Wednesday, October 17, 2012

EXAM TIME

I respectfully challenge all churches everywhere, including my own, to observe Communion next time with a heightened awareness toward being in right relationship with "the body and the blood of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:27).

To me. being in right relationship with "the body" of the Lord means that the Believer believes correctly about Jesus' physical existence and is right with all the members of The Church, also known as the body of Christ on earth since His ascension.

In being in right relationship with "the blood of the Lord" I refer to another Scripture for support - Matthew 6:14-15 - "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."  The blood of Christ shed for our sins on The Cross dealt with forgiveness - "In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." (Hebrews 9:22).  With Jesus as The Example and Forgiveness as The Lesson, Believers should take the time to get right with God and other believers, especially BEFORE Communion!

Paul instructs the believers in Corinth that "many of you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep [died]" because "anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself." (1 Cor. 11:29)  Earlier, in verse 27, Paul begins this warning by stating -  "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."

So, how is "sinning against the body and blood of the Lord" and "judgment" avoided?  Paul says, "A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup." (1 Cor. 11:28)  The original Greek word for "examine" in this verse is Dokimazo and it means to scrutinize, test, try, determine the genuineness or value of something through testing.

In the case at Corinth, Believers there were arriving at the gathering hungry and using the Communion elements as their food - without thought to their true representation and without regard to the whole number of people being present.  The passage reads - "So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other.  If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment." (1 Cor. 11:33-34)

Fast forwarding to the present, I do not believe we have the problem of someone eating the majority of the elements before Communion.  However, the other issues of non-forgiveness and incorrect belief are more dangerous in my humble opinion.  According to the Holy Spirit speaking through Paul - weakness, sickness, and death were a direct result of whatever falls under eating and drinking Communion "in an unworthy manner" (v.27)  So, once again, in order to obey the Holy Spirit, avoid the pitfalls listed, and just stay away from unforgiveness and incorrect belief - I encourage Christian churches everywhere to at least take a healthy few moments during their observance of Communion from now on for people to examine themselves SO THAT you are right with God and His Body as you remember His sacrifice properly.