Thursday, September 29, 2016
In a previous article I introduced some facts found in Luke’s book of Acts. First century saints assembled in homes where they were (1) breaking bread, (2) eating meat, and (3) praising God (Acts 2:41-47 KJV; Jude 1:12). How were they doing this? With (1) gladness and (2) sincerity of heart. What influence did this have on those who had been added to the saved? Those assemblies had “favor with all the people.” What were the results of these assemblies? “And the Lord added to their number daily.” That is a pattern that cries for our attention and energy.
When Paul wrote to the Corinthian assembly he stated,
“So, when you gather together, you are not eating the Lord’s supper, because each person takes his own supper. He does not wait for others; he just goes ahead and eats. So, one stays hungry and another gets drunk. You have houses where you can eat and drink. Do you look down on God’s group of called-out people! Do you want to humiliate poor people!? What should I say to you!? Should I praise you in this matter!? I most certainly do not!” (1 Corinthians 11:20-22 IEB).
In Jerusalem their assemblies found them together in breaking bread and eating a meal. Not so in Corinth. Those who brought the unleavened bread and fruit of the vine refused to wait on or share with members who were less fortunate. One version states, “everyone hastily gobbles all the food he can without waiting to share with others.” Most English translations state, “one is hungry and another is drunk.” A pathetic picture motivating Paul to ask them, “Do you not have houses to eat and drink in?” Division may have been why they would not wait on one another. This condition destroyed the Lord’s supper causing Paul to write, “When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat.” The elements may be right, but not the spirit of those who brought them.
The only reason Paul told them they were not eating the Lord’s supper is due to not waiting on one another nor sharing. What is shared during communion? Isn’t it the fruit of the vine and unleavened bread? Due to their refusal to wait and share, some were left “hungry” and others who “gobbled” it up were “drunk.” Welch’s Grape Juice doesn’t have that strength! The KJV uses the word “meat” while the ASV and NKJV have, “they ate their food.” One will notice that there is not a “closing prayer” between the “breaking bread” and “they ate their food.” We insert what Luke did not. Also, the amount of bread served was sufficient to keep those who participated from being hungry. The Jerusalem congregation was Jewish and the Lord’s supper grew out of the Passover meal which they were in the process of eating (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20).
In Acts 2 we see the kind of fellowship favored by God and the saved. In 1 Corinthians 11 we are introduced to an attitude which (1) destroyed that fellowship, (2) made a mockery of the Lord’s supper, (3) made staying home a better choice, and (4) created a condition which needed total correction. Which one are we like? Are we close to either one?