Author: George Ippolito (Page 2 of 37)

The Lord’s Supper: A Table with Ramifications – Part 2 (1 Cor. 11:32-34)

32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world. (1 Cor. 11:32)

Lest someone were to misinterpret what Paul meant by the language of “judgment” (1 Cor. 11:29), in comes verse thirty-two to provide clarity and a surprising witness to the doctrine of eternal security. The judgment that Paul was speaking about (“But when we are judged”) was akin to divine discipline (“we are disciplined by the Lord”). And divine discipline is a witness to divine affection – “…those whom the LORD loves He disciplines” (Heb. 12:6a). The absence of discipline means that an individual is not God’s child (vs.8). No chastisement feels pleasant, whether it be human or divine; but its typical end is to produce a harvest of righteousness (vs.11).

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The Lord’s Supper: A Table with Ramifications – Part 1 (1 Cor. 11:29-31)

29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.

If you are a good parent, you will expect certain behaviors from your children at the dinner table. You will expect that feet will be on the floor and not alongside the plate. You will expect food to be eaten and not flung. You will expect that those with them at the table are respected by them, and so on. And if those expectations went unheeded without any sign of repentance and remorse there would likely be some form of discipline rendered. If that’s the case for children who disrespect their parents’ table, how much more should chastisement be expected for dishonoring the Lord’s table?

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The Lord’s Supper: A Table of Examination

27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

After reading verse twenty-seven someone might say, ‘I think you’d be better off calling this a Table of Trepidation.’ The language after all is startling – “be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord” (vs.27b). Someone could do their own ‘risk/reward analysis and draw the conclusion, as erroneous as it might be, that they are better off avoiding the bread and cup – after all, you can’t partake in an unworthy manner if don’t partake at all, right? On a much lower scale, that would be like an employee choosing to not do an ongoing and important task that his employer asked him to do because he didn’t want to do it wrong. Humanly-speaking, that would be a good way to lose a job. Spiritually-speaking, when concerning the Lord’s Supper, it’s a good way to illustrate having never had salvation. It would be an act of flagrant sin that disregards Jesus’ words – “Do this in remembrance of Me” (vs.24b, 25b), as well the precious nature of His sacrificial offering. Every Christian has a responsibility to heed the Savior’s imperative and not only RSVP for attendance at the table, but to actually come to it.

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Why Am I Here (On Earth)? The Vanity of Fame

So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem.

Considering all that Solomon wrote prior to this verse, fame would be the seemingly inevitable outcome. Nevertheless, he made the point, even as he did earlier – “I became great” (2:9a; cf. 1:16). Having surpassed his predecessors in wisdom, works, and wealth, he also surpassed them in magnificence and as a result he became a titan of notoriety. Yes, the geographical reference of Eccl. 2:9 is limited to Jerusalem, but the reverberations of Solomon’s fame spread well beyond Israel’s capital. The Queen of Sheba, for instance, “heard of the fame of Solomon” (1 Ki. 10:1) and came from “the ends of the earth” to hear his wisdom (Mt. 12:41). Perhaps this is where the previous conclusions of meaninglessness would give way to that which is meaningful. Perhaps the vanity of pleasure and possessions was a poor substitute for the worthy endeavor of a celebrated perception. Not quite.

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Why Am I Here (On Earth)? The Vanity of Accrued Wealth

If you asked yourself, ‘What are some of the things that people try to find joy and fulfillment in?’, provided you live in a somewhat developed part of the world, at some point you’d probably include in your list – things. Stuff. Possessions. Money. Gold. Shoes. Tools. Old baseball cards. And so on. Despite Jesus’ instruction that life does not consist in the abundance of one’s possessions (Lk. 12:15), it’s not uncommon to find those who live like it does. Jesus’ words, you could say, are corroborated by Solomon’s experience. He was a man who had just about everything he wanted and found that everything wasn’t enough.

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