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Communion (1995 Series)

Eating and Drinking Judgment

Scheduled for May 18

(1 Cor 11:29 NIV)  For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.


There is a consistent principle in the Bible:  by the standards you set for others, you yourself will be judged.  (See, for example, Romans 2;  also verse 27 in this chapter.)  Sometimes we participate in Communion in a thoughtless way, not giving any thought to the warning that Paul gives us here. 


There are two ways to proclaim your principles.  The first is to live by them;  the second is to pronounce them (usually upon others).  For reasons of space, I’ll deal only with the first method, and leave the second to you.


Think of it this way:  you come to church.  Often, you dress in a particular way (some of you cannot come to church, for example, without a coat and tie.)  You act, and mean to act, as if this “going to church” were important.  By your actions, then, you set a standard.  If this standard applies to your clothing, how much more to your worship life?  You take Communion -- or at least you did once -- with a solemn look, considering your life and its failings, asking the Lord for forgiveness while you remembered the sacrifice which made forgiveness possible.  By these actions you proclaimed (to yourself and God, at least) that Communion is solemn -- and important.  It is a thing not to be taken lightly, so say you.


I cannot say I’ve seen too much frivolity at Communion.  Drunkenness I have not noticed (for which Paul chastised these Corinthians).  Such disorder would be socially unacceptable -- and this is a polite congregation.  There is another way, however, that Communion may be taken lightly.


You can’t see it on the outside, for indeed this method depends on outer appearances remaining the same.  It is called “going through the motions.”  You bow your head;  your lips move; you wait just the right time and with a humble look you partake.  You’re thinking about the cute girl two rows up;  or about the mound of work waiting back at the office, or maybe just where you plan to go for lunch.  Your mind is anywhere but where it should be:  on Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for you.


C. S. Lewis once wrote that the devil does his worst work in us not by what he puts into our minds but by what he keeps out.  Communion is not meant to be a passive experience but an active reminder.  The Bible describes it in action verbs:  “take,”  “eat,” “do this.”  Discipline your mind to God’s life in you.  Do this in remembrance of Him -- and reap forgiveness instead of judgment.


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