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.…
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.)
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.