1 Corinthians 11:17-34


Covenantal acts permeate the entire Bible—both in OT and NT. Namely, Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Esther, Ruth and Boaz, David, and ultimately, Jesus. The Lord’s last supper in Luke 22:17-20 signifies Christ’s new covenantal fulfilling all the promises and prophecies about him as the redeemer of the world. However, this remembrance of Christ’s covenant had been reduced to an empty ritual.

Main Idea:

[The Problem] Reading from the previous chapter, in 1 Corinthians 10:14-22 (Idolatry), and in our passage, 1 Corinthians 11:17-22 (Factions/ Divisions), even early Christians had a lot of struggles understanding and practicing the whole essence of the ordinance.

Social Snobbery at the Lord’s Table. The Corinthians were using their gatherings around the Lord’s Table as occasions to make social distinctions between rich and poor. Paul is profoundly troubled by this development and argues strongly against it. (ESV Study Bible)

[Practical Definition] “The Lord’s Supper is an occasion when members of the church declare their unity with each other because of their common unity with Christ” (ESV Study Bible). Historically, it traces to the Passover event during the time of Egypt in Exodus. God delivered the Israelites from slavery by enacting the final plague, the Angel of Death. Only those with the blood of a pure lamb on their doorposts could skip this plague. Yet, this Passover was only about temporal deliverance. At the same time, the Lord’s Supper that we celebrate on this date points to eternal deliverance.

Communal or Fellowship (koinonia)

  • Communion with Christ
    • “When we pass the wine [grape juice] and bread during the Lord’s Supper, we are saying, “here’s the Gospel,” said Sinclair Ferguson.
    • The very elements point to Christ. The bread represents the sinless flesh of Christ, mocked, persecuted, and nailed to the cross, and the cup signifies the blood of Christ poured for the atonement of our sins. (Dustin Benge)
  • Communion with fellow church members
    • A demonstration of believers’ love for one another.
    • It cannot be celebrated alone, for it is a congregational meal to demonstrate and foster genuine love among the people of God. (DB)


  • You publicly confess that you are in Christ, and you belong to this church
  • Another meaning, 1 Corinthians 11:28 states, “Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.”
    • An avenue for us to confess our sins, ask for forgiveness and repent.
      • It’s possible to come to the table like the hypocritical Corinthians, unloving, unforgiving, and for selfish indulgence and show.
      • However, one must realize and experience the transforming grace of God in Christ through the Lord’s Supper. Not something mystical but an ascent to holiness, a sanctification event.


  • Christ’s new covenant is an eternal promise. “For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” (Heb. 8:12).
    • God to the church (community of Christians)
  • Covenanted with one another in the local church
    • Covenant within the church (member to everyone, vice versa)


It is a frequent reminder that the Lord’s Supper is for the church, through the church, and in the church. Let us celebrate this Gospel made visible today.


Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
September 4, 2022


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