Abusing the Lord’s Supper

Bill Jackson

Looking at 1 Corinthians 11 we can see the spiritual condition of the church at Corinth in their abuse of the Lord’s Supper. The apostle indicates a great spiritual sickness in their midst, with some of them actually “in death” (v.30). The wonderful privilege of worship was being abused, perverted, and mishandled. We must continually examine ourselves (2 Cor. 13:5) in this and in every way, that we insure that our worship will be in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Therefore, we want to briefly look at the abuse of the Lord’s Supper in our own time. We will look at some particular ways wherein we should now stop and examine ourselves with a determination to improve.

  1. We abuse the Lord’s Supper when there is no anticipation of worship. The Christian is a worshiper, and worship is to be a great and continual part of his life. Yes, “exhorting one another” (Heb. 10:25). The Supper is mentioned as a rallying cause of the saints on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). If the Supper is meaningless to us as we think of it and as we approach the observance of it, it will be meaningless as we partake as well.

  2. We abuse the Supper if we have the view that “this is all that matters.” There are five avenues of worship, and if five are necessary, then all five are important. There has been too much of an attitude that says, “Just so I get the Lord’s Supper!” For all its importance, it is not all important! It is fruitless to be half-hearted in all other worship, and then try to be of a spiritual mind when it is time to observe the Supper.

  3. We abuse the Supper if we think that observance somehow makes up for the time misspent in sin, indifference, and carelessness. Not one word is said in the New Testament about the Lord’s Supper affecting “cleansing” for the disobedient child of God! If he is unfaithful to God, he is in no better position to partake of the Lord’s Supper than he is to sing or pray. Without making proper correction in life, he only adds sin to sin in going through the motions of Lord’s Supper observance.

  4. We abuse the Supper if we spend the week or weekend in fun and games, perhaps on vacation, and just barely squeeze in time to make a service, arriving late and nearly to the point of exhaustion, and we do manage to “get the Supper.” Body and mind in such shape for worship is needed to worship “in spirit”—with spirit and understanding (1 Cor. 14:15). It is an abuse of all worship, and not just the Supper, when I can barely find an hour to give to God!

  5. Finally, one of the most flagrant abuses is on the part of those who willfully absent themselves on Sunday mornings, and then will rise to partake on Sunday evenings as if some matter beyond their control blocked them that morning. We know that sicknesses and emergencies arise, but we are thinking of the willful absence, and then the Sunday evening partaking, as if God would subsidize the negligence. This is an abuse of the purpose and intent of the Lord’s Supper—a memorial with significance for spiritual people!

May we examine ourselves in this avenue of worship, and in all others, that we truly worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:24), and that our coming together be for the better (1 Cor. 11:17).

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Author: Editor

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