THE TWO SUPPERS
Dr. W. A. Criswell
11-6-83 7:30 p.m.
It is a pleasure and gladness for us in the First Baptist Church of Dallas to welcome the uncounted multitudes of you who are sharing this hour with us on radio. You have just heard the announcement from our Stewardship Committee Chairman, Dick Clements, that our church will go over $11,000,000 in the pledging and consecrating of its tithes and offerings to the cause of our Lord in the earth. And in keeping with the theme of our stewardship appeal this year, in remembrance of the tithe we are observing the Lord’s Supper tonight. And the message from the pastor is in keeping with that holy ordinance and that heavenly theme.
It will be an exegetical sermon, looking at the Word of God and what the Lord has spoken to us in the twenty-second chapter of the Book of Luke, Luke 22, beginning at verse 14:
And when the hour was come, Jesus sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him.
And He said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;
For I say unto you, I will not anymore eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves;
For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.
And He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave it unto them, saying, This is My body which is given for you; this do in remembrance of Me.
Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.
In the outline of the institution of the Lord’s Supper as Luke has written it, he speaks first of the Passover meal and the cup that they drank during the Passover meal. Then he follows with the institution of the Lord’s Supper, the bread and the cup of the new covenant. Luke is the only one that does that.
He says that the Lord sat down with the twelve apostles and said unto them, "Epithumia epethumesa." That’s an unusual thing. We don’t speak like that in the English language, epithumia epethumesa, translated here, "with desire I have desired" – it’s a Hebraism. You see it often in the Old Testament Scriptures, "Blessing, I will bless thee," or, "Seeing, ye shall see," or, "Hearing, ye shall hear." It is a Hebraism, expressing intensity of emotion. So the Lord, seated with His twelve apostles in the upper room, begins with the outpouring of His innermost soul, "With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you." Then in the Passover He took the cup and gave thanks and said, "Take this, and divide it among yourselves."
I do not know why it is, but it is just in these last days of my long pastoral ministry that I have seen something concerning the Lord’s Supper and the cup that we drink. I never had seen it before. You see, I grew up in a church – the little town church, the little village church in which I was converted and baptized as a boy – I grew up in a church that had a doctrinal persuasion that we were all to drink out of one cup. I can well remember the uncomfortable feeling I had when the people in the congregation would gossip about it to one another. They all would try to sit in some area of the church where old Brother Gant wasn’t seated, because he didn’t have any teeth and he had a heavy mustache. And when he drank out of that cup, they saw his mustache in the fruit of the vine. And as a little boy, I felt in my heart that that was very, very sacrilegious and un-scriptural. But that was the doctrine of the church.
Now that same doctrine of everybody drinking out of the one cup is almost universal. You’ll find that in church after church after church: all of them drinking out of one cup. Well, when I went to a Seder, and many of you have, watching the programming – Seder means "the program, the arrangement, the order" – as we sat there sharing the Passover, I noticed, and you did, too, that there is a cup at every table. And they drink out of that cup, maybe three or four different times, but each one drinks out of his own cup in the Seder of the Passover of the final victory that God gave to His chosen people, as they came in the exodus out of Egypt.
Well, it is the same thing here, and did you see it? "And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, ‘Take this, and divide it among yourselves’" [Luke 22:17]. There was a cup at each plate. Each one of the apostles had a cup, and they were drinking each one from his cup in the Seder of the Passover. And when the Lord took the cup at the institution of the Lord’s Supper, He gave it to them, and said, "Divide it among yourselves." And each one drank out of his cup.
Now that is the Word of God, and it is an aberration and an erroneous persuasion that all of us ought to drink out of the same one cup. They divided it among themselves, just as we divide it here. And each one drinks out of a cup given to each one of us.
Now in the marvelous and beautiful institution of the Lord’s Supper, "Do this in remembrance of Me"; the other, the fourth institution described of the Lord’s Supper is described is in 1 Corinthians chapter 11. And in 1 Corinthians chapter 11, each one of those thanksgiving prayers and the breaking of bread and the sharing of the cup ends in that, "This do in remembrance of Me."
When they came to me with the theme, "In Remembrance of Me, Tithe," I thought, "I don’t know what to think about that." It had never occurred to me, any such programming, any such thought, any such adding to the ordinance of the Lord – "In Remembrance of Me, Tithe."
Well, as I turned it over in my heart, "It is a memorial. It brings to our minds and remembrance the suffering, the passion, the outpouring of the life of our Lord for us, the pouring out of the crimson of His life – the fruit of the vine so red, and the breaking of the bread, His body which was crushed and broken for us."
And then I thought, "Did you know it could be, it might be, that every time we come in the presence of the Lord and assemble ourselves as the family of God, it could be that, when I offer to God a sacrificial gift, it could be I do it in loving memory of what Jesus has done for me." And when I thought of it like that, I thought, "This surely is the finest scriptural theme that our church has ever followed." How could I ever repay what God has done for me in the loving grace of Jesus our Lord? And to dedicate to God, on the first day of the week, a memorial, something in remembrance, something in fullness of gratitude and thanksgiving, is, of all things, most appropriate and acceptable.
So I thought, "Well, I suppose this is just about the finest spiritual interpretation of the response of our life to the grace of God of anything that we have ever done; ‘In Remembrance of Me, Tithe.’" So Sunday by Sunday, as we come before the Lord and consecrate to Him a sacrificial gift, "Lord, it’s nothing compared to what Jesus has done for me. Thank You, wonderful Savior!" Now that’s the first supper.
The title of the sermon is The Two Suppers. Do you notice that when the Lord instituted the first supper He refers to another one? For example, He says twice here in the passage in Luke 22, "I say unto you, I will not eat anymore thereof until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God." Then He repeated it, "For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God shall come."
In the story of the institution of the Lord’s Supper, Jesus refers in Matthew again to that other supper in which we shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and with Jesus, in the kingdom of God, for He said, "I say unto you" – in Matthew 26:29 – "I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom." He is looking forward to another day at which we will sit down with our Lord and eat and drink with Him in the kingdom of God.
In the marvelous institution of the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:26, He says, "For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show, ye dramatize the Lord’s death till He come." The Supper looks forward to another seating with the blessed Savior when He comes.
Then when I turn to the fulfillment to that word of our Lord, that there is to be another supper at which we shall sit down with Him in the kingdom of our Lord, it is fulfilled in the vision of the apostle John in Revelation 19, beginning at verse 6:
I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a mighty thundering, saying, Alleluia!" – the Greek Hallelujah – For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints.
And He saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And He saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
The other supper, the marriage of the Lamb; oh dear, what the Lord has done for us! He says:
The marriage is come, and His bride hath made herself ready. And it was given unto her beautiful white garments, which is the righteousness of saints.
When we look at the order of the consummation of the age, it is very apparent what this is: the fine, glorious, beautiful white garments He describes as being the righteousnesses of the saints. The order, the chronological order of the end of the age is first, without warning, clandestinely, furtively, secretly, Jesus comes for His own [1 Thessalonians 5:2]. We have an old Anglo-Saxon word for that, the rapture of the church, the taking away of the people of God, rising to meet our Lord in the air [1 Thessalonians 4:14-17].
Then we stand – according to 2 Corinthians 5:10 – we stand before the bema, the judgment seat of Christ, to receive our rewards [for] what we have done for Jesus in the days of our pilgrimage. Then with our rewards, under the figure here of the robes of righteousness that God shall give us, we are brought as a bride ready to be presented to our Lord, the Groom [Revelation 19:8].
Oh dear, the imagery of that is just precious! There are two garments especially that our Lord wore, one was an inner garment woven without a seam, called a tunic. Do you remember the quaternion of soldiers gambled at the foot of the cross for that tunic, the inner garment? There were five pieces of clothing that our Lord wore, and they divided those four of them among themselves. But who gained the fifth one?
One soldier took His head gear. Another soldier took His sandals. Another soldier took His outer garment. Another soldier, a fourth one, took His sash, His girdle. But He had an inner garment woven without a seam, and that is why they gambled at the foot of the cross for the inner garment, the tunic [Matthew 27:35].
Now the Lord hath clothed us inwardly with a beautiful garment. That’s the justification by faith. That’s how God hath clothed us in the forgiveness of our sins in His loving grace, given to us of the Lord. And we have – couldn’t gain it, couldn’t buy it, couldn’t win it, it’s a gift of God – the righteousness which is by faith, the forgiveness of our sins in the blood of our Lord. That’s our inner garment.
But we have an outer garment, and this is the righteousnesses of the saints. This is of our weaving, and it represents the reward that God shall give us at the great bema of Christ. And after our rewards, we are married to the blessed Savior, and we sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb.
Now I have two things about that marriage supper revealed to us in the Word of God. Number one: do you notice our privilege, our exaltation? It says here in the Bible that, when the marriage of the Lamb has come, His wife, His bride, "has made herself ready." Then it says, "Blessed are they who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb" [Revelation 19:7, 9]. The bride is His church, the saved saints of the Lord. And the friends that are invited to the supper of the Lamb are those Old Testament saints who never had the privilege of knowing the blood of Jesus and the cross of Christ after He had died for our sins. They just lived by faith.
Let me illustrate it in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Matthew. There came to Jesus disciples from John the Baptist. And after the disciples of John the Baptist left, the Lord said, "This man that you went out to hear and to see, this man John the Baptist is the greatest man ever born of woman. Out of all of the mighty men who have ever lived, none," says Jesus, "has the stature and acceptance before God like John the Baptist." Then the Lord said, "But he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."
How could such a thing be? What our Lord is saying is this: John the Baptist lived in the old dispensation; he belonged to the Old Covenant, to the Old Testament. He belonged with Abraham, and Isaac and, Jacob, and David, and Isaiah, and Malachi. He belonged to the Old Covenant, and John died before Jesus brought to us the grace and the blessing we know in His church. John never belonged to the church; he belonged to the old dispensation.
And the bride of Christ is composed of those who have been saved and baptized and belong to the church of our Lord. So after the marriage – and we are the bride – there is going to be a great reception, a great supper. And when we sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb, at the reception, we who belong in the church are the bride. And the friends of the Bridegroom come and break bread with us: Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and John the Baptist, and all of the old saints of the Old Testament.
You know, it is hard for me to realize that we have a greater privilege – I’m not saying this, Jesus said this – we have a greater privilege than did Abraham, or Israel, or David, or Isaiah, or John the Baptist. How exalted our position before the Lord! We’re the bride of Christ; these are the friends of the Bridegroom.
And one other, one other, an amazing revelation: our privilege and exaltation before Christ: our Lord said in Luke 12:37;
Blessed are you His servants, whom the Lord when He cometh shall find waiting and watching; verily I say unto you, that He shall gird Himself, and make them to sit down to eat, and will come forth and serve them.
Exegetically, "Verily I say unto you, that He shall gird Himself." Our Lord, when He comes, "He shall gird Himself and make them to sit down," these who love the Lord Jesus, anaklino, anaklino, to recline, as they did when the Lord’s Supper was instituted, leaning on one arm and eating with the other hand. That’s why the sainted apostle John was leaning against the breast of our Lord: he was seated next to our Lord and leaned against the breast of our Lord. "He shall anaklino, make them to sit down, and will come forth, parelthon" – a second aorist participle: He will pass along from one to the other, to the other – "parelthon, passing along, and He will diakoneo, diakonos, deacon, serve them."
"He will gird Himself." You know what he is referring to? This I can hardly realize. When the Lord’s Supper was instituted, our Lord took off His clothes. And there’s not anything more humbling in this earth than to be naked, take off our clothes. Jesus was crucified naked. All the artists have been kind to Him: they paint Him with some clothing – He died naked. And our Lord at this institution of the Lord’s Supper took off His clothes, and He girded Himself with a towel, and He washed the disciples’ feet.
And you know, we are kind of like Simon Peter, "Lord, You will never wash my feet."
And the Lord said, "If I do not wash your feet, you have no part with Me, Simon."
And then Simon said, "Lord, not my feet [only], but my hands and my head. Wash me all over" [John 13:2-9].
The Lord girded Himself and washed their feet. That’s exactly what He says He is going to do at the marriage supper of the Lamb. The Lord will gird Himself, and cause us to be seated, and He will serve us. The Lord will serve us at the marriage supper of the Lamb, Jesus will do it.
Lord, I just can’t imagine, coming to that great and final reception when all heaven, the Revelation says, bursts into those Hallelujahs, and we sit down,
we are made to sit down, and Jesus Himself serves us; He does it.
Do you remember that song that we sang this morning? David has no idea I was going to speak of it tonight:
Brethren, we have met to worship
And adore the Lord our God;
Will you pray with all your power,
While we try to preach the Word?
All is vain unless the Spirit
Of the Holy One comes down;
Brethren, pray, and holy manna
Will be showered all around.
And the last stanza:
Let us love our God supremely,
Let us love each other, too;
Let us love and pray for sinners,
Till God makes all things new.
Then He’ll call us home to heaven,
At His table, we’ll sit down;
Christ will gird Himself and serve us
With sweet manna all around.
That is the Word of God, that beautiful song:
At His table, we’ll sit down;
Christ will gird Himself and serve us
With sweet manna all around.
[Brethren We Have Met to Worship; George Atkins]
When the Son of Man cometh, He will gird Himself and make us to sit down, and He will parelthon, passing from one to the other, will serve us – Jesus our Lord!
O Master, who am I that the Lord should thus be gracious and precious and kind unto me – He, the servant, and I, the master? It’ s too much, Lord! My heart can hardly receive it; but that’s the infinite goodness and grace of our precious Savior.
There’s not anything you will ever do in your life that has the depth of meaning and the repercussion for glory and good as giving your heart to the Savior – nothing. As that tall young man got up here, who gave his testimony, all of life with everything of its allurements, and rewards, and compensations, all of it is as nothing compared to the richness, and the heavenliness, and the preciousness, and the happiness, and the joy, and the glory, and the gladness of living in the grace and goodness of Jesus.
Come. I will be standing right there by the side of our Lord’s Supper table. "Pastor, tonight I want to give my heart to Jesus, and I’m coming." Or, "Pastor, tonight the Lord has spoken to my heart, and I’m answering with my life." Or a family you, "Pastor, we’re putting our lives with you and these dear people in this precious church." Make the decision now in your heart, and when we sing our invitation hymn, come. There’s time and to spare, if you’re in the balcony round, down one of these stairways, or in the press of people on this lower floor, down one of these aisles, "Pastor, this is God’s time for me, and I’m answering with my life." Do it. It will be the greatest decision and the finest, noblest step you’ll ever make. Come. May angels attend you as I preached this morning, may angels attend you as you come. Do it now, I will be standing right there, come, while we stand and while we sing.