Gentleman, Please Remove Your Hats

by Dennis Michelson
(Novelty, Ohio)

I Corinthians 11

Introduction: This is a meditation preceeding the observance of the Lord's Supper. It is sad that the focal point of worship in the life of the church has become an intrusive afterthought in some places. I am approaching 62 years of age and 40 years in the ministry. Perhaps I am old-fashioned but I do not like it when a man enters a building and does not remove his hat.

It was common courtesy when I was a boy for a man to remove his hat in the presence of a woman. This was the respectful thing to do. Paul says in I Corinthians 11:7 "For a man indeed ought not to cover his head . . ." This anachronistic phrase not only spoke to the issue of respect but also of authority. As we come to the Lord's table we need to be reminded of issues of respect and authority.

1. The Problem at the Lord's Table (11:2-16)

The church ought to be the one place where everyone can observe God's order in creation and in redemption. Christian liberty does not mean complete liberation. There remains order and authority in God's creation and God's Church. Put bluntly, the women were acting like men because the men were acting like women. These things ought not so to be.

2. The Perversion at the Lord's Table (11:17-22)

The one place where genuine unity should be on display had become a spectacle of hypocrisy and division. It is ironic that the Lord's Supper was meant to be the unique action of the gathered (unified) church that could not be done by individual believers at home. The Church sends no harmony to the world when they meet in one place but not in one accord.

3. The Purpose of the Lord's Table (11:23-25)

"This do in remembrance of me . . . "

4. The Promise of the Lord's Table (11:26-34)

When done properly "ye do shew the Lord's death till he come."

When done carelessly "shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord."

Conclusion: Sadly, the muslims seem to take the desecration of their holy things more seriously than we do. They go on a rampage when someone burns their book. We sing a song and go home after after eating and drinking unworthily "not discerning the Lord's body." Isn't it time we take the body and blood of Jesus as seriously as we do the book?

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