|1Corinthians 11||Loving Order in Church Services Part 1 - 1 Corinthians 11:1-34|
Loving Order in Church Services
Part 1 - 1 Corinthians 11:1-34
Thus far in our study of First Corinthians entitled, The Cross of Christ – Cure for Carnality we have seen in the opening verses Paul establish The Centrality and Sufficiency of the Cross of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:1-3). Then we considered The Standing of All Believers - The State of Some Believers (1 Corinthians 1:4-17). Next we saw The Wisdom of the Cross of Christ (1 Corinthians ). In chapter three we looked at, Carnality: Consequences and Corrective Construction (1 Corinthians 3:1-23). In chapter four of First Corinthians we observed Paul’s personal testimony exemplifying Considerable Selfless Servants of Christ (1 Corinthians 4:1-22). Then in chapters 5 through 7 Paul taught on The Cure for Carnal Sexual Immorality in the church. In the last section we studied, 1 Corinthians 8-10, we dealt with The Cure for Fleshly Fellowship, its causes and cures. The cause of fleshly fellowship is selfishness; the cure is the cross of Christ and selflessness. If all is done according to the cross of Christ in our lives, it will result in bringing glory to God (1 Corinthians ). That is our objective in all things.
In the next section of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians we will consider Loving Order in Church Services (1 Corinthians 11-14). Part One of this section is divided into three parts: Loving Order Regarding Customs (1 Corinthians 11:1-16); Loving Order at the Love Feast (1 Corinthians -22) and Loving Order at the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians -34) as Paul discusses proper behavior and principle when the church comes together to celebrate our holy communion at the Lord’s Table. As we continue ours study in the section Loving Order in Church Services we will look at Orderly Guidelines for Spiritual Gifts (1 Corinthians 12-14). Let’s proceed now and see the instruction on loving order in these various areas.
Loving Order Regarding Customs
1 Corinthians 11:1-16 - Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. 6 For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. 7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. 10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. 12 For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God. 13 Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? 15 But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering. 16 But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.
Paul begins this section by inviting the Corinthians to “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” (11:1). In the previous chapters Paul has taught that we ought to seek the spiritual benefit of others even if that means we are to restrict our own liberties; that is the Christ-like way Paul calls us to follow (1 Corinthians 8:9-13; 9:12, 19-23; 10:23-24, 32-33). “Imitate” is translated from the Greek term MIMETES (Strong’s # 3402 - μιμητής mimētēs, mim-ay-tace´) which means, “to imitate; follower.”  We get the English word “mimic” from this Greek term too. Paul qualifies his call to imitate him with the words, “as I also imitate Christ.” As long as Paul is following in the steps of Jesus, we should follow his example (compare 1 Peter ; 1 John 2:6). And when we examine Paul’s life after his
Commendation for the Corinthians
Before Paul enters into a correction mode, he points out reasons to commend the Corinthians (11:2). Interestingly, this is similar to the pattern of Jesus in His letters to the churches of Revelation (Revelation 2-3). He praises them for remembering him “in all things.” Paul had stayed in
He also commends them for keeping “the traditions just as I delivered them to you.” He wanted to reinforce that it was a good thing that they had written to him for instruction in various areas. Traditions are simply teachings passed on from one person to another (2 timothy 2:2). Paul’s commendation of their keeping “traditions” is not a contradiction of what Paul wrote to the Colossians when he warned of being cheated by human philosophy and traditions (Colossians 2:8-10). We are to beware and be very cautious when it comes to human traditions (Matthew 15:2-3). Traditions are fine as long as they agree with and can be supported by scripture. The Corinthian traditions are commended by Paul for keeping are traditions that were “just as I delivered them to you.”
Divine Order - Headship
After his commendation Paul addresses some apparent disorderly conduct having to do with authority as well as accepted customs of the day. Paul says, “But I want you to know that . . .” (11:3a). Paul begins his corrective teaching on loving order as it pertains to customs by stating this is something the Corinthians need to “know.” There are a number of Greek terms Paul could have used to express the idea of knowing but the one he chose here is EIDO (Strong’s 1492) which means “to perceive with the eyes and sense; to turn the eyes and mind to give attention to; to inspect; to examine; to understand.” Paul did not use a term that asked the Corinthians to merely “look” with their eyes, but he called them to perceive and understand what he was about to say. What is it he wanted them to understand?
First, Paul wanted the Corinthians to understand about Headship (11:3b). Paul refers three times to “the head” and when he does he uses the Greek term KEPHALE (Strong’s #2776 - κεφαλή kĕphalē, kef-al-ay´) which refers to the physical “head” which is the chief part of a body, “that which one cannot live without.” If you cut the head off of any body, either animal or human, that body dies. Because of that truth the word is used metaphorically to refer to, "the chief; supreme; prominent; and cornerstone.” When Paul uses this term he is inspired to make a statement about an essential indispensable part of something.
Second, Paul wanted the Corinthians to understand God’s divine order is that “the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God” (11:3c). While Paul’s discussion of head coverings deals with customs, his statement of divine order is not custom by never changing truth. The divine order of headship is set by God and does not change over time or geography. But what can be said about this divine hierarchy?
“The head of every man is Christ” points us to the truth that man is dependent upon Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ is essential to man. Man finds spiritual life in Christ (John ; 1 John ). Man finds abundant life and satisfaction in Christ (John ). Man lives spiritual through faith in the Son Jesus (Galatians ). Man perseveres in spiritual life by abiding in Jesus (1 John ). Man finds his true meaning and purpose in life through full surrender to Jesus and by looking to Jesus as his Lord and Savior (Romans 12:1-2; Philippians 3). The objective of God’s word is for every man to grow up to see, accept and submit to Jesus as their Head (Ephesians )
“The head of woman is man” points us to the truth that woman is dependent upon man; man is essential to woman. Now this may upset those who hold to a Women’s Liberation world view, but this is the divine order God has laid down. Many today would support the view that woman does not need man and certainly is not dependent upon man. This is an underlying premise of lesbian relationships. The counterpart to this is homosexual relationships. Those who hold to the independence of the sexes have God to argue with. We should note that Paul does not use the adjective “every” when he refers to the headship between man and woman because he is addressing people in the church and it would be proper to apply this divine order primarily to those in the church and Christian marriage (Ephesians 5:22-33). There is evidence of this divine order in nature where the physical anatomy of women (generally speaking) is weaker than that of man’s (generally speaking). The Bible also refers to woman as weaker than men in this sense (1 Peter 3:7). A woman’s muscles are built more for endurance than for power like a man’s. Spiritually, the Bible does not support women serving as Elders in the church (1Timothy 3:2), does not permit a woman to be in a position of authority over a man (1 Timothy -15), and does not support a woman being an evaluator or interpreter of prophetic words in the church (1 Corinthians -35). The Bible does support women praying and speaking prophetically in the church (1 Corinthians 11:5). The Bible does support women teaching and discipling other women (Titus 2:3-5). Outside of the church it is appropriate for women to hold positions of authority over men in secular jobs. That is not the case in the church.
We should note also here that Paul does not say that the man is worth more than the woman or that man is superior to woman, he is simply expressing God’s divine order. Later on in this passage Paul is inspired to point out the interdependence of man and woman. He says:
God has set in place a divine order but also says that there should be a mutual submission amongst believers (Ephesians ). Men should never presume to be lords over women; that is not Christ-like. All believers are to have servant’s hearts (Matthew ; Mark 10:35-45; Galatians 5:13-14). Christian husbands are to love their wives like Jesus loved the Church. Jesus gave His very life for His bride the Church. Therefore husbands are to lay down their lives for their wives. Wives are to submit to their husbands as the Church submits to Jesus. This is not a cowering submission but more of a cooperation and singleness of heart and purpose (Ephesians -33). Anyone who interprets headship as tyrannical dictatorship has missed the mark of God entirely and is out of God’s divine order. We need to serve one another in love. Men should look at their position of headship as a great and awesome responsibility for which they will be held accountable to God on Judgment Day (2 Corinthians ).
If we think practically a hierarchy of rank is necessary for progress. If in a marriage both the husband and wife have absolutely the same rank of authority in situations where disagreements occur a stalemate would occur; this results in no movement, no progress. But if in a marriage there is a hierarchy of rank in authority progress is always made. If the husband and wife are disagreed on a decision and the husband overrules the wife and it turns out that the husband is wrong then the wrong choice is discovered and admitted and the couple can back up and go the other route option that had been previously supported by the wife. A Christ-like and wise husband will listen closely to the input of his wife. Personally, I rarely if ever proceed unless my wife and I can come to a consensus or compromise, but I do have to lead in making decisions. There have been times when I was wrong in my decisions and I have admitted to the obvious and then followed my wife’s direction. There have been times when I was right in my perception and decisions, ( though my wife would probably like to insert a comment here on how she is more often right than I am; I am sure other wives feel similarly toward their husbands). From this perspective good can come from wrong decisions in that we can discover a way not to proceed. Trouble and hardship are compounded when a person when proven wrong, because of pride, refuses to admit or accept that their decision was wrong. Such a response puts the proud person in opposition to God since “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5-6). Such pride can rear its angry head in both husbands and wives. Humility in decision making therefore, is essential to finding the will of God and right way to proceed (Romans 12:1-2).
When Paul says that “the head of Christ is God” he does not at all imply Jesus is not God or is less than God. God the Father is an essential part of Jesus the only Son of God. You cannot divide the Trinity. Jesus will deliver the
Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons try to take this verse and assert that Jesus is not God. But that is far from the truth. The Bible says that Jesus is equal with God but chose to empty Himself to become a Man humbly submitting to the will of the Father to fulfill His redemptive plan (Philippians 2:5-11; Matthew 26:39-44). For the redemptive plan to work, it required a Humble Servant willing to sacrifice His perfect sinless life to pay the just penalty for the sins of mankind (2 Corinthians 5:21). The mutually submissive relationship between Christian men and women illustrates this Christ-like attitude (Ephesians ). The submission of the wife to the husband in the Christian marriage relationship illustrates the particular relationship between Christ and the Church (Ephesians -33).
Different Rank Does Not Imply Inferiority or Inequality
Jesus was not inferior to the Father though He willingly submitted Himself to the will of the Father. In the same way when we say that the man is the head of the woman we should not misinterpret that to imply that women are in some way inferior to men. We need to understand that all believers regardless of gender or nationality are one and of equal value (Galatians ). One commentator states:
“The Christian faith brought freedom and hope to women, children, and slaves. It taught that all people, regardless of race, or sex, were equal before their Creator, . . . the local church was perhaps the only fellowship in the Roman Empire that welcomed all people, regardless of nationality, social status, sex, or economic position.”  What was happening at
Let me say again that we are talking about the workings in the church. Outside the church there are many situations where women are in authority over men. The point to be received by this passage is well expressed by one commentator who states:
Paul sought to restore order by reminding the Corinthians that God had made a difference between men and women, that each had a proper place in God’s economy. There were also appropriate customs that symbolized these relationships and reminded both men and women of their correct places in the divine scheme. Paul did not say, or even hint, that difference meant inequality or inferiority. If there is to be peace in the church (1 Cor. ), then there must be some kind of order; and order of necessity involves rank. However, rank and quality are two different things. The captain has a higher rank than the private, but the private may be a better man. 
Even though Jesus is equal to the Father He willingly submitted to the Father (John ; ). Similarly women in the church and in Christian marriage in their position of submission are no less equal in value to God than men (1 Corinthians 3:21-23; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 5:21-33).
In 1 Corinthians Paul states:
At the end of his discussion of head-coverings and hair length Paul puts the issue into perspective stating it is not worth dividing over. He would likely apply what he has taught throughout the previous section that one should restrain their own liberty for the sake of the gospel and if it causes a weaker believer to stumble. That’s what our attitude and action should be as well.
The reason Paul can state this is because he is speaking about “custom.” The word “custom” is a translation of the Greek term SUNTHEIA (Strong’s # 4914 - συνήθεια sunēthĕia, soon-ay´-thi-ah) which means, “practice; mutual habitation; custom.” Webster’s defines “custom” as a, “a usage or practice common to many or to a particular place or class or habitual with an individual; a long established practice usually considered as unwritten law; a repeated practice; the whole body of usages, practices, or conventions that regulate social life.” 
Therefore we can define a custom as; a custom is a local practice that is meaningful in an area because it communicates an important accepted behavior. You may have a custom in your own home such as everyone who enters the home removes their shoes before entering. You may have a custom in a room of the home such as knocking before entering. There may be a custom in a locality such as showing courtesy in a parking lot when searching for a parking spot. The way you look at people can be customary. In some areas of the world it is accepted custom to look at people in the eye where in other parts of the world looking someone in the eye may seem arrogant or inviting an argument. Another custom which varies throughout the world is the distance one stands when speaking to someone. In some parts of the world it is six inches; in others it is three feet and going past the accepted customary distance or recoiling from it can create an insulting situation. There are many customs, accepted behavior that are not written law but are nonetheless accepted and ingrained behavior that helps a society run smoothly and comfortably for the people in the given area.
The customs referred to by Paul of women covering their heads and men not covering their heads in services communicated humility and submission toward God. Customs communicate. In certain parts of the world the way a person dresses communicates either modesty or moral looseness. If you go on a mission’s trip to
Why was a woman’s hair length and head covering important? The length of a woman’s hair in New Testament times was important for two reasons. First, a woman found guilty of adultery according to Old Testament law, would have her hair cut off (Numbers -31). Therefore the woman who wore her hair short could be interpreted to be wearing a symbol of adultery. Second, in
Angels Amongst Us?
Now interestingly Paul mentions another reason for the woman to have a head covering; “because of the angels.” (11:10b). Why would he mention angels? Angels know their position before God, a position of humility (Isaiah 6:2). There is evidence that angels are present (invisibly) in church services (Ephesians ; 1 Peter ). Jesus said where tow or three gather He is in the midst of them (Matthew18:20). If that is the case, we ought to act reverently, like the angels, as though we were in heaven in the presence of God. How offended must some angels be at the casual irreverent way many in the body of Christ conduct themselves in the worship services of the Lord!
An Appeal to Nature
Paul then comments that “nature” teaches women should have long hair and men should have short hair (-15). Romans, Greeks and Jews customarily believed that women’s hair should be longer than men’s hair. How long? Long enough to make a distinction between a man and a woman.
During the 1960s when the hippie movement was in full swing it became customary for men to wear their hair long. Nowadays men wear their hair in various types of ways. Verse 14 was used in the 60s to denounce men, especially those in the church, who wore their hair long. The problem with that is how long is “long”? And this verse does not say that it is sinful for a man to wear their hair long, only that nature teaches it is more natural for a man’s hair to be short and a woman’s hair to be long.
The bottom line in all of this is stated by Paul inverse 16. Here he says that this topic is not worth dividing over ands he is not expressing a general rule for all the churches. It had just become an issue for the Corinthians given their cultural circumstances and customs of their time and place ().
“Every woman who prays or prophecies”
In verse five Paul assumes that there will be women who pray and prophecy in the church. Warren Wiersbe comments on this verse saying:
Paul did not forbid the women to pray or to prophesy. (Prophesying is not quite the same as our “preaching” or “expounding the Word.” A person with the gift of prophecy proclaimed God’s message as it was given to him immediately by the Spirit. The modern preacher studies the Word and prepares his message.) While the New Testament does not seem to permit women elders (1 Tim. 3:2), women in the early church who had the gift of prophecy were allowed to exercise it. They were also permitted to pray in the public meetings. However, they were not permitted to usurp authority over the men (1 Tim. –15) or to judge the messages of the other prophets (1 Cor. –35). If they had any questions, they were to ask their husbands (or other men) outside of the church meeting. 
In all of this discussion of customs in the church the important truth and principle to come away with is that in all things we are to act in humility and aim at bringing glory to God. We need to respect the customs of other people’s especially when failing to do so would hinder the ministry of the Lord.
Loving Order at the Love Feast
1 Corinthians -22- 17 Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. 18 For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. 20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. 21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the
The early Christians frequently ate together in what was called a “love feast” (Jude 12; see also Acts , 46). This was a time where the love of Christ poured out into the hearts of believers by the Holy Spirit could flow in the fellowship (Romans 5:5; 2 Corinthians -16; 1 John 4:7-12). Those who came to the love feast would bring food. Not everyone could bring food so those who could, shared with the poor and needy of their number. The love feast was a wonderful time of sharing a meal together and it would then be concluded with a climax of sharing the Lord’s Supper.
But the love feast of the Corinthians had degenerated into loveless divisive selfish gathering. John questioned in his first epistle how the love of God could be in someone who disregarded his fellow Christians’ needs (1 John -18). Paul spoke strongly about how the love feast at
Paul concludes that if the Corinthians were going to act gluttonously and uncaringly they should keep it in their own homes (not that it should be justified there either). Their behavior was shaming the poor and despicable to the church. They were acting in their flesh, selfishly, and they needed to go to the cross in the Spirit to change their ways. That is where Paul takes them next.
Loving Order at the Lord’s Supper
1 Corinthians 11:23-34 - 23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.33 Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.
Since 1 Corinthians was written before the four Gospels, the words of Jesus in this passage are the earliest words of Jesus we have. Paul now moves to what should be the climax of their love feast gatherings, but had also degenerated into a fleshly superficial ritual to them. How can we assure that our participation in the Lord’s Supper will be right and reverent? The loving order the Lord’s Supper teaches us five things that will help us to this end.
First, we need to receive from the Lord (11:26a). Paul said, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: . . .” That’s what every pastor should be able to say when they teach their flock (see Deuteronomy 4:5; 1 Corinthians 15:3; Galatians -12; 1 Thessalonians 4:2). John the Baptist correctly said that a man could receive nothing unless it had been given him from heaven (John ). You can’t give out what hasn’t been put there by the Lord. We need to look to the Lord to receive from Him. The pastor should spend time alone in study of the Bible seeking to have the Holy Spirit illuminate the word of God and give him the true sense of the text to share with the flock. Only when this has been done can the pastor truly serve faithfully to the Lord (1 Corinthians 4:2). Some pastor’s go to commentaries first and live off of what the Lord has delivered to others. That is a cheap and easy way, not to mention a shallow and spiritually superficial way for a pastor to conduct ministry. The pastor should go in prayer and receive a fresh word from the Lord in preparation to come to the flock of God with a message.
Second, we need to remember Jesus’ sacrifice (11:23b-25). At the Lord’s Supper the broken bread reminds us of Christ’s body given for us and the cup reminds us of His shed blood that cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7). Twice Paul quotes Jesus as saying we should participate in the Lord’s Supper, “in remembrance of Me.” There are two Biblical ordinances, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
The word “remembrance” is translated from the Greek term, ANAMIMNESKO (Strong’s #364 - anamimnesko ). This is a compound word formed with the prefix ana, which means “back,” and the word MIMNESKO (Strong’s 3403), which means “to remember; to remind.” The word therefore means, (in the Greek Active Voice) “to remind, call to one’s mind, . . . .” (See 1 Corinthians 4:17; 2 Corinthians 7:15; 2 Timothy 1:6; Mark 11:21; 14:72; Hebrews 10:32). 
For some reason Jesus wants us to remember Him, especially when we partake of the Lord’s Supper. And this was to be a perpetual and lasting thing until He returns. Why? Of course as a loved one He wants us to remember Him. But I think there is something more to this instruction of Jesus.
The Gaze of the Soul
What we look at in life, what our life focus is, is very important. As Christians we are to fix our eyes on Jesus and this is very important. In Hebrews it states:
Take into account the context of these words. Hebrews 11 is referred to as The Hall of Faith because it defines what faith is and records numerous examples of people with faith. The “Therefore” of verse twelve connects what is being said with what precedes it. Hebrews 12 continues the discussion of faith.
In the middle of these verses the writer is inspired to write, “Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.” There is a link, a connection with this call to look to Jesus and Jesus instruction to “do this in remembrance of Me.”
The word, “looking” in Hebrews 12:2 means a persistent, focused, concentrated gaze (Greek Present tense of APHORAO – Strong’s #872). The word means, “to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something.” We are to turn our eyes away from other things and fix them on Jesus. Why? Because Jesus is our “author.” The word “author” refers to “the chief leader; prince; one who takes the lead in anything and thus affords an example, a predecessor in a matter, a pioneer, an author” (Greek ARCHEGOS – Strong’s #747). Jesus is our leader and example the One who leads us into before unmarked and unknown territory, salvation and a life of faith.
Jesus is also our “finisher.” The word “finisher” refers to a, “perfector; one who has in his own person raised faith to its perfection and so set before the highest example of faith” (Greek TELEIOTES - Strong’s # 5051). It is in Jesus that we find completeness and the highest fulfillment of what we should be like. Jesus is the finished product of perfection. While we cannot become God, we are called to become like Jesus and find our completion in Him (Romans ; Colossians ). Becoming like Jesus is the end product of our faith.
Jesus’ Focused on the Father
What is the example that Jesus authored for us? Jesus demonstrated and epitomized what faith is. When He fixed His gaze on the Father He was able to feed more than 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish (Matthew ). Listen to the words of Jesus as He explained how important this gaze of faith was in His life:
Here we see in Jesus testimony the relationship between He and the Father in the Triune Godhead. God is our example to follow (Ephesians 5:1-2). As Jesus had a loving gaze toward the Father and the Father had a loving gaze toward Jesus, we should have a loving gaze toward them. When we keep our eyes on Jesus we experience a little bit of heaven on earth with Him. Jesus wants us to “remember” Him and the writer of Hebrews instructed us to turn from other things and keep our gaze on Jesus. Why? Because that is how we are spiritually transformed. When we keep our eyes on Jesus; when we fix our gaze on Jesus; when we concentrate on Jesus and His cross He transforms us spiritually. That is how we overcome sin in our lives. That is how we gain the victory and are transformed into the likeness of Jesus (Romans ). That is how we experience heaven right now.
There is a fantastic book written by A.W. Tozer entitled The Pursuit of God. In this book is a chapter entitled, The Gaze of the Soul. In this chapter he writes:
“. . . faith is the gaze of a soul upon a saving God [Compare Numbers 21:4-9 and John -15]. . . . . [Jesus’] power lay in His continual look at God. . . . Faith is the least self-regarding of the virtues. It is by its very nature scarcely conscious of its own existence. Like the eye which sees everything in front of it and never sees itself, faith is occupied with the Object upon which it rests and pays no attention to itself at all. While we are looking at God we do not see ourselves – blessed riddance. The man who has struggled to purify himself and has had nothing but repeated failures will experience real relief when he stops tinkering with his soul and looks away to the perfect One. While he looks at Christ the very things he has so long been trying to do will be getting done within him. It will be God working in him to will and to do [Philippians ].
Faith is not in itself a meritorious act; the merit is in the One toward Whom it is directed [Ephesians 2:8-9]. Faith is a redirecting of our sight, a getting out of the focus of our own vision and getting God into focus. . . . Faith looks out instead of in. . . . When we lift our inward eyes to gaze upon God we are sure to meet friendly eyes gazing back at us, for it is written that the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout all the earth [2 Chronicles 16:9; Psalm 34:15; Proverbs 5:21; 15:3; 1 Peter 3:12] . . . When the eyes of the soul looking out meet the eyes of God looking in, heaven has begun right here on this earth. (Pages 89, 90, 91, 92).
When Jesus said, “do this in remembrance of me,” when in Hebrews it says, “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith,” it was so we could be transformed and experience a little bit of heaven here and now. Remember that next time you partake of the Lord’s Supper.
Third, we need to look for His return (11:26b). We are to continue to partake of the Lord’s Supper until Jesus actual return. This points us to look forward in hope for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of Jesus (Titus ). This helps us get through the trials of life now by looking forward to the relief and deliverance promised in the future. Hope is expectation of good and in Christ there is incredible good awaiting us. Furthermore, when we set our hope on Jesus return and live in light of His return it effects the way we live and has a purifying impact on us. The apostle John was inspired to write in this regard:
When you live with the conscious awareness that Jesus could come back at any time, it changes the way you live. No believer looking for Jesus’ return would want to be caught in a compromising situation or sin when His Beloved Savior returns (Luke 21:36; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; 2 Peter 3:10-18).
Transubstantiation and an End Times Warning from Jesus
The Roman Catholic Church has in recent years placed a great deal of emphasis on their false doctrine of transubstantiation which holds that during the “Mass” the elements of the bread and wine when consecrated by the officiating priest, turn into the actual physical body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus so that “Christ’s real presence” is manifested. Denying this doctrine is considered sacrilegious to this church.  This doctrine is being emphasized in a new program called Eucharistic Evangelization.
In his insightful and eye opening book Another Jesus? – The Eucharistic Christ and the New Evangelization, Roger Oakland explains and exposes Eucharistic Evangelization. He sights a quote from a full page advertisement in Parade magazine that showed Pope John Paul II handing a wafer to a nun during Mass which stated:
God wants to share His life with us by uniting us to the His Son, Jesus Christ – not only mentally or spiritually but completely. This is why Jesus gave us the Holy Eucharist, His own Body and Blood to eat. Holy communion is food for the whole believer, heart and mind, body and soul. And the food is Jesus Himself. It is Christ’s Body and Blood: not just a symbol, but he real thing. 
Mr. Oakland quotes from a free booklet offered in the advertisement which stated:
The Eucharist is the heart of the Church’s life. In the celebration of the mystery of faith, Christ himself is present to his people. Rich in symbolism and richer in reality, the Eucharist bears within itself the whole reality of Christ and mediates his saving work to us. In short, when the Church gathers in worship of God, and offers the Eucharistic sacrifice, not only is Christ really and truly present under the appearances of bread and wine, but he also continues his saving work of salvation. 
Mr. Oakland goes on to site quotes that state the Roman Catholic Church’s belief that the Mass is a “supernatural mystery that the person who becomes fully present at Mass is the same Risen Savior who is seated at the right hand of the Father.” According to the Romans Catholic Church transubstantiation means:
. . . that by the consecration of bread and wine there takes place a change in the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and the whole substance of wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation. 
We will show below how this is a gross misinterpretation and misrepresentation of the Lord’s Supper given by Jesus in the gospels.
One only needs to remember that Jesus was alive in the flesh when He instituted this ordinance and the disciples did not eat His body and drink His blood as Jesus offered the elements. The Bible uses similes and metaphors to communicate truth (e.g. Galatians “for this Hagar is
When Jesus died on the cross He said, “It is finished” (John – Greek tetelestai meaning “paid in full”); we cannot and need not add to His atoning work on the cross. Jesus atoning work is complete at the cross, there is no need for further sacrifices (Romans 6:9-10; Hebrews -28; -14, 18; 1 Peter ). Jesus said where two or three believers come together He is there in their midst (Matthew ). Jesus does not dwell in inanimate objects (e.g. consecrated hosts on an altar), He dwells in every born again believer by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9, 11; 1 Corinthians ; 2 Corinthians ; Ephesians ). The next time Jesus comes in His “real presence” will be at the Second Coming of Christ (Mark 13:26; Acts 1:9-11; Jude 14-15; Revelation 1:7; 19:11-14).
Lastly, to believe that one drinks the actual blood of Jesus is to contradict scripture (Genesis 9:4; Leviticus ; ; 1 Samuel ; Acts -20). Furthermore, when in the Mass the bread and wine are consecrated by the priest and supposed to be turned into the actual body and blood of Jesus, those that eat the elements can easily discern that they remain bread and wine. There is not a single miracle in the Bible where outward appearances contradict actual change. Those who were healed of blindness, could actually see, not remain blind. Transubstantiation is not a Biblically supportable doctrine and is misleading at best and blasphemous at its worst.
The Catholic Church is presenting another gospel (Galatians 1:6-7) that calls people to seek salvation in another Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:3-4). Not everything that is labeled “the gospel” is the gospel as it is truly revealed by God in His holy Word and we are called to beware and discern the false from the true. The other Jesus in the new Eucharistic Evangelization is the Jesus who is purported to be transubstantiated in the mass. In Catholic churches we see elements of this (no pun intended) in Eucharistic Adoration where the elements of communion are placed in a holder called a Monstrance in an area of the church and worshipped by congregants as if Jesus was really present in the physical element.
But there is an important warning from Jesus to note in this regard. Roger Oakland goes on to explain what happens to the consecrated wafers that are left over after the
“The real presence endures after the celebration of the Eucharistic liturgy. It is for this reason there is a tabernacle in the churches.”
[Then Mr. Oakland explains] . . . the Catholic Church teaches that “the real presence of Christ” is actually contained and resides in a tabernacle within the Catholic church. The tabernacle chamber contains the Eucharist and is positioned inside every Catholic church on the altar. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the Eucharistic tabernacle is “a receptacle for the consecrated elements of the Eucharist; esp: an ornamental locked box used for reserving the Communion Hosts.” Throughout the world Catholics are encouraged to visit, pray to, worship and adore “Christ” who is stored inside these tabernacles. 
What makes this so important, according to Mr. Oakland, is that Jesus warned of this it the Olivet Discourse. In the Olivet Discourse of Jesus He stated:
The phrase of Jesus’ words that is so applicable here is verse 26 where He states, “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it.” Mr. Oakland then skillfully rightly divides and applies these words by stating:
As we read through Matthew 24, it is apparent that the spiritual deception that takes place in the name of Jesus is associated with false appearances. But even more specifically, Jesus wanted us to know the exact locations where these false appearances would be occurring.
In order that there would be no need to speculate regarding this important matter, Jesus provided exact locations where these false appearances would occur. While our English translations say that counterfeit Christs would appear in the “secret chambers” or “inner rooms” or “inner chambers,” a look at the original Greek word tameion provides some very interesting insight. With reference to Strong’s Concordance, the actual meaning of the Greek word tameion that is translated as inner rooms is:
Tameion (tam-i-on); neuter contraction of presumed derivative of tamias (a dispenser or distributor; akin to temno, to cut); a dispensary or magazine, ie. A chamber on the ground-floor or interior of an Oriental house (generally used for storage or privacy, a spot for retirement)
In other words, the original Greek word tameion, actually refers to some kind of storage container or dispensary. A vessel or container to store or dispense the counterfeit Christ? That sounds strange, but as you read, is it possible that this future prediction of Christ is in the process of being fulfilled today? 
The so-called “presence” of Jesus in the consecrated wafers and wine in the Catholic church held in the monstrance on the altars seems to be a clear correlation to the warning of Jesus. What Jesus warned us about is exactly what seems to be happening today and that is exactly why we should go to the word of God and rely on the scriptural understanding of the Lord’s Supper and not a man made mysterious understanding that limits Jesus’ presence to human consecration of wafers and wine. If this is happening just as Jesus said it would, then we need to look up for His return must be close at hand. When the “real presence” of Jesus comes it will be in the clouds with power and great glory (Matthew 24:27,29-31) and every eye will see Him (Revelation 1:7).
Fourth, we need to reflect within (-28, 31-32). We are to examine ourselves and not partake of the Lord’s Supper casually, mindlessly, heartlessly, or by going through the motions which is what Paul means when he refers to taking the Lord’s Supper “in an unworthy manner.” The Lord’s Supper is not magical, it requires we are attentive and have our heart invested in it. We should examine ourselves by prayerfully asking God to search our hearts to find any wicked ways in us (Psalm 139:23-24). Our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked and only god can help us discern properly and accurately what is going on in their (Jeremiah 17:9-10). God will take His word and apply it to our hearts to show us where we stand and what condition we are in (Hebrews ). Then we can confess our sin at the Lord’s Table and be refreshed (1 John 1:9).
Let me pause a moment and explain what confession is. Confession is not going into a booth and reciting your sins to someone and then following a prescription of recited prayers. Confession is much more than that. The word “confess” is translated from the Greek term HOMOLOGEO (Strong’s #3670) and the sense of it is to say the same thing or agree with someone about something. The idea here is that confession is coming to the same feeling and assessment about our sin as God does. God is holy and He detests sin (Habakkuk 1:13a). God hates sin because it separated people from Him. God loves us and because sin separates us from Him, He hates sin. God hates sin because it is cancerous. One cell or single sin always spreads to more sin; sin multiplies and digs deeper into the soul of the sinner to darken it, desecrate it, destroy it. Sin cause pain and suffering to the ones God loves. Is this the way you view your sin? Or do you merely come before God, recite your sin, claim by God’s grace your forgiveness and then go on your way? If the later is the case, you remain in your sin. True confession requires we take it seriously before God and hate it like He does. Just as in salvation saving faith involves repentance (Acts ), confession involves a desire and commitment to repent and leave our sin behind. Think about it, if someone did something really mean, or even casually insensitive to someone you love and it really hurt them, and then the offender responded with merely reciting their offense, presuming on your forgiveness, and then walked away as though everything was okay, how would you feel about that? You’d likely be appalled, grieved and repulsed by the injustice and insensitivity of such behavior. And yet, that is exactly what we so often do before God who is holy and loving toward us. We need to truly confess our sins before God daily and especially at the Lord’s Supper.
Paul speaks of partaking of the Lord’s Supper in an “unworthy manner.” In a sense no one but Christ alone could ever be “worthy” to partake of the Lord’s Supper. In our own strength we fall far short of God’s glorious standard of righteousness (Isaiah 64:6; Romans ). But, glory to God, in Christ we are made worthy as we trust fully in Him and His atoning work on our behalf (Romans 8:1-2; 2 Corinthians ). The weakness and sickness Paul speaks about I believe is the result of not partaking in the Lord’s Supper in faith. If you are drunk and focused on self like the Corinthians God will allow sickness and weakness (both physical and spiritual) to enter your life to chasten you so that hopefully you will come to your senses and return to the Lord (see 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Hebrews 12:1-11). The weakness and lack of healing comes from not properly considering the work of Christ on the cross (Matthew -17). This last point here leads us into a deeper fuller consideration of the fifth and final aspect of the Lord’s Supper.
Fifth, we need to recognize the body of Christ and reach out respectfully to those around us (-34). The Lord’s Super should be a demonstration of the unity of the body of Christ. Earlier Paul referred to this unity saying, “For we, though many, are one bread and one body” (1 Corinthians ). He said “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord . . . .For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body” (11:27,29). Now what does it mean to “discern the Lord’s body”? The word “discern” means to walk around and consider something intently, to scrutinize it and come to a valued appraisal of it based on a concentrated observation (Greek DIAKRINO – Strong’s # 1252). Let’s investigate and walk around the context in which Paul brings up the issue of the Lord’s Supper.
To fully answer that question we need to ask what was the problem the Corinthians were having? They were acting in an unloving way toward those who were less privileged. They were gathering together at their “love feasts” and acting in a very unloving way. They were divisive toward one another (-19). They were pushing others aside as they overindulged in gluttony and selfish consumption of the food that was brought. This was dishonoring the “
Before we answer the question, “What does it mean to discern the body of Christ?” there is still another piece of information, another question we need to consider. That is, what is the “body of Christ?” Some would point to the literal “body” of Jesus and His sacrifice and as we have already seen, this is a central aspect of the Lord’s Supper (11:24 - we should not conclude however that we are to “discern” the literal physical “body of Christ” in terms of transubstantiation such as we discounted above). While that is a central part of this Supper, there is an additional sense of the “body” that fits perfectly in this context.
In the next chapter Paul is inspired to write this:
“Now you are th