By Garry Knighton
Church of Christ/North - Shreveport, La.
  NEW TESTAMENT WORSHIP CONCEPTS
Lesson 3 of 3
THE LORD'S SUPPER: ITS PURPOSE
CONTEXT NOTATION:
Many people misunderstand the issue here in I Cor. 11 because of preconceived
ideas about the text and about what is going on. Remember, each chapter is
loaded with problems in this church. They have a nasty spirit and they are biting
and devouring one another. Self is the most import thing to these brothers and
sisters. You can say that they are abusing the Lord's Supper by turning it into a
common meal, but the context begs to differ with that assumption. Basically, he
tells them that if they cannot eat a common meal together with the right spirit
toward one another, what makes them think they can take the Lord's Supper in the
way it was intended. Think this through.

When Paul writes this part of the text, his mind is on their spirit and actions toward
one another. When he brings up the Lord's Supper, he does so as an illustration.
Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper in the context of a meal together. These
brothers most likely took the Lord's Supper during the Love Feast (dinner on the
ground). Some gobbled their food down and rushed for more while there were
others, most likely the poor, who got nothing. They felt betrayed. Basically, Paul
says, "Brothers, if this is the spirit you have when you eat a common meal... when
you do eat the Lord's Supper, it is not really the Lord's Supper you eat." You see,
the Lord's supper is not only about the elements of the bread and the wine. It is
also about serving one another. With the spirit they had, they had no desire nor
inclination to serve one another.

A couple of things you might want to consider and watch for in this text is the time
element Paul reminds them of. We say, "concentrate on the cross and the day
Jesus died." Paul calls them to the night He was betrayed. What did Jesus do the
night He was betrayed? He served the disciples. He washed their feet. He even
protected Judas at the table. He loved the three who went to sleep on Him three
times. He stepped out in front of the disciples when the mob came to take Him to
protect them and take the eyes of the mob off of them. If the day Christ died was
the focus, why did he call them to remember the "night He was betrayed?"

Is the Lord's Supper to remember the death of Christ? Yes! But, Paul puts the
WHY Jesus died in the matter. He served us where we could do nothing for
ourselves. We do not forget that He died for us. But, we do often forget to serve
one another. The Lord's Supper calls us away from betraying one another, and in
turn, betraying Him.
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