In the Corinthian culture, people enjoyed eating and drinking together, and so the Lord’s Supper appealed to the church in Corinth as a time of getting together for a feast with wine – but it lost its true meaning, and Paul wants to remind them about it. In this we learn what the meaning and principles of Communion are:
1. Brings His presence
- It has always been God’s plan to dwell amongst people and have communion together.
- There is a history of meals being involved as part of God visiting His people in a powerful way.
- God wants to eat with us – like the way we do with other people when we want to spend quality time together.
- As we hunger physically, God wants to remind us that He is our true satisfaction. We all crave peace and joy and comfort and look for it everywhere except God, but He is the only one who can fill us and meet those longings.
- God gives us these opportunities to draw near to Him and feast on Him. We feed on Christ when we feed on Communion.
- The bread and wine don’t literally become the body and blood of Jesus – He very often described Himself in metaphorical terms, and this was one of them. But neither is Communion meant to be merely a “memorial” service, with no sense of wonder or expectation to meet with God.
- Our minds are involved in the process – Communion isn’t magic.
- The bread and wine tell our story – like how the Israelites celebrated Passover – of how God has redeemed us and rescued us from our slavery to sin and death. We reflect on the rescue mission He has accomplished for each of us, and we celebrate who we now are – the chosen, redeemed children of God.
2. Demands our purity
- We examine and purify our hearts in preparation, coming to God humbly on His terms.
- We do it with the right motives and a soft heart, not hard-hearted or stubborn towards God but open for Him to search us.
- ‘some have died’ – God often does things drastic to wake us up from our wanderings, to get our attention because He loves us and cares about us too much to let us go on in our own foolish ways.
- We need to be open to what God is doing in our lives.
- If you are in sin, do business with God in your heart – repent and receive His forgiveness and grace.
- Paul is addressing corporate sin – i.e. divisions within the church. There is to be unity – there should be no social divisions; we are all one in Christ.
- Communion brings us together – we should celebrate and enjoy it, and just be together, and pray for one another.
3. Proclaims the future
- We proclaim the the Lord Jesus’ coming as we take Communion – we take it until He comes back.
- The bread and wine are tangible things to help us remember the past and the future of what Christ has done and what He will do.
- Communion is a shadow of the great feast to come in heaven.