Should a person skip partaking the Lord’s Supper if his mind isn’t where it should be?


One of our members here preached a sermon dealing with "But let a man examine himself” from the text in I Corinthians 11:28-30. He was making the point that when a Christian is partaking of the Lord's Supper, his thoughts should be on the Lord Jesus and not problems in life, problems with another individual, what restaurant he is going to for lunch when the morning services conclude, etc.

He mentioned that shortly after obeying the gospel and was a new babe-in-Christ he had a problem with a man and was really struggling with concentrating on the Lord during the communion service. So much so that his personal decision was not to partake of the Supper until he could clear his mind. (He emphasized that it was his personal decision.)

Another member says that regardless of his frame of mind, he sinned by not taking the Lord's Supper. His argument is: Since when can we decide not to obey any command of God? Jesus and Paul said, "This do in remembrance of me" (I Corinthians 11:25; James 4:17).

I am not sure about this issue, so I am currently studying it and would appreciate knowing what you believe the Scriptures teach concerning this.


"Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world" (I Corinthians 11:27-32).

Because of the solemness of the memorial, it is important to partake of the memorial in a manner that is worthy of the event it symbolizes. Paul is not saying that the participants had to be worthy of Christ’s death – in reality, we aren’t truly worthy, but Christ saw in us people worthy of his sacrifice (Romans 5:8-11). What he is pointing out, and had been pointing out, is that the manner in which the Lord’s Supper is observed should be in accordance with what it represents. To not do so makes the participant guilty of the death of Jesus.

The Corinthian’s irreverence during the Lord’s Supper had bled over into their spiritual life. Many were weak and sickly spiritually and some had even died spiritually because they had not kept the memory of Christ’s death. Sleeping is a common idiom in the Bible for death (Job 14:10-15; Daniel 12:2; John 11:11-14). It is used because it emphasizes the fact that someone asleep can be awakened again. To the child of God, death is not permanent – even spiritual death. One can be brought back.

If we kept a proper close watch on ourselves (I Corinthians 11:28) and correct ourselves when wrong, there would be no need for God to chastise us to bring us back into line with His will (Hebrews 12:5-13). Paul is not saying that we should not partake of the Lord's Supper if our minds are not focused on what we are doing; rather, Paul is emphasizing that we need to monitor ourselves and straighten out our thoughts and behavior so that we give the memorial the proper honor that it is due. What was mentioned in the class was the wrong solution to the problem.

Jesus stated, "Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering" (Matthew 5:23-24). The real problem is that contention between to brethren was allowed to fester instead of being dealt with quickly so that it would not interfere with the person's worship.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email