The church is made up of natural enemies. What binds us together is not common education, common race, common income levels, common politics, common nationality, common accents, common jobs, or anything else of the sort. Christians come together because they have all been saved by Jesus Christ and owe him a common allegiance….they are a band of natural enemies who love one another for Jesus’ sake. — Don Carson
Once again Paul refers to divisions. But here he is not thinking of the rival parties that possibly separate various congregations but of the gulf between the rich and the poor within a given house-church. The minority of well-to-do believers, including the major financial supporters and the owners of the homes in which the believers met, would have had the leisure-time and resources to arrive earlier and bring larger quantities and finer food than the rest of the congregation. Following the practice of hosting festive gatherings in ancient Corinth, they would have quickly filled the small private dining room. Latecomers (the majority, who probably had to finish work before coming – there was as of yet no legalized day off in the Roman Empire) would be seated separately in the adjacent atrium or courtyard. Those that could not afford to bring a full meal, or a very good one, did not have the opportunity to share with the rest in the way that Christian unity demanded. — Craig Blomberg
Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. - 1 Corinthians 10:17
Our meals will mirror our doctrine. The first thing God does for Adam and Eve in the garden is given them a menu, the fruit of every tree (except one). The climax of the exodus (an act of salvation commemorated in a meal) is when the elders of Israel eat with God on the mountain in Exodus 24. Isaiah promises a messianic banquet of rich foods that will never end in Isaiah 25 and Jesus anticipates this perpetual meal with God in the feeding of the 5,000, a meal with more food at the end than at the beginning. The last supper looks forward to the time when Jesus will eat with his disciples in the kingdom of God. And the Bible story ends with a meal as we celebrate the wedding supper of the Lamb in Revelation 19. A meal in the presence of God is the goal of salvation. Every time we eat together as Christians we are anticipating this hope. — Tim Chester
Note: This is a machine transcription, and it has not been reviewed for accuracy.All right, Well, let's go to first. Corinthians, Chapter eleven, continue on in the book. I'm going to begin this morning just by praying. So if you could pray with me for the word, the preaching of the words, the reception of the preaching of the words, that would be great. Father, We pray again that you would come now as we open up your word and let the revelation speak. Let your voice be heard among this place. God, we thank you this morning that you don't give up on churches that have problems because you don't give up on people who have problems. You are with us in the Mass. And we pray this morning that this word would come not from the not from the lips of man to the ears of man but from the mouth of God. To the hearts of men. By your spirit. Help us this morning. Tto be as one. Because we are one in Christ. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen. Amen. Don Carson, Pastor, author founder of the Gospel Coalition Rights This. The church is made up of natural enemies. Have you thought about it? That way before the church is made up of natural enemies. What binds us together is not common education, common race, common income levels, common politics, common nationality, common accents, common jobs or anything else of the sort. Christians come together because they have all been saved by Jesus Christ and owe him a common allegiance They are a band of natural enemies who love one another. For Jesus sake, Isn't that a beautiful description of the church natural enemies who love one another? For Jesus's sake, What a powerful picture to a fractured and broken world when the church is unified by the grace of God, when we step foot into this place. Nothing special about this building. It's a gymnasium, nothing special about the physical space. But when the Church of God gathers together and the states all come together as one, we all stand on level ground at the foot of the cross. And we all worship looking up to Jesus. No one better, no one worse than each other, all in desperate need of God's grace. How easy it is for us to take her eyes off of Jesus and to put our eyes instead of having her eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfect er of our faith to put our eyes square on each other and what's not happening or what should be happening or what did just happen very poorly. And to forget why we're together and what holds us together. My plea this morning from first Corinthians, Chapter eleven is this is this. Our unity in the cross must be protected at all costs. Our unity in the cross must be protected at all costs. Now there's a reason why Paul is writing this letter to this church in court. This church is dysfunctional. It is a very messy, messed up, backwards, worldly, dysfunctional church saved by the grace of God. Yes, Chapter one begins that they're called by God the call to be saints. He lavishes gospel praise upon them. So he's saying, You are brothers and sisters, but you need a lot of work. You need a lot of growth. You need a lot of transformation. And as Paul is dealing with the issues in this letter that they raised to him and their letter. They wrote him a letter. He's writing them back. He's also dealing with the reports that he's received from Chloe and Chloe's people who visited the church and brought back this report Not good. It is not good in Corinth. Lots of problems, and the issues that Paul addresses in Chapter eleven through fourteen are about what we're doing right now. It's about the practices off the gathered church and how they've missed two treasuring of Christ in the gathering of their worship. They've missed Christ as the center of their worship. When Jesus is not fully at the center, everything else gets off, kills her. Everything else gets skewed. Everything else goes off target when Jesus isn't fully at the center. This is true in all of life, especially true on Sundays, the day of the week, when the whole church gathers together for prayer and worship, and teaching and fellowship over the Lord's supper, when the natural enemies come together to love one another. And this church and court is failing so miserably to know and treasure and live out the gospel. It's dysfunctional and one of the things that I love about grace is that Grace doesn't write people or churches off. It doesn't just say you blew it so bad. You just need to go away. No, Paul is going to actually address them and challenge him and strengthen them and rebuke them with the goal that they would be better than they are. And so let's listen to these words this morning and see what God has to say, not just to them, but tow us that we would receive whatever rebuke and correction and encouragement and strengthen that comes for us in this body. As we gather, Paul tells him the problem in verse seventeen. See addresses. This horizontal dysfunction read along with me, he says. But in the following instructions, I do not commend you because when you come together, it is not for the better, but for the worst. All right, pause there. I'm not going to keep reading. But just think about this. His initial sentences, it would be better if you weren't gathering now. I just said he's going to help them, right? But he's but he's pointing out You're doing harm by getting together well, how first eighteen four in the first place. When you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you and I believe it in part for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized when you come together. It is not the Lord's supper that youI foran eating each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. What do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the Church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not. Now There will be good news by the end of this sermon. But this this begins with a rebuke. The unity of the church is being hijacked and you ask yourself what could be going so wrong? And here is the irony The very meal, the very meal that was given by Christ designed to foster communal unity among the brothers among the sisters is being hijacked and a cause for disunity and division in the body. Paul says you are divided. There are now factions in the church and its obvious because you're wrecking the Lord's supper. You can't even eat together without causing problems. Now I say all this by way of preparing you for next Sunday, because next Sunday, if you're a member of Grace Church, is our is our members meeting. It's going to be a great Sunday morning. Please don't schedule your you know annual march Hike up North for next Sunday, come and be a part off the body that you are committed to here at Grace, we have important work to do as believers in Christ. We're going to celebrate John Moorehead and Greg Hudson's ordination next Sunday. They're going to be appointed as elders of this body. You want to be here for that to not only support them and encourage them, but to be a part of that and participate in that. We're going to welcome some new members into the body. Next Sunday, we're going to walk through some of the initiatives that God is leading us into as we walk the road ahead. It will be a great Sunday morning, but one of the parts of the morning that we also get to do next Sunday is we get to share a meal. The no pancake pancake breakfast is back next Monday morning. You don't have to feed your kids before you come. You can come and eat and listen. And if you've got smaller kids and they make noise, you can just sit in the back and just eat with them and listen and we can all be a part of it. This is a family event that we do together as a body, and it might not seem significant that we would eat together. But it is a significant statements we build together by eating. Think about how many meals you have, how many meetings you have with people over meals. Ah, breakfast. A coffee, a lunch, a dinner, a run, midnight snack. Whatever it is, food is more than just food. It's a statement. When you eat together with someone else that you're saying I approve of you. I want to share with you. I want to be in your presence. It's a It's a statement to a broken and fractured world that, as Christians we say were together. We're on the same team. It's a statement of unity, and that is one of the things that made. Christianity is so countercultural because Jesus ate with people he wasn't supposed to eat with, Right? Jesus, We tend to invite people to enter our homes that we like. We tend to eat with people that we like. We want them to be with people that are like us and that relate with us well. He eats with the tax collectors and with the prostitutes he goes into. The key is his house, he says. Have me over for a meal. I wantto share a meal with you that this this This is hard for us to fathom how radical this is totally destroys their cultural sensitivities. But Jesus does it because Jesus is drawing not just people, that I like him because there's no one who's like the son of God. He's drawing all kinds of people to himself by grace, even those on the fringes of society. In the New Covenant, Jews and gentiles eat together Jews with all of their strict laws. Dietary laws are put aside, Peter and Act ten gets the vision that now it's become clear. All foods are clean because there are no uncommon and there are no unclean people that are off limits from the grace of God. And so the gospel turns all things even the most common things, like eating and drinking into theological things. Pause. Please give me a little head nod If you are listening to me right now, okay? I wish I could show you sometimes just kind of what it's like to be on the stage. Let's just get the view. And I'm sure you're paying attention very intently. Some of you. But it is helpful to get a little interaction as we go. So if you feel Frito, you know, Head nod, cheer me on. Amen. Whatever. If you think things are good here, so or if not, then I guess I'm just gonna go home and hang my head. No, I'm just kidding. I'm not gonna do that. All things eating and drinking all things are theological things. Which means that when Christians were having problems in the common things like eating drinking together, it's not just a matter of food preference. It's a true gospel issue. When Christians won't eat together. It's a sign of broken community. If you remember earlier in the book and Chapter five, he's talking about disciplining a member who of the church who is persisting and sin and he tells them, I don't even eat with such a one so that that's a statement of of You need to demonstrate that the relationship here is broken by not even eating with the person. If you remember in Galatians, when Paul confronts Peter for his view of justification. What evidence did he have that that led him to confront Peter? Peter had broken off table fellowship with the Gentiles. He wouldn't eat with them anymore. He separated. Paul says wrong. Theology leads to wrong practice, and sometimes wrong practices show that you have a wrong theology. And so these Corinthians they were failing to guard their unity. That's the key thing. There are failing to guard their unity in some of the most basic ways. So here's what's happening. Some of them are getting to the house early, where the church would gather and they would have a meal together and they would all bring something to contribute. And they would get there early and they would start Teo eat without the others. They looked like. Can I please just are eating? No one's here yet, and they have this little group of people that get there and they start eating and stuffing their faces, their refilling their glass of wine again and again. And they're getting drunk at the table with their small little clique of friends, while the others aren't even there yet. And then when the rest of them do, you finally get there and start to, you know, go through the buffet line. There's not enough food, They're going hungry. So I think we all know how to apply this next Sunday, right? Don't get seconds until you ask Pastor Chris. Problem solved, right? Look, no short sermon today. Have room. Gets to go home. That's the application. Just don't get second sex Sunday. No, not quite. See, there are deeper issues issues going on here. This is not just a random group of people who are doing this. This is not just some bad seeds in the church. These are likely the wealthy people in the church. You see what Paul says? Verse twenty. When you come together, it is not the Lord's supper that you eat foreign eating. Each one goes ahead with his own meal. So bringing food to contribute. And they're like, You know what? Forget this. I'm just going to eat my own food. One goes hungry and another gets drunk. What do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the Church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? Do you see that? So they're each bring something. Some are bringing a lot and some are bringing very little and it's meant to be shared. Craig Blomberg says. Once again, Paul refers to divisions, but here he is not thinking of the rival parties that possibly separate various congregations, but of the gulf between the rich and the poor. Within a given house church, the minority of well to do believers, including the major financial supporters and the owners of the homes in which the believers met would have had the leisure time and resource is to arrive earlier and bring larger quantities and finer foods. And the rest of the congregation. Following the practice off hosting festive gatherings and ancient Corinth, they would have quickly filled the small private dining room late comers. The majority who probably had to finish work before coming There was, as of yet no legalized. A off in the Roman Empire would be seated separately in the adjacent atrium or car courtyard. Those that could not afford to bring a full meal or a very good one did not have the opportunity to share with the rest in the way that Christian Unity demanded So you think, What's the big deal? This is just food. No, there are socio economic realities at work. In fact, the dinner party in Corinth was very much an opportunity for showing or increasing social status. It was about who knows who and and who sits by who and who brings what to the table. And as these parties would happen, klicks would get formed and competitions would take place. And this was a way of using food for selfish pride that divided the church into the haves. And they have not. And Paul says in verse twenty two, What? Just picture my son, Trevor just saying what in the Greek this could be translated. What the What? No, not really. Just means what it's like this expression of like Are you kidding me? This is the opposite of the Lord's supper. You have your own houses, Teo. Eat and drink in selfishly by yourself if you want. If you want to be self absorbed and puffed up, you can do that on your own time. But this is the opposite of what's supposed to be reflected when the church comes together. I hope you see a principle that is not just about food when the church comes together. It's not about you. When the church comes together is about God that overflows toe. Others when the church comes together, were to be others minded in Christ. Friends. This is the opposite here of what Christ wanted When, On the night before he went to the cross, he gathered his disciples and took the meal that was in front of him, took the bread and took the cup and said, These point to me there's no way around it. The cross, which Jesus is going to the very next day, interprets this bread and this cop as a sacrifice Jesus, his body, Jesus, his blood. It is self sacrificial and when the church comes together, were supposed to come together. In the spirit of that process, we're gathered together around one loaf and one gospel as keen and tasted in the one bread. And in the one cup we gather together under one lord and we eat as one. There is no me. It's just we the rhymes better than us. There's no me. There's just we just what he said in Chapter ten for seventeen, because there is one bread. We who are many are one body for we all partake of the one bread we are one be as one. Can you say that with me this morning we are one. Be as one. I don't think I heard you. Could we do it again? We are one be as one. That's what we're called Tio. So how does this dysfunction this horizontal dysfunction get fixed? How are we to be as one as we are one? Well, look, it's fixed. Just like every other kind of sin under heaven gets fixed. Horizontal dysfunction gets fixed by vertical adjustment toward Jesus. On Ly Christ himself can fix the hearts of sinners who cares so little about each other that they would get drunk off the Lord's supper and notice that these words that we use so often to describe communion here Chapter eleven. They're actually set in contrast to what the church has been doing. These words are actually corrective. He's saying, What are you doing? But you remember the Lord's supper first twenty three four I received from the Lord. What I also delivered to you that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed, took bread. And when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, This is my body, which is for you to do this in remembrance of means in the same way. Also, he took the cup after stuff. They're saying This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me for as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup. You proclaimed the Lord's death until he comes. He is correcting them by giving them the vertical adjustments back towards price. He's saying, Get this squared away in your mind. This is what the supper is all about. Gives them three things that we see here. When we take the supper together, we remember the past. There is past grace in the supper. Jesus tells us to eat together in remembrance of him. Everything we do when we gather together here a grace church. Everything about our liturgy swells in this crescendo as you come into the into the doors as you meet the other saints. And as we begin with a call to worship that we begin to sing and treasure price through song and in the spirit. And as we pray and intercede for the nations and for our country and for the other churches in the city and even for Grace Church, as we sit under the teaching of God's word and our hearts are re oriented back to the grace of God, there is a swell in this crescendo that leads us to the table where we remember all that we've sung about all that we've heard about and we physically touch and taste And remember that Christ physically suffered to accomplish all that. The word promises us really hands really feet riel nails a real spear in his side. Riel, blood rial death for very really sins. Without a real death of a sacrificial offering. God cannot bring us near to him in our sinfulness. All of the Old Testament sacrifices taught that. And then he brews nine twenty seven says this. Without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness of sin. So if you treasure that your sins, which are many, haven't washed away in the blood of Christ through his sacrifice, this bread and this cop is a reminder of that. It reminds us of what it cost God to rescue us. What greater price could God have paid for our redemption? He gave us his body broken. He gave us his blood. That was shed. What greater promise could be assured to us than this? As we eat as we drink, we remember Grace. We repent because of grace and we believe God's grace is our second thing. We remember and we hope we hope in the future. It says here that there's a future grace in this upper too. The meal itself is a proclamation as we eat and as we drink together is one body we are proclaiming. It says, Do you see that we're there because what we're Oprah proclaiming in verse twenty six, you proclaim So I'm not the only one proclaiming this morning I'm not the only one preaching Christ body and his blood through the bread and threw the cup as we take together We are proclaiming the Lord's death until period. Period comes until he comes until he comes. What's that mean? He's coming back thin will be fully eradicated from God's people. When he comes back, we take it until he comes back. Because once he comes back, we don't need the symbol anymore. We will have Christ in all of his fullness. But the supper for now points us forward to the end of the story. Tim Chester, author of the book A Meal for Jesus, captures the significance of food and the gospel. When he writes this, our meals will mirror our doctrine. The first being God does for Adam and Eve in the Garden is give them a menu, the fruit of every tree except one. And by the way, if you took the biblical theology class, guess what's comin right here. Some biblical theology? We're back in Genesis and now the climax of the exodus, which was an act of salvation commemorated in a meal. The Passover meal is when the elders of Israel eat with God on the mountain. In Exodus twenty four, Isaiah promises a messianic banquet of rich foods that will never end. And Isaiah, twenty five, and Jesus anticipates this perpetual meal with God in the feeding of the five thousand, a meal with more food at the end than at the beginning. The Last Supper looks forward to the time when Jesus will eat with his disciples in the Kingdom of God. And the Bible story ends with a meal as we celebrate the wedding supper of the lamb and Revelation nineteen. A meal in the presence of God is the goal of salvation. And every time we eat together as Christians we are anticipating this hope. We remember and we hope in the promises of the future. And third, when we take the supper, we commune in the present. We remember the past. We hope in the future we commune in the present. There is present grace today, today for you in the supper as we come and in this meal, you don't have to jockey for position to try to get to the seat of honor. You don't need to somehow try to sneak your way up towards the front. You don't have to be the first one to the table, and it doesn't matter if you're the last one at the table. All you need to do is be invited to come by Jesus through his broken body and shed blood. And if you come through that, there's nothing more you can do. You don't need to bring cookies or anything. You don't add anything to this. All we do is come to Jesus, who has already atone for our sins. And so we don't need to atone anymore. Brothers and sisters, Wait. This is the status symbol. This is the seat of honor to be at the table with Jesus. All we must do is come embracing it in the supper and notice that we do this together. This the context off this passage is so clearly the gathering of the whole church. It's in the context of correction of how the church gathers together and eat together. It's oftentimes ripped out and talked about as communion as individual parts. No, no, no contexts. You cannot demonstrate you are one with the whole body when you simply take this individually. It's a communal meal that shapes the past and the present and the future. Vertical adjustment, correct the horizontal dysfunction. And now Paul cubs back to the church, the foolish Corinthians and tries to help it apply this gospel reality now with new eyes. So third gospel shaped new realities versus twenty seven through thirty four. Whoever he says. Therefore, having taught them now the gospel again, this Lord's supper, this others focused supper. Whoever, therefore each the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself then, and so eat of that bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill and some have died. But if we judge ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world's he says, Teo, eat the bread and drink. The cop in an unworthy manner is not. Listen carefully. I'm trying to correct something that I hear all the time. It's not a warning to keep sinners away from the tables. Like like you've gotta look deep inside of you and to see if you have enough of the worth if you if you're worthy enough to calm and participate no context, context, context to take this in an unworthy manner is to eat the bread and drink the cup without reference to the to the horizontal realities and the vertical realities of Christ and how it impacts the body. If you just take the bread and the cup religiously, you know thinking about it, or if you take it selfishly, like they're doing here and they're eating ahead and they're getting drunk. If you're making the meal all about you, you are not taking the Lord's supper. You are going through the motions. You are not taking the Lord's supper. If you're just being religious, they're not taking the Lord's supper. If this if this meal is like everything else in your life and it's selfish, you're not taking the Lord's supper. This meal is about Christ who loves his body. And so what it means here to discern the body is have you given thought to the other Christians in the body as you take this meal saying that you are one. Do you see that? How can we take a meal together and say we're one when we've got fraction from factions and divisions in the body? We're hypocrites if we do that. So he's saying dis turned the body. Consider your relationships. Are they broken? Are they cut off from fellowship with you? By the way that you go about your life and let's not just for the sake of application. Let's not just limit this toe food. Let zoom out for a moment. Just consider what are the ways in which you might selfishly I fail to discern the body. Who did you talk to this morning? Who did you avoid this morning? Where did you serve this morning? Where did you choose to sit this morning? Where did you choose? Toe Park your car this morning. All things are theological things, right? All things show our hearts. Have we considered the body? Have you considered the body? Have you come to give rather than just to take? Are there people in the body whom you need to reconcile with this morning? So, yeah, this is kind of a warning. Brothers and sisters, he's saying, Take this seriously. There can be serious consequences when we profess to be one, but then we live. Is it for many? And if you think this is a small deal in the sight of God, then think again Because he says of this, this division in verse thirty. That is why many of you are weak and ill and some have died, he says. You have brought judgment upon yourself. It's not meant to scare us. But it has been to warn us that there will be a judge. It'll either be you judging the body correctly. And if he says if you judge correctly, there is not a need for a judge you've discerned you've lived in accordance with your confession. You've repented. You've sought forgiveness. He brought that you've brought reconciliation as faras. It depends on you. Either you do that or God will bring judgment to you. And even that is flavored by the gospel. Why? He says in verse thirty two. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world, were disciplined so that we may not be condemned. But God is always at work for your eternal good. Even through his disciplining judgment. Not to condemn you but to keep you in the love of God. We are one. Be as one. Can we say it together again? We are one. Be as one. First thirty three. So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. How's that for deep gospel? Wait for each other, right? It's a practical way to express deep theology. Wait for each other. So picture the food pictures of food. Next Sunday morning, you get here at eight o'clock or whatever, and the food's out smelling good and you're like, Man, I'm hungry. Church isn't here yet. Just saying just wait. Unity in the church is more important than your hunger. Unity in the church is more important than your thirst. Unity in the church is more important than your preferences. Because we are one we're to be is one. So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another, If any is hungry, let him eat at home. Because it's not about the food. Have breakfast before you come. If you're not hungry, right? So that when you come here, WeII share still that when you come together, it will not be for judgment. Amen. About the other things that will give directions when I come. So we're going to close by taking communion. I'm going to actually ask the those that are passing out the elements to come now and to distribute them and the band. If you could come back up and I'm gonna give us four things of applications I want youto try toe. Listen. Wow, this is being passed. They'll be on the on the screen. Here's four things of application for this passage. Four simple words First, remember. Remember, this is about remembering Christ. Christ. In all in all of life, everything about your life is tied up to Jesus seeking him. It's not about you. It's about him. So you come to this meal and we're thinking, Okay, How do we how do we eat and drink in a way that glorifies God, not how do we fill our bellies or how do we go through the religious motions? We remember Christ in all, and you could begin passing the plates as you get used to get to the front. Second is examined, were called to examine ourselves, and that, as I said, is not to find ourselves worthy by like the law standards. But where do we need to repent to make things right? Maybe there's a relationship in the body that you need to repair to make things right. Don't just keep going Sunday by Sunday, taking communion while you're breaking fellowship with your fellow believer. Keep short accounts, go to the person, be humble, seek unity. Unity is more important. So we remember and we examine. If you're unwilling to do that, ask yourself, How big is your gospel? Third we receive, we received. We received vertical grace from God. In this meal, we get assurance that were his. But this blood in this body is for us. This is not just watching something. Take place. In addition to remembering, we're also participating in this grace as we take it by faith, God assures us of his ongoing love. And we received this grace in such a way that it makes a horizontal change. Should make us want to love one another as God loves us, which leads us to fourth to demonstrate to demonstrate in their culture. It was a big meal. We have bigger meals that community groups and on certain Sundays. The question is, where are we going ahead with our selfish, self focused ambitions rather than putting each other as more important than ourselves? Philippians Chapter two we demonstrate our oneness because we are one. We are to be as one. So I'm gonna give us a few moments too. Consider and examine and receive even to demonstrate. If you need to demonstrate with someone here this morning and they will take the bread in the cup together.