1 Corinthians 11:17-22
Now in this that I declare to you I praise you not, that you come together not for the better, but for the worse.…
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."
Parallel VersesKJV: Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.