Typically we do not prepare ourselves to partake in the Lord’s Supper as thoroughly as we should. We take a minute or two and ask God to “Forgive us of our sin,” but as a rule we don’t “examine ourselves” in the manner intended by Paul in 1 Cor 11:28.
This has recently bothered me because as a Shepherd of God’s People I am called to lead His people to proper introspection prior to the Lord’s Supper. I am called to help God’s people come before the table in a manner that is worthy, and that is the reason I wrote this study.
This is of great importance because Paul wrote that when Christians judge themselves rightly, they aren’t judged by God. He also wrote that those who hadn’t judged themselves rightly before partaking the elements were… “weak, sick, and some had fallen asleep (Died).” Thus the motivation to help God’s people prepare to partake…
If this interests you, read what will be handed to the congregation at least a week prior to the next observance of this divine ordinance.
Keep in mind there are seven sections to this devotional guide…
Preparing To Partake In The Lord’s Supper
1 Corinthians 11:27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
The purpose of this six day devotional is to help God’s people prepare to partake of the Lord’s Supper. This is in keeping with “Let a person examine himself” as found in 1 Cor 11:28.
“An unworthy manner…” (v 27)
This phrase is to be understood as how we approach God. It refers to the attitude of our heart. It describes not so much that we are worthy in and of ourselves (Jesus provided that for us), but how we think of ourselves as we come before God through the elements of the Lord’s Supper.
Remember Jesus’ words from Luke 18:9-14…
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, & treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee & the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The Pharisee was religious… pious… and kept all the rules. He did everything right (In his own eyes) but was blind to what was keeping him from being forgiven: pride, arrogance, self righteousness. He was also unkind, harsh, and judgmental to others. The way he approached God is what Paul describes as “an unworthy manner.”
By comparison the tax collector was broken and contrite (Ps 51:17). He knew his condition before God, that he did not deserve God’s grace. In abject humility he wept before God (“beat upon his breast”) pleading for God’s mercy and forgiveness. This is a picture of what Paul meant to come before God in “a worthy manner.”
Jesus told those listening the tax collector went home forgiven rather than the Pharisee. Forgiveness is tied to the condition of our heart before God… not the external things we do. It is tied to our attitude toward others… not making sure we check religious things off a list.
The goal of these devotions is to “judge ourselves truly” (1 Cor 11:31). What follows is a guide to help in self examination. This kind of examination that may be painful, but it is what forgiveness is predicated upon.
“Let A Person Examine Himself…” (v 28)
Examining ourselves does not come natural. We are adept at justifying and rationalizing our conduct, words, and thoughts… just as the Pharisee did. Toward that end consider 1 Cor 4:4… “I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.”
Given the call in 2 Cor 11 to examine ourselves, along with our leaning toward not seeing ourselves as we are, we have in Scripture how Biblical self examination takes place: God’s revelation.
Identifying “Tax Collector Humility” In Ourselves…
If we are to come before the Lord’s Table in a worthy manner, we must deal with our blind spots as God would have us to. We must be identify when we have “tax collector humility” versus “Pharisee’s arrogance.” For this I suggest reading 2 Corinthians 7:10-11…
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 11 For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.
According to the Scripture, there are two kinds of grief (repentance): worldly and godly. We are either like the Pharisee (Worldly sorrow) or Tax Collector (Godly sorrow). Which we have determines if we come before God in a worthy or unworthy manner.
Worldly Grief does not produce anything in us to correct, rectify, or right things. Worldly grief brings death (destruction) of relationships, social order, families, and organizations. Worldly grief is supported by a person who works to rationalize and justify themselves to God and others.
Godly Grief works on a person from the inside out. Notice what takes place: “Eagerness to clear yourselves” (“I must do whatever it takes to make things right!”); “Indignation” (“How could I have done such a horribly evil thing?!); “Fear” (“How is this going to affect God’s reputation? How will what I’ve done hurt those I love?”); “Longing” (“There’s no time to waste… I must act now to rectify my wrong!”); “Punishment” (“Whatever the consequences are for my actions, I deserve and accept!”).
Moving From Worldly To Godly Grief…
Jesus asked the Apostles “Who do you say that I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Christ… the Son of the living God.” Jesus then told Peter “Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”
In the same way… having Godly grief is a spiritual process we cannot cause in and of ourselves. It is something only God can do in us. At the same time, when we “draw near to God, He will draw near to us.”
So we pray. We ask God to do His work in us. We pray the Scripture to God for His help so that when we come before Him in The Lord’s Supper we come to him in a worthy manner. We pray as it is written…
Psalm 26:2 Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind.
Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
We ask God to reveal to us the areas of our life we have overlooked… rationalized… or justified. We ask God to reveal to us the Pharisaical attitudes that have taken root in our heart toward others. We ask God to reveal to us what to do so we have Godly sorrow because we have sinned against Him!
Practical Matters Of Seeking God’s Revelation…
Set aside 30 minutes to an hour for the next six days. Get alone with God (Mark 6:31). All you need is your Bible, a pen, and this booklet.
Take time to calm your mind and heart. Read the provided Scripture SLOWLY. Then pray the suggested prayer (Or something like it) on each page. Next… wait and listen for God’s “whisper.” Write down whatever He brings to your mind. If needed, answer the questions also found on each day’s page. Trust that these are the promptings of God’s Spirit for you to act upon!
Once this is done… ask God what He would have you do in relation to each of the situations or people He prompted you to record. Consider the following regarding God’s will.
Matthew 5:23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar & there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar & go. First be reconciled to your brother, & then come & offer your gift.
Romans 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless & do not curse them. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Then honor God by being faithful and obedient to His call as best you are able…
Areas for Examination…
When it comes to examining ourselves for the next six days, the following areas will be addressed. As we work through them our goal is to come before The Lord’s Table in a worthy manner…
Day 1: Family, Day 2: Work, Day 3: Your Walk With God, Day 4: Chance encounters, Day 5: Finances, Day 6: Church. As it is written, “God honors those who honor Him” (1 Samuel 2:30b)
Day 1: Family
Ephesians 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church & gave himself up for her…
Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father & mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you & that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
1 Peter 3:7 Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
Questions To Ask: “God please show me…”
Have I honored You in relation to those You’ve entrusted me with?
Have I been loving toward my family as You would have me?
Is there something I need to ask my spouse or children forgiveness for?
Have I neglected my spouse or children in some way that has wounded them or dishonored You?
What You would have me do to model your love in a greater way to my family?
Day 2: Work
Ephesians 6:5 Obey your earthly masters with fear & trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord & not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 9 Masters, do the same to them, & stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master & yours is in heaven, & that there is no partiality with him.
Questions To Ask In Prayer: “God please show me…”
Have I honored You in relation to the job/career You’ve entrusted to me?
Have I disrespected Your name in how I’ve conducted myself at work?
Is there a situation I need to address or person I need to make things right with that I’ve been ignoring or am not aware of where I work?
Is there something I can do at work to reflect Your love in a greater way?
Day 3: Your Walk With God
Mark 6:31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place & rest a while.” For many were coming & going, & they had no leisure even to eat.
Deut 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart & with all your soul & with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me & find me. When you seek me with all your heart, 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord…
Matthew 22:37 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart & with all your soul & with all your mind. 38 This is the great & first commandment.
Questions To Ask In Prayer: “God please show me…”
Have I neglected You?
Have I been ignoring You when You spoke to me?
Have I been running from Your call?
What would You have me do… what is Your call for me?
Please reveal Yourself to me!
Day 4: Providential Encounters
Ex 3:2 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, & behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight…”
Is 6:8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, & who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” 9 And he said, “Go…
Ac 8:26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise & go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. 27 And he rose & went. 29 And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over & join this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran to him…
Ac 9:10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise & go to the street called Straight, & at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying…
Questions To Ask: “God please show me…”
My burning bush…
The people You’ve placed in my life I am to speak to on Your behalf.
The people in my family You want me to encourage in the Faith.
How you would have me to proclaim the Gospel.
Day 5: Finances
Matthew 6:24 No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one & love the other, or he will be devoted to the one & despise the other. You cannot serve God & money.
2 Corinthians 9:6 Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, & whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
Luke 19:8 Zacchaeus stood & said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.
Questions To Ask: “God please show me…”
Have I been a good steward of the finances You’ve given to me?
The condition of my heart in relation to my financial blessings.
If I have not used the wealth You’ve given me to bless others.
How you would have me use my wealth to honor You.
Day 6: Church
Galatians 6:10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, & especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Philippians 2:1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection & sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching & teaching.
Eph 4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors & teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith & of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ
Questions To Ask: “God please show me…”
Have I treated my brothers and sisters in Christ as You would have me to?
Have I contributed to Your Church being of one mind, living in harmony?
Have I honored those You called to shepherd Your people as I should?
Have I helped other believers grow and mature in their faith?
As you deal with each of these honestly before God… being obedient to repent and do works in keeping with repentance and confession of sin… you will have a greater sense of the forgiveness The Lord’s Supper symbolizes because… “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).