Broken Bread and a Broken Heart
June 23rd, 1985 @ 7:30 PM
BROKEN BREAD AND A BROKEN HEART
Dr. W. A. Criswell
6-23-85 7:30 p.m.
This is the First Baptist Church in Dallas, and this is the pastor bringing the message entitled Broken Bread and a Broken Heart. We are going to read out loud together Matthew 26:26 to 29, verse 26, let us make it through [verse] 30. Matthew, the First Gospel, chapter 26, beginning with verse 26, reading through verse 30; now let us all read it out loud together:
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is My body.
And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
For this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
But I say unto you, 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.
And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives.
Then I am going to read 36 and 37:
Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
Then said He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me.
Then follows, the next day, the crucifixion of our Lord [Matthew 27:32-50]. And in that crucifixion the apostle John says, in the nineteenth chapter of his Gospel, that when the soldiers came to dispatch the three who were crucified, lest their bodies defile the Passover Sabbath day, that they broke the legs of the malefactors on either side. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, one of the soldiers took a spear and thrust it into His side, and when he drew the iron out, there followed the head of the spear blood and water [John 19:31-34].
If you talk to an anatomist, if you talk to a physician, he will tell you that that is a sign that Jesus died of a ruptured heart—He died of a broken heart. Around the heart there is a sac, a pericardium, and when the spear pierced that pericardium, why, blood and water flowed out. That is, the Lord died of a broken heart, and the blood spilled out into that pericardium, and the coagulant red sank to the bottom of it, and the limpid serum rose to the top. And when the spear was withdrawn there came out that red coagulant, looks like blood, and there came out the limpid serum that looks like water. Our Lord died of a broken heart.
In the Book of the Psalms, in Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit”—Psalm 34:18. In Psalm 51:17: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise”—broken bread and a broken heart.
When the Holy Spirit of God leads us to the cross—and He inevitably and always does—our Lord said, “He will not speak of Himself, but He will glorify Me. He will speak of Me [John 16:13-14]. He will take the things of Me and exhibit them, portray them, explain them, bring them unto you.” The Holy Spirit always will lead us to the cross, and when we stand before the cross, there are some things that happen to us. And that’s the pastor’s message tonight.
First there is conviction: when we stand in the presence of the dying Savior, there are some things that are pressed upon our souls, and we cannot escape them. One is this: I cannot escape, in the presence of the Lord, the humbling conviction that this is the price and the sacrifice and the atonement for my sins [1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 John 2:2]. It is my sins that pressed upon His brow that crown of thorns [Matthew 27:29], it is my sins that drove those nails in His hands and His feet [Luke 23:32, 24:39], and it is my sins that thrust that spear into His side [John 19:34]. Had there been no one else living in the world, He yet would have died for me [1 Corinthians 15:3]. This is the cost, and the price, and the sacrifice, and the atonement for my sins. Our Lord did that for me. He had no sins of His own to remit; He did not pay a penalty of death because of His transgressions. He took my sins, my iniquities, my transgressions, and because the wages of sin is death [Romans 6:23], He paid the [wage] of death for me. He died in my stead that I might not face the judgment of everlasting death upon my iniquity [2 Corinthians 5:21].
First thing that comes to my heart in conviction when I stand in the presence of the cross of Christ is how humbled I am that our Lord did that for me. Nor is it possible for me, by the Holy Spirit of God, to pass Him by without a thought, without a tear, without an expression of love, gratitude, thanksgiving, and appreciation. This, my Lord did die for me [1 Corinthians 15:3; Hebrews 10:5-14], and I can never forget it. That means I must bow in His presence in love and thanksgiving. I must pray to Him, speak to Him. I must read His Holy Word. I must give myself to the holy things of God. I am filled with infinite gratitude and everlasting thanksgiving to the Lord Jesus for what He has done for me, dying in my stead [Romans 4:25].
Another thing in that conviction, when the Holy Spirit leads me to the cross of my Savior [John 16:8], another thing: the Lord’s Spirit leads me away from any self-importance. It is gone and gone forever. Paul said, “I,” in the fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, “I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle” [1 Corinthians 15:9]. In the third chapter of the Book of Ephesians, Paul says, “I am the least of these saints, the smallest among God’s children” [Ephesians 3:8]. That is not the spirit of a Uriah Heep, but it is the spirit of a true child of God who, in the presence of our wonderful Lord who poured out the crimson of His life for us [Matthew 26:28], we find ourselves absolutely forgetful of any false pride and ambition that might have filled our hearts and lives. Our self-importance evaporates away. It is gone. It doesn’t exist. “Lord, Lord, in Thy presence, I am the least of God’s saints” [Ephesians 3:8]. To think that the Lord should have done that for me, how humbled we become.
A third and a last thing of this conviction that comes to our hearts when the Spirit of God leads us to the cross [John 16:8]: the Spirit of the Lord leads us away from any self-righteousness or self-justification or self-salvation. We forget our own merit and our own deservings, and, helpless and naked and undone and lost, we bow at the foot of the cross, thanking God that in Him we find our hope and our forgiveness and our salvation. The apostle Paul said that poignantly and dramatically in the last chapter, the sixth chapter of Galatians, when he avowed, “God forbid that I should boast, that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” [Galatians 6:14]. When the Holy Spirit of God leads us to the bleeding, and dying, and suffering, and atoning Savior [John 16:8], it just takes us away from any thought of self-salvation. Our hope lies in the loving grace of our dying Lord [Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Peter 1:3].
In my reading and studying this week, I came across a consensus of musicians, and I was surprised at their persuasion. I don’t know why I even thought of such a thing, but they were discussing and they were voicing their persuasion of the perfect hymn, the perfect hymn. Out of all the hundreds of thousands of hymns—and there’s more than a half a million of them—out of more than a half a million, five hundred thousand hymns that have been written in the praise of the blessed Lord Jesus, this one they said is the perfect one. It is Isaac Watts’ hymn, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”
Now I’ve never tried anything like this, and I don’t know how it will be done, or how it will come out, or the response of it. But I thought tonight, just out of our hearts, in what memory we could have of that beautiful hymn, I thought we’d all quote it together. There are four stanzas in it, what these musicians say is “the perfect hymn.” So as we have remembrance, let’s quote that beautiful hymn together, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” You ready? The first stanza:
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
The second stanza:
Forbid it Lord that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God.
All the [vain] things that [charm me] most,
I sacrifice them to Thy blood.
Now the third one:
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
And the fourth one:
Were all the realms of nature mine,
That were a present far too small.
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
[“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” Isaac Watts]
“Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, that I should glory, save in the death of Christ my God. All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to Thy blood.” This is what the Spirit does for us when He leads us to the cross. All self-righteousness, and all boasting, and all self-salvation, striving to deliver our souls from the penalty and death of sin—it all fades away, and in its place is gratitude and thanksgiving to God for what the Lord Jesus has done for us [2 Corinthians 9:15].
Now the second thing: when the Holy Spirit of God leads us to the cross—first was this conviction [John 16:8]—the second great thing the Spirit does for us when He leads us to the cross is conversion [Acts 3:19]. That word ‘conversion’ is a Latin word. The “con” is an intensive referring to a turning, an about, an around, an intensive of verto, which means to turn. So the English word “conversion” comes from an intensive to verto, to turn around, to turn about.
Now in the Greek language, it is the translation of a word metanoeō, and that is in contrast to a Greek word metamelomai. And Paul will play upon those words, those two words. In 2 Corinthians, chapter 7, he says, beginning in verse 8, 2 Corinthians 7:8:
Though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the epistle hath made you sorry . . .
Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye were sorry to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
For godly sorry worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
[2 Corinthians 7:8-10]
Now that whole passage is a play between metamelomai and metanoeō. Now metamelomai means to regret, to be filled with remorse. And metanoeō means to turn, to change. So he says here:
Though I made you sorry with the letter, I do not metamelomai—I do not regret it—though I did metamelomai—though I did regret it—
But I rejoice that you were made sorry to metanoeō—that you changed, that you turned—for godly sorrow worketh metanoeō—changed to a salvation—not to be metamelomai—not to be repented.
[2 Corinthians 7:8-9]
Now, what the Holy Spirit does for us, when He takes us to the cross and we look at the Lord Jesus—the Holy Spirit brings to us, in the consciousness of our lostness and of our sins, the Holy Spirit brings to us a contrition and a confession and a change in our hearts and in our lives. That is universal; it never finds an exception. The Spirit does that to the child who looks in saving faith to the Lord Jesus; it changes him, it does something to him. It does something to his heart and to his life; he’s not the same again [2 Corinthians 5:17].
It did so in the life of David; a contrite heart and a broken heart. “O God, if You wanted sacrifice, I would have given it, but You do not ask for sacrifice, but for a contrite and a broken heart” [Psalm 51:16-17]. It was so in the life of Simon Peter when he denied the Lord in a time of tragic weakness [Luke 22:55-60], and the Lord looked upon him. He went out and wept bitterly with a broken heart [Luke 22:61-62]. Of the thieves—the malefactors who were crucified with our Lord on either side of Him—one of them was hardened and blasphemed the Lord [Luke 23:39], but the other, but the other looked to the Lord Jesus in repentance, in brokenness, and in faith, saying, “We deserve what has come upon us, death and crucifixion. It is the price and the reward of our just and evil deeds, but this Man…” [Luke 23:40-41]. And then, turning to the Lord in repentance and in brokenness, he said, “Lord, when You come into Your kingdom….” [Luke 23:42]. Could you believe such a thing? That a man crucified by the side of that One on the center cross would believe that there was a kingdom awaiting Him? What unbelievable and immeasurable faith! “Lord, when You come”—not “if You ever”—“when You come into Your kingdom, Lord, remember me. Call me by name” [Luke 23:42]. And the Lord said to him, “This day”—sēmeron—“Today, this day, thou shalt be with Me in Paradise” [Luke 23:43]. When the Lord walked into heaven, He walked arm in arm with a dying malefactor. That is a broken heart, and that is the reward of the Lord Jesus to one in a contrite spirit [Psalm 51:16-17]. It changes, it does something to you. When you stand in the presence of the suffering Lord and in the presence of the cross of Christ, the Holy Spirit changes you. He does something to you. He does something to your heart.
Second: when the Holy Spirit brings us in the presence of our Lord, and we stand at the cross in our contrition, and in our humility, and in our confession, and in our brokenness, blessings flow out from us. That is a wonderful thing! God takes that broken man and that humbled man and that contrite man, and He makes him a blessing all abroad.
It is illustrated dramatically and beautifully in the breaking of the alabaster box of spikenard, when the Lord was a guest of Simon the leper in Bethany. Martha served, and Mary came with a costly box of perfume, and she broke it—and she broke it over the head of our Lord, and John says, “And the perfume filled the house” [Matthew 26:6-7; John 12:3]. Always that happens, when someone, a child of God, in humility and in brokenness, becomes a humble follower and servant of the Lord Jesus; the whole world around him is filled with the beauty of his spirit, and of his attitude, and of his word, and of his language, and of his deeds, and of his life. He’s somebody else, and is always a blessing.
Now, in reading about a wonderful preacher, he started off as a young man, brilliant, just gifted, as some young men are. And a man in the congregation listening to the young fellow—so gifted and so penetrating in his intelligent understanding of the Word of God, and so objective and moving in his speaking as a young man just called of God into a service for which his natural endowments and gifts had fitted him—now, the man seated in the congregation listening to the brilliant young man said, and this is the sentence, “Someday when God breaks his heart, he’ll be a great preacher.” You think about that for a moment. With all of his gifts, and he had them, he became a world famous preacher—as a young man with all of his gifts, intellectual, oratorical, expositionally, every way, with all of his gifts, the man said, “When God breaks his heart, he’ll be a great preacher.”
That’s so true! And in our categories, and in our places in life, it is true with all of us. In humility, and in contrition, and in brokenness the world is blessed. Like the ointment of spikenard, like the alabaster box that is broken, and it fills the house [John 12:3], that’s what God does with a broken heart [Psalm 51:16-17].
Last: in this change, in this change, in our brokenness, we find our peace and our rest in the blessed Jesus [Matthew 11:28]. That is an amazing thing! The unconverted, the unsaved, the unbroken, the unbelieving are like waves of the sea; they never find rest, never, and the providences of life pulverize them, destroy them. Illness, AIDS, death, which comes in providence to all; the unconverted and the unsaved and the lost, all of the inevitable providences of life crush them.
But to the child of God, the providences of life make them sweeter and dearer and more precious in the presence of the Lord—it’s an amazing thing! It’s an unbelievable thing! In my studying this week, preparing this sermon, Spurgeon said, and I could hardly believe it—Spurgeon said, “I find my highest joy, not when I laugh, but when I cry.” Then he added another sentence: “I find my intensest happiness, not in exhilaration, but when I am broken and am leaning on the bosom of God.” That is so amazing! So astonishing that when we are weeping, and when we are crushed, and when we are broken, we find our sweetest, dearest fellowship with the Lord Jesus. It’s an astonishing thing what God does for those who find their rest and their refuge in Him [Psalm 34:8].
Now, I must close, but I want to close with something else that I read this week, preparing this sermon. Talking about our rest in the Lord and speaking of—no matter what the providences of life, if you have found refuge in the Lord Jesus, you’re always quiet and assured in Him—a beautiful life and a wonderful service.
Well, I was reading about Tauler. Tauler was a German mystic, a marvelous preacher, who lived around the 1300s. And by the way, I was talking this week to somebody and I used the word, “That the man is a mystic,” talking about a preacher, and I was asked, “What do you mean the preacher is a mystic? A mystic? What do you mean he’s a mystic?” Well, this is what I mean by it: a mystic is somebody who goes beyond just the physical realities that surround our lives and has a communion with the Lord God above the sensibilities of life. Maybe you call it a fourth dimension, but in prayer and in meditation and in intuitive love and grace, he fellowships with God in a beautiful, heavenly, and spiritual world; he’s a mystic.
Well, Tauler, who lived in the 1300s, Tauler was a preacher like that. He walked with the Lord in a beautiful and spiritual way, and in his life of prayer and meditation, he was just up there with the angels. Now that’s Tauler. All right, this, a story of Tauler: he approached a ragged, penniless, poor man, and Tauler said to him, “God give you a good day, my friend.”
“I thank God,” said the poor man, “I’ve never had a bad day.”
Tauler was astonished. So he changed the form of his salutation. “God give you a happy day, my friend.”
“Thank you,” said the penniless man. “I have never had an unhappy one.”
“Why,” said Tauler, “how can that be?”
To which the ragged man replied, “When it is fine, I thank God, and I’m happy. When it rains, I thank God, and I’m happy. When I am hungry, I thank God, and I’m happy. And since God’s will is my will, that pleases me, and I am happy.”
“But what,” said Tauler, “if God should cast thee into hell?”
“If He did,” said the impoverished man, “I should have two arms to embrace Him: the arm of my faith wherewith to lean upon His holy humanity, and the arm of my love wherewith I am united to His ineffable deity. And thus—and thus, one with Him, He would descend thither with me, and there I had rather be with Him in hell than anywhere else without Him.”
“But,” said Tauler, taken back by the reply, “who are you?”
“I am a king,” said the ragged man.
“A king!” exclaimed Taller. “Where is your kingdom?”
“Here,” said the penniless man, laying his hand upon his heart. “The kingdom of God is within me.”
What could you do with a man like that? If he’s imprisoned, he’s happy in the Lord. If he’s impoverished, he’s happy with the Lord. If he’s afflicted, he’s happy with the Lord. If he dies, he dies with the Lord. And he says, “And if I went to hell, He would go with me, and I’d rather be with Him in hell than to be anywhere else without Him.” What could you do with a man like that? He lives a victorious and a triumphant life. And that is the life of the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. To find rest, and forgiveness, and strength, and grace, and peace, and salvation in Him is just life now and forever and forever [Isaiah 26:3; 1 Corinthians 1:30]. Oh, bless His precious and wonderful name; “Thus He did for me.”
We are going to sing our hymn of appeal, and I am going to stand right there by the side of this table of broken bread. And while we sing our hymn of appeal, somebody you: “Today, pastor, I give my heart to the Lord Jesus,” or “I am coming into the fellowship of the church,” or “I am answering God’s call to my heart.” When we stand in a moment to sing that appeal, on the first note of the first stanza, come. The first step will be the most meaningful you could ever make in your life. It will bless you. It will bless us. Make the decision now in your heart, and in the balcony round—there is time and to spare—coming down one of these stairways; in the thong on this lower floor, down one of these aisles; come, and may angels attend you in the way. And God bless you, and strengthen you, and sustain you, and make you happy in Him. Come, welcome, while we stand and while we sing.
BREAD AND A BROKEN HEART
A. Broken bread at the
B. He died of a broken
heart (John 19:34-35, Psalm 34:18, 51:17)
C. When we stand before
the cross (John 16:13-14)
A. Led to look at
myself in the light of His sufferings
2. Yet I pass him
Led to give up all idea of self-importance (1
Corinthians 15:9, Ephesians 3:8)
to abandon our self-righteousness, self-justification (Galatians 6:14-16)
Isaac Watt’s hymn, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”
A. A changed life (2 Corinthians 7:8-10)
1. In the life of
David (Psalm 51:16-17)
2. Simon Peter (Luke 22:62)
3. Thief on the
cross (Luke 23:39-43)
B. A blessing to others
(Matthew 26:6-7, John 12:3)
C. We find peace and
unconverted, like waves of the sea, cannot rest
2. The believing,
humble in heart are at rest in Christ
a. Charles Spurgeon
b. German mystic Tauler