1Corinthians 11:17-34  True Communion


Intro. Since the beginning of the church in the book of Acts it was customary for the believers to eat together Acts 2:42,46-47

42  And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

46   continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,

47  praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.


A) Meals were often called “ love feast “ ( potluck ) and climaxed w/ the

          sharing in communion!


B) But even in something so simple as the sharing of a meal & the partaking of communion these people in Corinth had problems!

1)  In fact Paul says in v. 17 “ that when they came together it wasn’t for the better but for the worse!”


C) What a sad statement to make to a church - better off it hadn’t got together - hope the Lord never say that about us

          1) Better off if those folks at CCV never met together -


D) What might cause the Lord to say that about us ?   



The Problems consisted of 3 things the which Paul outlines in v. 18-21( read)

A) 1st Paul said there were divisions & factions among them !

1)  What was meant to be a neat time of fellowship & sharing turned out to be a time of division & dissension!


B) Paul says in v. 18 - heard about these things & in part I believe it

1)  Paul knew these people well enough that - he knew it was possible / he makes it sound like it didn’t surprise him.


C) I pray that such a thing wouldn’t be true of us - I pray that the Lord would so work in our lives that our flesh would be so crucified

1)  That when people speak of CCV that they would speak of this being a

place where the people are so in love w/ Jesus & each other - EVIDENT


D) That if a rumor was to start about divisions taking place here that - they the reaction wouldn’t be - I can believe it - those people - NO WAY


“ One of the most fearful things in  a church is division because it is one of the 1st & surest signs of spiritual sickness. One of the 1st symptoms of worldliness & backsliding in a church Which often shows up  before it is seen in compromised doctrine or  lifestyle is dissension in a congregation “


E) Reason is division & dissension have the problem of self at their root /

      my agenda my plan my focus / me me me



In Eph. 4 Paul declared do not grieve the Spirit - don’t cause the H.S. grief - then he gives a list of that which does.


Lying / anger / stealing / corrupt communication / bitterness / clamor = outcry of strife /   evil speaking - slander / malice - evil period



All of those things that Paul speaks about there - have pride & self at root, Which was at the root of  all the problems in Corinth . (not doctrine )

A) That  goes against the very example that our Lord displayed for us !


John 13: 12 -15   So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you?   13  "You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am."If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.  "For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.

Phil.1:27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,


Ch. 2:1-8

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,2  fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.3  Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.4  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.




During the American Revolution a man in civilian clothes rode past a group of soldiers repairing a small defensive barrier.  Their leader was shouting instructions, but making no attempt to help them. Asked why by the rider,/   he Responded  with great dignity, "Sir, I am a corporal!"

   The stranger apologized, dismounted, and proceeded to help the exhausted soldiers. When  The job done, he turned to the corporal and said, "Mr. Corporal, next time you have a job like this & not enough men to do it, go to your commander-in-chief, and I will come and help you again."


That is what Jesus modeled for us & that is what  the church is to be about/   lives marked by common goal - sharing the gospel

A) And lives marked by a common heart - servant hood - following  the

      example of our Lord


John Brodie, former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, was once asked why a million-dollar player like him should have to hold the ball for field goals and points after touchdown. Brodie, said "Well, if I didn't, it would fall over."

B) So simple - no superstars in the kingdom / servants serving our King ! Who gave us the example of what it means to serve


A hospital visitor saw a nurse tending to the sores of a leprosy patient, and said, "I'd never do that for a million dollars!"  The nurse answered, "Neither would I.  But I do it for Jesus for nothing."


C) Unfortunately in Corinth that wasn’t the case the believers there were

    divided & selfish/

1) Been said  When Pride sets in humility dies & Division is the result



2nd Problem in Corinth in regard to the love feast was really a symptom of the 1st Problem of insensitivity

A) Sharing in a meal was one of the most intimate things people could do in that culture/  they literally believed oneness that took place


B) As they ate  of the same food / they were  partaking of the same nutrients

    & they looked at as becoming one


a)  Cultural & economic barriers were bridged - Race / Rich - Poor

1)  Now the Bible says that in Christ neither slave nor free / rich or poor / male - female / Greek / Jew / black or white / Indian or Asian


b)  All one in Christ - so for the Christians the oneness celebrated at these

     loves feast - was even more significant .

          1) Problem is they weren’t one


D) See When they came together the rich people were eating all the food & the  poor people were going hungry


E) Gluttony was taking place & people were actually getting drunk - Paul said in v. 22a Don’t you have houses to eat in !

F) Purpose wasn’t to stuff yourself  the Purpose was to come together for

     fellowship & sharing !     ( Not into that then stay home )


V.22b 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.





3rd Problem was a result of the 2nd - The Problems in the “ love feast “ were leading to a bigger problem in the area of communion

A) As I mentioned the love feast would end w/ communion - so these folks were coming to Lord’s table - division & dissension

1)  Some drunk - some having just participated in gluttony -


b)  They were partaking of the Lord’s table in an unworthy manner

27  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.




A) Basically it is not giving worth to the Lord - He is worthy of all our praise - focus - & devotion .


B) How do we do  that ? not give worth to the body of Christ?


C) One way - which was their problem is  by having a careless & irreverent spirit - which many of them were doing - drunk - gluttony

          1) They were not taking it seriously




c)   Another Characteristic of their partaking in an unworthy manner was the

    bitterness & hatred that was among them- Divisions

1)  Supposed to be Celebrating - that which speaks of Christ selflessness & Love


D) But if my Heart is filled w/ selfishness & bitterness / making a mockery of the very thing - they were celebrating -


To trample our country’s flag is not to dishonor a piece of cloth but to dishonor the country it represents. To come unworthily to Communion does not simply dishonor the ceremony; it dishonors the One in whose honor it is celebrated. We become guilty of dishonoring His body and blood, which represent His total gracious life and work for us, His suffering and death on our behalf. We become guilty of mocking and treating with indifference the very person of Jesus Christ



But another way is when it becomes a ritual -

A) When  it has lost it’s meaning -  this is what we do on the first Wed. of the month - need to be careful -





29  For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

30  For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.



A) Word judgment = Chastisement -  God loves He chastens


B) Result some sick / some even had died - heavy


C) That Statement is meant to  sober us up / but not make us somber / or fearful about taking communion

1) but we need to realize the importance & significance of it !



So Paul gives us 3 guidelines to follow as it relates to participating in communion 3 things to look at !


1st We should look back v. 23 - 26a 23  For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;  and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."  For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death



1st we look back -  This do in remembrance of Me !

A) Most of us want to forget how a loved one died especially if they suffered quite a bit .   we want to forget that - remember the good times


B) But Christ specifically mentions - remember my death

1)  Because everything that we have & are as Christians is centered in

      His death .





So 1st we must remember what He did -   Body bruised & beaten / blood shed / intense pain & misery because He loved us !

A) He left Heaven for the very purpose of coming to give His body & shed

  His blood for us !


B) Jesus said "This is my body." Now unfortunately some have taken that

to mean that He was teaching that the bread becomes his body,

1) but I think it is very clear  that he meant it in a symbolic sense.


b) Instead Jesus was saying  "This  represents my body which is for you."


C) Note  not "broken for you,"  ( Not a true translation - ) . That is not a

       very accurate rendering. It is not broken for us.


D) In fact, the Scriptures tell us that not a bone of his body would be broken.

      Rather it is intended for us to live on; that is the symbolism.


C) So when we gather and take the bread of the Lord's Table, break it and pass it among ourselves, we are reminding ourselves that Jesus is our life:

1)  Those days - common loaf - even more clear -


D) Testimony - declaring He is the One by whom we live. As Paul says, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and  gave himself for me," {Gal 2:20 KJV}.



This is what the bread symbolizes -- that He is to be our power by which we obey the demands of God, the Word of God,

A) Instructions to love one another, to forgive one another, to be tender and merciful, kind and courteous to one another, to not return evil for


B) His life in us enables us to be what God asks us to be. We live by means of Christ.



Following that, our Lord took the cup. The wine of the cup symbolizes his blood which he said is the blood of the New Covenant,

A) Blood shed - remission of sins

B) Blood access into - God’s presence - / Blood made clean & New





ALSO  Need to also remember WHO HE WAS -


A story is told of Daniel Webster when he was in the prime of his manhood.  He was dining with a company of literary men in Boston. During the dinner the conversation turned to the subject of Christianity.  Mr. Webster frankly stated his belief in the deity of Christ and his dependence upon the atonement of the Savior.

   One man  said to him, "Mr. Webster, can you comprehend how Christ could be both God and man?"

   Mr. Webster promptly replied, "No, sir, I cannot comprehend it.  If I could comprehend Him, He would be no greater than myself.  I feel that I need a super-human Savior."


D) Need to remember who He was ! - God in the flesh / left glory of




And we need to remember why He died !

A) He was our substitute / He paid the Price that was owed to us / paid

      the penalty !


Dwight L. Moody told of the young man who did not want to serve in Napoleon Bonaparte's army.  When he was drafted, a friend volunteered to go in his place.  The substitution was made, and some time later the surrogate was killed in battle.

   The same young man, through a clerical error, was drafted again. "You can't take me" he told the startled officers.  "I'm dead.  I died on the battlefield."

   They argued that they could see him standing right in front of them, but he insisted they look on the roll to find the record of his death.  Sure enough, there on the roll was the man's name, with another name written beside it.  

The case finally went to the emperor himself.  After examining the evidence, Napoleon said, "Through a surrogate, this man has not only fought, but has died in his country's service.  No man can die more than once, therefore the law has no claim on him."


  Two thousand years ago, Jesus went to a cross to bear the penalty that rightly belonged to us.  He died in our place.  And through Him, our names are written in the book, with His name written beside ours.



3rd REMEMBER  How He died ! Not just the brutality of it - but Willingly/  meekly / showing forth His love !   Love held Jesus to the Cross


A) Our remembering is not simply the recalling of historical facts / but the

  participation in spiritual realities !

1)  At the Lords’ table we are not walking around a monument / but having fellowship w/ our  living Lord & savior !




 the story of a British soldier in the First World War who lost heart for the battle and deserted. Trying to reach the coast for a boat to England that night, he ended up wandering in the pitch black night, hopelessly lost. In the darkness he came across what he thought was a signpost. It was so dark that he began to climb the post so that he could read it. As he reached the top of the pole, he struck a match to see and found himself looking squarely into the face of Jesus Christ. He realized that, rather than running into a signpost, he had climbed a roadside crucifix., "Then he remembered the One who had died for him -- who had endured -- who had never turned back. The next morning the soldier was back in the trenches. "   Looking back helps us to keep going !


Hang in there because Christ hung up there for us

                            SO 1ST LOOK BACK -

2nd  We need to Look forward ! V. 26  For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.

A) In Communion we remember His death / reflect - heavy - but also to be a time of celebration -because His death wasn’t end of the story !


B) He is alive & He has promised to come back again !



3rd We Should look W/in  V. 28 / 31-32

28  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. /     

31  For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.

32  But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.


A) We need to examine ourselves to make sure our hearts are right - that we are partaking in a worthy manner !


B) Unconfessed sin ! / Compromise / bitterness /


C) Every time a person comes to the Lord’s Supper, he  should examine himself,

1)  Before we partake we are to give ourselves a thorough self–examination, looking honestly at our hearts for anything that should not be there and sifting out all evil.


D) Examine Our motives, our attitudes toward the Lord and His Word, toward His people, and toward the Communion service itself


E) Through that process the table becomes a special place for the purifying of

     the church.



That is the remedy for not partaking in an unworthy manner - /

A) To judge ourselves rightly means that we are discerning - where our hearts are at .


Psa 139 :23,24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.



Paul closes this Ch. By exhorting the Church to get their act together ! v.33-34

33  Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.

34  But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.