This coming Sunday (7/13) we are celebrating the Lord's Supper at Chevis Oaks Baptist Church. I am very excited. The sermon text will be I Corinthians 11:23-26. It has been a long time since my family and I have been able to celebrate this wonderful ordinance with a church family.
In order to assist the church in preparing for the Lord's Supper, I preached on I Corinthians 11:27-34 this past Sunday. In that passage, Paul warns the Corinthians that they must partake of the Lord's Supper worthily. In order to do that, he exhorts them to examine themselves. Paul basically wanted them to put themselves on trial before God as He helped them look objectively at their lives. During the sermon, I repeatedly asked the church body to take time to examine their own lives during this week.
When Paul tells them to examine themselves, he uses a present active command. The significance of this is that it seems the apostle wants the Corinthians (and us) to make a practice of continually examining ourselves. We shouldn't examine ourselves only during the week leading up to the Lord's Supper, as if we are cramming for a final exam in college. If we make a habit of examining our lives all the time, then the week leading up to the Lord's Supper should actually be no different than any others.
Paul doesn't mess around at all in verse 30. He makes the point that because of their irreverent and flippant practice of the Lord's Supper (as described in 11:17-22), many among them have become sick and some "sleep." He means that they have died. This gives us a very clear idea as to how seriously God takes the Lord's Supper. I wonder how often we take this ordinance with that in mind.
Let me encourage you to make a practice of examining yourselves every day. Regardless of how often your church family partakes of the Lord's Supper, it is a spiritually healthy practice to put yourself on trial before God. II Corinthians 13:5 gives us a good look into what testing is all about. Paul writes, "Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?- unless indeed you fail to meet the test!"
Examine yourselves. No one wants to fall asleep during the Lord's Supper.