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Friday, May 13, 2022
Bible Meditation: 
1 Corinthians 11: 17-34

“But let a man EXAMINE himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup” – 1 Corinthians 11:28                           

The Communion Table is a divinely ordained vehicle for SPIRITUAL HEART CHECK-UP: But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (1 Cor.11: 28). Paul wrote this corrective and instructive letter to the problematic church in Corinth. Here, he addressed the manner in which the people were taking communion. In those days, a “love feast” or fellowship meal often accompanied communion, making it more of a celebrative event than a solemn observance. Some folks were gorging like gluttons at the feast while others were left hungry. Some were even getting drunk. The people were not waiting for one another, nor were they appropriately sharing provisions. Separation between rich and poor was evident.

As a result of the unfairness and gluttony surrounding communion, Paul affirmed that they were not really eating the Lord’s Supper (v.20). They were not treating communion as a sacred ordinance instituted by Jesus. Instead of reminding people of Christ’s sacrifice, communion became a means of self-gratification that deepened the divisions among the Corinthian Christians. After describing the situation and explaining what communion should be, Paul warned them against partaking in “an unworthy manner.” Knowing that these vices were reflections of the states of their hearts, he counselled on the need for Self-Examination.

Paul was essentially asking the people to do a “HEART CHECK” before communion. Were their hearts in the right frame? Were they eating the meal to remember Christ’s sacrifice and to engage in community? Were they divided among themselves or unified in Christ? Were they partaking in communion, or just selfishly satisfying their own appetites? Many churches today preface the passing of the elements with two warnings: (a) Do not take communion unless you are a follower of Christ. It is too precious a thing to treat as a meaningless religious ritual; and (b) Be sure you have no unconfessed sins or un-surrendered areas in your life. That is, perform a “heart check” on yourself. This does not imply perfection. We are to judge ourselves appropriately and allow the Lord to discipline and sanctify us (vv.31-32). Like the psalmist, we should pray: “Cleanse me from secret sins” (Psa.19:12).

If communion is not taken as a sobering celebration of Christ and His Church, then we make a mockery of it. If we’re not to abuse the Lord’s Supper or conduct the communion in a disorderly manner, we must recognise its import. The proper observance in a God-honouring manner is essential for our spiritual health and for the life of the church. In partaking of this holy meal, we need to:

Look Upward: The Lord Himself should be our primary focus, not the bread, the cup, other worshippers or priests (vv.24-29). The Lord’s Supper administers the Lord’s body and the cup of the Lord’s blood, to remember the Lord’s death at the Lord’s Table!

Look Backward: In remembrance of Christ and the greatest work He accomplished – Redemption of sinners by His atoning death on the Cross (vv.24-25). The Lord’s Supper is actually a memorial meal that helps “forgetful us” to remember Him!

Look Inward: This is the Heart Check-up (v.28). Two things that I need to examine in the light of God’s Word and by the Holy Spirit:  

My Life: Is my life conformed to the image of Christ in thought, word and deed? Or am I still tolerating some sinful habits? How can I tolerate the very same sins that caused the Lord I love to die on the cross? The Lord knows every sin that resides in my heart; hence I must examine my heart and life well, with a sincere desire to put every sin away.

My Love: Do I really love the Lord Jesus – in word only or in deed and in truth? (Jh.21: 15-17; 1Jh. 3:18).

Look Forward: To Christ’s return and to all the blessings that will come with it (v.26). Each experience of spiritual communion with Christ during the Lord’s Supper ought to make our hearts yearn more and more for our ultimate communion with Him (Rev.19:9).

Adetokunbo O. Ilesanmi (Meditations)

Lord, engage us in SPIRITUAL HEART CHECK-UP at Communion Table, as we examine our lives in You and love for You, in Jesus name.
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