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Sunday School is a vital part of any ministry. In it, one is able to experience a deeper knowledge of God’s Word. Here at “Word For Life Says,” I want to help you help others. Below you will find resources to help you prepare for your upcoming lessons and my personal summary notes that I use when teaching. May God bless you!
“Remembering the Covenant”
1 Corinthians 11:23-34
PDF Lesson Print Out is now Located at the Bottom of the Lesson. Please Scroll Down, Click and Enjoy! Blessings.
Please Note: All lesson verses and titles are based on International Sunday School Lesson/Uniform Series ©2013 by the Lesson Committee, but all content/commentary written within is original tounless properly quoted/cited. I am glad you like to read my personal summary notes that I use when teaching, but as always you are encouraged to do your own studies as well. Blessings!)
Remembering brings the memory of what was back to life. Sometimes it comes and shows us things we would rather forget. At other times, it is a celebration of something good and wonderful that has passed and the memory of it renews one’s outlook on the life they now live.
At the other end of the spectrum of remembering there is forgetting. Forgetfulness can be dangerous especially when it skews one’s current perspective of the how’s and why’s of this and that. It represents careless actions particularly if the event one is called to remember is truly significant and life-changing.
The Lord’s Supper was such an event. But when those of the Corinthian church got together to “celebrate” it, they didn’t consider the seriousness of the occasion and their actions. Paul reprimanded them, “When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s Supper,” (1 Corinthians 11:20). Although they had titled their gathering as doing so to commemorate this blessed occasion, their actions were not indicative of the holy order of remembrance it demanded.
When they gathered they did so weekly and as a regular fellowship meal. While there is nothing wrong with having a fellowship meal, by combining the two, the meal with what was supposed to be the Lord’s Supper, things began to get haywire in this church and others were being left out of the participation of what was supposed to be a holy service.
Earlier in this chapter, in the verses leading up to today’s covered text, we read that there was disorder amid something that was supposed to be beautiful and special. Paul declared that he couldn’t praise them for their actions for their coming together in such a way was “not for the better, but for the worse,” (1 Corinthians 11:17). How they were acting was bringing hurt and damage to the body of Christ rather than building it up.
There was noted division among the people in the church (1 Corinthians 11:18-19). The holy taking of the remembering of His covenant is supposed to arouse a spirit of unity among believers. It should bring each one back down to earth and centered on Him as they realize the extraordinary thing Christ did for them, but with this church, it was not so. Disunity in any church is the killer of the meaning of many of a holy celebration as we rally more for the cause of people or our cut buddy, as some used to call it, than for what God is doing in that place. Where was the genuine spirit of Christian fellowship that should have been present in such a gathering? It was missing. It would appear that the more affluent members were leaving out the poorer of society, as they hurriedly ate and drank up everything in sight to the point of even becoming drunk, then when the others (poor) came into the celebration, there was either nothing left or an out and out refusal to share what they had.
As noted earlier, Paul said what they were doing could not be referenced as the “Lord’s Supper” even though that’s what they were calling it (see 1 Corinthians 11:20). In what was supposed to be a humble observance; greed, favoritism, gluttony, and drunkenness took over while others were left hungry and without (1 Corinthians 11:21).
Paul rebuked them, “What! have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not,” (1 Corinthians 11:22). Their actions showed they had no regard for the sanctity of the celebration or for those with whom they were supposed to be sharing this holy meal with.
Everything they were doing defeated the purpose of this coming together to be considered as “the Lord’s Supper.” Therefore, coming into this lesson, Paul instructs them on the right order and spirit one should have when approaching such an occasion that was meant to honor the remembrance of what the Lord has done for the believers. With that, he takes their minds back to the night when the first “Lord’s Supper” was instituted. That night was the last Passover Jesus celebrated with His disciples in the upper room before His death on the cross.
1 Corinthians 11:23 “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.”
When Jesus gathered with His faithful followers on that night, Paul wasn’t there. As they partook of the bitter herbs, lamb, and wine; as they were engrossed in the ceremony of all that night stood for, Paul was not among them that were gathered around that table with Jesus. The group of men there consisted of the twelve selected individuals, of whom one was noted as being His betrayer who had to be there that Scripture might be fulfilled (see John 17:12).
He is the one whom Jesus spoke about when He stated, “He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me,” (John 13:18). “He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me,” (Matthew26:23); that man was in the room that night with Jesus, but not Paul. Therefore, information and details about that “same night,” Paul “received of the Lord” (compare 1 Corinthians 15:3; Galatians 1:12).
1 Corinthians 11:24 “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.”
As he delivers what he has received of the Lord unto the people, Paul goes into specific details concerning the way Jesus carried out the order of that night.
First, he dealt with the symbolism of the bread which would represent His “body, which is broken for you.” Isaiah prophesied, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed,” (Isaiah 53:5). Jesus, after “given thanks” showed through the breaking of the bread how He would fulfill that prophesy.
This Passover bread would have broken easily considering it was without yeast as formerly instructed to the people (Exodus 12:8; Deuteronomy 16:3-4). With its maybe flat and cracker-like structure (as we know it today), it would have easily snapped and been susceptible to breaking or tearing, causing much harm. Jesus took much harm on His body when He died for our sins.
“This do in remembrance of me” were the words that came that left no question as to why this would be celebrated from henceforth. It would be done and carried to remember what He did on that cross; to remember, in its truest form, the sacrifice He became when He allowed Himself to become the Passover Lamb. As the original Passover was a memorial to celebrate the children of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt (see Exodus 12:14), so too would this “supper” celebrate our deliverance from the captivity of sin through the brokenness of Jesus Christ.
When those of the Corinthian church came together they weren’t doing it to remember Christ; they weren’t doing it to remember the covenant of blood that was shed for their sins. They were coming together out of selfishness and greed. That’s a far cry from the memorial Jesus expected.
1 Corinthians 11:25 “After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.”
When He picked up the “cup,” Jesus referenced Himself in the partaking of it. This time, instead of His body, He spoke, “This cup is the new testament in my blood.”
No wonder Paul had to be so stern in addressing those who were using this occasion in the wrong way. What Jesus did was beyond serious. Our eternal life and death depended upon it. Therefore, a communion service or observance of the Lord’s Supper must be approached in a sober and serious manner. This was not a time of eating and fun and games. This was to be a time of “remembrance.”
Without His shed “blood” there would be no cause to look back at what He had done for people; there would be no cause for celebrating and remembrance of our deliverance from sin. “Without shedding of blood,” we are told in the Holy Word, “is no remission,” (Hebrews 9:22). There is no forgiveness. There is no spiritual healing. There is no reconciliation with God. There is no salvation. There is no covenant. But, Jesus, became and fulfilled the “new testament” and allowed His blood to be shed for many (Matthew 26:28) to the saving of our souls.
1 Corinthians 11:26 “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.”
“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup;” for whenever you come together for this reason of remembrance you do so with a very specific purpose in mind to “shew the Lord’s death till he come;” observing what Christ did on the cross.
There is no biblical prescribed requirement for how “often” an assembly of the faith comes to together for this holy observance. The emphasis here is not exactly on how many times they come together as much as it is on their motivation behind their gathering; the reason for them to “eat and drink” in this holy ceremony. A lackadaisical attitude and nonchalant approach to the Lord’s occasion is not to be tolerated. For in this event, we are showing the sacrifice of the “Lord’s death.” We are remembering and proclaiming Jesus.
The Corinthian church either lost sight of or never knew of the seriousness of what they were doing. This WAS NOT an ordinary feast day. This was a time set apart to center oneself on Him and what He has done, and to look forward to the day when He returns when He comes back: “till he come.”
1 Corinthians 11:27 “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.”
“Unworthily” really brings to the forefront the state in which He found us in when He saved us. Having washed us in His blood, He cleaned up our lives, reconciled us with God and made us worthy (Romans 5:9; Colossians 1:12).
Now, that one’s life is new in Him, whenever they approach this special occasion they must not do it in an “unworthily” manner. We, as well as the Corinthian church, must approach Him in a way that brings honor to what He has done for us with carefulness of spirit to observe the sacredness of the event.
“Unworthily” can be exhibited in many ways due to the human inclination to sin. Harboring such in one’s own spirit, without repentance, would be to approach Him in an improper manner.
But, what Paul was addressing here was the specific way the Corinthian church’s behavior was unacceptable to the hallowed setting this observance called for. As noted earlier in the introduction their coming together, their worship, was not in the sincerity which it demanded. Through their selfish focus on self and pleasure, they forget to reverence the spirit of Christ in their remembrance, and to show love one to another in being willing to share and include all in the celebration (reread vss. 17-24). They disgraced the holy assembly through their drunkenness and behavior in what was supposed to be a solemn festivity. What might seem harmless to some, these characteristics present themselves in a harmful and sinful manner when we compare them to the Word of God (see Romans 13:13; Galatians 5:21; 1 Peter 4:3).
As such, they put themselves in serious danger. Partaking of what is considered to be the representation of the Lord’s “body and blood” in this unholy manner could invite a “guilty” verdict of judgment in the area of how they handle and treat this sacred meal.
In a previous article, I wrote:
“Through His shed blood, we have been washed. We carry the Savior and His new covenant on the inside of us. Have we wrapped Him in “clean” vessels?
David said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me,” (Psalm 51:10, KJV). The spiritual house on the inside of each of us has to be clean. Dust particles of any works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21) has to be removed. “Such things will not inherit the kingdom of God,” (Galatians 5:21, NKJV). “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19, NKJV).
When God blessed us with Holy Spirit, it’s as if we are taking on a part of Christ. We can’t wrap Him in just anything.” (Handle the Body of Jesus with Care/WordForLifeSays.com)
The same care should be taken for this holy coming together of remembrance of His broken body and poured blood for our sins. “The cup of the 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?” (1 Corinthians 10:16). We can’t do it just any kind of way. We must handle it; we must handle Him with great care!
1 Corinthians 11:28-29 “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”
“Let a man examine himself” because the stuff that is on the inside of an individual matters the most. If he or she wants to partake of that “bread, and drink of that cup” they should take the step to really look on the inside of self and tell on self if they must. Layers need to be pulled back to really inspect and take an honest assessment of the inner man to see what is there.
When they come to this holy supper are they coming right? Is there anything that isn’t supposed to be there? Are there sins that need to be dealt with? Do wrong motives push their reasoning for gathering? We all have areas that need improvement; things that we can do better. Sometimes a close, personal examination is the only thing that will draw it out of us, and for this occasion, it is making sure one is not eating and drinking “unworthily.” For to do so invites “damnation to himself.”
Serious consequences will follow the one who chooses to come with behavior that is unfit for this time, for he or she failed at “discerning the Lord’s body.” With a lack of proper understanding that what they were doing was supposed to be a time of reverence and soul contemplation for the meaning behind this memorial, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, one would approach the Lord’s supper in an unholy manner, leading them to judgment for their lax attitude.
1 Corinthians 11:30-32 “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.”
When one forgoes the exploratory process on self as prescribed in the above verses; when one doesn’t take the time to look at themselves and the manner in which they are participating in this holy communion, that means sin can go unchecked in their lives. They would continue to do what they are doing now. And, when sin remains unchecked, the outcome for such a one could mean they would suffer in varied ways. Even to the point of an early death, described here as “sleep.”
With that in mind, Paul gives the Corinthian church and us some strong, but needful advice. “If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.” The sad part of it is that most spend their life with the magnifying glass on others to point out flaws and discrepancies in their walk of faith all the while looking through rose-colored glasses at ourselves that hide what we’re all about. But, we would be much better off taking off the rose-colored glasses and turning the magnifying glass to ourselves that we might see clearly what do we need to fix. After all, we must be saved for ourselves. The only life we will ever answer for is our own.
Jesus, in His teachings, said, “Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye,” (Matthew 7:4-5). As the old saying goes, “When you point your finger at others, you have three pointing back at you,” (Source: Unknown). Therefore, if we take the time to look at us closely, no one else would need to and you won’t be “judged” (compare Matthew 7:2).
“When we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” When we let us, ourselves and unholy mannerism, slip through the cracks without being corrected, then God is put in the position of having to take disciplinary actions against His children. In His love, He does so to correct errant behaviors and to save us that “we should not be condemned with the world.”
Proverbs 3:11-12 tells us, “My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” It is for our benefit, that we be not “condemned.” “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby,” (Hebrews 12:11).
1 Corinthians 11:33-34 “Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.”
After all his teaching on this subject to the Corinthian church, Paul pointed their hearts to conduct their manner of coming together for the Lord’s Supper with love and unity in waiting for “one another.” They were to replace their errant behaviors that were noted at the beginning of the lesson with a spirit that would foster an atmosphere befitting the occasion; “that ye come not together unto condemnation.”
What Paul teaches us is there is a right way and wrong way to draw near to the remembrance of the covenant, the Lord’s Supper. May we all properly remember what Jesus has done for each of us and approach that celebration with the sincerest of hearts.
Jesus said, “This do in remembrance of me,” (Luke 22:19).
Standard Print PDF: Remembering the Covenant Sunday School Lesson Summary Standard Print
Large Print PDF: Remembering the Covenant Sunday School Lesson Summary Large Print
Below are activities to support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
Draw the Scene: Remembering the Covenant Draw the Scene
Memory Verse: Remembering the Covenant Memory Verse
Below are Activities/Links/Resources to support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
“Last Supper Play Dough Mats” (What a fun way to present this “Remeber Me” meal. Enjoy!)
“The Last Supper Teacher’s Guide” (With links for activities and crafts. Enjoy!)
“The Last Supper by Sundayschoolideas.com” (This site has awesome activities and printables including a printable cup activity for students to make. There is also a video which may be helpful to the teachers. Enjoy!)
“Easy Communion Craft” (Simply download pictures from the internet and have students assemble them as the picture states. Add the verse and you’re done. Enjoy!)
“Jesus Communion Table” (With coloring sheet that says, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Enjoy!)
“Last Supper Bible Game/Password” (Click for directions. Great for older students. Enjoy!)