How Can We Eat And Drink In A Worthy Manner?
The Lord’s Supper is important. How can we make sure we are partaking of it in a way that is pleasing to God? The apostle Paul instructed the church in Corinth, saying, “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” (1 Cor. 11:27). Aside from eating unleavened bread (Lk. 22:7, 19) and drinking from a cup containing the fruit of the vine (Matt. 26:27-29) when the disciples come together on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7), what else must take place for a child of God to observe the Lord’s Supper in a worthy manner? Please consider how the apostle Paul answers this question in his first letter to the Corinthian Christians. In order to eat and drink in a worthy manner, we must:
1. Look backward. Paul writes, “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; 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.’ 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’” (1 Cor. 11:23-25). In partaking of the Lord’s Supper, each worshiper must look back to the cross of Christ in order to remember and reflect upon what the Son of God was willing to suffer as the sacrifice for sins.
2. Look forward. Paul writes, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26). Rather than being a one-time observance, an annual ritual, or an occasional ceremony, the Lord’s Supper is to be engaged in “often” as a weekly observance “till He comes.” In partaking of the Lord’s Supper, each worshiper can look forward to the second coming of Christ with confidence since His death has opened the way to eternal life.
3. Look outward. Again, Paul writes, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26). The Lord’s Supper is designed to make a statement. By eating the bread and drinking the cup in remembrance of Christ, the Lord’s people continually issue a proclamation concerning the significance of His death to one another and to the world. In partaking of the Lord’s Supper, each worshiper is responsible for making known the importance of the sacrifice of the Son of God.
4. Look inward. Paul writes, “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body” (1 Cor. 11:28-29). While thinking about what the Lord was willing to suffer in order to bring about the salvation of sinners, it is important to consider the fact that His sacrifice was made necessary because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23) and that sin is incompatible with the life of a child of God (cf. 1 John 2:1-2). In partaking of the Lord’s Supper, each worshiper must engage in self-examination in light of the high cost of sin.
Conclusion: “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?” (1 Cor. 10:16). The Lord’s Supper provides His people with a unique way in which to commune with Him each first day of the week. Are you partaking in a worthy manner?