Title: “Breaking Bread Together”
Text: “When ye come together therefore into one place,…when ye come together to eat…ye come not together unto condemnation: (1 Corinthians 11:20, 33-34).
A man named Vance havner once said, “A church needs to take time out to tune up.” This is what Paul is talking about in 1 Corinthians 11. The Lord’s Supper will enable a church to be in tune with Jesus Christ.
When a church has the mind of Christ, the observance of the Lord’s Supper is meaningful. When a church is demonstrating love for Christ and for one another, the Lord’s Table is a blessing beyond expression. What makes breaking bread together so significant?
Breaking bread together is a distinctive experience. The Lord’s Supper is distinctive in the heart of Christ. It is uniquely given against the background of the Passover. The Lord’s Supper was given during the Passion Week. The Passion Week is Jesus’ last week before the cross. It was his last official act before being arrested in the garden of Gethsemane. It was also the seal of the new covenant that God gave to humanity in that the covenant was sealed by the blood of Jesus. Thus, Jesus commanded that his followers perpetuate the Lord’s Supper throughout the ages.
It is distinctive in the life of the church. The church practiced breaking bread together often. The book of Acts indicates that it was a vital part of the church’s life (Acts 2:42-46; 20:7).
It is distinctive in the lives of believers because the Lord’s supper is for members of the body of Christ. In that personal relationship, it is a part of a believer’s life and worship and faithful continuance in Christ (Acts 2:41-47).
However, the Lord’s Supper needed to be more distinctive in the church at Corinth because they were surrounding “bread breaking together” with selfish attitudes and divided relationships. First Corinthians 11:17-22 describes these circumstances. What the church needs today is a new distinctiveness regarding the Lord’s Supper in our lives.
Breaking bread together is an act of discernment. Verse 28 of our text says, “Let a man examine himself.” This means that each of us is responsible for the manner we approach the Lord’s Supper. There are three areas in which we need to examine ourselves.
We need to examine ourselves in our relationship to Jesus Christ. In the light of Luke 22:21-24, is our attitude toward Christ one that is genuine and transparent, or are we secretly betraying him? In light of 2 Corinthians 13:5, are we truly in Christ, and are we growing in Christ. In light of 1 Corinthians 11:27, is there any area of guilt toward the Lord in breaking his bread and drinking his cup?
We need to examine ourselves in relationship to ourselves. Verse 29 of our text refers to “damnation to himself.” Let us accept our personal responsibilities so that we are not guilty before God and within ourselves. All unworthy attitudes and unconfessed sins, any spiritual insensitivity toward others and carelessness toward needs in our lives, all must be spiritually confronted and corrected.
We need to examine ourselves in relationship to the church. We are members of the body of Christ, but it is possible that we lack discernment in this area (verse 29). What results in Christians when this is overlooked? Verse 30 says that many become weak and sick spiritually. According to Luke 22:25-27, we are to have a servant’s attitude toward other members of the church. Strength and love and unity will characterize the church that does.
Breaking bread together is an act of devotion. Verse 24 of our test clearly states the purpose of the Lord’s Supper: “This do in remembrance of me.” Observing the Lord’s Supper is remembering that Jesus gave his life for us in his sacrificial sufferings. When we have that focus, our lives will be centered on all that he desires for us.
Two things may occur as we sit at his table. We share in the blood of Christ. It means that as we take the cup of the Lord, we are identifying ourselves with the meaning of Christ’s blood. We share in the sacrificial spirit of his death, but we also share in the victory of Christ’s blood. “There is power in the blood” as we have so often sang.
That power gives us victory over sins. Romans 3:23 says that as we stand before God as sinners, we have victory. Romans 3:24-26 clearly tells us that it is God who forgives our sins, not because he overlooks them, but because he sees the blood of Jesus. On the Day of Atonement, the blood was shed for sins, and this pleased God. At the Passover, God said, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you” (Exodus 12:13). This, there is forgiveness, as Colossians 1:14 says, “We have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” We also have victory over guilt. We also have victory over the devil.
Sitting at the Lord’s Table means there is to be a oneness in the body of Christ. Verse 17 of 1 Corinthians 10 speaks of “one bread” and “one body” and says that we are all partakers of that “one bread.” This means that we share in a unity with others who also sit at the Lord’s Table.
It is God’s will that his people be one in the Spirit. This was the burden of Jesus’ high-priestly prayer in John 17, not only for his immediate disciples but also for all who would come to know him.
The church at Corinth illustrates that the body of Christ may be marked with envy, strife, and division (1 Corinthians 3:1-3). It was Paul’s purpose , however, that they recognize their essential oneness, as 1 Corinthians 3:8 teaches: “Now he that planted and he that watereth are one.” Disunity is promoted by Christians who are carnal ( Corinthians 3:1-3); that is, they are not filled with the Spirit and under his control.
The observance of the Lord’s Supper is a pointed reminder that it grieves the heart of Christ for Christians to sit together at his table when there is a lack of oneness in the spirit. Only a renouncing of pride and a confession of the sin of self-centeredness will open the way for unity of the Spirit to be experienced.
Each of us holds the key to true fellowship with Christ and our fellow believers. As we submit ourselves to Christ and his purpose in the Lord’s Supper, and as we come to his table spiritually prepared, his cup does become “the cup of blessing.” If we acknowledge that the Lord’s Supper is a distinctive experience, an act of discernment, and an act of devotion, it will indeed be a dynamic experience for both individual believers and the church as a whole. It will result in a spirit of renewal in our lives. God bless you all!!