For This Reason
Originally scheduled for September 2
May I bring to your attention and unusual
passage in Scripture?
Corinthians 11:27-31 NASB
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.
But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat
of the bread and drink of the cup.
For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to
himself if he does not judge the body rightly.
For this reason
many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.
But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged.
(The additional emphasis is added.)
Our ancient fathers would’ve understood this
passage quite clearly. They would’ve recognized from the Old
Testament that God often punishes the guilty by means of disease or
disaster. Indeed, one of the main features of the book of Job is
that his “friends” accuse him of being a secret sinner because —
obviously to them — God must be punishing him.
The modern Christian has to objections to this.
First, he says, we know what causes disease: bacteria (or whatever
other modern cause.) Second, he says, we now know that God is a
loving God and would certainly not do such a thing. The second
objection is easily disposed of, for God is righteous as well as
loving. We must take a bit more time with the first one.
If you want the right answers, you must first
ask the right questions. As anyone who has suffered severely can
tell you, the question which occurs to the mind is not, “why” but
“why me?” The doctor’s explanation satisfies our academic curiosity;
we go to God with our spiritual curiosity intact. Why did God do
this to me?
C. S. Lewis once said that God whispers in our
pleasures but shouts in our pains. Pain is God’s megaphone for
getting our attention. Why does he do this? It is a result of the
fact that he is love, and therefore desires that deep, personal
relationship with his children. Think about it: can you have a
personal relationship with someone if you don’t know who they really
are? If you don’t know who God really is, can he have that personal
relationship with you? The answer is obvious.
In Communion we know God with the deepest form
of communication of which human beings are capable: symbolic
communication. When you place that wedding ring on your bride’s
finger, you are saying “I love you” in a way far beyond the
capability of mere words. What does it say for your marriage if you
did that but really didn’t mean it? That would be greatly insulting
to your bride. Think how much more insulting it is to God when you
take communion as if it means nothing.
Therefore, as you partake this morning, ask God
in prayer that it may be the “real you” meeting the real God at his
table. Do this in a worthy manner; you have been warned.