Our Church Service on August 28 will take place at 4734 Samish Point Rd, Bow WA 98232 at 11 am

Do This In Remembrance - 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

Oct 9, 2022    Andrey Bulanov


1. The Corinthian church missed the point of the Lord’s Supper
2. Realigning our experience of the Lord’s Supper
1. Receive
2. Participate
3. Proclaim
3. The call to self examination
1. A spirit of self righteousness
2. A spirit of defiance
3. A spirit of division

- Do you recognize Jesus as the only Savior and King to rule your soul? Are you submitted to him and repentant about your sin?
- Do you live a lifestyle of receiving and participating in Jesus life and death for you? Is this of particular focus for you as you receive communion?
- Do you specifically seek to receive, participate, and proclaim the goodness of Jesus in your life with the church?
1 Cor. 11:17-34

Some of the most powerful and sacred places in the world are memorials. These are the places of some of the most powerful artistic genius and creativity. They are also some places that have the most powerful impact on us.


There is something reorienting, sobering, settling about a memorial.

Something that resets perspective.

Something that makes us pause, stop, consider, take in.

This is exactly what is called for when we consider the most important ritual and memorial act of the christian faith, the Lord's Supper.

The Lord's Supper has been central to the life of the church from the very very earliest days.

And it has been a very powerful and significant part of the faith ever since.

It's also one of things that is most often misunderstood, and causes no small deal of controversy and argumentation.

A similar thing was happening in Corinth around the Lord's Supper, and it is something that has Paul VERY emotionally worked up, something that he passionately seeks to correct.

1. The Corinthian church missed the point of the Lord’s Supper

Paul is really upset - "I do not praise you....you gather for the worse!"

the reason he is so upset?
- divisions when they gather

"in some sense divisions are inevitable - to expose the false and the correct people in the church..."

Paul tells us in the last days all kinds of people will work their way into the church who are not really walking with God.

It is therefore inevitable that there will at times be divisions and struggles in the church - because there will be a clash between those who are truly following Christ and those who come to church for false reasons.

In this case the whole problem is regarding how the corinthians approach their gatherings as a church.


A lot of the early church gatherings happened in the homes of people in the church. Obviously these gatherings happened in homes of the rich members of the church since they had bigger homes.

As part of their gatherings they would have a whole meal together. They would eat together for a long time and then they would do church and communion.

This set up favored the rich people in a few ways.
- the inner dining area of the homes was usually not big enough to accommodate everyone in the church
- wealthy people were connected to each other, and according to the customs of the greco roman world - enjoyed a deeper social privilege
- the wealthy people would have more free time and resources - it seems that they would arrive earlier than the poorer people in the church and have a whole feast.
- then later on, the poorer folks would join after work, and they were left with a small amount of food, and space to gather outside - literally creating two different congregations.
- The rich are feasting and sipping on wine while the poor are hungry and have nothing.

This lead  to division in the church and a practice of communion and worship that was separated to two different groups - the rich and the poor.

Paul is pretty upset.

"22 Don’t you have homes in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What should I say to you? Should I praise you? I do not praise you in this matter!"

In order to correct them - he brings them the tradition of the Lord's Supper. He is saying, "You are acting this way because you don't understand what it means to gather as God's people, because you don't understand the Lord's Supper."

If you just take a few minutes to reflect on WHAT the Lord's Supper is, it will change how you view other christians, how you view the gathering of the church, and our life together.

2. Realigning our experience of the Lord’s Supper

What is it that we are doing when we part take in the Lord's Supper?

- We receive

The very heart of the Lord's table is the words of Jesus regarding the bread and the wine.

It's important to not that when Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper on the last night he was with his disciples - if you remember, he was celebrating with them the passover feast.

The passover was a memorial celebration of how God had spared the people of Israel when he judged the Egyptians and how God delivered them from Egypt.

This moment when Jesus takes the bread and the wine and tells them to do this in remembrance of HIM - he transformed the celebration.

It was like - the salvation of God in Egypt was a picture of what God would do when Jesus came - but not the REAL thing is here.

There are two aspects here:

The bread - no longer is the passover lamb the thing that God's people celebrate - now there is a new passover lamb, Jesus himself.

It's not just some animal sacrifice that saves us, it's the body of the Savior who came and gave himself for us.

"This is my body, which is for you..."

He gave himself to rescue you. He gave himself to know you. He gave himself you pay your debt. He gave himself to give you all the riches of heaven. He gave himself to adopt you into his family and his kingdom. He gave himself for you - so that you may have all things in him. So that you may have healing for you soul.

We receive his gift anew. It doesn’t  mean you are re-saved. It means you are renewed in the gift of his love, a gift that keeps on giving.

"This cup is the New Covenant in my blood..."

The whole struggle in the story of salvation in the OT is that the people were never faithful to God. The old covenant kept getting broken. The fellowship, love and blessing that the people were offered from God was always under threat because of their sinful tendencies.

Jesus says "I am here to begin the New Covenant - I give my life so that something radically new can take place - an everlasting change, an unchangeable work of salvation in the hearts of the people who will be mine forever..."

Not only does communion call us to receive the Savior who is for us - it calls us to rest in his grace which never ends.

Jesus is not just a Savior who is available. He is a Savior who binds himself to us forever.

We approach the Lord's Table with a posture to receive his amazing gift of everlasting covenant love.

- We participate

The imagery of eating the bread and drinking the wine has another element. Not only are we receiving - we are part taking.

We participate in Christ in a unique way in communion. It is a physical act that teaches us the fact that every day we feed on Christ in our hearts. We take and we eat. We are deeply connected to him and we are inviting to participate and experience his love and his power.

God is present in a special way to bless and build up our faith in the practice of communion.

Notice the emphasis on spiritual participation that Paul gives in the previous chapter.

1 Corinthians 10:16-17
16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, since all of us share the one bread.

To add to this, we participate in a deeper experience of unity with the christians around us.

God have the Lord's Supper as a practice that would be deeply unifying to the church.

The bread represents one body in Christ - the unity and oneness that we have as God's people.

We are one body in Jesus no matter how different we are externally.

We are unified into one church, one family.

Our sense of belonging to God's church is not based on a feeling, or friends or people approving us. It is the delight of Jesus to being us all into one body.

- We proclaim

"do this in remembrance of me..."

Christians have often gotten a little backwards.

When Jesus institutes this remembrance he is REPLACING the remembrance of the passover celebration.

That Remembrance was not just thinking about how sad it was that the lamb died to save them.

It was a remembrance of the whole story of God's amazing plan to save and his amazing victory.

This is what Jesus means by remembrance. This is also what Paul says in verse 26

26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

in other words - the Lord's Supper is a proclamation of the story.

We proclaim that Jesus saves. That HE has set the table and all are welcome to come and receive him as the King.

Yes there is sin and yes there is a Savior. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord can be saved.

This Savior who tells us "this is my body which is for you" is the Savior that we proclaim to ALL.

And this proclamation is filled with hope - it is both past oriented (the Lord's death) and it is future oriented ("until he returns")

He is King of kings and he is coming back to make all things new. There is a hope, there is a direction that we are all moving in together.

So the experience of the Lord's Table for the church is very active. We receive, we participate and we proclaim.

And its not just for the holy people or the people feeling extra super spiritual - this Savior has come to give himself to us, broken sinners.

But there is an important warning that Paul is trying to give...

3. The call to self examination

Notice the harsh warning here:

27 So, then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord.
28 Let a person examine himself; in this way let him eat the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 This is why many are sick and ill among you, and many have fallen asleep. 31 If we were properly judging ourselves, we would not be judged, 32 but when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined, so that we may not be condemned with the world.

The experience of the Lord's table is a very important thing to the life of the church and to Jesus.

- the reality of the judgement

God cares deeply about his holiness and the holiness of his church. It is dangerous to approach these things lightly.

Ananias and Sapphira in Acts were killed because they lied to God and the church.

In this church, there was judgement taking place on people - some were ill and some were dying.

"The Theologian DA Carson tells the story of a pastor friend, who had a church of about 200 and sin was so rampant that he could not even discipline, for the leadership was involved in a lot of the sin and didn’t want to do anything about it. This pastor prayed for 3 months for God to change the church or move him out. The next year, he said, he had 34 funerals. 20% of the church died in the space of a year! The year after that he baptized 200." J. D. Greear

- the reason for the judgement

God cares deeply about the holiness of his church. And he will purge our church and our individual lives if we approach him lightly.

"32. when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined, so that we may not be condemned with the world."

- The call to healthy self judgement

"28 Let a person examine himself; in this way let him eat the bread and drink from the cup31 If we were properly judging ourselves, we would not be judged..."

What does it mean to eat in an "unworthy" manner?

Many of misunderstood this as the fact that you need to "feel" close to God or you need to not be struggling with sin.

JD Greear helpfully gives three characteristics that should lead us to avoid the Lord's Table:

- A spirit of Self righteousness

This table is the table of sinners who are dependent on a Savior. It is not the seat of the perfect and holy ones. It is the ones who admit their need in Jesus - he came for the sick, not the healthy.

If you consider yourself a pretty good person compared to others, if you think about the sins of others but have no thoughts about your own deep need in God's grace - you are missing the point entirely.

- A spirit of defiance

If you are living a life of openly and intentionally doing things that you know are wrong - you are attacking the very purpose of Jesus death on the cross.

Its the same thing as saying, "Thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for my sins and I will continue to do these things which brought your suffering"

this is dangerous and evil and you need to not participate.

If you are not surrendered to Jesus, if you are not submitted to him as your Savior, as your King - in your heart - you need to not touch the bread and the wine. You need to repent. you need to call out to him. You need to be honest about the condition of your heart and your need for him.

- A spirit of division

This is really at the heart of what Paul was getting at in this text. The church was divided. There was pride and superiority in the way people thought about each other.

29 For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.

The body here is talking about yes the body of Christ, but also more specifically it's talking about the church.

People who are receiving and participating in Jesus' death are people who's heart are humble and full of love to the church. These are hearts that are free from division. these are hearts that are full of joy and freedom to see all the diverse members of the family gathered together.

Resentment, anger, division, judgement on others - these are things that cannot be present in our hearts as we receive Jesus in the Supper.

- Gospel clarity, joy, peace and reassurance in our struggles
- Togetherness, belonging and love

Receive, Participate, Proclaim
These are elements of our participation in the Lord's Supper. The are also essential rhythms in our daily lives with him.

Do you recognize Jesus as the only Savior and King to rule your soul? Are you submitted to him and repentant about your sin?
Do you life a lifestyle of receiving and participating in Jesus life and death for you? Is this of particular focus for you as you receive communion?
Do you specifically seek to receive, participate and proclaim the goodness of Jesus in your life with the church?