Shelby G. Floyd
The Lord’s Supper is a very important part of Christian worship, but teaching regarding it has been generally neglected. Therefore, in many places the church is falling into many errors regarding the proper observance of this wonderful memorial to our Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul had to deal with the perversions of the Lord’s Supper in the church at Corinth, and therefore, his teaching to them is the same teaching which the church needs today to properly observe the Lord’s Supper. When God’s people come together in a solemn assembly it should be to worship the Lord, and to learn his will, and to be drawn closer to God. But this is not always the case, and many times when people come together, it is not for the better, but for the worse.
When Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, he could not praise them concerning the Lord’s Supper, because when they came together, it was not for the better, but for the worse:
“Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse” (1 Corinthians 11:17).
The phrase, “coming together” refers to their solemn assemblies on the first day of each week to worship the God of heaven in spirit and. in truth (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2). However, what they were doing in these assemblies was for the worse, and not for the better
It is sad that people can come together and not be made any better for their having come together, but are actually made worse. We should do some serious and sober thinking, lest our coming together will make us worse instead of better. The phrase, “come together” is used five times in our context concerning the Lord’s Supper. (1 Corinthians 11: 17, 18, 20, 33, 34.) When we take the time to examine these occurrences of the phrase, “come together” one will notice several reasons why the Corinthian Christians were coming together, not for the better, but for the worse.
1. When they came together there were divisions among them instead of unity: “For, 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” (1 Corinthians 11:18 ESV). We must take the Lord’s Supper in unity of mind and spirit (Ephesians 4:4-6).
2. When they came together to eat the Lord’s Supper they were not eating for that purpose, but were drunk, while eating and drinking their own supper (1 Corinthians 11:20-21). We must concentrate on the communion with Christ. There is plenty of time to enjoy regular meals.
3. When they came together they were to take the Lord’s Supper together in unity and love: “Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another” (1 Corinthians 11:33). The communion is a “one another” activity of worship
4. When they came together they were not to mix their own meal with the Lord’s Supper in order that they might not be condemned: “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” (1 Corinthians 11:34). Let us all eat the supper of the Lord with heavenly approval rather than condemnation.
The complete instruction on observing the Lord’s Supper is revealed in several other places of scripture. On the Lord’s Day, when we come together, let it be not for the worse, but for the better.
Copyright © 2015 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, IN 46142