1 Corinthians 11:23-34 – WORSHIP AT THE TABLE


In a sense, today we are having a “gratitude lunch”.  We are remembering what Jesus did for us on the cross by celebrating the Lord’s Table.  

I  want to talk to you about “Worship Around the Table”, the Lord’s Table.  It is so easy for us to take our once a month Communion service as just a little “tack on” to the end of the service.  But if our whole lives are to be an act of worship, based on Romans 12:1-2, then our participation at the Communion Table should also be an act of worship. We should never take the Lord’s Table lightly. 

I direct your attention to 1 Corinthians 11:23-34.  Here we find the most complete explanation of the Lord’s Table in the Scriptures.  Based on this Scripture, I am inviting you to Worship at the Table, which we will do in a few minutes.  This morning we invite you to see that: 


Worship involves memory.

When we remember what the Lord has done for us that is when we are ready to worship.

Psalm 143:5, Philippians 4:8 

Paul begins his discussion of the Lord’s Table by jogging the memories of the Corinthians.    

1 Corinthians 11:23 – 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: 

What Paul was sharing he had received directly from the Lord.  What Paul was sharing, he had previously shared with the Corinthians.  He was getting them to think about things which they had previously been taught.      

Paul tells them a remarkable thing.  The night Jesus was betrayed, which was also the night of Jesus being arrested, was also the night that Jesus in a quiet Passover dinner, instituted a commemorative service for His church. 

Twice during this little service, Jesus tells his disciples “Do this in remembrance of me.” 

Worship at the Lord’s Table is to be thoughtful. 

Our thoughts are to be centered on the Lord Jesus. 

1 Corinthians 11:24 – 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. 

Jesus took unleavened bread and broke it.

He distributed that bread and said Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: 

Did Jesus literally mean that the bread was literally His body? No.

When Jesus said “I am the door”, He didn’t mean that literally either.

Jesus meant that bread was symbolic for His body.

And we are take that bread in remembrance of Him.

So as we pass the bread and hold the bread in our hands, let’s think about the body of Jesus. 

Jesus’ body was given of us.

2 Corinthians 5:21 – For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 

Jesus body was broken for us.

Not a bone was broken in his body.

But the suffering in his body was of the highest intensity. 

And on the cross He bore the punishment for the sins of the entire world. Isaiah 53:3-6 

Yes, we are to worship by remembering the broken body when the bread is passed. But there’s more! 

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 ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 

The cup when it is passed reminds us of the shed blood.

It is Jesus’ shed blood that secures for us a new covenant or agreement with God.  For all who put their faith in Christ and in His shed blood have eternal life!      

Because we are unrighteous sinners someone has to pay for our sins.

Jesus chose to die for our sins.  Therefore anyone who chooses to trust Christ as Savior has forgiveness and eternal life. Romans 5:1,9 

So when we worship at the Lord’s Table we are to be thoughtful.  We are to be thinking on what Jesus has done for us.  We are to be remembering Him.    


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

If I called up most of you during the week and announced to you that I wanted you to preach this Sunday, you’d panic, especially if you thought I was serious. 

But let me tell you, if you partake of the bread and the cup this morning, you are preaching.  And you are preaching the greatest message anybody could possibly preach. 

The word “show” in 1 Corinthians 11:26 means to proclaim.

When we proclaim we preach.

When you take of the bread you are preaching your own faith in the broken body of Christ for you.

When you take of the cup you are preaching your own faith in the shed blood of Christ for you.

By taking of the bread and the cup you are a testimony to all who can see you.  You are preaching your faith to them! 

Therefore it is very important that what you are professing by your actions is actually true in your life.  The only person taking communion should be the person who has put his or her faith in Christ as Savior. Otherwise you are a hypocrite! 

It’s bad enough to not know Christ as Savior! John 3:36

It’s bad enough to not know Christ as Savior, but its worse to act like you’re saved by taking Communion.

Make sure that your heart matches your testimony.  And if you are not sure of your salvation, pass up the bread and cup until you are sure. 

I want you to see something else in verse 26.

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

We not only testify to the death and burial of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we testify to His resurrection and the fact that He is coming again.  Not only do we look backward to the cross, but we look forward to His coming for us. Philippians 3:20 


1 Corinthians 11:27 – 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. 

Now let’s get one thing straight.

There is not one person in the world who is worthy of the Lord Jesus.

There is not one person in the world who is worthy of the broken body and the shed blood. Isaiah 64:6 

We are not worthy. That’s why Jesus had to die of us.

When Paul talks about being unworthy here, he means to partake of the bread and the cup in an unworthy manner. 

It is to participate in the Lord’s Table and not forgiving other people.

It is to participate in the Lord’s Table and have your mind a million miles away in daydreams.

It is to participate in the Lord’s Table and to have unconfessed sin in your life.

When we come to the Lord’s Table, God wants us to be transparent. 

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

Before you participate in the Lord’s Table, the Lord wants you to examine yourself for sin and confess it.    Psalm 32:5, 1 John 1:9 

There are two requirements for taking communion. First, you must know Jesus as you Savior.  Second, you are to confess all known sin. You are to be transparent, honest with God about your failures as a Christian.      


Because all Christians sin, there is a sort of a trial at each communion service.

When there is a trial there is a judge.

We are told here that there are two possible judges. 

First of all, and most preferable, we are to be our own judges. 

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

If we are transparent before God, we will judge ourselves.

That is what God prefers. 

The other possible judge is God himself.

We are warned in 1 Corinthians 11:29, For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 

We are inviting God’s judgment when we eat and drink in an unworthy manner.  And indeed, many of the Corinthians had been judged.

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

Not all sickness is due to specific sin, but some of it is.

When we take the Lord’s Table lightly, we can become, weak, sickly and even asleep, that is dead.  God will take saints home prematurely when they abuse the Lord’s Table.    

Why does God judge us this way?

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

God will go to great lengths to wake up his sinning children, and even take them home to Him early if they insist on being disobedient.      

So the Lord’s Table is a time of worship.