Corruption had seeped into the dysfunctional church when Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians. They experienced problems with divisions, gluttony, drunkenness, and inappropriate communions. In 1 Corinthians 11
17 But while giving you these instructions, there is one thing I cannot praise–your meeting together, with bad rather than good results.
18 for, in the first place, when you meet as a Church, there are divisions among you. This is what I am told, and I believe that there is some truth in it.
Unaddressed divisions in the church lead to a multitude of problems. Divisions are usually due to carnal thinking. We should never divide over our opinions. Opinions are personal, subjective, and not based on a standard. Our divisions can be over the Bible but, they can be resolved by prayer and honesty. Experience, traditions, and feelings do not help you rightly divide the Truth. Only an honest evaluation of the Word of God will culminate in Truth.
19 For there must of necessity be differences of opinion among you, in order that it may be plainly seen who are the men of sterling worth among you.
20 When, however, you meet in one place, there is no eating the Supper of the Lord;
21 for it is his own supper of which each of you is in a hurry to partake, and one eats like a hungry man, while another has already drunk to excess.
The believers were showing up at communion with ravenous appetites or drunk. It was a social gathering like a super bowl party.
22Why, have you no homes in which to eat and drink? Or do you wish to show your contempt for the Church of God and make those who have no homes feel ashamed? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this matter I certainly do not praise you.
Paul was embarrassed by their self-centered actions. Paul then proceeds to instruct them on the proper attitude for communion.
23 For it was from the Lord that I received the facts which, in turn, I handed on to you; how that the Lord Jesus, on the night He was to be betrayed, took some bread,
24 and after giving thanks He broke it and said, “This is my body which is about to be broken for you. Do this in memory of me.”
What is the purpose of the bread in the communion service? The Catholics that the bread transforms into Jesus body before it is eaten. “This is my body” is the figure of speech, metaphor, that highlights the similarities of the bread and Jesus’ body.
What does it mean that his body is broken for us?
Isaiah 53:5 (New Living Translation)
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
Believers are composed of body, soul, and spirit. We receive holy spirit when we are saved. Our spirit is incorruptible. However, our body and soul are of the flesh and are not immune to sin and sickness. Jesus was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins, beaten for our wholeness, and whipped for our healing. This bread is to heal our bodies.
25 In the same way, when the meal was over, He also took the cup. “This cup,” He said, “is the new Covenant of which my blood is the pledge. Do this, every time that you drink it, in memory of me.”
The purpose of the bread is to provide physical healing for our diseases and sicknesses. The wine in the following verses is for the remission (washing away) of sins (Matthew 26:28). The wine is to heal our souls.
26 For every time that you eat this bread and drink from the cup, you are proclaiming the Lord’s death–until He returns.
We partake of communion to remember Christ’s death until he returns. After he returns we will receive new bodies and will not need communion.
27 Whoever, therefore, in an unworthy manner, eats the bread or drinks from the cup of the Lord sins against the body and blood of the Lord.
Partaking of communion in an unworthy manner is a sin. The purpose is to heal your body and soul.
28 But let a man examine himself, and, having done that, then let him eat the bread and drink from the cup.
29 For any one who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgement to himself, if he fails to estimate the body aright.
30 That is why many among you are sickly and out of health, and why not a few die.
Improper understanding of communion may be why some are sick and die prematurely.
31 If, however, we estimated ourselves aright, we should not be judged.
32 But when we are judged by the Lord, chastisement follows, to save us from being condemned along with the world.
33Therefore, brethren, when you come together for this meal, wait for one another.
34 If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home; so that your coming together may not lead to judgement.
Jesus said “Do this in memory of me”. Enjoying communion is a righteous and good act when approached with the correct attitude and instruction. Otherwise, it will be a religious activity that leads to sin.