Unprofitable Public Worship
1 Corinthians 11:17-22
Now in this that I declare to you I praise you not, that you come together not for the better, but for the worse.…


1. By the principles which influence our attendance.

(1) Do we come to receive instruction, to get good that we may grow in conformity to God, or do we come only to gratify curiosity, to subserve our worldly interest, etc.?

(2) Do we come without any preparation of heart? Are we soon weary of the service (Ezekiel 14:3)?

2. From the manner of our attendance. If we are either captious, careless, or sleepy; if we suffer the fowls to come down and devour the sacrifice, and the buyers and sellers to occupy the inward sanctuary; if we have no love for the work in which we are engaged, but can indulge in a trifling or stupid frame of mind, assuredly we come together, not for the better, but for the worse.

3. By the effects of our attendance. Some, like Festus, treat the Word with derision. Some, like Agrippa, are half convinced, but they stifle their convictions. Others, again, hear and approve, but never practise. In the parable of the sower we hear of four sorts of ground, and only one of them good.

II. THE EVIL OF SUCH CONDUCT. If we do not come together for the better, it will be for the worse. Where the Word does not soften it generally hardens; and where it does not make the heart contrite it often makes it desperate (1 Corinthians 2:16). More particularly —

1. It is highly displeasing to God.

2. It is a great grief to godly ministers; and what can be more unreasonable than to afflict those who labour for our good, and are seeking our everlasting salvation (Jeremiah 13:17; Philippians 3:18).

3. In the end it will be a source of sorrow to themselves, and will issue in their ruin (Proverbs 5:11-14; 1 Corinthians 11:30).

(B. Beddome, M.A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.

WEB: But in giving you this command, I don't praise you, that you come together not for the better but for the worse.

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