There is supposed to be unity in a Christian church meeting. Churches should not be divided into several different classes or cliques, since all true Christians are equally brothers and sisters in Christ. The Apostle Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, gives a scathing condemnation of some of the inappropriate behavior that was going in the Corinthians’ church meetings. In those days, the churches would observe what was called a “love feast” before they took communion. This was basically a pot-luck where all the Christians came and ate a meal in common. It was supposed to be a time of godly fellowship and thanksgiving, but instead it turned into a riotous party for some, while others who were starving did not get enough to eat:
Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper, 21 for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? 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 will not praise you. (I Corinthians 11:20-22)
The Apostle Paul is telling the Corinthians here that when they meet together like this they are not eating the Lord’s supper. They may call it the “Lord’s supper,” but it is not in reality the Lord’s supper, just in name only, because they are not eating it in a way that is honoring to God. They are really each just eating their own supper. If they were truly trying to worship God, they would not be drinking to the point of drunkenness, and they would share their best food with others. Instead of honoring God they are despising the church of God by trying to shame those who have nothing. Paul has no choice but to criticize them for this selfish behavior; he most certainly cannot praise them for it.
Fortunately, we do not have this exact problem in most churches in our country today. We are civilized enough to know that if you have a public meal, everyone gets access to the same food (as long as there’s enough prepared!). But we still can have the same attitude of selfishness and disdain for others. We still have cliques in our church, where some people refuse to fellowship with others who are not part of their group. We still gossip about our brothers and sisters, and purposefully try to show them up with our clothes or automobiles. We must think carefully about how we treat others and make sure that we are truly bringing glory to God.