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I Corinthians 11:17-34

I Corinthians 11:17-34


Series: 1 Corinthians
Sermon: The Lord’s Supper
Bible Passage: 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

I. In verses 17-19, Paul informs the Corinthian Christians categorically that he was not happy with the way things were happening at their church

1. Divisions (verse 18)
2. Wrong slogan (verse 19)

II. In verses 20-22, he introduces the issues

1. In verse 20, Paul charges that their Lord Supper looked like a private party
2. Because, some Christians—the social elites, started the Lord’s Supper before those socially and economically poor could arrive (verse 20-21)
3. The elites ate and drank their full (verse 21) (triclinium vs atrium)
4. Consequently, there was no/less food and drink left for the socially and economically poor (verse 21)
5. The Lord Supper was supposed to be a time when all believers were able to hangout and treat everyone as brothers and sisters
6. But the elites ate and drank hurriedly, but did not take time to fellowship with others

a. Give thanks to God
b. Remember Jesus’ death
c. Remember the New Covenant

7. Paul charges those who perpetuate such behavior as despising the church, which is the Body of Christ (verse 22)

a. The food eaten by the esteemed probably was much superior to the food taken by the less esteemed
b. Most likely the esteemed wore toga to differentiate themselves from the ordinary and ate and drank in triclinium and the poor ate and drank in atrium
c. They humiliated the poor by not waiting for them and leaving before they could arrive;
d. They despised God’s own Body by humiliating its members
e. This behavior is disruptive and divisive that harms the church
f. The church is not a human society to do what they normally do in a society
g. The brought Greco-Roman cultural mean into the church meal

III. How should have they conducted the Lord’s Supper? “worthy manner”? (verses 23-26)

1. Paul appeals the church tradition about the Lord Supper
2. The Lord’s Supper must be about remembering Jesus’ substitutionary death for others, those who were helpless
3. Remember God who presented Jesus as a substitutionary sacrifice
4. Giving thanks to God (εὐχαριστέω)
5. Remembering the death of Jesus (what does the word “remember” mean?)

a. “To remember” is not mere recollection
b. It is to identify with Christ who voluntarily denied Himself for others
c. It is to deny self-centered honor, status, or associations

6. Proclamation to one another about Jesus’ death and His second coming

a. Behavior reflects their relationship with Jesus
b. By accepting everyone and not practicing social hierarchy
c. No more holding to social elitism and discriminatory social status

7. It should have been an opportunity to self-giving, reconciliation, etc.
8. New relationship with God

IV. Warning against despising the Lord’s Supper (11:27-34)

1. Unworthy participants sin against Jesus (verse 27)
2. One needs to search his heart before he participates (verse 28)
3. Without a proper searching would result in judgement (verse 29)
4. Participation in the Lord’s Supper must be done with utmost care lest the participants can be disciplined by God (verses 31-34)
5. Judgement of sickness, weakness, and death (verse 30)


1. It is sacred because Jesus instituted it (Zwingli)
2. The Lord’s Supper bears witness to something that has already happened (Zwingli)
3. The Lord’s Supper signifies Communion with God through Christ and communion with others for unity (Zwingli)
4. Action takes the place of the thing it signifies (Zwingli)

Take Away

Check if you are participating in the Lord’s Supper in a worthy manner

Speaker: William J. Subash

Born and raised in south India, William J. Subash became a follower of Jesus Christ in 1983 at the age of nineteen. After a brief career in a tea and coffee plantation, Subash decided to spend rest of his life to preach about Jesus and his life-transforming message of God, which is popularly known as “the Gospel.” Subash teaches New Testament Studies at two institutions: SAIACS in India and Liberty University Online, VA, USA. Currently, Subash serves as the chief point person for GROW Gospel Initiatives and the Lead Pastor of the Crossroad Church, Bangalore. Write to him at