1 Corinthians 11:18
First of all, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it.
Sermons
Sectarian Feeling Within the ChurchR. Tuck 1 Corinthians 11:17-19
A Spirit of Disunion in the ChurchJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:17-22
Abuse of the Lord's SupperM. Dods, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:17-22
Charitable JudgmentsT. Fuller, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:17-22
Despising the ChurchT.Fuller, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:17-22
Divisions in the ChurchJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:17-22
Eating the Lord's SupperC. A. Bartol.1 Corinthians 11:17-22
HeresiesN. Emmons, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:17-22
Heresies in the ChurchJ. Rogers, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:17-22
HeresyT. Fuller, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:17-22
Heresy Manifesting TruthT. Fuller, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:17-22
Ministerial Blame and CommendationT. Fuller, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:17-22
Regard for the ChurchJ. A. Seiss1 Corinthians 11:17-22
Religious Institutions -- Their AbuseD. Thomas, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:17-22
Some Hindrances to the Right Observance of the Lord's SupperE. Hurndall 1 Corinthians 11:17-22
The Abuse of the Means of Grace IsJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:17-22
The Church: its Note of UniversalityN. Smyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:17-22
The Heavenly BanquetH. Bonar, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:17-22
The Love-Feast and the Lord's SupperF. W. Robertson, M.A.1 Corinthians 11:17-22
Unprofitable Public WorshipB. Beddome, M.A.1 Corinthians 11:17-22
Special Consideration of the Lord's Supper; Uses of Self JudgmentC. Limpscomb 1 Corinthians 11:17-34
Words of Evil OmenD. Fraser 1 Corinthians 11:18, 19
In a good English dictionary, the term "schismatic" is thus explained: "One who separates from a Church from difference of opinion." The Bible makes no reference to an individual schismatic; nor does it apply the word "schism" to separation from the Church. "Heresy" is defined in the dictionary as "the taking and holding of an opinion contrary to the usual belief, especially in theology." Such, no doubt, is according to ecclesiastical usage; but the Scripture means by a "heresy" a sect or faction, not apart from but within the Church: "Heresies [factions] among you."

I. A SCHISM IS A RENT IN THE MIDST OF THE CHURCH, marring the enjoyment and expression of its essential unity. If a piece of undressed cloth were put to an old garment, a schism would occur. Not that the garment would fall into two parts, but that it would show an unseemly rent. A division of opinion among the people who heard our Saviour is called a schism; and the same word is used to denote the discord in the crowd when St. Paul appeared before the council at Jerusalem. The only Church of all those to which St. Paul wrote, which had schisms within it of such seriousness as to give him anxiety and call for animadversion, was the Church at Corinth; but by these he did not mean the action of parties breaking off from the primitive Church in that city, and forming rival Churches or separate denominations. They were parties in the Church dissenting or differing from one another. This will appear the more clearly if we mark the remedies which the apostle prescribed, viz.:

1. To speak the same thing, and be perfectly joined together in the same mind and the same judgment. To speak the same thing was to exalt the one great Name of the Lord Jesus, and not to take party names, saying, "I am of Paul; I am of Apollos." And to be perfectly joined in the same mind - the mind of Christ, and the same judgment - the judgment of his Spirit, while it never precluded activity of investigation and discussion, certainly implied that the normal condition of the Church should be one of concord, and not one of countless variations and opposing views.

2. To keep the Lord's Supper as the apostle instructed them. The Corinthians were charged not to partake of the sacred supper as of a common meal, lest they should "come together to judgment." They were to keep the feast with reverence, and with discernment of the Lord's body. They were also to show brotherly kindness, not as partisans, but as brethren, coining together and waiting for one another at the festival of love.

3. To bear in mind the doctrine of the mystical body, and, as members therein, to have the same care one for another. To have schisms or alienations would be to separate limbs that had need of each other, and so to vex and impede the whole body of Christ. At the present day, wherever parties are formed in a particular Church with hostile feelings and a desire to weaken one another, there is schism, in the New Testament sense of the word. And wherever, within the Church general, or communion of saints, there is an elevation of party names, and a setting up of party or denominational communions, making the Lord's Supper "their own supper," there is schism.

II. A HERESY IS AN AGGRAVATED FORM OF A SCHISM, AND DENOTES A SEPARATIST PARTY OR A SECT. We read of "the heresy of the Sadducees" (Acts 5:17), and "the heresy of the Pharisees" (Acts 15:5). The Christians were charged with forming a new heresy or sect - "the heresy of the Nazarenes." It was in this sense, and not at all in the sense of heterodoxy, that St. Paul admitted that he worshipped the God of his fathers, "after the manner which they called heresy." The Jews at Rome, agreeing to bear the apostle on the faith or' the Nazarenes, remarked, "As concerning this heresy, we know that it is everywhere spoken against." Thus the term undoubtedly denoted a faction, not a mode of thought or form of doctrine, true or false; but in the Church it to from the beginning an unfavourable meaning. A heresy was a faction which carried out a schism to actual separation, and was animated in doing so by a proud, unruly spirit. Accordingly, heresies are classed with variances, strifes, and seditions, among "the works of the flesh" (Galatians 5:20). "A man that is a heretic," therefore, means, not an errorist, but a separatist. We do, indeed, read in 2 Peter 2:1 of "heresies of doctrine;" but the reference is to the conduct of introducers of strange doctrine as forming a separate party. "Many shall follow their pernicious ways." We have seen that direction was given for the prevention of schism. It was also given for the correction and removal of heretics. Titus was instructed to admonish a heretic once and again. If admonition failed, Titus was to reject or shun him as a mischief maker among brethren. We live in a time of great confusion. Church unity is misunderstood; Church liberty is abused; and Church discipline is relaxed - is, in some quarters, almost obsolete. Let every one look to his own spirit and conduct. As a Christian, you are a Churchman. Never join a sect or faction. Never lift the mere banner of a party. Belong to the Church of God, which was born of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost. For actual instruction and united worship, you must be in some one particular part of that Church; abide in that which is in your judgment the best constituted and administered; but never take your chamber for the whole house, or any particular Church for the Church universal. Bear a brotherly heart and countenance towards all who love the Lord, that, so far as your influence extends, there may be no schism in the body, Deplore the existence of splits and divisions as an evil; yet remember that it evolves some good - "that they who are approved may be made manifest among you." Oh to be approved of him who knows what spirit we are of, and to be manifested as no heretics, but faithful members of Christ and loving children of God! - F.







Now... I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.
I. WHEN DO WE COME TOGETHER, NOT FOR THE BETTER, BUT FOR THE WORSE? This may be known —

1. By the principles which influence our attendance.(1) Do we come to receive instruction, to get good that we may grow in conformity to God, or do we come only to gratify curiosity, to subserve our worldly interest, etc.?(2) Do we come without any preparation of heart? Are we soon weary of the service (Ezekiel 14:3)?

2. From the manner of our attendance. If we are either captious, careless, or sleepy; if we suffer the fowls to come down and devour the sacrifice, and the buyers and sellers to occupy the inward sanctuary; if we have no love for the work in which we are engaged, but can indulge in a trifling or stupid frame of mind, assuredly we come together, not for the better, but for the worse.

3. By the effects of our attendance. Some, like Festus, treat the Word with derision. Some, like Agrippa, are half convinced, but they stifle their convictions. Others, again, hear and approve, but never practise. In the parable of the sower we hear of four sorts of ground, and only one of them good.

II. THE EVIL OF SUCH CONDUCT. If we do not come together for the better, it will be for the worse. Where the Word does not soften it generally hardens; and where it does not make the heart contrite it often makes it desperate (1 Corinthians 2:16). More particularly —

1. It is highly displeasing to God.

2. It is a great grief to godly ministers; and what can be more unreasonable than to afflict those who labour for our good, and are seeking our everlasting salvation (Jeremiah 13:17; Philippians 3:18).

3. In the end it will be a source of sorrow to themselves, and will issue in their ruin (Proverbs 5:11-14; 1 Corinthians 11:30).

(B. Beddome, M.A.)

Observe —

I. THAT ATTENDANCE ON THE INSTITUTIONS OF RELIGION MAY PROVE PERNICIOUS RATHER THAN BENEFICIAL (ver. 17). Men cannot be made religious; an irresistible moral force is a contradiction in terms, an impossibility in fact. Hence the highest redemptive forces on man often conduce to his ruin. The gospel is either the "savour of life unto life, or of death unto death." Pharaoh's heart was hardened under the ministry of Moses, and the hearts of the men of Chorazin, etc., were hardened under the ministry of Christ.

II. THAT ASSEMBLING TOGETHER FOR RELIGIOUS PURPOSES DOES NOT NECESSARILY IMPLY UNITY OF SOUL (vers. 18, 19). It does not follow that because people are brought together in the same church that they are united together in spirit. Two people may sit in the same pew, hear the same discourse, etc., and yet in soul be as remote from one another as the poles. No real spiritual unity can exist where there is not a supreme affection for Christ, who is the only uniting place of souls.

III. THAT THE VERY BEST INSTITUTIONS ON EARTH ARE OFTEN SADLY PERVERTED BY MEN. For many reasons the Lord's Supper may be regarded as one of the best ordinances. But it was now perverted into a means of gluttony and drunkenness (vers. 20, 21). Are not men constantly perverting Divine institutions, Churches, Bibles, the Christian Ministry, etc.?

(D. Thomas, D.D.)

I. VERY COMMON. Through —

1. Carelessness.

2. The indulgence of an improper spirit, as enmity, pride, unbelief, etc.

II. HIGHLY CRIMINAL — because a direct offence against the purity, majesty, mercy of God.

III. EXCEEDINGLY DANGEROUS. It makes a man worse by increasing his sin, hardening his heart, augmenting his guilt and punishment.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

In this paragraph (vers. 17-34) Paul speaks of an abuse which can scarcely be credited in our times. A respectable citizen would hardly have permitted at his own table the licence visible at the table of the Lord.

I. HOW DID SUCH DISORDERS ARISE?

1. It was common in Greece for clubs to meet periodically and to share a common meal. This custom, not unknown in Palestine, had been adopted by the primitive Church of Jerusalem. The Christians then felt themselves to be more closely related than the members of any trade guild or political club. Speedily love feasts (agapoe) became prevalent institutions. On a fixed day, generally the first day of the week, the Christians assembled, each bringing what he could as a contribution to the feast. In some places the proceedings began by partaking of the consecrated bread and wine; but in other places physical appetite was first appeased.

2. This mode of celebrating the Lord's Supper was recommended by its close resemblance to its original celebration. It was at the close of the paschal supper that our Lord took bread and brake it. But when the first solemnity passed away the love-feast was liable to many corruptions. Those who had no need to use the common stock, but had houses of their own to eat and to drink in, yet, for the sake of appearances, brought their contribution to the meal, but consumed it themselves. The consequence was that from being truly love-feasts, these meetings became scenes of greedy selfishness, and profane conduct, and besotted excess.

II. TO THE REFORM OF THIS ABUSE PAUL NOW ADDRESSES HIMSELF.

1. Negatively.(1) He does not propose to disjoin absolutely the religious rite from the ordinary meal. In the case of the richer members of the Church this disjunction is enjoined (ver. 22). But with those who had no well-provided homes another rule must be adopted. It would shame the Christian community, and undo its reputation for brotherly love were its members observed begging their bread on the streets.(2) Although the wine of the holy communion had been so sadly abused, Paul does not prohibit its use. On infinitely less occasion alterations have been introduced with a view to preventing its abuse by reclaimed drunkards, and on still slighter pretext in the Church of Rome the lay communicant is only allowed to partake of the bread. Mohler says that this arose from a nice sense of delicacy, a pious dread of desecrating, by spilling and the like, even in the most conscientious ministration. In contrast to all such contrivances we recognise the sagacity which directed that the ordinance should not be tampered with to suit the avoidable weaknesses of men, but that men should learn to live up to the requirements of the ordinance.(3) Paul does not insist that because frequent communion had been abused, this must give place to monthly or yearly communion. For some centuries it was expected that all members of the Church should partake weekly. That familiarity breeds contempt, or heedlessness, is a rule that ordinarily holds good. And by the same law it is feared, and not without reason, that if we observed frequent communion we should cease to feel the sacredness of the ordinance. But our method of procedure is first to find out what it is right to do, and then, though it cost us an effort, to do it. If our reverence for the ordinance in question depends on its rare celebration, may it not be a merely superstitious or sentimental reverence? Paul seeks to restore reverence in the Corinthians, not by prohibiting frequent communion, but by setting more clearly before them the solemn facts which underlie the rite. But does not our shrinking from communion often mean that we shrink from being more distinctly confronted with the love and holiness of Christ and with His purpose in dying for us — that we are not quite reconciled to be always living as the children of God, whose citizenship is in heaven ?

2. The positive counsel Paul gives regarding suitable preparation for participation in this sacrament is very simple. He offers no elaborate scheme of self-examination which might fill the mind with scruples and induce introspective habits and spiritual hypochondria.(1) He would have every man answer the plain question, Do you discern the Lord's body in the sacrament? The Corinthians were chastened by sickness, and apparently by death that they might see and repent of the enormity of using these symbols as common food; and in order that they might escape this chastening, they had but to recall the institution of the sacrament by our Lord Himself.(2) The brief narrative gives prominence to the truth that the sacrament was intended primarily as a memorial or remembrance of the Saviour. As the dying gift of a friend becomes sacred to us as his own person, and we cannot bear to see it handed about by unsympathetic hands, and as when we gaze at his portrait, or use the pencil worn smooth by his fingers, we recall the many happy times we spent together, so does this sacrament seem sacred to us as Christ's own person, and by means of it grateful memories of all He was and did throng into the mind.(3) The form of this memorial is fitted to recall the actual life and death of the Lord. By the symbols we are brought into the presence of an actual living Person. Our religion is not a theory; we are saved by being brought into right personal relations by remembering Christ and by assimilating the spirit of His life and death.(4) But especially by giving His flesh and blood He means that He gives us His all, Himself wholly; and by inviting us to partake of His flesh and blood He means that we must receive Him into the most real connection possible, must admit His self-sacrificing love into our heart as our most cherished possession.

(M. Dods, D.D.)

When ye come together in the Church, I hear there be divisions among you
I. ARE A SERIOUS EVIL.

1. They hinder prosperity.

2. Demoralise many.

3. Occasion reproach.

4. Dishonour Christ.

II. OUGHT NOT TO EXCITE SURPRISE. Because offences must come —

1. Through the imperfections of humanity.

2. The instigation of Satan.

III. ARE OVERRULED BY GOD, as a test of the faith, purity, steadfastness of those who are approved before God.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

1. Destroys edification.

2. Occasions divisions.

3. Profanes what is most holy.

4. Usually springs from selfishness and pride.

5. Is deserving of the strongest condemnation.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

And I partly believe it
I. SOME OF YOU ARE GUILTY OF THIS FAULT, THOUGH OTHERS BE INNOCENT. General censures, condemning whole churches, are altogether uncharitable. Angle out the offenders, but take heed of killing all with a dragnet: and grant many, yea, most to be faulty, yet some may be guiltless. Wickedness was not so general in Sodom, but that righteous Lot was an exception. Obadiah was steward of Ahab's wicked household. Yea, seeing impiety intrudes itself amongst the thickest of God's saints, just it is that God should have some names even where the throne of Satan is erected (Revelation 3:4). Let us therefore follow the wary proceedings of Jehu (2 Kings 10:23). When we are about with censuring to murder the credits of many together, let us take heed that there be not some orthodox amongst those whom we condemn to be all heretics; some that desire to be peaceful in our Israel, amongst those whom we condemn for all factious schismatics.

II. I BELIEVE THESE ACCUSATIONS ONLY IN PART, and hope they are not so bad as they are reported. When fames are brought unto us from good hands, let us not be so incredulous as to believe no part of them; nor so uncharitable as to believe all; but with St. Paul "partly believe it."

1. Because fame often creates something of nothing, always makes a great deal of a little. It is true of fame what is said of the devil; it has been "a liar from the beginning"; yea, and sometimes a murderer. Absalom slew one of David's sons, and fame killed all the rest (2 Samuel 13:30)

2. Because men in reporting things often mingle their own interests and engagements with their relations, making them better or worse, as they themselves stand affected. Water resembleth both the taste and colour of that earth through which it runneth; so reports relish of their relators, and have a smack of their partial dispositions; and therefore such relations are not to be believed in their full extent. Conclusion:

1. This confutes —(1) Those that will believe nothing of what they hear reported, though warranted by never so good witnesses. I bear them witness, these men have charity, but not according to knowledge.(2) But where too much charity hath slain her thousands, too little hath slain her ten thousands.

2. Let not our beliefs be altogether of clay to receive any impression; nor altogether of iron to receive none at all. But as the toes in the image of Nebuchadnezzar's dream were partly iron and partly clay, so let our beliefs be composed of charity, mixed with our credulity; that, when a crime is reported, we may with St. Paul "partly believe it."

(T. Fuller, D.D.).

For there must be also heresies among you
Consider —

I. WHAT HERESY IS. There are two opinions upon this subject. One is, that it is a schism. But the apostle in the text and in ver. 18 makes a distinction between the two. By heresies, all denominations mean false doctrines, contrary to, and subversive of, the gospel (Titus 3:10-11; Galatians 1:6-9). Every error is not a heresy, yet every error which subverts the gospel is.

II. THAT HERESIES HAVE BEEN IN THE CHURCH FROM THE BEGINNING. Immediately after the gospel was preached by Philip, Simon professed to believe it; but he soon propagated the grossest heresies. Paul intimates that there were heretics in the Church of Rome (Romans 16:17-18). Our text assures us that there were heresies in the Church of Corinth. And John mentions various dangerous heresies in the seven Churches of Asia. If we consult ecclesiastical history, we shall find that the Church has never been free from them. Christ predicted that there would always be tares among the wheat to the end of the world.

III. IN WHAT SENSE IT IS NECESSARY THAT HERESIES SHOULD BE IN THE CHURCH. There never can be any natural necessity. Those who enjoy the gospel may always know the truth. Heresy is always the fruit of an evil heart of unbelief. There is, therefore, only a moral necessity arising from the corruption of the heart. As long as this is the case, some will love error better than truth.

IV. WHY GOD CHOOSES THAT HERESIES SHOULD EXIST.

1. To distinguish truth from error. Darkness renders light more visible, and light renders darkness more visible. The errors in the heathen would illustrate the truths believed in the Christian world. The errors in the Romish illustrate the truths professed in the Protestant Church.

2. That true believers may be distinguished from false professors. Paul gives this reason in the text. The heterodox everywhere are a foil to the orthodox, and exhibit their characters in a beautiful light.

3. That mankind may have a fair opportunity of choosing the way to life or the way to death. Accordingly, it had always been God's method to exhibit both truth and error before their minds, and give them opportunity of choosing the one or the other, that they may be saved or that they may be damned.

V. IMPROVEMENT.

1. If heresies are opposite to, and subversive of, the gospel, then we have reason to think that they have had a long and extensive spread in the world.

2. It appears, from the nature and tendency of heresy, that the Church ought to censure and reject any of its members who embrace it.

3. If it be one design of God in continuing heresies to distinguish real Christians from false and erroneous professors, then there is a palpable impropriety and absurdity in attempting to unite those together in Christian communion who differ essentially in their religious sentiments.

4. When fatal heresies greatly prevail, then is a time when God is about to purify the Church, and make manifest those who are approved among the professors of religion.

5. Learn the importance of ministers' preaching the gospel fully and plainly. If the gospel had always been preached fully and plainly, it is hard to conceive how heresies should have abounded.

6. From the nature and tendency of heresy, we conclude that sinners are in the most dangerous situation, for they are surrounded by heretics on every side.

(N. Emmons, D.D.)

Heresies sin against faith and schism, against charity; and, as children say they love father and mother both best, so let us hate heresies and schisms both worst.

I. WHAT IS A HERESY? An error in the fundamentals of religion, maintained with obstinacy.

1. Note those qualities which dispose a man to be the founder of a heresy.(1) Pride. When one is elated with conceited sanctity above others, he will quarrel with those who are before him in place, which are behind him in piety.(2) Discontent that his preferments bear not proportion to his supposed deserts. Thus Arius would be an Arian, because he could not be a bishop.(3) Learning void of humility; or good natural parts, especially memory and a fluent expression. But if both be wanting, yet boldness and brazen-faced impudence will supply the place, especially if he trades with the vulgar.(4) To varnish all these, there must be pretended piety and austerity of life. Put all these together, and they spell together hoeresiarcham. To prevent these mischiefs, let such men pray to God for humility. Let them beware of discontentment, which is a direct quarrelling with God, who is the Fountain of all preferment. Grant preferment is denied thee; be not so childish to cast away a crown, because thou canst not get a counter. Lastly, if God hath bestowed good parts upon thee, pray to Him to sanctify them; otherwise the greatest memory may soon forget itself, and a fluent tongue may cut his throat that hath it.

2. A plain follower of a heresy may be thus described. He must be —(1) Ignorant; for he that knows nothing will believe anything (2 Timothy 3:6).(2) Desirous of novelty. It is an old humour for men to love new things.(3) As a result of these two, he must have the persons of men in much admiration, and entertaining anything that is said because they say it. To prevent these mischiefs, let the meanest labour to attain to some measure of knowledge in matters of salvation, that so he may not trust every spirit, but be able to try whether he be of God or no. Secondly, kill the itch of novelty in thy soul, practising the prophet's precept (Jeremiah 6:16). Lastly, love and admire no man's doctrine for his person, but rather love his person for his doctrine.

II. THERE MUST BE HERESIES. A conditionate necessity is this: for upon the pre-supposition of these two things, which cannot be denied — that the devil goeth about like a roaring lion, etc., and that the flesh lusteth against the spirit, making men prone to all wickedness; hence it followeth there must be heresies. Thus he that beholdeth a family, and findeth the master to be careless, the mistress negligent, the sons riotous, the servants unfaithful, he may safely conclude that family cannot be safe, but must be ruined (Luke 17:1).

(T. Fuller, D.D.)

I. THE ASSERTION — "there must be heresies" — is made in the same sense as "It must needs be that offences come" (Matthew 18:7). Not that he is excusable who introduces heresies, or occasions offences; for "woe unto him by whom they come." But in the natural course of things, such evils will happen.

1. Could no external cause be assigned, our common frailties and corruptions may prepare us to expect them in a society composed of men. Of all parts of our knowledge, we are inclined to be fondest of those in which we differ from other men. It appears dull and undistinguishing to tread on in the common road, and think and believe as other men do. And if we observe how deeply this is rooted in our nature, and how difficult it is even for good men to restrain it within due bounds; and if we take farther into our reflection that envy, resentment, and almost every other passion may accidentally concur in producing heresies, we must confess that these evils are, humanly speaking, unavoidable. And accordingly the Scriptures prepare us for them, as natural effects of the corrupt passions of mankind (Acts 20:30; 2 Timothy 3:2-4; 2 Peter 2:1).

2. From false teachers and seducers, then, the Church must never hope to be perfectly free in this world. Nor shall we be surprised at their success if we reflect that there will be hearers — light and unstable men with itching ears — strongly inclined to hearken after new discoveries.

II. THE PROVIDENTIAL END ASSIGNED FOR GOD'S PERMISSION OF THESE EVILS — the trial and manifestation of these who are approved (see Deuteronomy 13:1; Luke 21:13). This manifestation may be understood —

1. With respect to ourselves. It is a comfort unspeakable to a good man to find his graces of strength to endure this trial. Unless our constancy has been tried, we know not how far an esteem for the virtues and abilities of any man may prevail on us to desert the faith. If upon experiment we find ourselves equal to the trial, we may then hope well of our integrity, and that we shall "hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end."

2. With respect to the Church. Known unto God only are they who are His, by an internal inspection into their hearts. To the Church, however, this character can only appear by outward evidences; and, therefore, professions of faith have been always required, as terms of admission into its society. But these cautions are not always sufficient to reach the heart and discover the sincerity of the man. But he who has stood firm in the day of temptation has given an evidence of his integrity which cannot be suspected; and if to his faith he has added knowledge, and is able to convince gainsayers and defeat the craft of those who lie in wait to deceive, we must distinguish him in our esteem, not only as a sincere member, but as a light and ornament of the Church.

III. THE ADVANTAGES DERIVED TO THE CHURCH FROM THESE MANIFESTATIONS.

1. It is hereby enabled better to exercise its discipline, to separate the sound from the corrupted members of the body.

2. Hereby its enemies are discovered in their proper character.

3. Hereby Church governors are enabled to choose fit persons to serve in the sacred office.

4. By occasions of inquiry into heresy, the doctrines of the Church become more attentively considered and more firmly established. To the early heresies we owe many of the writings of the primitive fathers, and several parts of the Scriptures themselves.

5. By the appearance of these dangers, pastors are quickened to a more diligent attendance on the duties of their station, and at the same time carefully to examine their own lives, and, by an unblamable conduct, to keep up the dignity and influence of their ministry, that the enemy may have no occasion to blaspheme.Conclusion:

1. It may hence appear with how little reason Rome reproaches us with those schisms and heresies which God has permitted to vex our Church, and to use them as an argument of our rejection by Christ. It may as reasonably be objected that it is composed of men, and has enemies. And least of all can this objection become those who are well known to have been the authors of these evils to us.

2. If, as the apostle affirms, the providential end of these heresies is that they who are approved by God may be made manifest, then it follows —(1) That they who under these trials persist in the faith and communion of the Church are thereby manifested to be approved by God.(2) That they who introduce heresies into the Church, or follow those who introduce them, are thereby manifested to be disapproved by God; and therefore that the Church may, and ought, to treat them in its discipline as sufficiently discovered under that character.

(J. Rogers, D.D.)

That they which are approved may be made manifest among you
Oftentimes goldsmiths, though they themselves be sufficiently satisfied of the goodness of the gold, yet "put it to the touch," to content the beholders. Never had so answered his name, and been so truly "immortal" in his memory, but for opposing of the . Never had St. been so famous, but for quelling of Manicheans, , , etc. Many parts of true doctrine have been but slenderly guarded, till once they were assaulted by heretics; and many good authors in those points which were never opposed have written but loosely, and suffered unwary passages to fall from their posting pens. But when thieves are about the country, every one will ride with his sword and stand on his guard: when heretics are abroad in the world, writers weigh each word, ponder each phrase, that they may give the enemies no advantage. Again, the hardened will be made unexcusable, who obstinately persist in their errors. They cannot plead they lost their way for want of guides, but for mere wilfulness.

(T. Fuller, D.D.)

When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper
The Church of Corinth introduced what was called a love-feast previous to the reception of the Lord's Supper — rich and poor bringing their own provisions. This idea seemed in strict accordance with the original institution of the Lord's Supper, for that was preceded by a common meal. There was a great beauty in this arrangement, because it showed the conviction of the Church of Corinth that differences of birth and rank are but temporary, and are intended to join by reciprocal bonds the different classes together. Still, beautiful as the idea was, it was liable to great abuse. Thus there arises a perpetual lesson for the Church of Christ: it is never good to mix things religious with things worldly. In the highest conceivable form of the Church of Christ, the two will be identified, for the kingdoms of the world are to become the kingdoms of God and of His Christ. In order to make these two one, the Christian plan has been to set apart certain days as holy, that through these all other days may be sanctified: to set apart a certain class of men, through them to, sanctify all other men: to set apart one particular meal, that all meals through that one may be dedicated to God. The world's way is rather this: to identify things religious and worldly by throwing the spirit of the week-day into the Sabbath; to make Christian ministers like other men, by infusing into them its own secular spirit; and to eat and drink of the Lord's Supper in the spirit of a common meal.

(F. W. Robertson, M.A.)

Let me notice here the many words which are connected with "the Lord" by the apostle: the Lord's body (ver. 29), the Lord's blood (ver. 27), the Lord's bread (ver. 27), the Lord's cup (ver. 27), the Lord's death (ver. 26), the Lord's Supper (ver. 20). For in this ordinance Christ is all and in all; He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Why does the apostle call it the Lord's Supper?

I. THE LORD APPOINTED IT. It is not man's feast, or the Church's feast, it is the feast of the Lord.

II. HE PROVIDES. The feast of fat things is of His providing, so is the table, so is the banqueting house, so is the raiment. All the viands are of His selection, His purchase, His setting out. He is both appointer and provider. The provisions must be rare and suitable and nourishing in such a case. His wisdom knows what we need, and His love prepares it all.

III. HE INVITES. Come, is His message to us!

IV. HE IS HIMSELF THE FEAST. He is the Paschal Lamb. He is the bread and wine. Yes; Christ is Himself the provision, as well as the Provider.

V. HE PARTAKES WITH US. He sits at the table Himself, and forms one of our number. Here we have fellowship with Him, and He with us. Seated at this table, and partaking of this Supper —

1. We look backward. And as we look back we see the passover, we see the shewbread, we see the Cross.

2. We look forward. For we show His death till He come. We fix our eye on the coming glory.

3. We look inward. In doing so, we ask, Is my soul prospering?

4. We look around. Brethren in the Lord are on each side — our fellow-believers, our fellow-pilgrims. Love circulates around, as well as joy and peace.

5. We look outward. We cannot, at a feast like this, forget a world which is famishing; shutting itself out from this heavenly feast, and revelling in its lusts and vanities. We pity, we pray for you, we plead with you to come. For here at this table we find all we need — the fulness of Christ. Here we taste —

(1)His love.

(2)His peace and joy.

(3)His consolations.

(4)His glory.For that glory is our hope, specially at the table. Here we get the foretaste of it.

(H. Bonar, D.D.)

Those who do, and those who do not, sit at this board, may alike wish to understand what it is to eat the Lord's Supper.

1. First, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper to make it a feast for the satisfaction of outward appetite. Into so low an estate, as we learn from Paul's rebuke, had it degenerated among the Corinthians. They may, indeed, have but imitated an earlier example, set in the depravity of human nature. It was a custom at Athens, in the age of Socrates, for each person coming to a feast to bring his own provision; not that, as in some later social festivals, he might add it to the common stock, but to feed on it by himself alone. No wonder the apostle said this was not to eat the Lord's Supper. It is upon something far different, even upon making a sensual feast of the Lord's Supper, that Paul lays his ban. They fancied, forsooth, they were eating the Lord's Supper because they came together in one place. Without hesitation he explodes the superstition, which, alas! has reached our own day, that any local sacredness of temple or altar made an act holy. The Lord's Supper was a showing forth of the Lord's death. The apostle's admonition is still instructive. Some, in our own age, have complained of the grave and serious manner of observing the Lord's Supper. They would have it more of a social and friendly feast. Surely, there should be no coldness round the Lord's table. Yet this table cannot furnish what is like any other feast, the dinner given to a hero, or even the family thanksgiving of kindred and friends, eating and drinking, in gay, though innocent, hilarity together. In the Lord's Supper is the presence of a spirit peculiar, awful in purity, as it is tender in love.

2. But the apostle's description shows again, that it is not eating the Lord's Supper to make it a mere form. Externally, no doubt, it is a form. But there are two kinds of forms, the dead and the living. The dead are those that have lost, or never had, life. The true form is the tree, that buds and blooms, to show in flower and fruit the hidden meaning which God set in its seed.

3. Once more, the meaning of our text shows that eating the Lord's Supper is not to make a profession of holiness. This is a very common mistake. Many are prevented from coming to the table by their reluctance to make such a profession. Yet, so far from being a profession of holiness, it is, in truth, the very opposite. It is a declaration of our not having attained what we desire, because so anxiously we use this means of attaining it.

4. Still, again, eating the Lord's Supper, as Paul describes it, is not to increase our moral obligations. Infinitely bound are we beforehand to love and serve God. Eating the Lord's Supper reminds us of our obilgations, and may assist us to fulfil them, but does not originally impose them, or add to their essential weight or number.

5. In fine, according to the mind of the apostle, eating the Lord's Supper is not swearing an oath. The Romish dogma, that the communicant eats the real flesh and drinks the real blood of Christ, and thus assumes a vow and performs a sacrament, such as men have sealed with awful ceremonies and signed in their heart's gore, is a fancy no less unscriptural than irrational, and contrary especially to the discourse of Christ. "The words that I speak unto you are spirit, and they are life." As much as to say, "It is no physical or literal meaning I intend by them, but a sense of spiritual, cordial communion with my own feeling and mind." So he stops their murmur at what they were at first inclined to think a hard saying. Let us now consider, more positively, what to eat the Lord's Supper is.(1) First, as a showing forth of His death, it is the highest manifestation of the Divine love. So, in the Scriptures, the death of Christ, the sinless Son of God, is described. This meaning of the Lord's Supper, as the supreme sign of Divine love, let us now observe, falls in with all that is best in human thought and knowledge. It is a fact of singular and transcendent beauty, that all discovery, through all history, in all the world, has been but the gradual and ever cumulative discovery of the goodness of God. Now, all this scientific discovery of God's goodness is but a ladder to the highest point of that goodness revealed in the gospel, whose crown is in the death of Christ, and whose celebration is in the Lord's Supper. The Lord's Supper, as the great peculiar symbol of the spiritual fact, especially tells us that our Father is pure, essential love, in long-suffering and willingness to forgive. Nothing can refute its witness, that, when He chastens, it is still love, not hatred, that wields the scourge; and that His wrath to the wicked is but His kindness for their case.(2) But, as eating the Lord's Supper is a recognition of this Divine love, it is, too, a corresponding expression of our own love. It should be regarded and observed in all the largeness and liberality of this idea. It was not meant by Christ, as it has been often made by man, to be a subtle, tormenting test, on minor points, of formal custom or intellectual opinion. But all the troublesome theories, arising or imposed, are, in the light of the new covenant itself, brought down to one which may indeed be sharper and stricter than any, or all beside, and to which those otherwise most rigid may give place. Do we love Jesus Christ?(3) Furthermore, to eat the Lord's Supper, according to the universal law of exercise, is to increase the love it expresses. This law holds peculiarly of all true affections and right exertions. The waxing love for Christ is its highest illustration. It especially is a magnet whose use enhances its power. It is true our love for Christ is a spiritual love for a now spiritual being, whom our fleshly eye never saw, or mortal ear heard. So the love of the Master and the follower is no antiquarian tradition. Truly, of what worth is love, if not personal? This Christian love passes and repasses, with God's own spirit, the great conveyancer of all good things, like a dove through the air, and knits those who share it together. The feeling below tends to rise to the level of that from which it runs, on high.(4) Eating the Lord's Supper, thus expressing and increasing our love, furthermore supplies the loftiest and most efficient motive to all duty. All our life, all earnest labour, flows out of our heart. We give all, by natural and inevitable consequence, to Him to whom we have first given our heart. Eating the Lord's Supper, therefore, while it may seem merely formal, is of all things most practical. It does not end as an exhibition or ceremony. It nerves to toil, endurance, and sacrifice, for the sake of God and humanity.(5) In fine, the Lord's Supper, while thus empowering for earthly duty, prepares us for scenes beyond this passing world. Its shadow falls two ways, back into time, and forth into eternity. It wings the soul to fly in another atmosphere, beyond this grosser air. It is preparation for the world to come. It is making ready for the second coming of Christ. Shall we extend this principle of preparation in all that is palpably useful, no further, but let it stop with the brink of the grave? Taking but a step in our little footing in this world, shall we not receive that staff of the bread of life which helps us to take the next, the second step, beyond the grave? Ah! in its true sense and meaning, both for present support and coming exigencies, we need the Lord's Supper. All the ministrations of this world cannot satisfy our appetite, that immortal hunger and thirst with which God has made our souls to be hungry and thirsty.

(C. A. Bartol.)

What...
Take the term in the sense of: —

I. THE HOUSE OF GOD. Do you undervalue the place set apart for God's service, to convert it into an ordinary banqueting-house?

1. Duties public and not pious more befit a guild-hall or town-house; duties pious and not public more become a closet (Psalm 4:4); whilst duties public and pious beseem a church, as proper thereto.

2. The use is to blame those that turn the church into a counting-house, there to rate their neighbours — both to value their estates, and too often to revile their persons. Others make it a marketplace, there to bargain in; yea, some turn it into a kennel for their dogs, and a mew for their hawks, which they bring with them. Surely if Christ drove out thence sheep and doves, the emblems of innocency, He would not have suffered these to have abode in His temple.

II. THE SPIRITUAL CHURCH. The rich Corinthians, in not inviting the poor, made chaff of good corn; yea, refuse of God's elect.

1. Objection. But not inviting the poor, was not despising them. A freewill offering is no debt.

2. Answer. This is true of civil and ordinary entertainments: but these being entitled "love-feasts," and charity pretended the main motive of them, poor people were the most proper guests. Besides, if not Christianity, yet good nature might have moved them, whilst they gorged themselves, to have given something to the poor which stood by. To let them look on hungry was to wrong their peers in grace here, and glory hereafter.

3. Doctrine. He that despiseth the poor, despiseth the Church of God. Whereof they are a member inferior to none in piety (James 2:5); superior to all in number. Now he that pincheth the little toe paineth the whole body; the disgracing any member is the despising the whole church. Let us beware of affronting those in want. "He that seeth his brother in need... how dwelleth the love of God in him."

(T.Fuller, D.D.)

I. THERE IS SUCH A THING AS THE CHURCH OF GOD. Nor need we travel far to find it. Wherever there is a congregation of believers among whom the gospel is preached and the ordinances observed, there is the Church of God. Such a church existed at Corinth. It was the assembly of them who were "called to be saints," and had responded to that call in the confession of faith in Christ and in the observance of His commands.

II. THERE BE SOME WHO DESPISE THIS CHURCH OF GOD.

1. The particular offence of the Corinthians was, that they misapprehended the character and spirituality of the holy Supper, and thought to celebrate it after the manner of a worldly festival. This the apostle sets down as equivalent to contempt of the whole institution of which they were members.

2. On the same principle there are many ways of despising the Church of God.

(1)By contemning the Church's faith.

(2)By despising its ministry.

(3)By neglecting its services.

(4)By ignoring Church fellowship and relations.

II. THERE IS MUCH IN AND ABOUT THE CHURCH TO TEMPT MEN TO DESPISE IT; much with which the carnal reason and taste of man is naturally offended, and which he is therefore predisposed to dislike and disesteem.

1. Take the faith of the Church, the Trinity, the Incarnation, etc., etc.

2. Its ordinances.

3. Its unimportance in the world in comparison with pompous organisations of man's devising!

4. Its members. How destitute of that style which is claimed amongst the worldly great and noble!

5. Its hypocritical adherents. Nevertheless —

IV. THERE IS REASON WHY THE CHURCH SHOULD NOT BE DESPISED. There is but one consideration to this effect named in the text; but that reason is ample. The Church is not of man, it is Divine. It is not a Masonic fraternity — a man-made institution. —

1. God made the first Churches, and out of and through them He has made all Churches.

2. The faith of the Church is from Divine revelation.

3. Its sacraments are Divine ordinances.

4. The making of true members of the Church is by a new creation by the Holy Ghost.

5. And everything entering into the constitution of the Church is the work or gift of God.

(J. A. Seiss, D.D.)

1. It is important to put the local church in its right Christian setting. The single congregation is a unit in the great multiple of communions which constitute the Church of God.

2. It is necessary that the kingdom of God should be localised in separate churches. The strong emotions gather around definite objects. Men in battle look to their regimental colours for their rallying-point; yet those colours would be nothing of themselves, did they not belong to and represent the country. To follow the colours of a particular church for its own sake might prove to be treason to the Church of God.

I. THE CHURCH OF GOD IS A UNIVERSAL INSTITUTION FOR MAN.

1. If we listen to the gospel which Jesus preached we cannot fail to hear ringing in it this clear note of universality. It was not a gospel of individual election, nor of personal salvation simply, but the gospel of the Kingdom of a redeemed society organised in righteousness, and vital with the spirit of love.

2. His daily life was marked by the sign of universality. And so it was a constant surprise to His disciples. It was a larger humanity than Jerusalem could understand. Recall, e.g., that scene at which the Scribes and Pharisees were shocked, when Jesus sat at meat with publicans and sinners; and that scene at Jacob's well at which even the good disciples were surprised. He healed the impotent man, and restored the sight of the blind on the Sabbath day, and proclaimed that even an institution so sacred to God from the completion of the creation was made for man.

3. This note pervades also and harmonises all His doctrines. No teacher had ever used the universal adjectives in speaking to men. We cannot take "all," "any," "whosoever," etc. out of the speech of Jesus without taking all the music from it.

4. The Person also of Jesus is distinguished from all others by this. He has named Himself in His human place in history, "the Son of Man." When the disciples began to realise who and what manner of man the Son of man was, the other confession followed of itself, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." And upon the man who confessed that whole truth Christ said the Church should be built.

5. The Church, therefore, whose promise was given in that moment should be characterised by the same note of universality. It is not to be a chosen school of disciples around their Teacher; it is not to be a national church — another temple in Jerusalem.

II. THREE DAYS OF THE SON OF MAN, AT LEAST, IN CHRISTIAN HISTORY HAVE PRECEDED OUR DAY.

1. The apostolic age, that day of glorious beginnings of Christianity. It was necessarily, however, an era of but partial applications of Christ's words to the life of the people. The apostles were called to liberate and set in motion the Christian ideas, but not to apply them universally to their world and its customs.

2. The age of the power of external law, and the era of the outward unity of the Church. The Roman age witnessed an external universality of the Church; but its method was the way of Caesar rather than the way of the Son of man.

3. A return from Roman Catholic supremacy to the authority of the Son of man followed next, in the Divine order of history, through the Reformation.

III. AND NOW WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP FORWARD?

1. What are the chief questions of life now the world over? How not only in this city, or this country, but how in the whole world shall men live together? All labour troubles, or wasteful competitions, or hurtful combinations, are symptoms and signs of this vital problem of society. No nation can live for itself alone. The fates of the modern nations are bound together. There is nothing so foreign that it may not become domestic to any country. The destiny of this world, it is increasingly evident, is to be one destiny.

2. To the Church of God providence is bringing home this one social question. How then are the churches to answer it?(1) Not in the way of Rome. The Son of man will not be enthroned as Caesar. There is no way of legislation to the millennium.(2) Neither shall the old man of Protestantism, shrunken in muscle, its separate members scarce hanging together, and living on the income of its capital laid up in other days, be the new man of the coming day.(3) Verily, the days are coming — are they not now at hand? — when the Son of man will open His mouth, and bless the multitudes in our churches, and in the power of His Spirit our Christianity shall become as never before the Church of God for the world. The churches are becoming more deeply conscious that they exist not for themselves; but for some Divine blessing for all men. The Church belongs to you, whether you will belong to it or not. The Church is for the world, whether the world now be for or against it.

IV. TWO CONSEQUENCES OF GREAT MOMENT FOLLOW.

1. That we who belong to particular communions should be careful in our administration of them not to interfere with the Divine rights of any man in the Church of God. We must look carefully to it lest we exclude some souls from our churchly participation in the kingdom of God. All disciples have Divine rights to any table of communion which is spread in the name of Christ. The Divine rights of the world to the Church, and in the Church, impose upon us the present and urgent missionary obligation.

2. That men who are already in the Church have right to stay there, and to work out honestly and patiently within the Church any questions which may trouble them. The disciples of old were constantly going back to the Son of man with some new question, or from some fresh perplexity. Still, the Son of man dwells among the questionings of men. And there is no better place than within the communion of the Church for you to meet the questions of your lives. Thomas of old kept in the Church, although he doubted. And so Thomas, the honest sceptic, became an honest apostle. Conclusion: It follows from this truth that every man to whom the Church is presented has some corresponding obligation towards it. The world is redeemed in Christ, and it is a sin and a shame to live in it as though it were not redeemed. There is a Church of God forming, growing, having a glorious world-task committed to it; and it is ignoble not to have part in it and its work.

(N. Smyth, D.D.)

Shall I praise you in this? I praise you not
I. PASTORS MAY AND MUST PRAISE THEIR PEOPLE WHEREIN THEY DO WELL.

1. Reasons.(1) Hereby they shall peaceably possess themselves of the good-wills of their people, which may advance the efficacy of their preaching.(2) Men will more willingly digest a reproof for their faults, if praised when they do well.(3) Virtue being commended doth increase and multiply; creepers in goodness will go, goers run, runners fly.

2. Use. Those ministers are to be blamed which are ever blaming, God "doth not always chide" (Psalm 103:9). These preachers use their reproofs so commonly, till their physic turns natural, and will not work with their people. Do any desire to hear what Themistocles counted the best music — namely, themselves commended? On these conditions, we ministers will indent with them: Let them find matter, we will find words; let them do what is commendable, and blame us if we commend not what they do. Such work would be a pleasure. To reprove is pressed from us, as wine from grapes; but praises would flow from our lips, as water from a fountain. But, alas! how can we build, when they afford us neither brick nor straw? If with Ahab they will do what is evil, then with Micaiah we must always prophesy evil unto them.

II. MINISTERS MUST NOT COMMEND THEIR PEOPLE WHEN THEY DO ILL.

1. Reasons.(1) Dishonourable to God.(2) Dangerous to the ministers. That ambassador who, being sent to proclaim war, pronounceth peace to rebels (Isaiah 57:21), deserves at his return to be preferred to the gallows.(3) Dangerous to the people who are soothed in their sins. Honey-dews, though they be sweet in taste, do black and blast the corn: so those who praise their people without cause, are cruelly kind unto them: it is pleasent to the palate of flesh, but destroyeth and damneth the soul.

2. Use. It were to be wished, that as those that live under the equinoctial at noonday have no shadows at all; so great men should have no shadows, no parasites, no flatterers to commend them when they least deserve it.

3. Objection. But why doth St. Paul deal so mildly with the Corinthians, "I praise you not"? Me thinks he should have made his little finger as heavy as his loins.(1) Theophylact answers that St. Paul reproves the rich men the more mildly, lest otherwise they should be implacably incensed against the poor as the causers of the apostle's anger.(2) It was the first time he told the Corinthians of their fault, and therefore used them the more gently, on hope of their amendment. This corrupt humour in the Corinthians was not as yet clodded in them by custom, and therefore the easier purged and removed. So ministers must use mildness, especially at their first reproving of a sin. Yea, God so blessed the mild severity of St. Paul, that the Corinthians reformed their errors.

(T. Fuller, D.D.)

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