1 Corinthians 11

1c11.jpgGreetings!

1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

Of course we should follow Jesus, but we can also follow the example of godly people on earth.  They are more tangible and visible to us.  Paul wasn’t sinless and didn’t pretend to be, and neither are the rest of us.  We need to use discernment and ask for wisdom regarding those we follow. 

Propriety in Worship

11     I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.

3 Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

“Headship” involves authority and structure, not worth.  Jesus has the same worth as God the Father, of course, but they have different roles.  It is not an insult to say that man is the head of woman.  As the saying goes, an animal with two heads is a freak and an animal with no heads is dead.  Men need to lead their families but in the servant-leader role epitomized by Jesus.

The following guidance contains some things specific to the Corinthian culture, such as head coverings, but the principles are timeless.  There are proper attitudes for worship and we should be careful to follow them.  I get distracted easily and often have the wrong attitude in worship.  I need to remember that it is all for God.

4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. 5 And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is just as though her head were shaved. 6 If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head. 7 A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 8 For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9 neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head.

11 In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. 13 Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15 but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. 16 If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.

The Lord’s Supper

17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes 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 praise you for this? Certainly not!

Apparently the wealthier people ate plenty and the poorer folks didn’t have enough.  It is interesting that the very early church was broad in its membership.  This is an important facet of Christianity: Jesus came for anyone who would believe, regardless of age, sex, culture, wealth, etc.

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 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.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.

I don’t like to think about the many times I have taken communion in an unworthy manner.  My attitude is so often in the wrong place. 

Some churches are too exclusive with communion and won’t share it with authentic believers in Christ because they go to the “wrong” church.  Yet other churches, like the one where we are members, are too loose and invite anyone to come up.  This is a serious judgment Paul is speaking of.  Do you “examine” yourself before communion?

33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. 34 If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.

And when I come I will give further directions.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

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