Worshiping at the Lord’s Table not only conquers the symptoms of Selfishness (gluttony and drunkenness), but Selfishness itself.
This banner hangs in the entrance lobby of our church. It reminds us as we enter that Jesus not only gave his life for us, but also that our lives are sustained by his. It is therefore, anti-christian, anti-christ, and anti-church, to live a Selfish life, a life that keeps to Self. In the most expansive instruction and correction worshiping at the Lord’s Table, Paul speaks to the church to expose what underlies the selfish, over-consumption of food and wine:
“But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not. For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
Our lives precede the sacrament on Sunday, and flows from it. A gluttonous, drunken, self-absorbed life does not begin on Sunday morning. It’s a worldview that permeates life. Likewise, the selflessness of Jesus’ life is more than Sunday morning, but it is not less than. When we, the church, live for one another during the week as individual family units, and then “come together as a church” – we are proclaiming that Jesus’ death has triumphed over our selfish hearts and has freed us from an over-consuming lifestyle that vacuums rather than gives. To worship the Lord with a gluttonous and drunken heart that spills over into the very acts, comes with a very stern warning:
“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.”
So what do we do?
“Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another—if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come.”
(1 Corinthians 11:17-34 ESV)
discern the Lord’s body > examine your heart as self-judgment/repentance and confession of a self-absorbed lifestyle > put away gluttony and drunkenness > now eat and drink as gifts from the Lord to you and your brother and sister in Christ > continue to live in self-control and selflessness with your eating and drinking, lest you fall back into gluttony and drunkenness >
As we worship at the Lord’s Table, we feast on the benefits of his sacrifice for us. To further our love for Christ, we’ll acknowledge this Sunday that our weakness as selfish self-absorbed sinners has been healed – he had to carry us to the table! Here is a song by Leeland that we’ll use to worship. Enjoy!