Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Corinthians 11: 2
3-7-54 10:50 a.m.
You’re listening to the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, and this is the pastor bringing a morning appeal in the first chapter of the first Corinthian letter, the first three verses, then the first two verses of the eleventh chapter of the first Corinthian letter. First Corinthians 1:1-3:
Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
[1 Corinthians 1:1-3]
Then in the eleventh chapter:
Brethren, remember me in all things and keep the ordinances as I delivered them to you.
[1 Corinthians 11:2]
"Paul, to the church at Corinth, grace and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ" [1 Corinthians 1:2-3].
"Brethren, remember . . . keep the ordinances as I delivered them unto you" [1 Corinthians 11:2]. Paul’s appeal to the church of Christ in the city of Corinth: "Brethren, keep the ordinances as I delivered them unto you" [1 Corinthians 11:2].
In those ordinances are found the two great symbols of the Christian faith. As a dipper holds the water, so do those ordinances hold the truth of the revelation of God in Christ Jesus. One: the first is an initial ordinance. According to 1 Corinthians 12:13, we are baptized into the body of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are baptized into the fellowship and the communion of His church. I become a member of the church of the Lord by being baptized into the fellowship of the people of God.
We are under a mandate. We are under a commandment from our Lord Himself to baptize our converts. "And Jesus came and spake unto them saying, ‘All authority is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and make disciples of all the people, baptizing them’" [Matthew 28:18-19]. Buried with the Lord in the likeness of His death and raised in the likeness of His resurrection [Romans 6:5]. "Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age" [Matthew 28:19-20].
We have a mandate from Christ our Savior. We are to baptize our converts: immerse as the Lord was immersed in the River Jordan by John the Baptist [Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22]. It has a picture. It has a symbol. It has a message.
In the fifteenth chapter of the first Corinthian letter, Paul described the gospel. When a man preaches the gospel, what does he preach? When a missionary is sent abroad to preach the gospel, what does he preach? This is it:
"Brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preach, wherein ye are saved and wherein now ye stand . . . how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, He was buried, and He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures."
[1 Corinthians 15:1-4]
Baptism is a picture of the gospel message of the Son of God. He died for our sins. He was buried, and He was raised from the dead for our justification according to the Word of God. And in baptism is pictured the gospel message of the Son of God. We are buried like the Lord was buried – He who died for our sins. We are buried in a watery grave, and we are raised like the Lord was raised from the dead to be our Savior and our Lord, triumphant forever. It’s a picture of our own hope in Him.
"The worms through this skin destroy my body; yet in my flesh shall I see God, whom I shall see for myself . . . and not another" [Job 19:26-27]. We believe in the resurrection from the dead. That’s the reason no Christian could ever hallow or sanctify cremation. We believe in the sacredness and the sanctity of the burial of the body; and someday the Lord shall speak, and out of the dust of the ground from the heart of the earth, from the depths of the sea, we shall be raised incorruptible, immortal, glorified, transfigured [1 Corinthians 15:50-57; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-16] like the glorious resurrection of the Son of God [Matthew 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-13; Luke 24:29-52; John 20:1-21:25; Acts 1:1-11]. All of that is pictured in the ordinance of baptism.
"Brethren, keep the ordinances, keep the ordinances as I delivered them unto you" [1 Corinthians 11:2]. In the same way, in the same method, in the same manner, in the same mode, with the same great heavenly meaning, "Keep the ordinances as I delivered them unto you" [1 Corinthians 11:2].
The other ordinance is a memorial of the breaking of bread. In this eleventh chapter of the first Corinthian letter:
For I have received of the Lord that which I also delivered unto you: that the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;
And He blessed it and brake, and gave to them saying, Take, eat; this is My body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of Me.
And after the same manner also He took the cup when He had supped, saying, This cup is the new covenant
– the new contract, the new agreement, the new promise, in Christ Jesus –
in His blood. This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me.
For as often as ye eat the bread and drink the cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till He come.
[1 Corinthians 11:23-26]
We are to do it reverently: "Whosoever shall eat this bread and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily" – in a facetious, unworthy manner – "shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord" [1 Corinthians 11:27]. When we come to the table of the Lord, it is to be in reverence, in awe, fear, and devotion; in keeping with the holy sacrifice of the body and blood of the Son of God through whom we have atonement of sin [2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24] and hope in the world to come [Colossians 1:27; 1 Peter 1:13]. That is a recurring church ordinance. "This do in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat the bread and drink the cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come" [1 Corinthians 11:25-26].
"Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together" [Hebrews 10:25], but coming to God’s house, seated in the sanctuary of the Lord, and there with the pastor and the ministers and with the deacons who preside over the table to share in the breaking of bread and in the drinking of the cup. "This do in remembrance of Me" [1 Corinthians 11:24-25]. "And brethren, keep the ordinances; keep the ordinances, as I delivered them unto you" [1 Corinthians 11:2].
All of us are under authority. We have a mandate from God [Matthew 28:18]. We are called upon in the name and in the Spirit of Jesus and by the authority of the Lord God who made us – we are called upon to confess our faith in the Lord Jesus [Matthew 10:32; Luke 12:8; Romans 10:9, 14:11; Philippians 2:11], to believe on the Son of God [John 3:18, 3:36, 6:28-29, 8:24; Acts 16:31; 1 John 5:4-5], to receive Him as our Savior [John 1:12; Colossians 2:6]. We are called upon to join His church baptized into the body of the Lord Jesus Christ [1 Corinthians 12:12-14], and we are called upon to remember the ordinance of the breaking of bread and the sharing of the cup [1 Corinthians 11:24-25].
Not much I can do for God: the cattle on a thousand hills are His [Psalm 50:10], the gold and the silver are His [Haggai 2:8], the stars [Psalm 147:4; Isaiah 40:26], the universes [Psalm 8:3-9, 19:1], this world [Deuteronomy 10:14; Job 38:1-39:30] – all of it is His. Not much I can do for God – just something He has asked. One: I’m to confess His Son as my Savior [Romans 10:9-10]. Two: I am to be baptized in obedience to His command [Acts 2:38]. Three: I’m to observe the memorial of the breaking of bread, of the sharing of the cup [1 Corinthians 11:23-34], and walking in the teachings and in the faith and in the patience of Christ Jesus our Lord [Colossians 1:10, 2:6]. That’s the reason every time we have our services here, we make appeal.
Lifting up the hand, is there somebody today who will confess his faith openly, publicly in the Lord Jesus? Is there somebody today to put his life in the fellowship of our church? Is there somebody today to come by baptism or by letter? As God shall say the word and lead the way, somebody you to come into the fellowship of this church? Is there somebody who will trust Christ today as a personal Savior? "This hour and this moment, I give my heart and my life in trust to the Lord Jesus." While we sing a hymn of the church:
I love Thy Kingdom, Lord, the house of Thine abode,
The church our blessed Redeemer saved with His own precious blood.
I love Thy church, oh God! Her walls before Thee stand,
Dear as the apple of Thine eye, and graven on Thy hand.
For her my tears shall fall, for her my prayers ascend;
To her my toil and cares be given, till toils and cares shall end.
[From "I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord," by Timothy Dwight, 1801]
And while we sing that hymn of the church, somebody you in the topmost balcony, from side to side, anywhere – a family or just one, you come and take the pastor by the hand: "Pastor, today I give you my hand. I give my heart to God," or, "Pastor, today, I’m coming into the fellowship of the church." Or wherever you are, bow your head by the radio or by the TV set and today consecrate your life to the Lord Jesus. Then go to a church and say, "Pastor, today I gave my heart to Christ, and I want to be baptized into the fellowship of the people and family of God." While we sing that song, anywhere, everywhere in this vast auditorium, will you come and stand by the pastor saying "Pastor, today – today I come into the fellowship of the glorious church of the Lord Jesus Christ?" Will you do it? And make it now while we stand and while we sing.
KEEP THE ORDINANCES
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Corinthians 1:1-3, 11:1-2
I. In the ordinances are found the two great symbols of the Christian faith
A. The initial ordinance of baptism
1. We are baptized into the body of Christ(1 Corinthians 12:13)
2. We are under a commandment from God to baptize our converts(Matthew 28:19-20)
3. It is a picture of the gospel(1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
a. A picture of our hope in Him(Job 19:26)
B. The recurring ordinance of the Lord’s Supper(1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
1. We are to do it reverently(1 Corinthians 11:27)