1 Corinthians 11:26 - 28
ESV - 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.
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What does it mean to treat the Lord's table in an 'unworthy manner'? 1 Corinthians 11:27-30 says "Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep." This teaching concerning the Lord's Table is the principal instruction regarding the conduct and deportment for every believer and the church community whenever they commemorate this glorious event. To appreciate the sacrilege that a believer invites upon themselves when he takes the elements unworthily, we need to go back to the Cross of Calvary and examine its implication for us who have placed our hope in Christ. Jesus sacrificed his body and blood to provide the perfect redemption by which God would atone for our sins. There is no other sacrifice available because this single sacrifice accomplished it all. In celebrating the Table, Paul reminds the church to eat this bread, and drink this cup so that in so doing we "shew the Lord's death till he come" (1 Corinthians 11:26). The celebration is therefore a solemn ceremony which brings to our minds the value of the ransom that God paid in Christ and this should draw us into tears of joy and break every heart before Christ. Many times I find myself moved to tears during the celebration as I remember where the Lord brought me from. When a person knowingly demeans the Table he debases the power of the atonement that it represents and offends the Giver of the ransom by which we received forgiveness and eternal life in Christ and for whom we should always live (2 Cor. 5:17-18). Paul therefore warns us to examine our hearts and confess our sins. In so doing we shall receive from the Lord his grace as we reflect on His finished works of Calvary. In what ways may a believer eat the Table unworthily? This is difficult question but I have four suggestions below: 1) Withholding forgiveness from the brethren, a clear contradiction of what Jesus has done for us. It is best that we seek or offer forgiveness before partaking of the Table. Mark 11:26 says "But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses." 2) Refusing to confess to God a known sin. James 5:16 says "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed." 3) Being disloyal and rebellious against the church leadership. I have heard of believers who refuse church discipline and "storm" the Holy Communion celebration arguing that no one has authority to judge them. To reject the authority of the church is bring disgrace on its founder who bought it with His blood. 4) Living in sin. This is a situation where the believer is walking in open disobedience and is trapped in habitual sin which he has knowingly neglected to deal with. This believer reviles the sacredness of the Table. 1 John 3:6 says "Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him." The above scripture does not mean that believers are perfect or sinless but that their moral deportment is not inclined to sinful living. It is best that each of us therefore search our hearts before partaking of the Table so that we do not fall into His judgment. 1 John 1:7-9 says "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Greetings, sir Steve Hill. To treat the Lord's table in an ''unworthy manner'' means to treat it irreverently or disrespectfully; not acknowledging the depth of its symbolism. It also means partaking from it while having sin of which we did not repent of. The apostle Paul said this because apart from other problems that the church of the Corinthians had, there was also an issue of disorder among them, when it came to partake from the Lord's Table or ''Holy Communion'' (see 1 Cor. 11:18-21). Each one partook from it as if it was normal food, and thus, they completely disregarded its meaning. He then explains its significance, recalling our Lord's words at His Last Supper, and gives further instructions on how it was to be done. That is why he exhorts that a person should examine himself/herself before partaking from it (v.28), so that we may take it in a proper manner, and in a right attitude/condition of heart. I hope this helps.
I think that we need to deal with the issue of sin and salvation before we even try to understand the meaning of this scripture. If you have asked Jesus to come into your heart and life; if you believe that He is the Son of God; and that the Spirit was powerful enough to raise Christ from the dead; and that being so, He is more than able to raise you from the dead to life, free from sin; then you are worthy to partake of this wonderful meal. Wine, His blood, cleansed you. Remember that whenever sickness or an infirmity seeks to set up residence in your body. The Bread of life. Please remember His body ripped apart for you, and take it. That is why so many died prematurely. Your sins have been forgiven, that is now part of your birthright to sit down at the Sedar meal and eat. Did not the disciples eat? One was a devil, one a liar, and then later denied Him. Man looks on the outside, but God formed the heart. He knows. He wants you to partake and get your healing and a continuous washing of sins, not by you, but through Him and the cross. He did this just for you and me. To eat unworthily is to act like it is common food where you can eat get drunk and think of nothing else, not remembering it's benefits. Sin is not the issue. You've been forgiven. Already, again, again, again; infinitely. Just keep pressing on and you will see past failure and sins dropping by the wayside. And you will grow stronger in the love everyday. God bless
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