A Study of 1st Corinthians 11:29

“For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”
(I Corinthians 11:29)

No one is personally worthy to receive the Lord’s Supper, or any other ordinance of the gospel.

Our only worthiness to approach the Holy God is the imputed righteousness of Christ.

In Him we are worthy to worship God.

Apart from Him we are unworthy. That much we understand.

But what is it to eat and drink the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper unworthily?

UNWORTHY PEOPLE eat and drink unworthily.

The Lord’s Supper is for believers only!

It is not to be received by unbelievers. Unbelievers are not capable of discerning the Lord’s body. They do not understand the necessity of Christ’s incarnation, obedience, and death as the sinners’ Substitute, or the nature of His work as the God-man.

To eat and drink unworthily is to observe this blessed ordinance of the gospel for an UNWORTHY PURPOSE.

Many look upon the Lord’s Supper as a sacrament, by which grace is obtained, by which men and women win God’s favour and do penance for their sins.

Surely no sane person could believe such nonsense, were he not mentally stupified by false religion!

Eating a piece of bread and drinking a cup of wine will not cause God to look favourably upon anyone!

Even God’s own people must also be careful not to observe this gospel ordinance unworthily.

Paul does not warn us not to observe the ordinance. We are commanded to observe it!

But he does warn us not to observe it unworthily.

The Lord’s Supper is received unworthily when it is observed in an UNWORTHY MANNER.

And it is observed in an unworthy manner when it is observed IRREVERENTLY.

Every time we come to the Table we should take care to keep the ordinance with the elements prescribed by its symbolism (unleavened bread and wine!), and we must do so in remembrance of our Saviour.

Let us never observe the Lord’s Supper without carefully, lovingly, and reverently remembering who Christ is, what He did for us, and why He did it.

And we observe the ordinance unworthily when we do so WITH MALICE IN OUR HEARTS TOWARD ONE ANOTHER.

Any malice, ill-will, or hardness toward any brother or sister in Christ is to be put away before we eat the bread and drink the wine.

We cannot properly observe this ordinance if we do not discern the unity of the Lord’s spiritual body, the church (Read I Corinthians 10:16-17).

We are not to let strife keep us from the Supper. We are to put away the strife in our own hearts and keep the feast in spiritual unity and love as the body of Christ.

By D. Fortner

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