Formations lesson for Jan. 6: Supper Redefined
December 14 2001 by Steve Zimmerman , 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

Formations lesson for Jan. 6: Supper Redefined | Friday, Dec. 14, 2001

Friday, Dec. 14, 2001

Formations lesson for Jan. 6: Supper Redefined

By Steve Zimmerman 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 A black family had assembled for their annual reunion. People came from all across the country. Everything was going along fine until a family squabble arose. Before too long, people had their feelings hurt. Many relatives took sides - tension and frustration were running high on this special day.

Things were looking bleak until the matriarch of the family began in a quiet voice to tell the story about her grand- parents escape to freedom on the Underground Railroad. In just a few minutes she had beautifully tied them all into her story and reminded them of the important reasons of why they are family. The reunion was saved!

Paul was just like this grandmother in his letters to the Corinthian church. He had to remind them of their spiritual heritage and freedom through Jesus Christ. With all the pressures from their world, these early Christians had forgotten that they were supposed to be a family where Jesus is the head.

The apostle noticed evidence of this problem in their observance of the Lord's Supper. He described the signs he saw of unhealthy worship. He also gave them some good pointers about what worship should become.

As believers, we can take these ideas to heart and apply them to our worship.

Signs of Sickness in the Family (1 Corinthians 11:17-22) Even the early church had division in its ranks. The new church was struggling with social pressures and how these challenges applied to them. It seemed, though, that their behavior reflected the world around them rather than their new faith in Christ.

People were under the same roof at church, but worlds apart in their actions toward each other. The members who were well-off in society expected the same treatment when they came to church. Those members, however, on the other side of the "tracks" got about the same treatment in church as they did on the outside.

Chaos and too much food and drink were also common in their worship setting. As Baptists we don't struggle as much with the problem of drink in church as we do the other two sicknesses. Yet if we were honest with ourselves, the drinks of jealousy, arrogance and the other vices cloud our vision of who we are to worship at the Lord's table.

Healthy Worship (1 Corinthians 11: 27-34) After painting a beautiful image of what the Lord did in the Last Supper, Paul turns his attention to what these new struggling Christians must do in order to worship. He knew the survival of the early church rested on how they worshipped. Without a clear direction and purpose, these young believers were destined to be spiritually hungry.

The first aspect of healthy worship, Paul described, is a good dose of self-examination. He challenged each member to reflect upon the price Jesus paid at Calvary for spiritual freedom. Today when we take our eyes off of ourselves and put them on our Savior, we, too, can be ready to worship.

Turning our attention away from self-judgment is the second part of Paul's remedy. Our natural tendency, when we have no one but ourselves to be the judge, is to come out better. However, the apostle showed the early Christians that they are now under new management. All of us who call ourselves Christian have been bought with a price and need to come under the Lord's authority and not our own.

Paul points to other signs of healthy worship. Waiting is so hard to do in the fast paced world in which we live. The urgency of living in the now has made us accustomed to expecting the same results at church. In the discipline of slowing down in worship we see that our attention changes from selfish desires to those of our fellow believer's needs and struggles.

The priority of hunger is Paul's final answer. When we worship, we do not need to have substitutes for heavenly manna. True worship can only take place when we are spiritually hungry for God.

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12/14/2001 12:00:00 AM by Steve Zimmerman , 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 | with 0 comments
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