Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com
1 Corinthians 11:17-26 (NIV)
Correcting an Abuse of the Lord’s Supper
17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. 20 So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter! 23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night 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, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
The ancient city of Corinth was a bustling metropolis of people who had “pulled themselves up by their bootstraps”. Freed slaves had come to Corinth to make a name for themselves and build a life of wealth and prosperity. When Paul came and proclaimed the Gospel, some of these Corinthians became Christians. Now Paul is gone and they have set up their congregation as a type of social club. There are “winners” and “losers” in the Corinthian church and Paul is having none of it. Some are filling their bellies and getting drunk while others in their congregation go hungry. Paul is harsh because sometimes we need a wakeup call. Within our congregation, do you see yourself as better or worse than others? Do you think you should get greater input into church business? Or maybe that others are better Christians than you? Any “greater” or “less than” thinking is an abuse of the Lord’s Supper and the only remedy is to go back and remember why our Lord died in the first place: to forgive your sins! (And keep praying for those Christians from yesterday’s devotion that you struggle with!)