Eat and drink the Word of the Lord unworthily, and so eat and drink damnation to yourself, not discerning the Lord’s body, since He is the Word of God. 1Cor 11:27-30
Have you ever wondered what it means to take the bread and drink of the Lord unworthily?
We often equate the taking of the Lord’s supper to see if we are worthy. So we would check ourselves to see if we have any sins in our lives. Somehow, Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 11 have been twisted into a worthiness test for communion. “Examine yourself before you eat the bread and drink of the cup.” Okay, but how do we do that? How do I know if I’m worthy or about to eat and drink damnation to myself?
So at times we allow the emblems to pass so that we do not eat damnation to ourselves. Let’s look at what is stated in context.
Correcting an Abuse of the Lord’s Supper
17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good.18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. 20 So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat,21 for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. 32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.
33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. 34 Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.
Let’s take all the words which we highlighted and put them together:
1) It is not the Lord’s Supper you eat,for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in?
2) So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.
3) For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.
4) So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.
Do you see it now?
It is the way that they ate which is unworthy NOT THAT THEY WERE UNWORTHY. This is because the people were treating the Lord’s supper as it is a private supper! Some came and ate everything. Hence there were those who were hungry. Some came and drank everything. Hence people were drunk!
They were not leaving enough bread and wine for other people. So the solution Paul embraced was that you should EAT TOGETHER!!!
Paul also reminded them that they need to discern the body of the Lord.
The bread is broken for you so that you will be whole. The wine is the blood that has cleansed your sins once and for all. So when Paul asks you to “examine yourself” this is what it really means:
“Communion is not a time for self-examination but Jesus-examination! The only thing that will empower you to overcome sin is the grace of God and it’s not stored in your navel. Look to Jesus! His blood bought your forgiveness and His death triumphed over all your sin. See yourself crucified with Him (Ga 2:20). Reckon yourself dead to sin and alive to Christ (Rm 6:11). He is our perfect high priest, a Lamb without blemish or defect. Don’t draw back but come boldly to the throne of grace for Christ Himself qualifies you.- Paul Ellis: http://escapetoreality.org/2011/04/13/who-can-take-communion/”
What about “drinking damnation” to yourself?
This is how Paul Ellis paraphrases the passage:
1 Corinthians 11:26-32
|1Co 11:26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.||For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death and triumphant victory over sin and all its effects until He comes.|
|1Co 11:27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.||Therefore, if you eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord without appreciating what Jesus accomplished, it’s like saying ‘Jesus died for nothing.’ You are not honoring the Lord’s body and blood.|
|1Co 11:28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.||So before you take communion, take a look at yourself. Are you sick? Are you battling guilt and condemnation? Are you giving place to things that Jesus carried in His body and paid for with His blood?|
|1Co 11:29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.||Because if you eat and drink without understanding all that the Lord did in His body, you’re not going to be free. It’s like saying, “I’m still under judgment.” For instance, if you don’t believe that by His wounds you were healed, then you’re not going to be healed.|
|1Co 11:30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.||This is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have died prematurely.|
|1Co 11:31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment.||But if we judged ourselves in light of the finished work of the cross (forgiven, accepted, healed), then we would not suffer the punishing effects of sin (condemnation, rejection, sickness).|
|1Co 11:32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.||When we renew our minds and learn to discern what is from the Lord and what is not, we are trained up and no longer suffer sin’s effects. Unlike those who reject the grace of God revealed in Jesus, we can live free from sickness and condemnation.|
It is very important to note that the original meaning for the word “judgment/damnation”. Check this out:
From G2919; a decision
It actually means a decision, a verdict. It does not imply punishment. Paul does not say you take it as an unworthy person but in an unworthy manner.
Are you worthy? YES! Because of Jesus Christ! So what it is saying that the broken body was broken to make you whole. So if you fail to discern that, you will fall sick, that’s why they are dying way before their time. This is the bread to suppose to bring you to remember the Lord’s death for you, the stripes that was supposed to have healed you. When you failed to discern that, you fall sick as a normal unbeliever would so. Hence while you are supposed to be healthy supernaturally, you are only healthy naturally.
Check this out:
“Have you ever wondered why some Christians are weak and sick, and die young? I thank God that the Holy Spirit gives us the reason as well as the solution. In 1 Corinthians 11:29–30, He tells us clearly that the one reason some Christians are weak and sick, and die prematurely, is that they don’t discern the Lord’s body when they partake of the Holy Communion.
Many believers don’t understand that the pierced, striped and slightly burnt bread, which represents the Lord’s body, is for their health and healing. And when they partake without discerning this truth, they partake in an unworthy manner. The reverse is true: If they discern accurately the Lord’s body, then they will be strong and healthy, and live long.
So it is not a matter of whether you are worthy or unworthy to partake, but how you partake. Come to the Lord’s table with boldness and partake because Jesus has qualified you with His precious blood. Don’t treat it as a ritual, but release your faith for health and healing as you discern that Jesus’ body was broken so that yours can be healthy and whole today. When you partake like this, you are partaking in a worthy manner, and you will not be weak or sickly, or die prematurely!” Joseph Prince.
Here’s how I take communion: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/how-grace-came-to-ruth-through-the-holy-communion-2/
Peace be with you.