considered these things, we are ready to
partake of the Lord’s Supper.