Key verse: 1 Corinthians 11:24
Big idea: When we take the Lord's Supper in unity, we remember the cross.
If there is one value that is undervalued in American society today, it is unity. We value loyalty to our team and hatred of the 'enemy.' We value intensity of opinion and certainty of point-of-view. But we do not value the thing that Jesus prayed we would have as He knew He was looking at the last starlight of His earthly ministry. Unity. Corinth had the same problem with disunity, heavy on factions and light on family, they were eager to focus on status and prestige. It showed up in many areas of their corporate life, but the one area that seems to have genuinely angered the apostle Paul was when this division spewed its filth on the Lord's Supper, the memorial ordinance of the cross.
In other settings, factions are foolish and juvenile. In this setting, it is blasphemy. How can we who have all received the unmerited broken body and poured-out blood of the spotless Son of God then look down on one another? Or despise someone of a different class? In Corinth, the fellowship feast was a bring-your-own food affair. The wealthy were fat and drunk, while the poor nursed empty stomachs and sandpaper mouths. Instead of looking at the others as members of a family, their hearts were filled with contempt. Contempt even while the wine that represented the blood of Jesus, who had born the contempt of the Almighty for their sins, was still on their lips. What absurdity! What blasphemy! "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."
The Lord's Supper must picture the unity bought by the death of Christ. Unity between humanity and God, and unity between people. To eat and drink unworthily, without repentance (and clearly repentance of dividing the body in particular), is to be guilty of the blood and body of the Lord. No light condemnation. So there is a great responsibility here. But there is also a great privilege. We can serve as a living picture of the work of Christ: proof of the ministry of reconciliation. It is not for nothing that He said: "This do in remembrance of Me."
Discussion idea: Who are some people that are divided from each other today? How can the message of the gospel reconcile them?
Prayer focus: Pray that God would help you identify the areas in your heart where you look down on others, and help you to overcome them.