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#1 Mark

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 03:14 PM

Exhortation: Fellowship

In our daily readings today we’ve started to read Paul’s letter to the Ephesians – the second time this year that we will have read it. Paul was very close to the Ephesian ecclesia, he went there on both his second and third missionary journeys, the second time spending three years there. He was loved very much by the ecclesia there – as he left at the end of the three years he spent there its recorded that “they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.” You can imagine them stood on the shore, watching the ship making its final preparations to leave, and then as it did leave them standing watching it sail off into the distance until eventually it disappeared over the horizon.

For our exhortation today we’re going to consider the theme of fellowship. Paul mentions it by name twice in his letter to the Ephesians, but writes about it much more, writing about the “one body” and the unity, and being members of Christ’s body. We’re going to think about what fellowship is, we’re going to think about the fellowship we have with one another, and ultimately think about the fellowship we have with the Lord Jesus, and with our Father in heaven.

We often use the word fellowship in our conversations with one another. For example, “the fellowship was really good”, or “I wish you’d been there, you missed a great evening of fellowship”. What do we mean when we use the word fellowship? What does it really mean? Turn with me to Acts chapter 2. Often when we think about the word fellowship we automatically think of the breaking of bread, or of prayer. Acts 2.41-42: 'Then they that glady received his word were baptised ... and they continued stedfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking bread, and in prayers'.

The new converts continued (literally, they were 'made strong') in the apostles' doctrine and the apostles' fellowship. As a result, these led to breaking of bread, and to prayers. The order here is important. You couldn't create fellowship by prayer. You had to have the doctrine first. It’s the same thing with breaking bread. Breaking bread together didn’t create fellowship. If it wasn't done with people who had been baptised and shared the apostles' doctrine, you weren't sharing the apostles' fellowship. I think it’s important to remind ourselves of this. We probably all got friends who are Christians, but from other denominations, and no-doubt at some point someone will suggest that as we are all followers of Christ we should all break bread together. Doctrine comes first, then fellowship, then breaking bread and prayer.

So what is fellowship if it isn’t simply breaking bread together or praying together? The word used for fellowship is used 18 times in the New Testament in a variety of different contexts. By looking at the different uses of it we can come up with a definition, and draw out some useful exhortation.

Turn over to Romans 15:25-27. “Now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. It hath pleased them verily and their debtors they are.” The Greek word koinonia, which is translated as fellowship in other passages here is translated as contribution. “It hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution, or a certain fellowship”. The poor-fund collection for the Jewish brothers and sisters was fellowship. It makes sense doesn’t it? If we have something that our brother or sister needs, we should be sharing it with them, or giving to them. Turn over to Matthew 25:34-40:

“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

The same word for fellowship is used in a similar context in 2 Corinthians 9:13: “For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men;”

Let’s have a look at the same word used in a different way. Turn to Hebrews chapter 13. Verse 16: “But to do good and to communicate, forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” The word here for communicate is the same word we’ve been looking at. Another aspect for fellowship has to be communication. We can’t have fellowship with one another unless we can communicate with each other. We’re all human – at some point we will probably cause upset to our brothers and sisters in some way. The true test of our fellowship, of our communication is the way that we deal with each other after that takes place. Matthew 5: “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.”
(Mat 5:23-25)

So, we’ve looked at two ways the word for fellowship is translated – firstly as collections, or distribution, secondly as communication.

The word is also used to indicate a participation in a common life of faith. We’ve already mentioned Acts chapter 2 – “They continued in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and breaking of bread, and in prayers”. Turn over to Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Philippians 1:5: “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;” (Php 1:3-5). In this context Paul seems to be using the word fellowship in way we most often use it – to indicate a togetherness, a unity of purpose, saying to the Philippians that he was thankful that he appreciated the way that they followed the gospel faithfully, and that they preached the gospel faithfully. Again in Galatians 2:9 the word is used in a similar way. “And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.” James, Peter and John extend to Paul and Barnabas the “right hand of fellowship”, or to put it another way – they invite them to join their partnership, or unity, or togetherness, of preaching the gospel.

The word fellowship has a deeper association with it than what we have already spoken about. Turn with me to 1 Corinthians 10:16-17. In the exhortation a couple of weeks ago, Brother Devon spoke about the fellowship that we share during the emblems – he said how that at the last supper Jesus gave the bread to each disciple individually – that the bread particularly showed our fellowship with Christ. The wine was shared around, it was the same cup, and showed in particularly fellowship with each other.

Paul speaks of this fellowship in these verses in 1 Corinthians 10: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” It makes fellowship seem very different does it? Our fellowship doesn’t only speak to us about our manner of life and the way we interact with each other – it also speaks to us about the way we interact with our Lord. 1 John 1:3 expands on this and says our fellows is with “the father and his son”. Back to our quote from 1 Corinthians “For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.”
(1Co 10:16-17)

We get here the idea of the one bread, and the one body – also spoken about in our readings in Ephesians tomorrow. It makes us think of the words of Jesus, and the ultimate example of perfect fellowship. Turn over to John chapter 10:25-30: “Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one.”

This really is true fellowship – the ultimate example. The fellowship that Jesus had with his Father was so deep, that he could say that they were one. Not that they were literally one, but that they had a unity of purpose – that they both wanted the same things to happen. Jesus wanted this unity for his disciples too. Turn to John chapter 17,

The prayer of Jesus in John 17 is the most intimate outpouring of Jesus’ prayer to God that we have recorded in the Bible. It’s the longest prayer of Jesus that we have recorded in the Bible. We know that he spent many hours in prayer to the Father, but this is the only occasion that his prayers are recorded in any depth (aside from the much smaller prayers in the garden of Gethsemane). The apostles heard the words as they followed their Master, but the thoughts were way too deep for them at that stage. In a way, perhaps, we today are just as unprepared for the words we have recorded for us: Verse 20-23

“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”

Jesus elaborates on the request first made in v11 “that they may be one, as we are” and repeats this prayer four more times. (vv. 21 — twice, 22, and 23). At times this seems completely impossible doesn’t it – that his followers should be as united together in their purpose as Jesus was with his Father. We only need to think to the discord that can be created over something as trivial as changing the colour of the curtains etc, let alone anything that really matters. Yet, Jesus has prayed that we might be one – and so we ought to do our best to do so.

A brother once wrote an article in the Christadelphian where he said that “The only way that believers can show that they dimly perceive the immensity of what Jesus sought from his Father, is to make this harmony of love and consideration so real in their individual and ecclesial lives that people of the world recognize it as the practical manifestation of the life and teaching of Jesus — even though they themselves may not always respond to it.”

We’re going to finish in 1 Corinthians 11, looking at what Paul has to say about the breaking of bread, and the fellowship that we share as we do so. However, before doing that I want us to have a look at chapter 12. Remember that what we are reading was a letter – not split up into chapters – Paul meant what we’re about to look at to come immediately after his thoughts on the breaking of bread.
V12, V14-15, V20, V25.

Repeatedly throughout chapter 12 Paul makes the point that we are all members of Christ’s body – and therefore should be united. Turn back to chapter 11, Paul reminds us of the words of Christ. Verse 24: “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.”

The bread represented the literal body of Christ but also the spiritual body. It follows that the ecclesia cannot properly be the Body of Christ when it is divided. So how do we avoid divisions? By bearing in mind, as Paul continues, that the bread and wine are taken in remembrance of Christ (vv. 24,25). If everything is cantered upon him, then our troubles should disappear into insignificance as we realise what He has done for us, and how he has commanded us to love one another.

Verse 26: “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come”.

By “shewing” the Lord’s death, Paul means proclaiming. We know how the death of Jesus is echoed by the Passover in the Old Testament – made absolutely clear in John, when John the Baptist is recorded as saying “Behold, the lamb of God”. Keep your finger in 1 Corinthians 11, and turn to Exodus chapter 12:26-27: “It shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, what mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD’S Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses.”

In the same way that the Passover was to proclaim to the children so when they asked “why are you doing all this odd stuff” the parents would explain the history and the reasons behind it, the same with the breaking of bread. By breaking bread and drinking wine, we “shew” or proclaim the Lord’s death.

Verse 48 “And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land; for no uncircumcised person shall eat theoreof.” Additionally, the Passover was to proclaim to the “stranger who sojourned with thee”. And like we said when talking about Acts chapter 2, in the same way that before breaking bread with others they had to have the same doctrine, and fellowship – the stranger, before he could take part in the Passover had to have the same doctrine and fellowship – he had to be circumcised.

Back to 1 Corinthians 11. Breaking bread is something that we do as an ecclesia, as a family, as one body in Christ. However at the same time it is something that is intensely personal. The breaking of bread is essentially an individual rite – as was the offering of sacrifice at tabernacle or temple — the closest approach that we can make to communion and unity with God, and to the fellowship of the sufferings of Jesus.

Verse 27: “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” Paul makes it clear that if we fully enter into the spirit of the Lord’s Supper, then the divisions within Body will be reduced or removed. Conversely, if we try to please ourselves, for instance, by indulgence like some of the Corinthians were doing, or by exalting ourselves like the Pharisee who prayed in the temple, then we are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

Verse 28: “But let a man examine himself and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.” This is very much what the disciples did at the first breaking of bread, at the last supper. Matthew 26:20 “Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began everyone of them to say unto him, Lord is it I?”

As we break bread we must think carefully about our lives, we must examine ourselves so that we don’t betray Christ in the way we live our lives. Yes, we all make mistakes in our lives – no doubt the disciples all beat themselves up about the way they fled from Christ at his arrest, and how Peter in particular must have felt awful after denying Christ – but Jesus still had work for them to do, in the same way that he has work for us to do.

We started our exhortation in Ephesus, thinking about the fellowship Paul had with the Ephesians. Let us finish with words speaking of that fellowship: Ephesians 4:1-6: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

“Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full” (1 John 1:3,4).

#2 IDF

IDF

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Posted 05 October 2008 - 04:16 PM

Exhortation: Fellowship

In our daily readings today we’ve started to read Paul’s letter to the Ephesians – the second time this year that we will have read it. Paul was very close to the Ephesian ecclesia, he went there on both his second and third missionary journeys, the second time spending three years there. He was loved very much by the ecclesia there – as he left at the end of the three years he spent there its recorded that “they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.” You can imagine them stood on the shore, watching the ship making its final preparations to leave, and then as it did leave them standing watching it sail off into the distance until eventually it disappeared over the horizon.

For our exhortation today we’re going to consider the theme of fellowship. Paul mentions it by name twice in his letter to the Ephesians, but writes about it much more, writing about the “one body” and the unity, and being members of Christ’s body. We’re going to think about what fellowship is, we’re going to think about the fellowship we have with one another, and ultimately think about the fellowship we have with the Lord Jesus, and with our Father in heaven.

We often use the word fellowship in our conversations with one another. For example, “the fellowship was really good”, or “I wish you’d been there, you missed a great evening of fellowship”. What do we mean when we use the word fellowship? What does it really mean? Turn with me to Acts chapter 2. Often when we think about the word fellowship we automatically think of the breaking of bread, or of prayer. Acts 2.41-42: 'Then they that glady received his word were baptised ... and they continued stedfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking bread, and in prayers'.

The new converts continued (literally, they were 'made strong') in the apostles' doctrine and the apostles' fellowship. As a result, these led to breaking of bread, and to prayers. The order here is important. You couldn't create fellowship by prayer. You had to have the doctrine first. It’s the same thing with breaking bread. Breaking bread together didn’t create fellowship. If it wasn't done with people who had been baptised and shared the apostles' doctrine, you weren't sharing the apostles' fellowship. I think it’s important to remind ourselves of this. We probably all got friends who are Christians, but from other denominations, and no-doubt at some point someone will suggest that as we are all followers of Christ we should all break bread together. Doctrine comes first, then fellowship, then breaking bread and prayer.

So what is fellowship if it isn’t simply breaking bread together or praying together? The word used for fellowship is used 18 times in the New Testament in a variety of different contexts. By looking at the different uses of it we can come up with a definition, and draw out some useful exhortation.

Turn over to Romans 15:25-27. “Now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. It hath pleased them verily and their debtors they are.” The Greek word koinonia, which is translated as fellowship in other passages here is translated as contribution. “It hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution, or a certain fellowship”. The poor-fund collection for the Jewish brothers and sisters was fellowship. It makes sense doesn’t it? If we have something that our brother or sister needs, we should be sharing it with them, or giving to them. Turn over to Matthew 25:34-40:

“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

The same word for fellowship is used in a similar context in 2 Corinthians 9:13: “For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men;”

Let’s have a look at the same word used in a different way. Turn to Hebrews chapter 13. Verse 16: “But to do good and to communicate, forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” The word here for communicate is the same word we’ve been looking at. Another aspect for fellowship has to be communication. We can’t have fellowship with one another unless we can communicate with each other. We’re all human – at some point we will probably cause upset to our brothers and sisters in some way. The true test of our fellowship, of our communication is the way that we deal with each other after that takes place. Matthew 5: “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.”
(Mat 5:23-25)

So, we’ve looked at two ways the word for fellowship is translated – firstly as collections, or distribution, secondly as communication.

The word is also used to indicate a participation in a common life of faith. We’ve already mentioned Acts chapter 2 – “They continued in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and breaking of bread, and in prayers”. Turn over to Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Philippians 1:5: “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;” (Php 1:3-5). In this context Paul seems to be using the word fellowship in way we most often use it – to indicate a togetherness, a unity of purpose, saying to the Philippians that he was thankful that he appreciated the way that they followed the gospel faithfully, and that they preached the gospel faithfully. Again in Galatians 2:9 the word is used in a similar way. “And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.” James, Peter and John extend to Paul and Barnabas the “right hand of fellowship”, or to put it another way – they invite them to join their partnership, or unity, or togetherness, of preaching the gospel.

The word fellowship has a deeper association with it than what we have already spoken about. Turn with me to 1 Corinthians 10:16-17. In the exhortation a couple of weeks ago, Brother Devon spoke about the fellowship that we share during the emblems – he said how that at the last supper Jesus gave the bread to each disciple individually – that the bread particularly showed our fellowship with Christ. The wine was shared around, it was the same cup, and showed in particularly fellowship with each other.

Paul speaks of this fellowship in these verses in 1 Corinthians 10: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” It makes fellowship seem very different does it? Our fellowship doesn’t only speak to us about our manner of life and the way we interact with each other – it also speaks to us about the way we interact with our Lord. 1 John 1:3 expands on this and says our fellows is with “the father and his son”. Back to our quote from 1 Corinthians “For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.”
(1Co 10:16-17)

We get here the idea of the one bread, and the one body – also spoken about in our readings in Ephesians tomorrow. It makes us think of the words of Jesus, and the ultimate example of perfect fellowship. Turn over to John chapter 10:25-30: “Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one.”

This really is true fellowship – the ultimate example. The fellowship that Jesus had with his Father was so deep, that he could say that they were one. Not that they were literally one, but that they had a unity of purpose – that they both wanted the same things to happen. Jesus wanted this unity for his disciples too. Turn to John chapter 17,

The prayer of Jesus in John 17 is the most intimate outpouring of Jesus’ prayer to God that we have recorded in the Bible. It’s the longest prayer of Jesus that we have recorded in the Bible. We know that he spent many hours in prayer to the Father, but this is the only occasion that his prayers are recorded in any depth (aside from the much smaller prayers in the garden of Gethsemane). The apostles heard the words as they followed their Master, but the thoughts were way too deep for them at that stage. In a way, perhaps, we today are just as unprepared for the words we have recorded for us: Verse 20-23

“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”

Jesus elaborates on the request first made in v11 “that they may be one, as we are” and repeats this prayer four more times. (vv. 21 — twice, 22, and 23). At times this seems completely impossible doesn’t it – that his followers should be as united together in their purpose as Jesus was with his Father. We only need to think to the discord that can be created over something as trivial as changing the colour of the curtains etc, let alone anything that really matters. Yet, Jesus has prayed that we might be one – and so we ought to do our best to do so.

A brother once wrote an article in the Christadelphian where he said that “The only way that believers can show that they dimly perceive the immensity of what Jesus sought from his Father, is to make this harmony of love and consideration so real in their individual and ecclesial lives that people of the world recognize it as the practical manifestation of the life and teaching of Jesus — even though they themselves may not always respond to it.”

We’re going to finish in 1 Corinthians 11, looking at what Paul has to say about the breaking of bread, and the fellowship that we share as we do so. However, before doing that I want us to have a look at chapter 12. Remember that what we are reading was a letter – not split up into chapters – Paul meant what we’re about to look at to come immediately after his thoughts on the breaking of bread.
V12, V14-15, V20, V25.

Repeatedly throughout chapter 12 Paul makes the point that we are all members of Christ’s body – and therefore should be united. Turn back to chapter 11, Paul reminds us of the words of Christ. Verse 24: “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.”

The bread represented the literal body of Christ but also the spiritual body. It follows that the ecclesia cannot properly be the Body of Christ when it is divided. So how do we avoid divisions? By bearing in mind, as Paul continues, that the bread and wine are taken in remembrance of Christ (vv. 24,25). If everything is cantered upon him, then our troubles should disappear into insignificance as we realise what He has done for us, and how he has commanded us to love one another.

Verse 26: “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come”.

By “shewing” the Lord’s death, Paul means proclaiming. We know how the death of Jesus is echoed by the Passover in the Old Testament – made absolutely clear in John, when John the Baptist is recorded as saying “Behold, the lamb of God”. Keep your finger in 1 Corinthians 11, and turn to Exodus chapter 12:26-27: “It shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, what mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD’S Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses.”

In the same way that the Passover was to proclaim to the children so when they asked “why are you doing all this odd stuff” the parents would explain the history and the reasons behind it, the same with the breaking of bread. By breaking bread and drinking wine, we “shew” or proclaim the Lord’s death.

Verse 48 “And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land; for no uncircumcised person shall eat theoreof.” Additionally, the Passover was to proclaim to the “stranger who sojourned with thee”. And like we said when talking about Acts chapter 2, in the same way that before breaking bread with others they had to have the same doctrine, and fellowship – the stranger, before he could take part in the Passover had to have the same doctrine and fellowship – he had to be circumcised.

Back to 1 Corinthians 11. Breaking bread is something that we do as an ecclesia, as a family, as one body in Christ. However at the same time it is something that is intensely personal. The breaking of bread is essentially an individual rite – as was the offering of sacrifice at tabernacle or temple — the closest approach that we can make to communion and unity with God, and to the fellowship of the sufferings of Jesus.

Verse 27: “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” Paul makes it clear that if we fully enter into the spirit of the Lord’s Supper, then the divisions within Body will be reduced or removed. Conversely, if we try to please ourselves, for instance, by indulgence like some of the Corinthians were doing, or by exalting ourselves like the Pharisee who prayed in the temple, then we are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

Verse 28: “But let a man examine himself and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.” This is very much what the disciples did at the first breaking of bread, at the last supper. Matthew 26:20 “Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began everyone of them to say unto him, Lord is it I?”

As we break bread we must think carefully about our lives, we must examine ourselves so that we don’t betray Christ in the way we live our lives. Yes, we all make mistakes in our lives – no doubt the disciples all beat themselves up about the way they fled from Christ at his arrest, and how Peter in particular must have felt awful after denying Christ – but Jesus still had work for them to do, in the same way that he has work for us to do.

We started our exhortation in Ephesus, thinking about the fellowship Paul had with the Ephesians. Let us finish with words speaking of that fellowship: Ephesians 4:1-6: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

“Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full” (1 John 1:3,4).


Thanks Bro :damien:
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.




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