Monday, August 15, 2011

When Thugs Ruin the The Lord's Supper, and church unity

Question Received:

In my church, some believers are not in good relationship with each other. Or in other words living with hatred to some other believers. They are also partaking in the Holy communion without any hesitation. If we could not convince them about their position in connection with the breaking of bread, what should we do . Should we leave that assembly? Kindly advice.


Does the Bible address how we should relate with fellow believers in Church? YES
Where do we find so much divisiveness in the church? At the communion table, the place where the ordinance of the Lord's Supper is celebrated, the place where Christ
is remembered as He said “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Lack of reverence can be where the greatest division of the church can happen or be seen at the Table of The Lord.
1 Corinthians 11:17-34 (New King James Version)

Conduct at the Lord’s Supper

"17 Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. 18 For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. 20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. 21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you."

The misunderstanding of the intent of the above passage has been leading folks down the wrong road in may a sermon rebuking demon rum. It is demon behavior in church folks, especially at the Lord's table, not alcohol that is the theme of this passage. I say this as a non-drinker who is biblically settled on my position on alcohol. Myself and many scholars do not think their was a problem in the church at Corinth with folks getting boozed up at the Lord's Table. The meaning for this whole chapter is disunity greatly harming the church fellowship. The mention of drunkenness at the table represents overstatement that folks had the wrong motives and were dishonoring "the Body of Christ or Church" and they dishonored Christ as they partook of the bread and wine representing His body. The reason for unity trough Holy Communion, the Lord's Supper, the Eucharist, was actually causing great harm and disunity among confessed believers.

The Institution of the Lord’s Supper was for the worship of Christ as a church body, unity of the body and to encourage us "till he comes."

"23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes."

Examine Yourself. No, you will never be worthy because you and I are sinners. Christ made us worthy through His blood that paid for our sins after we repented and believed the gospel. We now receive the righteousness of Christ. We now represent Him in our church. We examine ourselves so we can go further into sanctification as we desire, by the Holy Spirit to become more like Christ. We would never want to hurt or belittle the great price it took to save us by God from the wrath of God by God through the blood of Jesus Christ.

"27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
33 Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come."

Do you need to warn your brothers because of your love for them-YES! 1 Corinthians 11:30 says the penalty for abusing the Lord's Supper in the early church was stout. "For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep." This is no understatement or figure of speech by the Apostle Paul.

You need to discern if you have a difference of opinion or real foundational problems in your fellowship.
Can you disagree in ministry to another brother and still be faithful to the Lord? YES!

Acts 15:36–41 (NKJV) tells us about great Christians who have disagreed.
Paul and Barnabas had a great division over John Mark.
"36 Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.” 37 Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. 39 Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches."

Do we need to constantly search ourselves before we approach the Holy table to partake in the Lord's Supper? Yes. We are never worthy but always thankful and need to know what Christ has done for us.
Romans 12:1–2
Living Sacrifices to God
"12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

Jesus taught us how to deal with a sinning brother. We often do not use church discipline today. The whole church suffers for it. The offending body suffers as they are not brought to or are convicted of their sin.
Matthew 18:15-17 (New King James Version)

Dealing with a Sinning Brother

"15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector."

Should you leave your church? If you are in church leadership you must stay to confront and help your church and brother. If you are a layman you should want to "save your brother."
We are in church fellowship to worship, edify the church household and to participate in the salvation of the world. Hang on. people leave churches way too much because of perceived interpretations of gross sin when it was hurt feelings that caused their departure from a church. If ungodly practices are supported by church leaders, after reviewing steps of discipline, then and only then should you leave.
But always strive for unity through Christ and His teaching through the Word.

No comments:

Post a Comment