Don’t Ruin a Good Meal                  


1 Corinthians 11:17-34


How did the Corinthians ruin a good meal?

Let’s try to picture the scene Paul describes

They ‘came together’ in homes of the wealthy which had limited dining space, so some people sat in outer courtyards

People were bringing or being served different meals based on status, which was a social norm

The wealthy arrived early and servants would arrive later

Some were gorging themselves and v21 getting ‘drunk’

The ‘division’ described is over economic and social status

The results: God was dishonored, v22 the church was ‘despised’, v22 some were ‘humiliated’ and their witness to the world was corrupted


Application #1: Take seriously our fellowship with God

Paul takes the church back to the meaning of the Lord’s Supper

vs23-24 the Bread – represents Jesus’ body and the physical reality that God in flesh took our place

v25 the Cup – the context for the cup in the Old Testament was often wrath. Jesus died taking wrath for us 

Exodus 24:8 describes the Old Covenant: obey God’s law and he will bless you

Jesus’ blood established a New Covenant: trust in Christ’s death and you will receive his life

This New Covenant is between God the Father and God the Son; and we are brought into it (John 17:6-8)

This meal is called a ‘remembrance’ – to live with a cross-centered perspective

Eating this meal v26 is a ‘proclamation’ –  a testimony to one another

 A holy meal (fellowship) requires a holy heart

vs 27-32 tell us to ‘examine’ our hearts and eat this meal in a ‘worthy manner’

The Lord’s Supper is a covenant meal which proclaims our relationship with God

If we are careless with this relationship, we are guilty concerning Jesus v27

Carelessness with the Lord’s Supper shows inattention to the death and reign of Jesus

The honor of Christ is so momentous, God judges those misuse him

Those who reject him, are eternally condemned!

Believers who claim to know better, were disciplined for it (v30-32). “Does that mean I will be disciplined like this?”  The better question is should you be?

How do we ‘examine’ ourselves?

It involves careful reflection based upon what our actions reveal

But beware of self-examination that focuses only on our unworthiness 

Stephen Um: “Look for repentance and look for evidences of grace at work”


Application #2:  Take seriously our fellowship one another

The Corinthian’s misuse of the Lord’s Supper, was a misuse of one another

They didn’t distinguish fellowship in church from how the world treats one another

Their fellowship was marked by the world’s categories

We use people according to their gifts and maturity, but our fellowship with them is according to the cross

Take this a step further; we should be alert for those who are marginalized 

Their fellowship was ruled by personal selfishness:  Here I am, please me!

Remember how Jesus introduced this meal?  He first washed their feet (John 13)

The Church is not here to serve you; we are the Church to serve Christ and each other

Our fellowship is not in common earthly bonds, it’s in common heavenly bonds

We simply are a supernatural community; so we need to live that way

v33 the command to ‘wait’ – is a command to share the meal as a church. It is a command to look out for and take care of one another


What is your response – seek forgiveness, reach out, serve, or find biblical community?



Our God of Restoration

Exodus 34

After the golden calf debacle, God restrained his wrath and said he would the keep the land (temporal) promises. However God would not go with them; the covenant was broken. The people recognized this was disastrous. They didn’t want to go without God

God restores the covenant relationship (vs 1-14)

1st God re-establishes his law (vs 1-4)

Moses had broken the original tablets as a sign the covenant was broken

The new tablets were unchanged in content  

God did not adjust his Law to fit the people’s sensibilities

Neither did He stiffen the Law to ‘get back at them’

Part of our confidence in God, is that he is unchangeable – because he is perfect!

Unless God’s law is over us, we have no relationship with him (vs 27-28)

This was true in Eden, it was true for Israel, and it is true in the New Covenant

Christ is to be Lord as much as he is to be savior

God’s covenant is great in love and grace, but it is not between equals

Without God’s law over us:  

on what basis are we his people?

where is love for him?         

where is gratitude to him?

God’s Word is to rule over all our situations

2nd God proclaims his name (vs 5-7)

God’s name represents who he is: “The Lord”

This must be known to have an accurate understanding of him, and a true relationship with him

For the same reasons, God wants us to grasp his character (vs 6-7)

God describes why he is to be trusted

God describes why he is to be feared

3rd God affirms his presence will be with them (v10)

God’s commitment to go with them is clear when he declares he is restoring the covenant

Why should God’s presence be such wonderful news?

God is doing what cannot take place thru any other presence: he will do an “awesome thing”

We need to get into our heads and hearts that God’s purposes far exceed those of anyone else

Full restoration is made with God’s people.

This is God’s plan for us: full salvation, complete sanctification, and forever in his presence

A mature Christian takes this full purpose of the gospel seriously – and lives by it

When the covenant was introduced in ch 19, it revealed God’s power and goodness

Now as the covenant is restored, it proclaims God’s mercy and grace

God shows how much the covenant means to him (v12)

God is “jealous” over our relationship with him.

This is so important to God he says, his “name is Jealous”

He is not jealous in a resentful manner; the original meaning of jealous is fiercely protective

J.I. Packer describes God’s jealousy this way:

“A praiseworthy zeal to preserve something supremely precious”

When we share our heart for God with idols:

It dishonors God, who is faithful

It strikes his heart, which is devoted

God warns them for when they settle in the land

He brings us the danger of being prosperous

We are easily fooled into thinking we can hold our own and God is not essential

We don’t like struggle, yet for God’s covenant people, it is filled with graces

Anything that causes us to depend more fully on God’s presence is a benefit to us

God shows the glory of his covenant (vs 29-30)

When Moses came down from the mountain, his face shone

God wanted to forcefully convey the glory of his covenant and his presence

This radiance was a foretaste of two greater realities:

1.  The radiance of Christ and his new covenant, which are far greater

The glow of Moses face eventually diminished, because it was a “passing” covenant (2 Corinthians 3:13)

2.  Those who dwell with Christ will also shine (Revelation 21:2 & 11)

God’s beloved, rejoice that He has made a glorious covenant with us!


“God Speaks to Us”

Exodus 19-20

The Israelites arrive at Mt Sinai, and will remain there for almost a year (the rest of Exodus). During this time, the Mosaic covenant (the law, the priesthood, and the tabernacle) is given and put into practice

Covenant preparation is set around 3 trips by Moses up Mt Sinai

Moses 1st Trip:  He is given the purpose of the covenant (19:3-8)

God, who delivered them, wants a relationship of blessing with them (vs5-6)

We hear the phrase ‘covenant people’ without wonder

This is because we lack understanding about ourselves, about God and about what covenant relationship is meant to be

I think the strongest word picture in the Bible about our communion with God is the ‘bride/bridegroom’ motif

Hosea 2:20 “I will betroth you to me in faithfulness”

Revelation 21:2 describes the Church “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband”

God really does want us to compare his feelings for us with that of a bride & bridegroom!

Without a covenant, the bonds of relationship are loose and vague

But only God can rightly define the bonds of covenant

Moses 2nd Trip: He is given directions to prepare the people (19:9-12)

This is serious! The people are not entering a covenant between equals

The preparations described were not to earn the covenant, they were meant to shape how the people would view it

To properly honor being in covenant with God, we need to see the enormity of it

The external actions of “consecration” God gave the people were meant as tutors to the heart

Moses 3rd Trip: Dramatic signs and warnings are given (19:16-25)

The scene starts with dramatic manifestations like a Hollywood movie

These physical manifestations helped create perspective for what the people could not see. God is glorious, and what they are about to hear is glorious

God then repeats his earlier warnings to the people (v21)

The holiness of God cannot be over emphasized; it is God’s leading attribute

These warnings also remind us that we have no hope to approach God outside of his mercy

God speaks to his people (20:1-4)

The detailed law of ch 20-23 is given to teach, structure and guard the covenant

The Law gives the people a clear and safe path to please God

Truths of God must be revealed, we cannot reach them ourselves. We are limited by our ignorance and our corrupt sin nature

Without God defining covenant, we try to place ours on him

Every human religion is an example of this

Even with the truth, we struggle with the right order of expectations between us and God

Because God deeply loves us, he cares about how we live

That is why much of the law describes how we are to love our neighbor

God wants our lives to represent him in the form of a ‘godly’ community

When God spoke from Mt Sinai, the people were overwhelmed (20:18-20)

This is how we should always receive God’s Word

The dramatic signs witnessed by the people were not exaggerations; they were symbols of the far greater reality of God’s glory

When we read God’s word we should consider the implications of it

1.  We are reading/hearing what the glorious and almighty Lord God wants us to know

2.  His word is not about rule following, as much as it is about living in relationship with Him

What words from God are we responsible to obey?

We are responsible to listen to all God has spoken and revealed

However, the Old Testament law was given to national Israel until New Covenant was established

Galatians 3:24 “the law was our guardian until Christ came”

Hebrews 8:13 the New Covenant made old covenant “obsolete”

The Old Testament law and its symbols were not cast aside and rejected; Christ fulfilled it

The Old Testament law remains God’s word to us, but it is no longer God’s law over us

We are now under the New Testament which Galatians 6:2 and 1 Corinthians 9:21 call the “law of Christ”

Some Old Testament laws are repeated in the New Testament, because God is unchanging

God’s law is never to show what we can do; it guides us to become what we are not

God made a covenant because of his love and our need

His covenant is taking us to be with him forever and His word is preparing us for it