|Vol. 13 No. 2 February 2011||
When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper during the last Passover supper, which He ate with His disciples, He set in place one avenue of Christian worship (Matthew 26:29). Christians proclaim the Lord’s death in this memorial feast (1 Corinthians 11:26). We do this on the first day of the week because it is authorized by approved example (Acts 20:7).
The divinely appointed elements of the Lord’s Supper are unleavened bread, representative of the body of Christ, and the fruit of the vine, symbolizing the blood of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). We partake of these emblems in remembrance of Christ’s death.
When Paul wrote the church of God at Corinth, he found it necessary to correct some abuses they were making of the Lord’s Supper. He had praised them for their loyalty (1 Corinthians 11:2), but because of the shameful condition that existed in the Lord’s Day worship, he could not praise them for that (1 Corinthians 11:20-22). Whatever the cause, it appears they were turning the Lord’s Supper into a common meal. In addition, there were divisions within the congregation, and they were not respecting each other as brethren. This unbrotherly attitude may be where the problems all started.
Incidentally, this passage does not condemn the eating of food in a church building. If this was wrong, the church of the first century would not have been able to worship in their homes where the families ate their food. Paul didn’t condemn the Corinthians for eating in the place of assembly, but for their unchristian conduct in eating and drinking to excess, and in ignoring other brethren in the process When Paul said, “it is not possible to eat the Lord’s Supper” (11:20), he didn’t mean they couldn’t go through the form of eating the Supper. He meant they could not do it in an acceptable manner.
Paul set forth the divine origin and purpose of the Lord’s Supper with the intent evidently to condemn the misconduct of the brethren in Corinth, and to encourage them to get right with God. If Christians today come to worship with the wrong attitude toward any item of worship or toward any brother, they are not in a position to be pleasing to the Lord whom they claim to serve (cf Matthew 5:23ff). Some have misunderstood the phrase, “an unworthy manner” (1 Corinthians 11:27). This is not talking about an unworthy person. We should never fail to partake of the Lord’s Supper because we think we are unworthy. If we had to wait until we were worthy, we could never partake! In order to make sure we partake in a worthy manner, a man must “prove himself” (1 Corinthians 11:28). We must test our attitude toward the Lord and our brethren. Christians must come to the Supper with a spirit of humility and reverence as well as observe it in the proper way. The Lord’s Supper is certainly an important part of Christian worship.
“And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him” (Malachi 3:17). Verse sixteen of Malachi chapter three says that those that fear the Lord and think on His name have their names written in a book. It also says that these individuals speak often with one another. Those that love God will desire to have contact with one another. There is a special bond between followers of God.
The Hebrew word translated “jewels” is more often translated “peculiar,” “treasures” or “special.” The word includes the sense of a protected treasure. Israel is called God’s peculiar treasure in Psalm 135:4. In Deuteronomy 7:6, Israel is called God’s special people. In Exodus 19, God said that if they would keep His covenant and obey Him, that they would be His peculiar treasure.
So, those that obey God and follow His commands, those that fear the Lord and think on his name and those that keep close contact with other disciples of God are the jewels of God. The Lord sets these people apart as a special and peculiar treasure to Him. Their names are written in a book of remembrance.
Today, we are under the New Testament. If we follow it, we become a holy nation and a peculiar people (1 Peter 2:9). Our names are written in the Book of Life (Revelation 21:27).
Study your Bible. Learn how to be a jewel of God. If any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.