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Rediscovering the Church: The Culture that Multiplies

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Breaking of Bread

ESV42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Common term for eating meals together (i.e. love feast), but came to include the Lord’s Supper/Communion. Likely observed every Lord’s dayCommunion is the 2nd of the 2 ordinances the church is commanded to practice.
Most detailed instructions about communion are found in
Abuses of Communion
ESV17 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, 19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. 21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.
GluttonySocial Snobbery- abuse of the poorUnworthy Manner
ESV26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.
Most blatantly an unworthy manner would be to partake yet deny the sufficiency of Christ death for sins (e.g. Judas Iscariot).Contextually: probably refers to the incompatibility of the Corinthians’ divisive arrogance as compared to the sacrificial, others-oriented nature of Jesus’ death. (ESV Study Bible). Broadly: ritualistically, indifferently, with an unrepentant heart, a spirit of bitterness, or any other ungodly attitude. (MacArthur Commentary).Any confessed sin
The Exhortation/Warning
ESV28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.
Paul stresses the importance of self-examination in 2 other places as well
ESV5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
ESV4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.
Practical Question: How do I tend to approach communion, with reverence or apathy? Do I take my sin seriously? Am I willing to pass on partaking in order to repent/ or be reconciled to my neighbor? Do you struggle with just going through the ritual motions of communion with little to no self-examination? What will you do about it?

Prayer

ESV42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
The forgotten art. The abandoned lifeline. Lack of devotion to corporate prayer is one of the spiritual cancers plaguing the church today. We show-up for National Night Out, Fall Festivals, Family Fun Nights but the church is most empty for Wednesday Night Prayer.
Prayer is the conduit that connects our souls to the heart and power of God, without it we are powerless!
It was through prayer that Abraham’s faith was strengthened to trust in God’s goodness and provision as he prepared to sacrifice Isaac!It was through prayer that David was able to rise up from fasting and worship God after God disciplined him by killing his son!It was through prayer that Job was able to trust in God’s sovereignty in the midst of his affliction and say “though he slay me, I will hope in him”!Daniel prayed constantly!It was through prayer that our savior was able to face the cross and say to the father, “not my will, but yours be done”!It was through the intercessory prayer of Jesus that Peter’s (and all believer’s) faith may not fail!It was through the high priestly prayer of Jesus () that we (the church) are:kept in the father’s namesanctified in the truthone as the father and Jesus are onewill be with him where he is!It is through prayer that the believer’s in () amidst adversity and danger found boldness to proclaim the gospel!
How did we get here!!!?
Remember ?
ESV6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
Practical Question: Are you devoted to corporate prayer? Have you invited someone to spend time with you to pray?
If we are to rediscover the church as Jesus intended it to exist we must recover a devotion to praying together! Although it sounds corny, the cliche applies to the church too- the church that prays together stays together.
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