Paul said, “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep” (I Cor. 11:27-30).
Our Lord’s Supper is an ordinance because it was given by Jesus. It looks back on His death and forward to His Second Coming. It has been practiced by every major group or denomination in the church since the church began. It is so widely accepted and practiced that, as a new pastor, I was shocked the first time a church member told me, “I don’t take the Lord’s Supper because I am unworthy and I don’t want to get sick and die.” Since that time, others have said similar things.
I cannot deny that Paul was addressing Christians. He said, “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. ” (I Cor. 11:31-32). “We” directs this warning to Christians.
So what are Christians to do because we know that all of us are unworthy? Paul told the Romans, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). I believe the answer to this dilemma is self-examination, self-judgment, prayer and confession. In verse 28 above, Paul said, “let a man examine himself.” In verse 31, he said, “If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.” Its our choice: judge ourselves and avoid the chastisement of God or don’t judge ourselves and risk the chastisement of God.
John addressed the subject of self-examination. He said, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us oursins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I Jn. 1:8-9). Acknowledging our sin brings forgiveness and cleansing. Then, instead of taking the Lord’s Supper as unworthy, unforgiven, unclean sinners, we take it in the worthiness of Christ as forgiven and cleansed children of God.
One final thing: Don’t overlook the fact that the Lord’s Supper has been a reminder to the church for 2,000 years that Jesus is coming back. Many are ignoring that today and it should not be.
Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck