Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:26
I. It is a very wonderful fact, very startling at first sight to those who have not steadily considered it, that the chief ordinance of Christianity is the commemoration and proclamation of a death. Festivals of the nativity, of the resurrection, of the ascension, however beautiful may be their meaning and benign their influence, are at any rate not of Divine institution. The feast which Christ instituted is the proclamation to all ages of His death. Most surely our Lord must have intended to indicate thereby that feature of His work which He conceived to be in most vital relation to the accomplishment of His great hope for man. The death rather than the life, the life as looking on to the death and to all that was to spring from it, and the death as the most fruitful act and the most powerful instrument of His love, must be the chief fountain of peace, joy, and hope for mankind.
II. If this be true, if the Lord's death be the most luminous, the most blessed, the most quickening act of His life, truly and most deeply a birth into the eternal sphere, it casts most beautiful light upon our life and our death. The man who knew most deeply God's counsel about life, whose human life grew richer, grander, more pregnant with a glorious hope as the earthly element dropped piece-meal into the tomb, made this his aspiration and his prayer—"That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death." No lives are so drearily cheerless as those which have been successful in the sole pursuit of gold; no future so blank as theirs, no eternity so dread. Look round on your supremely successful men. Estimate the number of rays of pure joy that shine upon their hearts and break the dreary gloom of their lives, and compare them with the man whose life is one deep-voiced hymn of triumph—"I thank my God, through Jesus Christ my Lord," because I have learnt from Him, through His death, to call that life, and that only, which is eternal.
J. Baldwin Brown, The Sunday Afternoon, p. 219.
References: 1 Corinthians 11:26.—G. Calthrop, Pulpit Recollections, p. 207; W. Cunningham, Sermons, p. 356; S. Minton, Christian World Pulpit, vol. ii., p. 42; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. i., p. 283; vol. iv., p. 224; vol. vi., p. 83; T. Arnold, Sermons, vol. iv., p. 228; F. D. Maurice, Sermons, vol. iv., p. 111; T. Birkett Dover, A Lent Manual, p. 151; Sermons on the Catechism, p. 242.
1 Corinthians 11:27The absence of teaching on the subject of the Holy Communion in the Epistles is no argument that the Holy Communion was an unimportant part of Divine worship in apostolic days. It only bears witness to the fact, which we know very well from other sources, that the Holy Communion was that part of a Christian's duty and privilege in early days which he was least likely to neglect. So far as I have observed, there are only two places in which direct reference is made to the subject; they are both in the First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians.
I. In the first the circumstances were these. Some of the Corinthians had been induced to take part in idol worship: at least, they had done so indirectly. They were not easy in their consciences about the matter; they fancied that after all it might possibly be wrong, and they applied to St. Paul for a determination of the difficulty. St. Paul solved the difficulty by explaining to them that, as in joining in Holy Communion they really became partakers of Christ, so in joining in an idol feast they really became partakers of idolatry. St. Paul was led to speak of the Holy Communion because the Corinthians had done something which they ought not to have done, because they had brought disgrace on their Christian name, and because the privilege which they enjoyed as partakers of Christ in the Holy Communion was the best proof possible of the manner in which their Christian name had been disgraced.
II. How came it that the Apostle wrote the latter part of chap. xi.? The reason is obvious enough. The most horrible abuses had crept into the Corinthian Church: men did not discern the Lord's body; they treated His table as a common table, made it a table of revelry; they ate and drank unworthily, and so received condemnation to themselves. It is this horrible profanity to which we are indebted for St. Paul's views on the subject of the Lord's Supper.
III. When he did take the subject in hand how did he treat it? He went back at once to the first institution of the Holy Sacrament by the Lord Himself. He deals in no harsh and severe language; he simply recounts the history of what our blessed Lord did on the eve of His passion. He put more faith in the recital of this simple tale than in any strong language he could use. You can add nothing which will give the argument more strength, and you can find no better commentary upon the doctrine of the Lord's Supper.
Bishop Harvey Goodwin, Parish Sermons, 5th series, p. 335.
References: 1 Corinthians 11:27.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. ii., p. 96. 1 Corinthians 11:28.—R. D. B. Rawnsley, Village Sermons, 4th series, p. 40; Sermons on the Catechism, p. 285. 1 Corinthians 11:29.—G. E. L. Cotton, Sermons to English Congregations in India, p. 207; Church of England Pulpit, vol. ix., p. 183; R. Tuck, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xii., p. 350. 1 Corinthians 11:30.—G. Salmon, Gnosticism and Agnosticism, p. 100. 1 Corinthians 11:31.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iii., p. 18. 1 Corinthians 11:31, 1 Corinthians 11:32.—E. L. Hull, Sermons, 1st series, p. 216. 1 Corinthians 11:32.—E. White, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxvi., p. 50.
1 Corinthians 11:33I. Tarry for the young. Do not consider that religion consists all in correct thinking, defined belief, mature experience, manly and womanly strength. It has its beginnings in youthful struggles, in wonder, in simplicity, in teachableness, in sorrowing, in longing, in following. And you cannot look for the steady tread of those who have been long in the way in the case of those who are just coming into it; you cannot expect them to keep up with the manly and the strong. "Tarry one for another."
II. Tarry for the weak. We ought to be as the weak themselves, and carry them along with us as we go. We ought to be willing to be carried if we are the weak, and thus we ought to tarry one for another. Some are fainting, but when they have rested awhile they will come. Some are hungry; when they are fed they will be stronger. Some have been sick; nothing can recruit them but time and gracious weather and kindly nourishment.
III. Tarry for the doubting. Not for the captious and the insincere, but for those who are honestly and earnestly seeking for light, A man may doubt while he loves the truth, but in this case he is sure to be led into it in the end. Tarry for him.
IV. Tarry for the stricken, for the afflicted, and the sorrowful, and those that are wounded in spirit. As the great Sufferer, now the great Conqueror, waits for all, let us wait for one another.
V. There is a sublimer waiting yet—of the whole Church for the whole world. The Church can never submit herself to the world, but the world shall ground its weapons and hold out the hand of friendship to the Church, and the conciliation shall be perfect, followed by no severance or estrangement.
A. Raleigh, The Way to the City, p. 34.
Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.
Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.
Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.
Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.
For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.
For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.
What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.
For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
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 ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.
And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.