Partaking Of The Lord’s Supper Unworthily Has Grave Consequences!

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the American King James Version).

The Lord’s supper or holy communion, was ordained by the Lord Jesus Christ as the means of remembering his death. The elements of the communion—the bread and the wine—represent the body and the blood of the Lord, which were broken and shed, respectively, for the remission of our sins. Each time we take part in the holy communion, we are reminded of Calvary, and the great exchange that took place there. And because we should always keep Calvary and the cross of Christ in view, we are commanded by the Lord to partake of the communion often, for as often we eat the bread and drink the wine of the communion, Calvary is brought near to us.

1 Corinthians 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:

1 Corinthians 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

1 Corinthians 11:25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till he come.

As desirable as partaking in the holy communion is, it cannot be eaten anyhow, for eating the communion unworthily carries grave consequences. People can get weak (physically and spiritually), fall sick and even die prematurely, by partaking in the holy communion in an unworthy manner. How can people eat the bread and drink the wine of the Lord’s supper unworthily? How can people eat and drink damnation to themselves at the Lord’s table? We shall examine the Scripture to answer these questions.

1 Corinthians 11:27 Why whoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

Paul taught that Christ is the antetype of the Jewish Passover lamb, and that as the Passover feast was eaten with unleavened bread, Christians are to partake of the holy communion with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Leaven signifies hypocrisy, sin and false doctrines. We are thus to purge ourselves of all known sins as we approach the Lord’s table. We are to examine ourselves carefully before we partake of the Lord’s supper, to acknowledge, confess and forsake all known sins, that we may be unleavened enough to partake of this holy feast. The Lord’s body is holy, which body we are. As we demonstrate our union with the Lord and commune with him in the sacred meal of the church, we must be sober and conscious of the fact that as the Lord is holy, so are we to be, for he demands that we be holy even as he is holy.

1 Corinthians 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

1 Corinthians 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Luke 12:1 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, so that they stepped one on another, he began to say to his disciples first of all, Beware you of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

The psalmist summarised this point succinctly in the twenty-fourth psalm, with regards to who can approach the Lord and who can ascend his holy hill. He answered his series of probing questions by outlining the qualities required of those who approach God intimately—clean hands, pure heart, lack of vanity and guile. Only such sanctified people are guaranteed to receive blessings from God, having approached God worthily. The Lord’s supper is the most intimate encounter with the Lord, as the apostle Paul described it as having communion with the Lord. Not approaching it with holy reverence provokes the wrath of God rather than his blessings.

Psalms 24:3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?

Psalms 24:4 He that has clean hands, and a pure heart; who has not lifted up his soul to vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

Psalms 24:5 He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

1 Corinthians 10:15 I speak as to wise men; judge you what I say.

1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

1 Corinthians 10:17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

1 Corinthians 10:18 Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?

1 Corinthians 10:19 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?

1 Corinthians 10:20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that you should have fellowship with devils.

1 Corinthians 10:21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: you cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.

1 Corinthians 10:22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?

1 Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

1 Peter 1:15 But as he which has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conversation;

1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy.

The warning is clear in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians—we should examine ourselves carefully before we partake in the holy communion. We cannot eat the bread and drink the wine of the communion with hidden, unconfessed sin in our lives. For, if we don’t judge ourselves, God will judge us! He listed the judgement of God that befalls those who partake of the Lord’s supper unworthily to include becoming weak (physically and spiritually), falling sick and dying prematurely! Approaching the communion table is thus not a thing to joke with! We can either receive blessings at the communion table or we can receive judgement and damnation, depending on whether we approach the Lord’s table worthily or not.

1 Corinthians 11:27 Why whoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

1 Corinthians 11:29 For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

1 Corinthians 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

1 Corinthians 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

1 Corinthians 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

In conclusion, the Lord’s supper, as the sacred communal meal of the church, should be approached with holy fear and reverence, as partaking of it unworthily attracts divine punishment. The bread and the wine represent the body and blood Christ, which is holy. Therefore, to partake of that holy body of the Lord, which the elements of the Lord’s supper represent, we must come with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Every known sin in our lives must be confessed and forsaken as we approach the Lord’s table, for that’s how to partake of the communion in a worthy way that will attract God’s blessings. We must therefore properly examine ourselves before we come to the Lord’s table, so that we do not eat and drink damnation to ourselves.

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Published by Dr. Ndubuisi E. Ojo

Dr Ojo is a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, and a student of the Word of God, who believes firmly in the original apostolic faith as the only authentic version of Christianity, and the only legitimate basis for Christian conduct, order and doctrine.

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