By Allen White
In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 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. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter! 1 Corinthians 11:17-22
Often our first reaction to this passage is “Those Corinthians were so terrible. They got drunk when they were supposed to be celebrating communion.” That’s actually not the worst offense.
Jesus turned water into wine, and conservative believers have turned the wine into grape juice. I don’t drink alcohol and that’s my choice. In the first century, wine was served with meals. Let’s just accept that and stop watering it down.
I thank God for the Corinthian church. They messed up on everything. They were confused over communion, groceries (1 Corinthians 8:1-13), spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1-14:40), and the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-58). We wouldn’t know what we know today, except for the Corinthians’ mistakes. God bless ‘em.
The drunkenness at their communion was out of line, but what was more out of line were the divisions among them. The wealthy members had plenty to eat and drink and went right on ahead without any regard for anybody else. Other folks didn’t have much of anything to eat. The Corinthians were the haves and the have-nots. This flew in the face of what they were celebrating.
The ground is level at the foot of the cross. No one is more deserving or less deserving of God’s grace. No one is greater or least. How the Corinthians celebrated God’s grace was offensive to Christ’s sacrifice. In God’s eyes, we are equally entitled.
What inequities do you see in the church? Who do you think that you’re better than? Maybe you’re better off financially or intellectually, but none of us is better than anyone else. But, by the grace of God….
When we begin to feel superior to others, we should feel a check in our spirits. When our ego puffs us up to someone bigger than who we really are, we must remember that without Christ we are nothing.
What did you just think about as you were reading these words? What do you need to confess? Pray about it right now.
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By Allen White