RETHINK WORSHIP prt4 1 Corinthians 11:17-30

          “ The Lord’s supper as worship.”


We are continuing our series today – on worship – Fitting Christmas season – where we celebrate the giving of God’s gift to the world

A)Angles proclaimed praises at his birth


B)Wisemen traveled a great distance to come and worship Him –

1)1000’s of Christmas Carols have been written – Calling us to Come and Adore the New born King –


C)Fitting Series for this time of year.


And it is also fitting in a series on worship that we deal with the place and the meaning of the Lord's Supper in worship.

A)This is true even though the eating of the Lord's supper is never called "worship" in the NT


B)In fact the gathering of the Church as we are today is never referred to as worship or a worship service in the NT.


C)This is important to note because we must not think of worship as just an activity or event that we do here at Church on Sunday mornings.


D))Worship is not just something that we do – but it is an aspect of what we are! Worshippers

E)And what we do corporately when we gather like this as a Church is just ONE expression of what should be the heart beat of our lives.

1) I Keep reminding us of that every week so that we just don’t think of worship as an activity.


C)Definition of worship: “The essence of worship is the inner experience of treasuring the true beauty and worth of Christ.”

1)And the outward forms of worship are the acts that show how much we treasure the true beauty and worth of God.


D)God desires that all we do in life to be seen as worship because he has told us, 1 Corinthians 10:31 "whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God"


In other words: Do everything you do in a way that expresses your treasuring of God.

A)And when we gather together as a Church one of the external acts of treasuring Christ that we participate in is the Celebration of the Lord's Supper.


B)Now some people scoff at that word Supper – this isn’t a supper – tiny piece of cracker and a little cup of Juice.

1)But the Leanness of the supper was by design.


             Read V. 17-30

In Corinth the Church had these Love feast – Potluck – Shared meal, which culminated with the Lord’s supper.

A)But the Corinthians had made a mockery of the whole process.


B)Problem was they weren’t sharing { the needy were going hungry – some were gorging themselves – and others were getting drunk.

1) they were missing the point of the whole thing.


C)Paul rebukes them in these opening verses of our text – basically saying You can’t call what you are doing the Lord’s supper.

1)If you are only interested in gorging yourself and satisfying your physical hunger Paul says v.22– you can do that at home. { Homes for that!


D)The implication is this "when you come together as a church" the spirit and demeanor of the gathering should be one of focus on the Lord and sensitivity to the needs of others,

1)not careless eating and drinking.


E)This is one of the reasons that the Lord's Supper is so lean.

1)Paul really did distinguish it from the eating and drinking we do for our ordinary needs.


So the question we want to answer this morning is: If the Lord's Supper is worship, how does it express our inner treasuring of Christ's beauty and worth?

A)Let me mention three things from the text. We express the value of Christ by "remembering," by "proclaiming," and by "nourishing."


Aa)First, the Lord's Supper expresses the value of Christ by reminding us of Him.

1) Notice the word "remembrance" twice.


2)Once in relation to the bread in verse 24 and once in relation to the cup in verse 25. do this in remembrance of Me


B)In other words, Christ gave us this simple "Lord's Supper" to help us keep him in memory, especially his blood and body  given up in death.

1)So The Lord’s supper will become an act of worship to us when we are saying in our hearts that Jesus is worth remembering!


C)The Lord has chosen this method to keep it tangible!  


D)In the OT one of the things God did to keep things tangible for his pp – He had them build  memorials

1)Tangible reminders of God’s power and provision.





We understand that – that is why we have scrap books and memory books – that is a memory that is worth remembering.

A)That is why people post pictures on their face book pages – I don’t want to forget this person that event or that moment


B)It is valuable to me – All of that is a way of treasuring that particular person or happening


C)If the essence of worship is the treasuring of the beauty and the glory of Christ

1)Then the Lord’s supper becomes worship when we pause to treasure and keep in memory His sacrifice for us.


D)We are seeking in a very tangible way to say that "We must remember Him because He is the most valuable Person in the universe.


1)We must remember his death because it is the most important death in history."


E)It is that Death that saves us – it is that death that unites us – brought together by the Blood of Jesus

1) This is to be a tangible reminder of Christ time after time in the life of the church!





Second, the Lord's Supper expresses the value of Christ by proclaiming his death. Verse 26: "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes."

A)If "remembering" means calling to mind what Christ did by his death, then "proclaiming" means calling to each other what Christ did by his death.


B)This is the normal movement of worship: the preciousness of Christ first presses itself on our memory,

1)and then that inner remembering breaks out in proclaiming the worth of what we remember. {FB


C)You ladies understand this: What happens when you come across a great sale-  Call or text all your friends -  Nordstroms 50% off entire store – Be there!


D)If something moves you or delights you, & you think it is relevant for others - you will speak of it!


What happens when a young woman gets proposed to? The first chance she gets she calls or texts all her friends – Guess what – He went to Jared’s

A)So the Lord's Supper is worship if in doing it there is an authentic heart experience which says:


this death and all it achieved is so valuable that it must not only be remembered; it must be proclaimed."


B)Treasure Christ by Remembering / Proclaiming

Finally, the Lord's Supper expresses the value of Christ by nourishing our life in Christ.

A)This is what I want you to see here: The tangible emblems that the Lord chose to be the focal point of this memorial were bread and a cup of juice.


B)Now think about this He could have chosen – nail and a piece of wood.


C)He could have chose a cross with a stain of blood on it.


Even in the practice of the memorial of Passover – the Lord could have chose a door jam and blood as a symbol to remember – but in both he chose a meal.

A)There is a significance in that – there is something that He is communicating to us in the eating of the bread and the drinking of the cup.


B)We don’t crush the bread and pour out the cup. We don’t just look at it –

1)We partake of it We eat it and drink it why?


C)Again there is a significance that relates to our relationship to Christ and our relationship to each other.


In that day to eat and drink together was one of the foremost symbols of becoming one with someone.

Actually believed – a Union was taking place

Eating and drinking are for nourishing and sustaining of life.


A)Now Paul already said in v.22 that we should take care of our bodily nourishment at home before we come.


B)This tells us that Paul is not talking about physical nourishment here.

1) The nourishment that this speaks of is a spiritual nourishment.


C)There is a real spiritual nourishment that happens when we worship the Lord thru partaking of the Lord’s supper together.


So How does this work?

Roman Catholic View - Roman Catholics speak of transubstantiation and teach that, at the consecration by the priest, the bread and wine are actually and miraculously transformed into the literal body and blood of Jesus. Trans for transformed


Eating this transubstantiated bread and drinking this transubstantiated wine brings saving grace to the soul.


Lutheran View

Lutherans speak of consubstantiation and teach that the bread and wine don't cease to be bread and wine, but that the real, literal presence of the physical body and blood of Christ is present along with Con the natural elements when they are consecrated in worship.

This view says that when Jesus' was glorified, His physical body became omnipresent. His physical body is now everywhere, but it is especially present in the communion bread like magnetism is present in a magnet.


Then there is the view that says that the bread and wine are emblems or symbols of the real, literal body of Christ that was crucified rose from the dead and today is in heaven at the Father's right hand.


The elements do not in any way become the literal body and blood themselves. We do not literally chew on Jesus' flesh with our teeth or literally drink Jesus' blood with our mouths.


It is symbolic but there is a real spiritual nourishment that is taking place by faith. The Holy Spirit communicating to our spirits the sufficiency of Christ to meet our every need.



Back in 1529 Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli had a radical debate over the Lutheran view and this last view.

A)Luther believed that the literal presence of the Physical Christ was present along with the natural elements.


B)He clung tightly to the words in v.24 –This is my body – He even wrote that phrase in chalk on the top of the conference table.

1)Luthers claim was that we are tampering with the Word of God to say that "This is my body" means "This symbolizes my body."


C)Their debate took them to John Chapter 6 – please turn there.


John 6 is that great chapter where Jesus is referring to himself as the bread of Life.

A)He is actually what men are hungering for.


B)Luther added fuel to his fire by quoting from V. 53 John 6:53-58


53 Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.  54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.  55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.  56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.  57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.  58 This is the bread which came down from heaven — not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever."

                                         This is my Body

Zwingli argued – “But Martin you need to keep reading brother. Notice everyone was confused by what Jesus was saying:  So He cleared it up for us.”


60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard saying; who can understand it?"


61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, "Does this offend you?  62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?  63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.


This was Zwingli’s point when Jesus said in John 6:53 that we must "eat the flesh of the Son of Man," he was not referring to his literal flesh.


That is why Jesus said in v. 63 The flesh doesn’t profit anything, even if it were possible.


Jesus said that his words were spirit and life.

That is what we are feeding on. Therefore we feed on the flesh and blood of Jesus spiritually, not physically.


I think another thing that makes this clear is scene back in  V. 25 of 1 Corinthians 11

One last pointer to this way of seeing the Lord's Supper. "He took the cup also after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in My blood.'"

I am not aware of anyone who says that the cup is literally the covenant.

A)Nor is the wine in the cup the covenant.


B)The new covenant is God's commitment to save to the uttermost those who trust in Jesus.


C)The cup of wine (or juice) represents this covenant because the blood of Christ bought the covenant for us. But It doesn't become this covenant.


But here is the thing that I don’t want you to miss by this – the practice that the Lord put into place for this memorial is eating and drinking of the elements.

A)It is symbolic and emblematic but it is also very tangible.


B)The partaking aspect of the eating is drinking is meant by faith to communicate to our hearts Thru the spirit of God.

1)All that you are and all that your death accomplished I hearby embrace today by faith as I partake of these elements


C)As I do this my spirit is being assured right now that you are my life!

1)My Sufficiency is in you


D)Your death that I am saved – and it is by your life in me that I live


It is thru you that I receive power to obey the word of God – to live out my Christian walk.

A)It is in you that I am nourished and receive power to love one another, to forgive,


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


C)This is the food of our souls. With this we are nourished and find strength to live as Christians.


D)So The Lord's Supper is worship because it expresses the infinite worth of Christ.


No one is more worthy to be remembered.

No one is more worthy to be proclaimed.


And no one can nourish our souls with eternal life but Christ.


So let us come and remember, and proclaim and eat.