Online Bible Commentary
Dishonoring the Lord’s Supper
1 Corinthians 11:27 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. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 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. 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. 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. (NKJV)
In the previous passages the Apostle Paul wrote of the proper setting and the purpose of the Lord’s Supper. The proper setting for the Lord’s Supper should be one that is sacred and solemn.
The purpose of the Lord’s Supper is two-fold. First of all, we should remember the sacrifice that He made for us. Secondly, we should remember that His sacrifice established for us a new covenant with God, a promise to forgive our sins so that we may have eternal life in Heaven.
Now, in this passage, Paul writes of the consequences of not honoring this purpose when we partake of the Lord’s Supper. In this way we actually dishonor the Lord’s Supper.
There are consequences from the Lord when we partake of the Lord’s Supper in “an unworthy manner” (v. 27a). In doing so, we would be guilty of dishonoring the Lord’s sacrifice, the giving of the “body and blood of the Lord” (v. 27b).
So, before partaking of the Lord’s Supper we should “examine” ourselves (v. 28}. We should confess our sin to the Lord and should be turning from sin in our life. Otherwise, we will be dishonoring the Lord’s sacrifice.
If we dishonor the Lord’s sacrifice, we may bring the consequence of the Lord’s “judgment” upon ourselves (v. 29). This judgment may consist of physical weakness, sickness, or even death (v. 30).
The judgment does not affect our eternal life in Heaven but it may have earthly consequences. The Lord may decide that we are unworthy of being used by Him and He may make that impossible, or He may take us from this earth entirely.
Therefore, we should examine, “judge”, ourselves so that the Lord will not have to judge us (v. 31). The Lord does not judge His children to harm them.
Instead, He judges us to correct us so that we are worthy of being used by Him (v. 32a). As Christians we are not under condemnation as is “the world”, those who are not Christians (v. 32b). We cannot lose our salvation.
In closing, Paul returns to the proper setting for the Lord’s Supper. We should wait until all participants are ready before partaking of the Lord’s Supper (v. 33).
If we are so “hungry” that we cannot wait we should eat prior to coming to the Lord’s Supper (v. 34a}. We do not want the taking of this sacrament to result in the Lord’s “judgment” upon us (v. 34b)
Additionally, Paul had some other matters to discuss with the Corinthian believers. In his last sentence of this passage he informs them that he will discuss these matters in person when he visits them.
Paul is writing this letter from Ephesus, Asia (present day Turkey) in A.D. 54-56 during his third missionary journey. Upon leaving Ephesus he traveled to Greece and visited these Christians to whom he is writing in Corinth, Greece.
In conclusion, we Christians should examine ourselves prior to partaking of the Lord’s Supper. We should confess and repent of our sin.
We should not casually partake of the Lord’s sacrifice with the intention of returning to the sinful lifestyle for which the Lord died. If we do not judge ourselves, we risk the Lord judging us Himself, and His judgment could be far worse.
We should be careful not to dishonor the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.