Thursday, June 15, 2017

When Casual Is Catastrophic

Not long ago, we participated in the Lord's Supper at church. That Sunday morning, we had an altar call in preparation for the sacrament. We were invited to come to the altar to pray and prepare our hearts to participate.

It was based on a passage in 1 Corinthians 11. The verses typically quoted for Lord's supper are right in the middle of a bigger passage that urges us to examine our hearts. 

The Corinthians had participated in the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner, and some of them were weak and sick because of it. The word translated as "unworthy" is anaxiĊs. It comes from a root word that indicates the meal has been treated "casually," or as something "common," and not something precious.

The sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf was precious, beautiful, terrible. 

He took our place, and it was no small thing. It was so huge that only He could do it. His death, burial, and resurrection are worthy of reverence and awe. 

The Last Supper (or Communion or Eucharist) was instituted by Jesus as a way to remember the terrible magnificence of His substitutionary gift. There was nothing casual about His uncommon act of surrender. 

We are not to treat the symbols of that gift with casual abandon, but with the respect and reverence they deserve.

Imagine how it might have happened in Corinth for a moment. Worshippers were hungry and hadn't had time to eat before they got to church. The bread for the Lord's Supper was tasty (not the bland wafers usually used today). The first man reached for his piece of the bread and thought to himself, "I'm starving. I'll take a big piece." He might rip off a chunk of bread and gobble it down to satisfy his hunger. He might guzzle a big portion of the wine to "wash down" the bread. He might even drink enough wine to become drunk. Clearly, he had treated the symbols with irreverence.

The communion wafer and tiny cup of juice we use today don't lend themselves to that kind of casual treatment, but we have our own ways of disrespecting the meal. When we come before the Lord with unconfessed sin in our hearts, we say to God, "My sin doesn't matter." 

When we come to the Lord's supper table with unconfessed sin, we say, "Jesus' sacrifice doesn't matter." 

How do you think God views that attitude? Scripture tells us He doesn't take it well at all.

Some people in the Corinthian church were sick. Some people were weak. The reason? Disrespect of the Lord's supper. Disrespect of His sacrifice. 

Their casual attitude toward the meal was catastrophic.

The truth is that unconfessed sin is never a good thing, and it can make us sick, even when it's not Lord's supper time. It was for freedom that Christ set us free. Bondage to sin is not freedom. Clinging to sin is not freedom. 

The freedom Jesus bought says, "This is my sin and it has to go. It's not keeping me bound up another minute longer." 

Freedom requires repentance, a 180-degree-turning from our sin that says, "I'm done with that sin forever," and never looks back.

That kind of repentance is not just for Sunday. It's an every-day repentance that demonstrates the preciousness of Christ's sacrifice. It says to God, "My sin matters because Jesus' sacrifice matters." 

We honor His gift when we turn from our sin.

Today, let's prepare our hearts as if we were about to partake of Christ's gift to us, because, as we face a new day, we are. His body broken for us, His blood shed for us, make freedom possible. Let's demonstrate our respect for that freedom with our lives. 

Let go of our sin and live free.

"If we judged ourselves rightly, we should not be judged..." 1 Corinthians 11:31 nasb

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In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Why It's Not Good to Get Away With Bad Behavior

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