EASTER BAPTISM AND LORD’S SUPPER
Dr. W. A. Criswell
4-3-94 7:30 p.m.
Oh, he is the dearest somebody I have ever known in the ministry, and what God is going to do here is incomparable, unimaginable, and even before it comes to pass we praise Him for it!
You notice in the institution of this precious ceremony and institution that, "they sang an hymn at its conclusion, and went out" [Matthew 26:30]. Many times – and I do not object to it at all – an invitation is given at the end of the Lord’s Supper. We are going to follow this evening its exact order, and we are going to sing a hymn and go out. So an invitation will be extended at the first, even now.
The Lord’s Supper was instituted at the Passover meal – at the Passover. And when the disciples sat down, they fell into an argument about who would be chief in the coming kingdom of God [Luke 22:24-30]. It was then that the Lord cast aside His robes and began to wash the disciples’ feet, He who was the Lord and Master of them all [John 13:4-5]. That created an institution in some of our churches and denominations. Even in our Baptist communion, there is a denomination that has as one of the institutions the washing of feet. I have attended those services in the Primitive foot-washing Baptist church, and I have nothing but praise for those dear and precious people and their humility.
Why do we not look upon this as one of the great institutions of our Lord? Because we follow the Bible, and in the Bible, in the interpretation of the meaning of our Savior, we listen to the apostles, we listen to the disciples of Jesus, and we read the New Testament. And in the New Testament there is no such thing as foot-washing as being an ordinance of the church. In the New Testament, there are only two ordinances: baptism [Matthew 28:19] and the Lord’s Supper [Matthew 26:26-28, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26]. But always there is the invitation.
When Simon Peter finished his great sermon at Pentecost, he pressed an invitation [Acts 2:14-42]. When Philip, the evangelist, had done his testimony to the prince in Ethiopia, he presented an invitation [Acts 8:29-38]. When Paul was done with his ministry in Ephesus, he presented an appeal [Acts 19:26]. And when John, the precious and holy apostle, closed the Revelation and the Bible, he did so with an invitation. Do you remember it?
And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let him that heareth say, "Come!" And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, ho thelon; anybody you, come and welcome into the kingdom of God.
The Spirit says: "Come!" All of us know what it is to be moved by the Spirit of God. And He begins in our Christian life with an invitation and an encouragement to give ourselves to Jesus. And the bride of Christ says, "Come!"
The congregation of the Lord could not be more uplifted or encouraged than for somebody you to come to Jesus. "And let him that heareth say, Come!" Even these that are just passing by. Let them repeat that glad refrain: Come, and come to Jesus. "And let him that is athirst come." O God, how empty are the rewards of this world! That’s why Bobby Burns who gave his life in dissipation and died even as a young man said:
Pleasures are like poppies spread.
You seize the flower,
The bloom is shed.
Or as the snow falls on the river,
A moment white and then gone forever.
Or as the borealis race
that flit ere you can point the place.
Or as the rainbow’s lovely form,
Evanishing amid the storm.
[from "Tam o’ Shanter," Robert Burns]
"Let him that is athirst" – finding the rewards of this world so empty – "let him come" and ho thelon; anybody, anywhere, anytime, let him come, whosoever will [Revelation 22:17].
In the precious ordinance observed in the Church of England, the Duke of Wellington, hero of Waterloo, came and knelt to receive the elements. And a nondescript from the streets of the city knelt down there by his side. And the priest put his hands on that nondescript and said, "You move over and beyond, you’re kneeling by this great duke."
And the duke said to the priest, "Sir, leave him alone. Leave him alone. We’re all equal here before God." That is so true. Whosoever, anybody you, dear to the heart of God, come and welcome.
So my sweet boy, let’s sing us a song and, pastor, where are you? I want you to come and stand right down by there by the side of that communion table and while we sing this song, you remain seated. If tonight, you’ll receive Jesus as your Savior, if you would like to come into the fellowship of the church, if you would like to answer the call of the Lord in your heart, come and give your hand to our beloved pastor. Do it now, and welcome while we sing our hymn of appeal. Anywhere, somebody you? Anywhere? Anywhere? Bless you, son.
Thank you pastor, and God bless that man who responded with his life. You have someone else coming. All right, Fred, let’s sing it again. God bless them. Our sweet pastor assured me they would be brought back into the sanctuary to share in this holy service.
For I have received from the Lord that which also I delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;
And when He had given thanks,
[1 Corinthians 11:23, 24]
That’s why it is called a eucharist, the Greek word for giving thanks, eucharisteo. The Eucharist – many denominations refer to this ordinance as a eucharist, giving thanks to God.
When He had given thanks, He broke it and said: "Take, eat; this is My body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of Me."
In the same manner He also took the cup… when He first had supped saying, "This cup is the new covenant, the new promise, in My blood. This do ye as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me,"
For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim, you avow, your love for our Lord, eleusomai, until He should come.
[1 Corinthians 11:24-26]
It looks back to the death of our Lord and it looks forward to the glorious coming of our living Savior. He took bread and blessed it [1 Corinthians 11:23-24]. And Fred, are you going to sing a song while the men come to take their places? Then we will continue with this holy ordinance.