1 Corinthians 1:29,30, “For the one who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not properly recognize the body. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number are asleep.”
This passage is one of those that really scared me as a young Christian, which was probably a good thing when approaching communion. I don’t think anything could be more offensive to the Lord than taking communion apathetically or as a Christian in a bad spiritual condition. Paul makes an incredibly strong statement here. He says that some of the members of the church in Corinth were sick because they had not “discerned” the Lord’s body when taking communion. Paul even said some had died early because of this sin. What exactly is Paul talking about here? Actually two things. First, is not recognizing the spiritual significance of the death of Christ as it pertains to communion. The second is not seeing the spiritual nature of the church, the body of Christ, and your connection to it. Here is how Barclay describes this:
“The phrase the body of Christ again and again stands for the Church….Paul has just been rebuking those who, with their divisions and their class distinctions, divide the Church; so, this may mean that the people who eat and drink unworthily are those who have never realized that the whole Church is the body of Christ but are at variance with others. All who hold in their hearts feelings of hatred, bitterness and contempt against others, as they come to the table of our Lord, eat and drink unworthily. So, to eat and drink unworthily is to do so with no sense of the greatness of the thing we do, and to do so while we are at variance with those others for whom also Christ died. Paul goes on to say that the misfortunes which have fallen upon the church at Corinth may simply be due to the fact that they come to this sacrament while they are divided among themselves…”
The church is the dwelling place of the Lord on the earth. The nature of the church is spiritual. Each one of us is a vital and organic member of His church. Walking in harmony with His church is critical. Paul said violating this can carry extreme consequences. Discerning His body brings us into the blessing of His body and His church.