Paul warns the Corinthian Believers to Examine themselves always before Receiving the Lord’s Supper
1 Corinthians 11:27-34 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world. So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgment. The remaining matters I will arrange when I come. NKJV
Paul having thoroughly explained the true nature of the Lord’s Supper and the reverence it should be observed with now warns these Corinthian believers and us today that there are serious consequences for any person who would approach the Lord’s Table casually, carelessly, or cavalierly. On a personal note: I can say that for many years as a boy and on into adulthood this is the way I approached the Lord’s Supper as a mere formality or just another item on the church service program that needed to be attended to until it was time for the service to end. I must say that I never understood the seriousness of this Holy Institution until I was truly born again. I marvel now at the long-suffering of Christ Jesus my Lord with such a disrespectful sinner like me that despite all of my irreverence He still chose me as His son. Paul says, “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:27).
This was my guilt for many many years eating the bread and drinking the wine in an “unworthy” manner which means an unfit manner or an irreverent manner. We human beings are always under the mercy of God even when we don’t belong to Him by way of birth, and knowing this we who know Him by regeneration and new birth should make it our top priority to never approach His Table without fear, reverence, and awe over our unworthiness even to be forgiven by Him. This is why Paul immediately tells the Corinthian believers and us to “examine” ourselves as he writes it in this manner, “But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (1 Corinthians 11:28). The English word examine Paul uses is translated by the Greek word dokimazo which means to test, to prove, to scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as one does to material that appear to be metals to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, or to deem worthy.
Paul is not telling these Corinthian believers and us to do this as a mere exercise or formality, but we are to do in depth, detailed, and deep searching of our own hearts before we ever take of our Lord’s Body and Blood symbolically as the bread and wine are it does represent us coming into a close communion or union or sharing in our Lord’s sufferings on Calvary, even though this could never happen in actuality. As we pointed out in the last study that the Passover Lamb the people of Israel killed and placed the blood on the lintels of their homes to protect them from the angel of death (Exodus 12:22-24), so is our Lord Jesus’ Blood (the final and perfect Lamb of God (John 1:29)) our protection from the “wrath of God” (1 Thessalonians 1:10). This Table of the Lord is to only be observed and partaken of by His Redeemed sons and daughters and this is the purpose of the examination that each person would be certain and be sure of their own salvation as Paul wrote to them in his second letter to them in this manner, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
The Lord’s Supper is not to be taken by non-believers although it is done in churches all the time as I have declared of myself earlier on, but it is only for the children of God to partake in as documented for us by Moses as our Lord gave it to him with these words, “The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, ‘This is the ordinance of the Passover: no foreigner is to eat of it’” (Exodus 12:43). Paul with this thought in his heart and mind says, “For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly” (1 Corinthians 11:29). This speaks to the believer who approaches the Lord’s Table irreverently and likewise it also speaks to the non-believer or false believer or hypocrite who continues to partake of the Lord’s table and really is not a child of God, but a reprobate as Paul put it in 2 Corinthians 13:5. This English word reprobate or reprobates is used six times in the New Testament and each time it is translated by the Greek word adokimos which is used as a negative particle and means unapproved, rejected, morally worthless or useless, depraved or counterfeit.
Paul was not the discerner of hearts (that is our Lord’s Job Only (2 Timothy 2:19)), but he was a fruit inspector as he declared to Timothy and whether or not his next statement in his letter to these Corinthian believers was a declaration of the sick and dead members of the Corinthian Church (1 Corinthians 11:30) being not true believers or not is not the intent of his words, but he is merely making a statement of facts because Paul goes on to say this, “But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world” (1 Corinthians 11:31-32). Our Lord Jesus Christ judges us (His Own) as a part of His keeping power from the moment of our new birth until we see Him face to face and then spend eternity with Him, where the irreverent man or women in the world who is merely religious has the wrath of God upon them and they do not receive His correcting discipline only His Eternal Judgment. Therefore, Paul concludes this part of his letter by warning them of God’s judgment against irreverent partaking of this Holy Institution established by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
“Whenever we receive Communion, we must do so in humility and brokenness before God. We must rejoice and be grateful and thankful for our salvation.” Dr. Michael Youssef
“The Corinthians came to the Lord’s table as to a common feast, not discerning the Lord’s body - not making a difference or distinction between that and common food, but setting both on a level: nay, they used much more indecency at this sacred feast than they would have done at a civil one. This was very sinful in them, and very displeasing to God, and brought down his judgments on them: For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. Some were punished with sickness, and some with death. Note, A careless and irreverent receiving of the Lord’s supper may bring temporal punishments. Yet the connection seems to imply that even those who were thus punished were in a state of favour with God, at least many of them.” Matthew Henry
“The partaking of the Lord’s Supper is not a time of frivolity, but on the contrary before anyone approaches this Table of the Lord they should do a complete internal inspection to determine first within themselves if they are truly a child of God and then secondly to completely confess and repent of all known sin making their hearts pure to share in the sufferings our Lord Jesus endured by dying for all who would come to Him in repentance and faith.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…