August 18 - Discerning the Body
The Lord’s Supper is a way of revelation about our view of the body of Christ. When we partake of the bread and the cup, we are tested in the way that we treat the body of Christ. The cup that we partake is one cup and the bread we partake is of one loaf. We do not need to further explain the importance of unity in the body of Christ. Although there are many members, but we are one body. Whenever we come together for the Lord’s Supper, we come to discern the body and to be judged by God about how we judge others in the body. This is “discerning the body”.
Should we fail to discern the body, we eat of the bread and drink of the cup in vain for we come against the main purpose of the Supper that is to bring us into one body, the body of Christ. Those who do not examine their attitude towards other members of the body are to eat and drink their own sins. The Lord’s Supper is to remind them of the atoning death of Jesus through the forgiveness of sins. If there is unforgiveness or disunity within the body, they would come against the basic meaning of the Supper. If we do not forgive one another of our sins, the Lord would not forgive our sins and the death on the cross is in vain.
Under such conditions of not discerning the body, many of our meetings or worship services are not for better but for worse. The gathering of God’s people would become the platform for the devil instead of for Christians to worship their God. Paul pointed out disunity, factions, the rich humiliating the poor, would bring guilt upon the assembly and they would have partaken the Supper in an unworthy manner. When they failed to discern the body, God would bring in physical judgments, causing some of them to be sick and weak. Some of them have even died because of this sin.
When a church is divided, everything that is done in worship goes to nothing because God is not pleased. Paul added that divisions are somehow unavoidable for God wants to use them to reveal those that are tested, or approved or genuine. In every church conflict, God usually reveals those that are faithful to Him, not taking any side but stand firm for the Lord. God is pleased with them for they are the ones who can truly discern the body. Yes, there is always disunity in the church but you can take God’s side about the body without taking any human sides.
Are there factions in your church? Do church people argue over small matters? Is the Lord’s name taken in vain among them? You can make a difference by discerning the body. Yes, this is the body of Christ and we are one. You refuse to take sides and keep praying for the unity of the church. When you partake of the Lord’s Supper, you can partake it with a clear conscience.
Ps 89:38-45 Esth 1:1-3:15 1 Cor 11:17-34 Prov 21:19-20