“HAVE YOU HELD THE DOOR OPEN LATELY?” (1 Cor. 11:17-34 )
FBC Earlville 10-7-12 10:30 AM Rev. J.B. Stopford, Pastor
INTRODUCTION Today’s “Special”: “A Necktie Funny”:
A guy goes into a fancy lounge wearing a shirt open at the collar, but the bouncer tells him he needs a necktie to get in.
The guy doesn’t have a necktie handy, so goes out to his car and gets his jumper cables. He ties these around his neck, manages to fashion a fairly acceptable looking knot, and lets the ends dangle free.
He goes back to the lounge. The bouncer looks him up & down and then says, “Well, OK, I guess you can come in – just don’t start anything.”
The communion service is a familiar service. 1 Corinthians 11 was written because Paul saw that its use in Corinth – in the church – was being abused. Is it possible that it is too familiar? What warnings and encouragements will we find for us and our church in this passage? PRAYER
#1 THEY WERE TOGETHER, BUT NOT ALL TOGETHER (vs. 17-22)
* V. 17 sets the tone: “I do not praise you” – and Paul is talking about the Lord’s Supper! And he closes in v. 22 with “I do not praise you.”!
* Note the use of these negative words: “divisions” (v. 18); “factions” (v. 19)
* What was the problem? The people of the church at Corinth were more concerned about their position in the church than they were about their position in Christ
- Note v. 21 “ahead of others”. Apparently there was a fellowship meal surrounding their enjoying the Lord’s table. And who got what, and how much, and who sat where, was more important than who was there.
- And who are those at the meal?
Illus.: Pastor Ray Stedman, in commenting on Psalm 107, said that God has placed in every heart two needs. He calls this the fruit of “city seeking”:
“Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle” (Psalm 107:6-7)…
“A city is always characterized by two qualities: excitement and security…
We are told how they find satisfaction: “Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle” (Psalm 107:6-7). Some of you have had this experience. You too were restless; you were uncertain, wandering, hungry, and thirsty for life, but you could never find it. You tried everything. Finally, when you reached the bottom, you cried to the Lord in your trouble. When you did, He heard you. Not suddenly or instantaneously, but gradually, He began to set you free. He began to lead you “by a straight way.” God delivers those in this condition by leading them in a straight way. They have been wandering circuitously, deviously; now they start going straight. That is the way described in the Scripture. It is a straight way, right through the middle of life. God leads them until they find a city to dwell in, until they reach the place of excitement and security.”
* So… when we come to the communion table, are we conscious that we are together and all together – one body?
- Maybe the oneness of the body should be our prayer!
#2 THEY WERE THINKING, BUT NOT ABOUT JESUS (vs. 23-26)
- How do we know that? Paul reminded them of the words of the Lord Jesus
at the Last Supper: “in remembrance of Me” was a call to partake of the elements of the Lord’s Table with a focus on the One Who only deserves our focus.
- It was possible then NOT to be focused on Him!
* What were they focused on? The intent of v. 26 is that they have an eternal focus, and more than likely their focus was on today only
- Who is our focus on today – Jesus only, or on things and stuff?
#3 THEY WERE WAITING, BUT NOT FOR ONE ANOTHER (vs. 27-34)
* There are 3 important words here. Word #1 is “together” (vs. 17,18,20,33,34); Word #2 is “another” (vs. 21, 33); Word #3 is “wait” (v. 33)
* These words imply oneness and caring. Even at the Lord’s Table, there is to be a oneness and not simply a routine.
CONCLUSION Illus.: Back in the fall of 1998, my wife and I took several old storm windows down to a shop in Norwich where the owner offered for me to drop them off. After we unloaded the car, I walked around and held open the passenger door for my wife while she situated herself in the car. Unknown to me, the store owner had observed all this. She said, “you’ve been married for a long time, haven’t you?”. “25 years July 6”. The truth was, I used to open all doors for her when we first started courting some 26 years earlier. But after the honeymoon, the routine fizzled out. Sometime before our 25th, I said to myself, “I’m going to surprise her and on our 25th anniversary vacation I’m going to start holding doors open for her.” What did that do? Well, it DID make me look good. But it also encouraged our oneness as husband and wife.
What is Paul encouraging us to do during the communion? Hold the door! Hold the plate for one another! That will cause us to see oneness and not just ourselves!
CLOSE IN PRAYER