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  • Rev. Thomas Abraham

For Better, Not Worse (Part 1)

1 Corinthians 11:17-23 - "In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter! For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you."

Paul is rebuking the church because they had a very serious issue among them.

The Lord wasn’t pleased with their gatherings (their meeting, their worship services) not because of the lack of songs, messages, speaking of tongues or the Lord’s Supper. All these things were there in the church, yet Paul gives them warning.

1 Corinthians 14: 26 - "How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation."

If we do not do all these things with a pure heart and a disciplined life for the glory of God, then it becomes merely a performance. Not only will the Lord not accept this as worship, but we can even go so far as to say He considers it a curse - in which worship becomes harmful to the believers.

A Sunday performance may be fantastic, but we can’t claim it was wonderful worship just because everything was performed well; really, it may not be God-accepted worship and we may not receive a blessing.

God does not just look at our Sunday life, but He counts our Monday to Saturday life as well. If our Monday through Saturday lives are pleasing to the Lord, then the songs we sing on Sunday, the praises, meditation, preaching, speaking in tongues, offering will be accepted as a living, holy, and pleasing sacrifice.

Just because we pass one subject out of seven does not mean we passed the exam.

If we failed Monday to Saturday and passed only on Sunday, it really is not considered true worship.

Paul says that there are divisions among them - unity is from God and division is the devil’s work.

Division can be among husband and wife, parents and children, believers within the church.

Having different opinions are not a sign of division. But if we do not handle it carefully, it can create division among us. We are all created differently, so we will have different opinions, that is not wrong. But if we hurt others with revenge and bitterness from our hearts, that is a sin.

Paul says I do not believe everything I heard, but I believe it to some extent.

The devil’s other strategy is to elaborate or exaggerate issues among us.

Do not believe everything you hear, many things are man-made stories, rumors, gossips, and lies.

"For there must also be factions among you" – we are not perfect but forgiven.

Factions prove those who are spiritual and those who are carnal in the church.

A spiritual person always handles a situation in a godly way with the love of God and uses that situation to edify their fellow brethren and bring glory to God.

A carnal person will use the situation to blame and hurt others and bring shame to the church and God.

Paul asks them: "Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God?"

Many immature believers bring their household matters to the church. Do not despise the church of God by bringing your household matters to the church.

Do things at home which ought to be done at home and come to the church to worship God and bless others, don’t ever mix the two.

Paul says, "What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!"

Whatever we do, we have a nature to praise each other, but not God! Many times, we don’t care how God feels, rather we look to please men and need praise from men. That is dangerous!

"For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you."

Paul had already received from the Lord before coming to the church. Throughout the last six days, Paul was walking and talking with the Lord and coming to the church with a blessing from the Lord.

Many Christians are living in the world for the last six days and have been influenced by the world and other people, and are coming to the church empty.

They complain about the songs, the message, and the order of the service and go back with an empty heart.

"For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you."

Paul not only received from the Lord but also gave to his fellow believer what he received from the Lord; what a joy in such fellowship.

Let us examine our hearts. Coming to church on Sunday should be for the better not for the worse.

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