Many of the problems we have in our spiritual walk arise from our lack of maturity. We don't seem to have enough people in our lives who understand the importance of spiritual maturity to spur us on to greater heights. Too many of us stop growing at the entry point. We fall asleep too close to where we get into bed and as a result some fall out. It is a terrible waste of a life not to realize we are suppose to be growing toward greater things.
The church in Corinth had many problems, most of which were caused by their lack of progress, their lack of maturity. One of the most sacred and solemn moments in our worship is the Lord's supper. It doesn't mean that it is a sad moment but instead a moment of reflection and searching our heart. It is a moment to consider what Jesus has done for us, that we are part of him and a checking to see if we are living a life worthy of our calling. Unfortunately, even today, some people give no thought to it at all and consider it just a ceremony. Paul warned the Corinthians and us:
Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. (1 Corinthians 11:27-29)
It's not a matter of needing to be perfect to take part in the Lord's supper but instead understanding what it symbolizes. When we drink of the wine and eat of the bread we are stating that we are part of Jesus, that we are one with him. Not only this but we are recognizing that we are part of one another in this love. It is a significant moment demonstrating that we are one with Christ in his suffering and death as well as in the promise of the resurrection. It also demonstrates that we are one with our brothers and sisters of faith, united in the Spirit of God.
How many of us take part in this in an unworthy manner? Do you have something against someone? Do you harbour unforgiveness? I know of people who refuse to go to church or have anything to do with it because of something that happened to them at the hands of a pastor or other believer. They consider many Christians to be hypocrites and cut themselves off. They practice the Lord's supper at home with some friends and family. Can I tell you, they take part in an unworthy manner. Their lack of forgiveness and their judgement toward their brothers and sisters reveal their immaturity. The Lord's supper is not about a self-centered view but instead it is an "us" experience. It is a symbol of our Lord's prayer when he asked for unity of the believers, that we would be one with him and one with each other.
Paul described the condition of those who failed to understand this and who took part in an unworthy manner:
That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 11:30)
Weak Christians. Soul sick Christians. Out of step with the Spirit Christians. Sleeping Christians. Fence sitting Christians. Sin supporting Christians. Carrying the label but having none of the power Christians. Paul says to examine ourselves. It is easy to do. Hold yourself up to Jesus and see if there are any blemishes in you. Unforgiveness. Hatred. Disrespect. Selfishness. A list of wrongs committed against you. Resentment. Bitterness. Vengeance. These are all things that fail to recognize the body of Jesus Christ. These are all things that arise from a lack of Christ-centered love.
But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world. (1 Corinthians 11:31-32)
It is much better if we examine and judge ourselves. The Lord will do it but he may have to do it in a more painful manner to make it plain to us. He needs to do this in order to prevent us from being judged with the world. It is an act of love even if it seems hard at the time. Jesus has empowered us so that we do not need to sin but if we do sin we need to deal with it right away. If we do not deal with sin when we know about it we will fall under the same judgement as the world. That is what the Scriptures are clearly saying right here.
Understanding that we are one with Jesus and that we are part of this huge family, the Body of Christ, is important for us. To deal with each other with love and respect is also important. We are interacting with Jesus when we interact with one another. I can't emphasize this enough, we must love one another with the same love Jesus loved us with. That's what he told us to do and he also said that if we love him we will obey what he has said. So if there is anything in you that separates you from another believer you need to deal with it today. Every day we live we partake in the body and the blood; our living is the practical application of the Lord's Supper. The supper is only a symbolic act of what we experience every day. Do not take part in a manner that is considered unworthy and that will bring you under judgement. Love one another.