1 Corinthians 11

Let’s turn in our Bibles to 1 Corinthians, chapter eleven. The first verse of chapter eleven really belongs in chapter ten, with the thoughts that Paul is expressing in chapter ten. There, Paul said, whether, therefore you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense either to the Jews or to the Gentiles nor to the church of God, even as I please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of many that they may be saved.
Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. Be followers of me. I’m setting the example for you. And thus be followers of me just as I am a follower of Christ. Here is Paul’s encouragement to look at his life as an example. He is doing all for the glory of God, willing to give a point here or there, willing to forgo his own freedom that he had of conscience in doing certain things, for the sake of the Jews, he became as a Jew so that he wouldn’t offend them..
2Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things (Paul of course had spent a couple of years there at Corinth, establishing the church and teaching them the ordinances of the church. I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things.)
and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. You remember the way that I instructed you. Even now when there are problems, you have written to me for advice and for consultation in dealing with these problems. So he extols them for this.
3But 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. We’re talking about divinely ordained authority, which is an extremely important issue and subject.
In those days in the Grecian and Roman culture, the woman was often treated as one level above a slave. She was considered often the property of her husband. They were definitely treated as second class citizens. As a result of the treatment of women, there developed a woman’s liberation, in those days, in Rome, several women’s lib movements. What we see today is really nothing new. It grew out of the abuse that women were receiving. So it crept into the church.
And Paul now is talking about divined, ordained, order, and dealing with it from a Godly environment or atmosphere. But God has established an order, a divine order. Even as Christ is the head over the man, so God has established that the man is the head over the woman and God the head over Christ.
It’s unfortunate that there is an endeavor to change to order. The issue and subject is not equality or ability. The issue is divine order. It is true that women are qualified for many things. In many cases, a woman working on a job is smarter than her boss. In many offices, the women sort of handle the business, while the boss plays golf. I mean he would be lost without her. It’s not a matter of ability that we are talking about here. We’re just talking about the way God created things, the divine order. And in the divine order, the man is to be subject unto Jesus Christ. The woman is to be subject unto the man. And Jesus Christ is subject to the Father.
Now a lot of people, Jehovah Witnesses, and Mormons often jump on this particular verse, to try to show that Jesus is not God. That God is the head over Christ and thus He is not God. That’s not at all what it is teaching. (Philippians 2:5-11) Jesus who in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, emptied Himself, came in the likeness of man. As a servant, He was obedient unto death. He willingly submitted Himself when He came to this earth to accomplish the will of the Father. He said this over and over again. He said, I didn’t come to do My own will. I came to do the will of Him that sent Me. It’s probably manifested in its greatest form there in the garden (Matthew 26:39-44), when He was praying, Father if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not what I will but Thy will be done. And thus He submitted to the authority of the Father while He was in His body here on earth. It has nothing to do with His pre-incarnate glory or His glory now with the Father and the glory that He had before the world ever existed. But the reference is in His coming to the earth to submit to the will of the Father in the plan of redemption of mankind.
Now it is always a sorry thing when the world infiltrates the church. This is what was happening in Corinth. There were women who were involved in the women’s liberation movement. They were saying, we don’t have to be subject to these rules and to these regulations and to the men.
Today of course, it’s, what can you say? The feminist Bible, the neuterless Bible, of all the ridiculous things, now I understand that they are going to, with the NIV, start making it more neuter neutral. And it’s all to sort of conform to the pressure of the age, the women’s lib movement. And as I say, it’s tragic when the church would forsake the clear teaching of the Word of God in order to conform itself to a modern movement in our society.
When we go through the eleventh chapter, don’t leave before we get down a little further because you will find that, (you women that is), you’ll find that Paul is very balanced as he deals with the whole issue. It’s a very balanced position. But here he is just talking about the divine order that God has established.
4Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered (or veiled), dishonors his head. 5But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered (or unveiled) dishonors her head, Now if a man would cover his head, he would dishonor his head. If the woman doesn’t cover her head, she dishonors her head.
Now in those days in that culture, and we are dealing with a specific culture, the married women wore veils. The idea of wearing the veil, was that no man would look at her and lust after her beauty. She saved her beauty for her husband only, for his eyes to admire and to adore. And thus when she would go in public, she would wear the veil. In that culture it was accepted that woman wore a veil. The only women, basically, that didn’t wear the veils, were the prostitutes, who often shaved their heads also. So if you saw a women without a veil or with a shaved head, it was pretty generally accepted that she was prostitute. So for a woman to pray or to prophesy with her head unveiled would dishonor her head or her husband because the husband is the head of the wife.
for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. I mean it would be just like she was shaven, sort of a badge of the prostitute. And of course there in Corinth, there were over a thousand prostitutes from the temple of Aphrodite, there at the acropolis above Corinth. And they would come down into the city. The money that was earned would support the temple of Aphrodite.
6For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn (cut her hair). But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. So he is talking about the situation there in Corinth of the necessity of keeping order. Notice that he acknowledges that women were allowed to pray or to prophesy. There was no restriction on that. There are many things that a woman can do in church. There is the one prohibition that Paul spoke to Timothy about (I Timothy 2:12), “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man.” No problem with their teaching other women. In fact Paul wrote to Titus (Titus 2:4), “That they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children.” No problem with the woman teaching the Sunday school. There is no problem with the woman, exhorting, sharing her testimony, witnessing, exhorting.
Jesus told Mary, to go tell the disciples that He was risen. She was the first one. A woman, was the first one who was commissioned to tell the good news of the resurrection. There’s only the one area where the woman was prohibited from teaching or usurping authority over the man because that destroys the divine order.
7For 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. Man was created in the image of God. The woman was created in the image of God. The man is the glory of God and the woman is the glory of the man.
8For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. In the beginning when God created Adam, God said that it’s not good that man should live alone. So God created the woman. Adam went into a sleep and by whatever process, there are different suggestions. God took a rib or God took out of his side. Some believe that God formed a woman and then took a blood transfusion from man. However it is, we don’t know for certain. Adam said, this is bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh. She was called woman because she was taken from the man. But she was created by God that the man might have companionship, might have love, and might have beauty. And God brought her to Adam and she became his wife. So made for the man. Now when Eve ate of the forbidden fruit and offered it to Adam. Adam ate. When God began to proclaim the consequences of this disobedience, to the woman, He said (Genesis 3:16), the result would be that her desire would be to her husband and he would rule over her. That is God’s declaration. So you are talking about the beginning order that God established. So Paul goes back and shows you that this is the order that was established in the beginning.
So 10For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. The general interpretation there is that angels are here in our midst. Angels are concerned with divine order and in keeping divine order. Thus, in our midst, there is that concern for that divine order.
11Nevertheless, (and here we get the balance) neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. In other words, yes, in the Lord there is this equality. And of course in Corinth, the women were saying that. Look, we are equal in the Lord! We’re all redeemed. As Paul wrote to the Galatians, there is neither male or female(Galatians 3:28), bond or free, but Christ is all and in all. But they were carrying it beyond as far as divine order was concerned. But it is true that neither is the man without the woman nor the woman without the man, in the Lord. There is this glorious equality in the Lord!
Women, often times are more spiritual than men, more sensitive and more attuned to the things of the Spirit than men are. My wife has a far more Spiritual affinity than I do. I’m sort of course, you know, let’s plow through. But she’s got that fine temperament. She’ll say well just a minute, I don’t think so. As God said to Abraham, listen to your wife, Abraham. There have been a few times, I wish I had, more than a few.
What would the missions program be today if it weren’t for the women? How many women have done such a fabulous, commendable, work in missions throughout the history of the church? When Paul wrote his letter to the Roman church, the church in Rome, at the end, in the sixteenth chapter, he speaks to several women, commending them for their ministry and for their work in the things of the Lord. For in Christ, the man is not without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
12For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; In other words, if it wasn’t for the women I wouldn’t be here and you wouldn’t be here. We’re by the woman or we come through woman.
but all things are from God. 13Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Again, taking in the cultural consideration.
Then he says, 14Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? Now we had all kinds of trouble with this verse around here, a few years ago when we were dealing with a particular cultural phenomena at that time. When, I remember we had a male choir at one time and I had to sit behind them on the platform. They were wearing robes. Somehow they got the idea to wear choir robes. Here these fellows were singing wearing these choir robes. I began to chuckle because from behind all you could see was this long, wavy, beautiful hair. I thought really I need to take a picture from back here. Calvary Chapel’s choir, then go around and take a picture from the front. You would see the beards and the granny glasses and the whole bit.
When we had so many so long haired fellows around here, I was getting heat from so many different churches and pastors and rednecks around the country. And this is the Scripture that I had thrown up to me so many times. Does not nature itself teach you that it is a sin for a man to have long hair? So when I would be challenged on that, I would be on radio talk shows and so forth. People would invaribly get to that and they would think, got you, you know! So my stock answer is that I developed is, what is long hair for a man? Have you seen pictures of George Washington and some of the early presidents? What’s long?
Secondly, does it say it’s a sin? Does it say that God says it’s a sin? No, nature teaches you. It’s not a sin, it’s a shame. It’s not a sin, just a shame. And when I see these guys going around here with long, wavy hair down to their waist. I short of say, what a shame! But then when I try to comb with what’s left, I say what a shame! God has to have a sense of humor, choosing me to defend the guys having long hair.
Paul goes on to say, 15But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering. (or for a veil)
16But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God. It isn’t a general law. It isn’t a general rule as far as the veil is concerned. It’s an issue that would be important there in Corinth because of the cultural situation. So, we’re through that.
Now we turn to the Lord’s Table and to the Lord’s Supper, 17Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. 18For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. Now in the earlier part of the epistle, he addressed some of the divisions. Some were saying, I am of Peter. Others were saying, I’m of Paul. Some were saying, I’m of Apollos. He was declaring that these divisions that they had within the church were a mark of carnality, not of spiritual development, not of being spiritual giants. But it was a mark of carnality. Whenever a person wants to get into disputes over particular slants of doctrines or doctrinal issues and wants to create a division and argument and all, that’s just a mark of carnality. They lack spiritual maturity. So whenever you hear people, you know, getting on these issues and trying to run someone else down because they don’t agree with that particular form of doctrine that they are espousing, just know that they are creating divisions and that is just a mark of carnality. They need to grow up spiritually. And so Paul said, I don’t praise you in this, because when you come together, I hear that there are divisions and I sort of believe it.
19For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. So you divide into these little sects, divisions and divides into the party, spirit and the sects.
20Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. In the early church they would have the feast. There were many slaves in that culture. Oftentimes the only real meal that a slave would have would be at the church on these love feasts. When the church would gather they would have sort of a potluck. These meals would be prepared. They would be called the agape feasts, the love feasts. It was as I said, the only true meal that some of them really had. There were slaves.
21For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. You leave some hungry. As Christians we are to be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, sensitive towards one another (Ephesians 4:32). Esteeming others better than ourselves, not trying to put ourselves above others or in front of others, but serving one another in love. Not seeking our own but our brothers’ welfare. And though this is to be the general mode of the believer, this is where oftentimes Christianity breaks down, when it comes into the practice for even today so often we find that people do not prefer another above themselves. I mean prefer another, giving them place, they jump in and take the first themselves.
At the conference center where we serve family style, you can observe this quite readily and quite easily. Not I know you won’t be wanting to be eat with me at the table because I do observe things like this. But I have observed sometimes that when the meat get passed around the first guy will dig in and maybe take two or three portions. Now when the cook sets it out, they set out eight portions because we have eight people at the table. But the first person will just dig in and take two or three portions and the next guy will. By the time it gets half way around the table, there is no meat left. That’s being inconsiderate. And Paul said this is what is happening in Corinth. You’ve got those pigs that are at the front of the line, taking the best. They are not being concerned about there being enough to go around for everybody. And he said, you know, you need to watch this. Then there were some who come and drink and even get drunk at these love feasts.
So Paul said, 22What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you. So he is pointing out some of these inconsiderations that we need to be careful about.
Today when I went to the restaurant, and I observe these things. I can’t help it. I guess it’s sort of being in management, you know. When I go through the parking lot, I just can’t stand to see paper and things, cups and you know, Mac Donald’s wrappers around the place. So I drive through the parking lot picking up this stuff because I want the Lord’s house and the place of worship to look neat and clean.
As I went to the restaurant today, there was a fellow standing outside the door. He had a cigarette and was taking a lot of quick puffs, you know. You knew that he needed to get in with the family and wanted to get as much as he could you know of the nicotine before he went in. He was taking several quick puffs standing there at the door because there is no smoking inside. Then he threw down this, three-quarters of a cigarette butt and just stepped on it. So when I walked up to the restaurant, I waited a little bit for the smoke to clear but when I walked up, here’s this cigarette butt down there on the sidewalk. I thought to myself who does he think ought to pick his cigarette butt? How inconsiderate, someone has got to pick it up. Just who does he think will pick it up? I was really tempted to go into the restaurant, tap him on the shoulder and say, hey fellow, do you know that you left a cigarette butt there on the sidewalk. Who do you think is going to pick that up? Who should pick that up?
Consideration, this is what Paul is talking about, consideration. I’m not queen, oodle do, that someone should follow after me and pick up my wrappers when I have eaten my candy bar. It’s just being considerate. And Paul is urging that among the believers. They are a bunch of slobs, he’s saying. You think I am going to praise you? No way, I’m not going to praise you!
Now getting into the Lord’s Supper itself, 23For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: I would like to be able to preface every message that I bring to you with these words. I received that from the Lord that which I also deliver unto you.
My study time to me is extremely precious and it’s exciting! In my study time God speaks to my heart in marvelous ways. It’s thrilling to sit down with the Word of God and have the Holy Spirit just begin to open up the Scriptures and to put it together and give you the outline and all. It’s just an exciting experience! And when I come and stand before you, I can say that which I have received from the Lord, I also deliver unto you. God spoke to my heart. God gave me understanding. He opened the Scriptures to me. Now I want to share with you what God had shared with me when I was alone with Him in my study and waiting upon Him.
So concerning the Lord’s Supper, Paul said, 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; 24and 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.” Now the Feast of the Passover was a memorial feast. It was to put them in remembrance of God’s deliverance out of Egypt. It was to put them in remembrance of the lamb that was slain and the blood placed upon the door-posts. It was to put them in remembrance of the bitterness of the slavery that they experienced. It was to put them into remembrance, the mortar by which they put together the bricks and made the great monuments in Egypt and the horrible painful slavery that their fathers experienced in Egypt as they were in bondage to the Egyptians. It was to put them into remembrance of these things, how that God brought them out of that bondage and how the lamb was slain and the blood on the door-posts protected the inhabitants within the house.
But now Jesus is giving a whole new slant as He took the bread and He broke it. He said this is My body which is broken for you. This do in remembrance of Me. This is still a memorial, but not a memorial of deliverance of their fathers from Egypt, but now a memorial of their deliverance from the power of sin through the shed blood of the Lamb of God who was slain for the sins of the world. So a whole new meaning to this ancient memorial feast of the Jews.
25In 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.” So again, not to be reminded of their fathers’ experience of Egypt, but to be reminded of what Jesus did to make salvation for us.
26For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. This is an ordinance that was to abide in the church until the coming again of Jesus Christ.
27Therefore (This goes back to the disorderly manner in which the feast had developed into sort of a riotous party kind of a thing. People getting drunk and people insensitive to others and to others’ needs.)
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. This is a sacred moment. This is a Holy moment. This should be reminding me of the suffering that Jesus endured. His body was broken for me. His blood was shed for my sins. And it should be a very sober, worshipful moment. And so if you eat the bread and drink the cup in an unworthy fashion or in this riotous manner, you will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.
In a sense we were all guilty. It’s a foolish thing that has gone on through the centuries. The trying to lay the blame for the death of Christ. It’s been something between the Catholics and the Jews even to the present day. The Roman Catholic Church, they don’t want the Jews to say that the Romans did it. The Jews don’t want the Romans to say that the Jews did it. And the Jews have suffered tremendous persecution from the church of Rome as they try to put on them the guilt for the crucifixion of Jesus. And there has been an ongoing feud. Wrong! Ridiculous! It wasn’t the Romans. It wasn’t the Jews that put Jesus to death. It was your sin and my sin that put Him to death. He died for the sins of the world.
We need to accept our responsibility in the suffering and in the shed blood of Jesus. It was for me, He suffered! It was for me, He died! It was for my sin, for my guilt. Now if I take the Lord’s Supper and I’m in a riotous mood, doing it in an unworthy fashion, I’m guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. I am guilty, but I’m adding further guilt to the body and the blood of the Lord.
28But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. Self-examination should precede our taking the bread and the cup. God, search me. Know my heart. Lord, is there something within that is displeasing to you? It should be a time of self-examination.
It’s interesting how proficient we are at examining others. I know every fault that you have. But we are so lax at examining ourselves. And we are so gracious in the examination of ourselves! Oh, that’s not bad, unless you’re doing it. And then it’s horrible. I can’t understand how anybody could do that, until I’m doing it. Then, I understand. It’s not much.
Remember when Nathan the prophet came to David after David had taken Bathsheeba and had her husband put to death (2 Samuel 12:1-7). Nathan gave him this story about a wealthy man and his kingdom. He had plenty of servants and flocks and so forth. Next door to him there lived a very poor man. He only had this one little ewe lamb. It was like child. It was all he had. It ate with him. It slept at night with him in the room. I mean it was just a household pet. It was like a child. That’s all he had! The rich man had company. He ordered his servants to go next door and by force, take that one little ewe lamb from his neighbor and butcher it so he could feed his guests.
David was incensed. He said that man shall surely die! Nathan said, David, you’re the man! He was telling about Bathsheeba. David had lots of wives. Uriah, his neighbor had just the one wife. That’s all he had. And David took her by force.
You see, when you change just a few of the details. The plot is still the same. All you’ve done is to change a few of the details of the story as David was judging himself. And I would dare say that all you would have to do is to change a few of the details, the plot being the same. If someone would come to you and declare some of the things that you’ve been doing, only again slight little changes, that you would be very harsh in judgement. That person shall surely die! David, you’re it. Well, it wasn’t too bad. David did the smartest thing. He said, I have sinned! And the prophet said, God has forgiven your sin. Whoever seeks to cover his sin will not prosper, but whoever confesses his sin shall be forgiven.
So let a man examine himself. It’s not easy because the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9-10). The most deceitful thing in the world is your heart. It’s desperately wicked. Who can know it?
How many times in the New Testament do we read, be not deceived? Oh, there is so much deception, deception about ourselves. We don’t really know the truth about ourselves. Thus we need like David, to say, search me oh God and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts.
The purpose of God’s testings in our life is really to reveal to us the truths that God knows about us. The truth about a person is generally not revealed when he won the game. It’s when he has lost the game. It’s not when things are going great, it’s when things are going sour that the truth is revealed. Thus God oftentimes allows testings in order that we might see the truth about ourselves, because until you see the truth and acknowledge the truth, you are not going to do anything about it. You can just go on in the deception and say, well, I’m all right. If God doesn’t like what I’m doing, He would have smitten me dead. I’m still here. Oh, that’s a false concept. God is patient. God is longsuffering.
Let a man examine himself and then let him eat of the bread and drink of that cup 29For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. God’s judgment, like upon Ananias and Sapphira. God took them in judgment.
But he said, 31For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. Examine yourselves.
If we will judge ourselves we would not be judged 32But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. In other words, God doesn’t want to condemn you with the world, but He will judge you so that you won’t be condemned with the world. The purpose of the chastening is to change our behavior, is to change our attitude.
33Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. Don’t jump to the front of the line! Don’t elbow yourself up to the beginning, but wait for one another. Now, I know the next meal or dinner we are going to have a hard time getting the people to the table but be gracious.
34But if anyone is hungry (I mean if you’re are really famished or starving,) then, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come. I mean this is sufficient for now. When I get there, I’ll take care of the other issues. Interesting chapter.
Now, we really get into some interesting things in the next three chapters as we move into the gifts of the Spirit and the manifestations of the Spirit. Interesting again, as Paul begins the twelfth chapter, he said I would not have you ignorant but that usually means there is gross ignorance in the church on this subject. So it is wherever Paul said I would not have you ignorant, it usually follows there is a lot of ignorance on the subject. Hopefully, we’ll be able to clear up some of the ignorance concerning Spiritual gifts as we go into chapter twelve.

Father, thank You for Your patience with us. Lord, You’ve brought us a long way. And Lord, we realize there is still a long way to go. Forgive us, Lord, for our “self centered-ness”, our “me first” attitude. The “best for me” syndrome. Lord, may we be gracious. May we be kind. May we be considerate. May we be servants, Lord, like You. Help us Lord, to see the truth about ourselves. Reveal to us, Lord, what You know. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Transcribed from “The Word For Today”, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #8146, (NKJ Version)

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