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*Worship at The Lord’s Table*
*/1 Corinthians 11:17-32/*
     If you have travelled around this great nation, if you have gone to NY or Washington, DC you have probably seen many of the Memorials that are there in those Cities.
In Washington DC there is the Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial, The Vietnam Memorial and many others are in that city.
If you ever make it to West Point there are memorials all around the grounds, one for each war the United States has been in.
There is a memorial being constructed for the victims of 9~/11.
Many of these memorials are just awesome to behold, and had cost millions of dollars to build.
But the most significant memorial wasn’t created from Marble or Silver or Gold.
You see The Lord’s Supper is first of all a memorial, a memorial to the death of our Wonderful Savior Jesus Christ.
Jesus used something very simple and basic.
Our Lord used eating and drinking, and this simple memorial is to be repeated again and again until He returns.
Jesus took the bread and the cup, two common items at a meal, and initiated something very special for His people.
This Memorial is one of the most significant times of Corporate Worship for us, as the Body of Christ, His Church, gathers to Worship at The Lord’s Table.
As we have been focused on the topic of Worship the last few weeks, this morning we are going to focus specifically on this most significant gathering for Corporate Worship.
The value of coming to Worship, to experience & celebrate the Lord’s Table, depends on the condition of the hearts of those who participate in it.
This was the problem at the Church in Corinth.
Many were partaking of the Lord’s Supper in a very careless way.
Because the Corinthians were sinning in observing the Lord’s Supper, God disciplined them.
The Church at Corinth was a church that had a lot of Issues.
Much of 1 Corinthians is a letter of Correction to the Corinthian Church.
Here in Chapter 11 of 1 Corinthians Paul deals with Correcting some things in their Corporate Worship.
Some areas that needed to be changed as they gathered for Corporate Worship as the Body of Christ.
As we look at our text for this morning we see that Paul addresses a problem with their Worship as the Church would gather to celebrate The Lord’s Table.
The Problem vs. 17-22*
*/17  But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse.
18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it.
19 For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.
*A.   **Their Divisions & Factions*
Earlier on in the letter Paul had confronted the Church with the issue of their Divisions within.
Let me refresh your  memory some in chapter 1: (summarize)     */10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.
11For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you.
12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided?
The people were more focused on these human leaders than they were on Christ.
What a wretched thing to view.
A Church divided in all these little divisive groups.
They were to be One in Christ, Unity is to be prevalent in the Body of Christ.
Not disunity that all too often can be rear its ugly head.
Christ is to be exalted, when we focus fully and completely & properly on Him and are doing what He has told us to do, all the pesky little negative things seem to go away in The Church.
When the Church and each member is focused on Christ and serving others, looking outward, the things that can often trip  us up just become molehills and not mountains.
It is true for all of us as we go about our lives if we focus on Christ and serving others, not be all absorbed with ourselves, our attitudes change, the mountains shrink to molehills.
Paul also mentions about factions.
They serve to clarify whom God approves as faithful and who are not.
God’s approval contrasts with what Paul had written earlier about being disapproved by God.
Thus, “the approved” are those who behave in a mature Christian manner and thus stand out from the ones who do not.
Mature Christians will become evident in times of crisis.
Of course divisions and factions were only a problem back in the 1st century right?
**Their Eating & Drinking*
*/20 Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper, /*
*/21 for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk.
22 What!
Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink?
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 will not praise you.
*       *Back in the early Church* *The Lord’s Supper was usually part of a meal the early Christians shared together called often called the “love feast.”
In Corinth, instead of sharing their food and drinks, each person or family was bringing their own and eating what they had brought.
The result was that the rich had plenty but the poor had little and suffered embarrassment as well.
This was hardly the picture of Christian love and unity that the Church was to display.
They were eating their own private meals rather than sharing a meal consecrated to the Lord.
Sadly, some with plenty of wine to drink were evidently drinking too heavily.
Can you imagine?
Many people would be rushing in from work, many were slaves in the early Church as well, they didn’t have much at all.
Remember too that they didn’t come to a beautiful building, they would gather at someone’s home, usually someone who was somewhat wealthy.
The Church here thought they were coming to celebrate the Lord’s Supper but Paul informs them it was really “The Selfish Supper” they came to celebrate.
Think of the contrast:
       The Lord Jesus set aside His own personal interests and sacrificed Himself so that by His sufferings, we might be saved.
And yet at the Lord’s Supper in Corinth, *there is no self-sacrifice* but only *self-indulgence*.
Many of the believers are only concerned with satisfying their own bodily appetites, they concerned about themselves and not their fellow-believers.
This had become nothing more than a selfish celebration, *The Selfish Supper.*
*   *What the Corinthians were doing at the Lord’s Table denied the things it was intended to symbolize.
The Lord’s Supper was to be a celebration of our Lord’s Tremendous Substitutionary sacrifice on Calvary for our unmerited benefit and blessing.
They had twisted it to become something so different.
We can look at the Corinthians & say what’s the matter with you?
But I wonder if we do a bit of soul searching here and ask ourselves, do we prefer certain people over others?
Do we only want to socialize & worship with those who are like us?
Why do so many struggle so to reach out to those who are different than they are?
May none of us be guilty of allowing any kind of prejudice, to control our attitudes toward any brother or sister in the body of Christ.
We must always remember that /God is serious about His body, about His Church/.
The Pattern vs. 23-25 *
Paul brings the Corinthians back to the basics here.
He wants them to Recapture the true meaning/ of the Lord’s Supper, as it was first instituted by our Lord./
If the Corinthians are to practice the Lord’s Supper as our Lord meant it to be, they must be reminded of that first Lord’s Supper which our Lord celebrated with His disciples shortly before His death.
*/23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” /*
*/25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” /*
As we celebrate The Lord’s Table, we remember that Jesus Christ took our place on the cross that day on Calvary.
We remember that His death was substitutionary, we deserved that terrible torture & suffering for our sins, but He willingly took our sins upon Himself and suffered as no one else ever has, He did that for us.  2 Cor.
5:21 */“21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
  The Lord’s Supper is God’s way of getting us to keep the cross of Christ central in the life of the church.
*     A.
The Bread     B.
The Cup*
The Bread and the Cup are symbols that remind us of what our Lord has done for us.
As we celebrate the Lord’s Supper together, the bread we eat & the cup we drink to do not become the body and blood of Christ.
Some have wrongly taught this, that the bread & cup are changed into Christ’s flesh & blood.
This is not at all what our Lord taught.
The bread and the cup are symbols our Lord has given us to remember all He has accomplished and suffered for us.
*          The Bread *representing Christ’s Body that was broken and beaten for us.*
*The body He willing gave that we could be forgiven of our sins.
*The Cup *representing the blood that was shed for us.
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