Besides the history of Israel as biblical precedent, the apostle Paul provides compelling New Testament instruction concerning why God would judge so harshly. Having praised the church at Corinth for remembering him and his teaching as he had presented it, the apostle could not praise them for the “instructions” he now, wrote in their failure to properly reverence “the Lord’s Supper“ when they met together for that purpose (1 Corinthians 11:1-2, 17-22, NKJV). They had ego driven divisions and factions when they met; some were selfishly eating their own food ahead of and not sharing with others leaving a hungry person while another came to the meeting drunk.
Such behavior showed not only contempt for “the church of God,” but Christ who is the holy Object of the memorial supper He instituted (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)! Paul is very clear, “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.” Thus, we are to “examine” ourselves thoroughly for sin to the end of confessing and repenting from it before partaking of the Lord’s Supper. We do this to avoid eating the bread representing the Lord’s body and drinking from the cup with His blood “in an unworthy manner” and bringing judgment upon ourselves (1 Corinthians 11:27-29, NKJV).
The guilty may not, but God plainly takes the sacrifice of His Son that has saved us from our sins very seriously (Ephesians 5:1-7)! As a result, the apostle reported in his time that many were “weak,” “sick” and dead from divine judgment for their disrespect of the Lord’s body and blood while practicing sin. And we can be sure this has been the case for every guilty soul until now, because “God shows no partiality,” (Acts 10:34-35, NKJV)! “For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged” by the Lord who calls us to repentance and chastens to help us avert eternal condemnation “with the world” if we will (Romans 1:18-2:11; 1 Corinthians 11:30-32, NKJV).
“Lest you come together for judgment” is the spiritual reality the apostle Paul sums up his Lord’s Supper instruction with; warning the Corinthian church and every other to this hour if they would pay heed (1 Corinthians 11:33-34, NKJV). The evidence of history is that many churches have not given heed either to the apostle’s warning about proper reverence for the Lord’s Supper or his instruction from Him on the order of their assemblies. Already during and after the first century many local churches became the pride of sinful flesh and manmade religion; their leaders also driven by selfish ambitions to pursue and relishing power and control over them (3 John 9-11).
Furthermore, as foretold, these men (and wickedly now, women too) in sin have purposely drawn away especially the gullible and weak among Christ’s sheep after themselves and made membership in their local church false proof of true salvation (Acts 20:29-30; 2 Timothy 3:6-9; 2 Peter 2:12-22). Something is wrong when like a drug addict people have a need to go to church, take their favorite seat, hear their pastor preach, the music team sing their favorite song or irrespective of gifting, work in their desired humanly invented position. Something is also wrong when pastors need to be up preaching to “their people.” This is textbook co-dependency God never intended!5
As houses of ill-repute, all manner of evil, impropriety, vice, false teaching, dysfunction, torture and murder of enemies in sin to name only a few things have been practiced and tolerated while the Lord’s Supper is featured and regularly taken as their grand display of Christianity in them! Arrogant, defiant and obstinate; those that are guilty in our times reached critical mass in much of the foregoing and practicing disorder in the Lord’s house. For they not only have rejected the Lord’s order of mankind from creation to be practiced by Christian men and women He gives through Paul, but the place, use and order of spiritual gifts in their assemblies as well (1 Corinthians 11:3-16, 12:1-14:40).6
The question is not why God would judge guilty local churches so harshly by shutting them down, but why did He take so long given how widespread the wickedness among them is? Is it not again the longsuffering of our God that in grace waits as long as possible for repentance since He knows when He finally does judge, it will not be a lightweight slap on the wrist (2 Peter 3:9)? As with Israel’s past judgments, He also knows His faithful though not guilty, will nonetheless, be impacted. He waits making the way and opportune time to minimize that impact (Ezekiel 9; Luke 21:20-24). The Lord’s Coronavirus judgment came suddenly and invisibly out of nowhere first in China last fall and then, upon our shores this past January en route to spreading fatally over the inhabited earth.
In the frantic mix of government solutions to fight the spread of the plague, churches along with others that host public gatherings were required to shut down. As the Lord also led me to write previously, the upside for Christians and their local churches that will survive is the fact He has provided opportunity for soul searching and repentance as needed.7 Too, the Lord has graciously given all an advance look at the near future and reality check about just how important the local church really is in His grand scheme of things. In a moment, churches can be no more as happens to our persecuted brethren in many places. Recognizing this, should not leaders be intentional about lining up the churches they can still serve with God’s will, way and Word as it is written?
(Thoroughly grateful to God to remain employed full-time in His service, I will be taking Sunday, September 6th off as my Labor Day rest. Lord willing, my next post will appear on September 13th. Enjoy your Labor Day and if you are looking for work, seek the Lord who is merciful for help.)
5 I write about this tragic spiritually, mentally and emotionally unhealthy reality of local church life which crosses ethnic and cultural lines in a March social media post
that I repeated and added to in the April 5, 2020 post, God Is Speaking, under the category, Call To Repent. We are to absolutely ever need only Christ (Deuteron-
omy 31:6; Psalm 23; Acts 18:9-10, 23:11; 2 Timothy 4:16-18; Hebrews 4:14-16)! Also pastor, you do not own His authentic sheep, they belong to Christ who “pur-
chased” them “with His own blood.” You sir, are a shepherd under Him if He appointed you and steward that must give an account (John 10:11-16, 21:15-17; Acts 20:
28; 1 Peter 5:1-4, NKJV). Consequently, you should fear lest you through wickedness be found the cause of even one of Christ’s sheep being “scattered,” “lost” and
devoured by that spiritual wolf, Satan (Ezekiel 34:1-10; Mark 9:42-48, NKJV)!
6 Contrary to the deceit planted by Satan and slowly cultivated by professed Christians over the past century, God has not changed His order of mankind from creation
as I also maintain in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. A print copy or digital download of the book is available at major internet booksellers such as
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can also purchase a print copy in the Strong Man Store.
7 See God Is Speaking.
Strong Man Of God Resources
Get Your Copy Of The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics
Your purchase supports restoring men, families and communities through Strong Man Ministries!
Purchase It Now