December 1, 2007
I Corinthians 9-11
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Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?
If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.
Mine answer to them that do examine me is this,
Have we not power to eat and to drink?
Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?
Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?
Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?
Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?
For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?
Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.
If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?
If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.
Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?
Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.
For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.
What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.
For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
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Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.
I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?
What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?
But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.
Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.
Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.
Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth.
Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake:
For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.
If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.
But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof:
Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience?
For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:
Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
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Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.
Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.
Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.
Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.
For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.
For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.
What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.
For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
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.
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.
Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.
And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.
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Thought for the day:
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The closing verses on I Corinthians 11 include Paul's teaching concerning the Lord's Supper. This ordinance was established by Christ as He celebrated the Passover the night of His betrayal, but apparently it had been perverted by the church at Corinth to such an extent that Paul felt compelled to rebuke them. There is much instruction in this passage, and since every church that I know of partakes of the Lord's Supper in some way, it would be wise to see what Paul teaches concerning this important ordinance.
First of all, it must be understood that there is nothing in about "communion" that can save anyone's soul. The Roman Catholic church has taught for nearly 2000 years that salvation comes through the celebration of the Mass. Unfortunately, many Protestant churches picked up on that idea, and teach that communion is a ritual that helps a person earn salvation. This is completely unfounded in the Scriptures. Numerous verses teach that salvation is all by grace through faith, and that good deeds and religious rituals avail nothing. In this passage, Paul quotes Jesus as saying,
"This do in remembrance of me."
He did not say, "This do for salvation." The Lord's Supper is a time of remembrance, not of redemption. It is a time to give consideration to the great price that was paid by our Lord to purchase our salvation, to think about His return, and to make certain that our relationship with Him is correct.
Second, we notice that this is a church ordinance. Verses 18, 20, 22, 33, and 34 all indicate that the Lord's Supper took place at the local church and under its authority. Today you can find many churches that will administrate communion to people in their homes. Some television ministries will encourage those watching at home to get some bread and juice and have the Lord's Supper with them over the airwaves. This is not appropriate, it is not what Jesus did, and it is not what Paul taught. It is also not necessary. Some would ask what is to be done for the shut-ins who can not get out to church for a service. However, since there is no saving grace in communion, the shut-in does not need to participate. Secondly, since part of communion involves "tarrying one for another" (33), this can not be achieved at home alone.
The third item that we should understand concerns the elements used at the Lord's Supper. Paul mentions here the bread and the cup. We know that the bread was unleavened because they were originally celebrating the Passover. Since it was important that the bread be unleavened, it stands to reason that the cup was unleavened as well, which would mean that it had no alcoholic content. There are two main reasons for this. First of all, leaven in the Scriptures is normally representative of sin, and Christ was sinless. Second, the Bible forbids giving alcoholic beverages to your neighbor (Hab. 2:15). Christ would not have violated the Word of God. It is worth noting that at no point in the New Testament is the word "wine" used to describe the drink at the Lord's Table. It is always the "cup". If God had meant wine, I'm certain He would have used that term.
The fourth item that must be noted is the spiritual condition of those who are to participate at the Lord's Supper. This is obviously important, for verses 29-30 teach that those who come to the table in an unworthy condition condemn themselves and bring sickness and death upon themselves and perhaps the congregation as a whole. There are several conditions given in this chapter. First of all, a person must be saved. It would be impossible for someone who is unsaved to properly commemorate the Lord's death on the cross. In addition, since it is a church ordinance, and only saved people can be church members, salvation must be a prerequisite. Baptism and church membership are also required, for a person must be in a right relationship with God to partake, and believer's baptism and church membership are both steps of obedience to God. Once again, since this is a church ordinance, baptized members would be the ones involved. The next qualification would be to be in a right relationship with God across the board. This would mean having confessed all sin and having repented of it, not just at the time of salvation, but as a part of the daily Christian walk. Finally, the individual needs to be in a right relationship with his brothers and sisters in Christ, particularly those who are part of his assembly. Verses 17 and 18 teach that the Corinthian believers were in worse shape after the Lord's Supper than they were before they took it because of the divisions and factions that existed within the congregation.
Verse 28 tells a man to "examine himself", and verse 31 adds,
"if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged."
All of the conditions mentioned above should be a part of the believer's life every day. However, God places special emphasis upon them at the Lord's Supper. God wants His children to come to theTable, but He expects them to be obedient to Him, have their sins confessed to Him, and have no divisions in their relationships with their fellow church members. When done properly, participation in the Lord's Supper brings the blessing of God. When done improperly, it brings His judgment.
Pastor Mark J Montgomery