In A Worthy Manner

On the night that he was betrayed, Jesus gave us what we call the Lord’s Supper.  Matthew 26:26-28 “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’  Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you.’  For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.’”

The Corinthian church had many problems, not the least of which was the way they observed the Lord’s Supper.  1 Corinthians 11:17-22 “Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse.  For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it.  For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.  Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper.  For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk.  What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.”  What the Corinthians were doing was not the Lord’s Supper.  They were each bringing their own meal and eating at separate times.  One was hungry because he didn’t have food, and another was drunk!  No wonder the apostle Paul had no praise for them.

The apostle goes on to admonish the church in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”  Many people seem to misunderstand what this says.  They think they are not worthy to partake of the Lord’s Supper.  But none of us are worthy; we are all sinners before God.  Isaiah 64:6a “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.”  The Lord’s Supper may be a good time to remember that Christ died on the cross for your sins and that any sin or shortcoming you have in your life you need to repent and determine in your mind to change your behavior.  But it is not a matter of being worthy.  The admonition from the apostle Paul is that you examine yourself and eat and drink in a worthy manner; it is concerning how you partake.  Some of the Corinthians were apparently having a big feast and not thinking about the body and blood of Christ.  When you partake, are you discerning the Lord’s body?  Are you contemplating that this is the body of Christ nailed to the cross and that this is the blood of Christ that flowed from his wounds – the blood that cleanses you from sin?  Or are you thinking about something unrelated?  Are you thinking about what you did yesterday or what you will do after the assembly or how you can solve some unrelated problem that you have?  This is a pretty serious matter.  Verse 29 says “For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”  I would discourage giving the Lord’s Supper to an unbeliever; if they don’t believe, how can they discern the Lord’s body?  I encourage you to examine yourself as you partake of the Lord’s Supper so that you partake in a worthy manner.

When you assemble, you join in the singing.  Ephesians 5:19 “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”  If you have sung a song a hundred times before, when you begin singing it the hundred and first time, are you thinking about the words that you are singing?  Or has it become such a habit that you can sing the words but think about something else?  I encourage you to be careful to sing in a worthy manner.  1 Corinthians 14:15b “I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.”

How about your prayer time?  With every word you pray, do you see yourself communicating to your Father in heaven or does your mind wander and you begin to think about something else?  Do you repeat the same prayer time after time?  When some people give thanks for their food, they say the same words each time.  In such a case, the words may lose their meaning and the prayer becomes a ritual rather than communication with the Father.  I encourage you to be careful to pray in a worthy manner.  1 Corinthians 14:15a “What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding.”

My encouragement to you is that when you partake of the Lord’s Supper, that you discern the Lord’s body.  When you sing in the assembly, that you sing with the spirit and with the understanding.  When you pray to the Father, that you pray with the spirit and with the understanding.  In all these matters, that you do them in a worthy manner.

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