… anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.
(1 Corinthians 11:29 – ESV)
(1 Corinthians 11:29 – ESV)
As Christians we are to be sharing in the fellowship of the Spirit (Philippians 2:1). We are to be communing with Christ, but also with one another. A major facet and the visible expression of this communion is manifest by taking the Lord’s Supper. Consider the fact that the Bible never mentions having the Lord’s Supper outside the context of the local church community. Communion is with Christ, the Head, but He is the Head of His Body, the Church.
Think about it. What are you going to do, take Communion by yourself? There are many who do and are taught just that. Unfortunately it is not just those who don’t attend a local church, but also those who think daily Communion outside of church is a good thing. It isn’t it is selfish. If that is what you think, that you can have communion with God and can take the Lord’s Supper without ever having to partake with other people, then listen up.
In 1 Corinthians 11:29 Paul tells us that those who take Communion unworthily are drinking damnation to themselves. Paul describes what unworthiness is. He says it is failing to discern the body of the Lord. Does this mean failing to recognize the elements as His Body? Reading the context of the passage, we can unequivocally state ABSOLUTELY NOT! Paul is saying that failing to discern the Body is failing to consider the members of that Body, all the members.
We cannot take Communion with all the believers across the world at the same time. But the local church is the expression of such a communion by which we respect the other members. To fail to discern this, to think we can have communion without fellowshipping with other local believers is to disrespect people that Christ died for. To take Communion outside the local assemble in that fashion is to drink unworthily. When we are taking Communion unworthily, it is because we are failing to discern His Body, and His Body is the Church! Again, think about the context here in this passage, it is about respect for the fellow members of the Body.
Verse 30 says that is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. We can take this and apply it to today by saying that because you have not discerned the Lord’s Body, that is why you are so spiritually weak, or worse, dead. Of course many who are habitually missing church or those who just simply won’t go at all are probably not thinking about taking Communion anyway. However, they certainly would be mistaken to take it by themselves all the time.
He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17), but how can you share in the communion of the Holy Ghost (2 Corinthians 13:14) sitting there at home? Now if you cannot go out, if you are a shut in because of age and/or health, then obviously this isn’t you. However, you could ask the local church to come to you, and any good church, any true church will. You may be at death’s door, but you can still be communing with the Life of the local church in that way.
Christian living is like spectator sports – it is better to be a player than just a fan. Doing electronic church without the real thing is like playing a video sport game. You could be the best player in the history of the world at that game, but you might not even be able to play the real thing. In that case, if you got in the real game, you would “get killed”. You have no game; your fantasyland won’t play in the real world. Your skills would be as good as dead on the real field of play. So it is with your notion of no church. You think you have Life, but you are communing with death.