SOAP Study - October 27, 2020
1 Corinthians 11:17-34
17 But in the following instructions, I cannot praise you. For it sounds as if more harm than good is done when you meet together. 18 First, I hear that there are divisions among you when you meet as a church, and to some extent I believe it. 19 But, of course, there must be divisions among you so that you who have God’s approval will be recognized!
20 When you meet together, you are not really interested in the Lord’s Supper. 21 For some of you hurry to eat your own meal without sharing with others. As a result, some go hungry while others get drunk. 22 What? Don’t you have your own homes for eating and drinking? Or do you really want to disgrace God’s church and shame the poor? What am I supposed to say? Do you want me to praise you? Well, I certainly will not praise you for this!
23 For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread 24 and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you.[a] Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.” 26 For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.
27 So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against[b] the body and blood of the Lord. 28 That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. 29 For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ,[c] you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died.
31 But if we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way. 32 Yet when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned along with the world.
33 So, my dear brothers and sisters,[d] when you gather for the Lord’s Supper, wait for each other. 34 If you are really hungry, eat at home so you won’t bring judgment upon yourselves when you meet together. I’ll give you instructions about the other matters after I arrive.
PERSONAL SOAP STUDY
- What verse stood out to you while you were reading?
- What did you discover about God, yourself, and others?
- How should this information impact your life?
- What needs to be different about the way you are currently living?
- Take some time to talk to God about the things you just learned and how you want your life to look different. Give God thanks for revealing these things to you, ask Him for wisdom and courage to move forward so that you can apply these things to your life.
STAFF SOAP STUDY
In other words, Paul is saying “I’m disappointed.” At this point, Paul has written so much in this letter to the Corinthian Christians that you wonder if Paul is happy with anything they are doing there. So, what is Paul’s problem this time with them? Paul is looking at their corporate worship, in particular the Lord’s Supper. This intimate time of worship and remembrance of what Jesus has done for us has turned into a shell of itself because the Christians of Corinth are missing it. Instead of celebrating the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, they have warped something special. Paul is calling into question how we feel about the Lord’s Supper. Paul and how it should be for us, the Lord’s Supper is a powerful moment of spiritual intimacy. It reminds me of one of the best books I read in seminary called Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace. It talks about the Lord’s Supper as a special time that we share with the entire Trinity. Note that I said “we.” Yes, we all have a personal and individual relationship with Jesus with an individual choice to follow him, but we are His Church. Jesus has died for us not just me. We are in this relationship with Jesus together. Communion is a unifying moment in the Church using a common meal with our Savior where Jesus mysteriously gives us access to heaven at a deeper level. Every single time the Church joins for the Lord’s Supper, we proudly proclaim Jesus’ sacrifice to the world and invite them to trust Christ’ forgiveness for themselves. Every time we proclaim it to the Enemy that we know how this story ends. It ends in Christ’s final and full victory and the Enemy’s defeat. Every time we keep that victory and hope in front of each other knowing that Jesus won for us on the cross what we could not win for ourselves—forgiveness and freedom from sin. That same Jesus offers us to the Father every time we join for the Lord’s Supper. So, knowing that is how Paul sees the Lord’s Supper, does it now make sense why he is so upset with them? So, no, Paul will not be praising them until they shape up and give the Lord’s Supper its proper respect.
Paul is not telling us that we have to prove our own individual worthiness in order to participate in the Lord’s Supper. This is how I know this: We are all sinful meaning that no person is worthy or deserving of salvation. That is why we need God’s grace. Grace is the strangest thing to me in this world. In my 30 years so far, it is the one thing that makes no sense. Grace is that I have received what I do not deserve, yet I have not received what I truly deserve. We are not required to come to the Lord’s Supper without any sin in our lives. If we had to be perfect, we’d never be able to come. But, what is Paul telling us to do? What is the point? Take it seriously. Take the Lord’s Supper seriously. Sometimes we make worship out to be just a routine full of sing-alongs, sayings, and listening to a sermon and being told to give, but it all matters deeply. Singing and speaking our Truth matters. Listening to the Word of God and responding to it matters deeply. Giving matters because it is one of the marks of a Christian. And the Lord’s Supper should matter to us deeply. Because every time we do this in remembrance of what Jesus has done and is doing in and through us, Jesus gives us a seat at the heavenly table that we don’t deserve. This should be important for us not only for Jesus but also for our spiritual family, so let’s receive the blessing that comes with taking His Supper seriously.
LORD, thank you for your grace and mercy! Because I don’t deserve it. I did not deserve it then, and I don’t deserve it now. Thank you for this bread and this cup because in it is the body that you broke for us and the blood shed for the forgiveness of many. Help us to do this in remembrance of you. Help us not to see what You on the cross as a thing of the past, but as the event that is changing us even now and will continue to shape us. Thank you for a seat at your table!