The Trial of Your Faith

20 11 2017

This is a message I preached at McKee Road Baptist Church on 11/15/17

 

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Big Announcement

9 05 2016

I want to start by thanking you for taking the time to read this. If you stumbled across this and are not a subscriber to our blog I hope you will take the time to subscribe. For those who are subscribers thank you so much.

I don’t feel entitled to your interest in our ministry and I definitely feel blessed that anyone would take the time to read what I post. You may not agree with everything but you take the time and I appreciate it. Some of you have even followed me since I started the blog around 7 years ago. Thank you again.

I haven’t written much on how we began our ministry. In 2004 I was attending a little church in Caruthers, California called Gospel Light Baptist Chapel. Caruthers is s small town of around 2,000 people in Fresno County. This church plant was a ministry of Gospel Light Baptist Church in Selma which is a larger town a few miles away.

I had been teamed up with Eric Thompson in ministry and through this we have become like brothers. I was working a night job at the time and had a lot of free time during work. To fill the time I began consuming christian biographies.

I would talk about these books to Eric and in time he began reading them as well. This led to long talks about what we were learning through these books and eventually led us to the Scriptures where many of the traditions we practiced received heavy scrutiny. This led to an overhaul of our entire belief system.

We were especially impacted by the lives of William Booth of the Salvation Army, and George Mueller of Bristol. We felt compelled to involve ourselves in evangelism. We began distributing Gospel tracts door to door, in fact we reached every door in Caruthers.

We began handing out tracts in store parking lots and along busy streets. We made trips to Los Angeles for Eric’s business and we would go to Hollywood Blvd. and pass out tracts there. In time we became burdened for the poor and needy.

Being affected by William Booth’s life and the clear command in Scripture concerning the poor we began passing out sack lunches to the many homeless in Fresno. We also collected clothes and gave them to homeless people on the streets as well as to shelters who gave away the items. We made it a rule never to give to a shelter that sold the clothes.

People always asked us what we called ourselves which led to the need of starting a ministry. We discussed names and having settled on the Scripture passage about the rich man and Lazarus we called ourselves Project Lazarus. We modeled much of our founding principles after those developed by George Mueller in his Scriptural Knowledge Institution.

In 2009 I desired to share things the Lord was teaching me with others. I was just getting into the whole online thing and felt a blog was a good platform to teach from. I began The March of Truth at this time. The name was derived from a radio program Ed McCulley and Jim Elliot had while they did home missionary work in Chester, Illinois.

A dream of ours was always to focus on street ministry and work among prisoners. We began watching The Way of the Master with Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron in 2004 and even went out with missionary Jason Hines that same year to watch him preach. We just never found an open door to begin this work.

This all changed in 2012 when the Lord opened the door and we began regular weekly street evangelism. In 2014 an opportunity opened up to go into the California prison system and preach on a regular basis. In that same year my wife and I prayed about going into full time ministry.

The very next morning after praying I woke up to a text offering me the opportunity to pursue full time ministry. The text was from Bill Adams who is a friend and mentor to me. He offered the chance to use his ministry Revival USA as an umbrella for our ministry.

We kept thinking about it and several other things happened suggesting this might be the right course. I decided it was time to merge Project Lazarus and The March of Truth and re-brand them under one new ministry name. The new name would be Lighthouse Gospel Ministries.

The name is a reflection of our mission which is to be a lighthouse to the world. We are keeping our original motto which is “Ministering to the Whole Person.” This reflects our desire to minister in spiritual things as well as to remember the poor. Our ministry verse is found in 2 Corinthians 4:5-6.

We are now a non profit under Revival USA and receive financial oversight from ………… All giving to our ministry is now tax deductible. Our goal in going full time is to focus a lot of attention to the prison ministry.

Once we have the monthly support to transition out of my full time security job I will be going in 5 days a week to a local state prison. I will be training under another missionary for a while. I will be holding multiple chapel services with a chance to preach to a few hundred prisoners a day. I will also engage in cell to cell visitation and counsel prisoners concerning their souls.

We will also continue our street evangelism both locally as well as at selected events throughout the year. In June we are going to be sharing the Gospel at the Pismo Beach car show, in July at the MLB All Star game in San Diego, and Lord willing in London in October.

Please visit our website at www.gospelbeacon.org to check out all that we are doing. Now the big question of how you can help us out. There are several ways.

1. Pray for us daily. That the Lord will graciously provide for us and that souls will come to faith through our witness.

2. Tell others about our ministry.

3. Recommend us to your church and we will come and present our ministry.

4. Give to support us. You can make single or monthly tax deductible donations to support us. Just visit our website to give online or instructions on how to give by check.

We do not consider ourselves a “para-church” organization. We are missionaries sent out of our local church, under our pastors authority and we are subject to his leadership.





What Is the Gospel?

12 05 2014

The following is a sermon by Dr. H.A. Ironside It is a bit lengthy but definitely worth the time spent. We must get the Gospel right eternity depends on it.

“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Cor.15:1-4)

It might seem almost a work of supererogation to answer a question like this. We hear the word, “Gospel” used so many times. People talk of this and of that as being “as true as the Gospel,” and I often wonder what they really mean by it.

First I should like to indicate what it is not.

THE GOSPEL IS:

Not The Bible

In the first place, the Gospel is not the Bible. Often when I inquire, “What do you think the Gospel is?” people reply, “Why, it is the Bible, and the Bible is the Word of God.” Undoubtedly the Bible is the Word of God, but there is a great deal in that Book that is not Gospel.

“The wicked shall be turned into Hell with all the nations that forget God.” That is in the Bible, and it is terribly true; but it is not Gospel.

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” That is in the Bible, but it is not the Gospel.

Our English word, “gospel” just means the “good spell,” and the word “spell,” is the old Anglo-Saxon word for, “tidings”, the good tidings, the good news. The original word translated. “Gospel,” which we have taken over into the English with little alteration is the word, “evangel,” and it has the same meaning, the good news. The Gospel is God’s good news for sinners. The Bible contains the Gospel, but there is a great deal in the Bible which is not Gospel.

Not The Commandments

The Gospel is not just any message from God telling man how he should behave. “What is the Gospel?” I asked a man this question some time ago, and he answered, “Why I should say it is the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount, and I think if a man lives up to them he is all right.” Well, I fancy he would be; but did you ever know anybody who lived up to them? The Sermon on the Mount demands a righteousness which no unregenerate man has been able to produce. The law is not the Gospel; it is the very antitheses of the Gospel. In fact, the law was given by God to show men their need of the Gospel .

“The law,” says the Apostle Paul, speaking as a Jewish convert, “was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. But after that Christ is come we are no longer under the schoolmaster.”

Not Repentance

The Gospel is not a call to repentance, or to amendment of our ways, to make restitution for past sins, or to promise to do better in the future. These things are proper in their place, but they do not constitute the Gospel; for the Gospel is not good advice to be obeyed, it is good news to be believed. Do not make the mistake then of thinking that the Gospel is a call to duty or a call to reformation, a call to better your condition, to behave yourself in a more perfect way than you have been doing in the past.

Not Giving Up The World

Nor is the Gospel a demand that you give up the world, that you give up your sins, that you break off bad habits, and try to cultivate good ones. You may do all these things, and yet never believe the Gospel and consequently never be saved at all.

THERE ARE SEVEN DESIGNATIONS OF THE GOSPEL in the New Testament, but over and above all these, let me draw your attention to the fact that when this blessed message is mentioned, it is invariably accompanied by the definite article. Over and over and over again in the New Testament we read of the Gospel. It is the Gospel not a Gospel. People tell us there are a great many different Gospels; but there is only ONE. When certain teachers came to the Galatians and tried to turn them away from the simplicity that was in Christ Jesus by teaching “another Gospel, “the apostle said that it was a different gospel, but not another; for there is none other than the Gospel. It is downright exclusive; it is God’s revelation to sinful man.

Not Comparative Religion

The scholars of this world talk of the Science of Comparative Religions, and it is very popular now-a-days to say, “We cannot any longer go to heathen nations and preach to them as in the days gone by, because we are learning that their religions are just as good as ours, and the thing to do now is to share with them, to study the different religions, take the good out of them all, and in this way lead the world into a sense of brotherhood and unity.”

So in our great universities and colleges men study this Science of Comparative Religions, and they compare all these different religious systems one with another. There is a Science of Comparative Religions, but the Gospel is not one of them. All the different religions in the world may well be studied comparatively, for at rock bottom they are all alike; they all set men at trying to earn his own salvation. They may be called by different names, and the things that men are called to do maybe different in each case, but they all set men trying to save their own souls and earn their way into the favor of God. In this they stand in vivid contrast with the Gospel, for the Gospel is that glorious message that tells us what God has done for us in order that guilty sinners maybe saved.

THE SEVEN DESIGNATIONS OF THIS GOSPEL are called

1. The Gospel Of The Kingdom,

And when I use that term I am not thinking particularly of any dispensational application, but of this blessed truth that it is only through believing the Gospel that men are born into the Kingdom of God; We sing: “A ruler once came to Jesus by night, To ask Him the way of salvation and light; The Master made answer in words true and plain, ‘ye must be born again.’ ” But neither Nicodemus , nor you, nor I, could ever bring this about ourselves. We had nothing to with our first birth, and can have nothing to do with our second birth. It must be the work of God, and it is wrought through the Gospel. That is why the Gospel is called the Gospel of the Kingdom, for, “Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3,7). “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. . . And this is the word which by the Gospel is preached unto you” (1 Peter 1:23-25. Every where that Paul and his companion apostles went they preached the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and they showed that the only way to get into that Kingdom was by a second birth, and that the only way whereby the second birth could be brought about was through believing the Gospel. It is the Gospel of the Kingdom. It also called

2. The Gospel Of God,

Because God is the source of it, and it is altogether of Himself. No man ever thought of a Gospel like this. The very fact that all the religions of the world set man to try to work for his own salvation indicates the fact that no man would ever have dreamed of such a Gospel as that which is revealed in this Book. It came from the heart of God; it was God who “so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He first loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9,10). And because it is the Gospel of God, God is very jealous of it. He wants it kept pure. He does not want it mixed with any of man’s theories or laws; He does not want it mixed up with religious ordinances or anything of that kind. The Gospel is God’s own pure message to sinful man. God grant that you and I may receive it as in very truth the Gospel of God. And then it is called

3. The Gospel Of His Son

Not merely because the Son went everywhere preaching the Gospel, but because He is the theme of it. “When it pleased God,” says the apostle, “who called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me that I might preach Him among the nations; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood” (Gal. 1:15,16). “We preach Christ crucified . . . the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:23,24). No man preaches the Gospel who is not exalting the Lord Jesus. It is God’s wonderful message about His Son. How often I have gone to meetings where they told me I would hear the Gospel, and instead of that I have heard some bewildered preacher talk to a bewildered audience about everything and anything, but the Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospel has to do with nothing else but Christ. It is the Gospel of God’s Son. And so, linked with this it is called

4. The Gospel Of Christ

The Apostle Peter preaching on the day of Pentecost of the risen Savior, says, “God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” And He speaks of Him as the anointed One, exalted at God’s right hand. The Gospel is the Gospel of the Risen Christ. There would be no Gospel for sinners if Christ had not been raised. So the apostle says, “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17). A great New York preacher, great in his impertinence, at least, said some years ago, preaching a so-called Easter sermon, “The body of Jesus still sleeps in a Syrian tomb, but His soul goes marching on.: That is not the Gospel of Christ. We are not preaching the Gospel of a dead Christ, but of a living Christ who sits exalted at the Father’s right hand, and is living to save all who put their trust in Him. That is why those of us who really know the Gospel never have any crucifixes around our churches or in our homes. The crucifix represents a dead Christ hanging languid on a cross of shame. But we are not pointing men to a dead Christ; we are preaching a living Christ. He lives exalted at God’s right had, and He “saves to the uttermost all who come to God by Him.” The Gospel is also called

5. The Gospel Of The Grace Of God,

Because it leaves no room whatever for human merit. It just brushes away all man’s pretension to any goodness, to any desert excepting judgment. It is the Gospel of grace, and grace is God’s free unmerited favor to those who have merited the very opposite. It is as opposite to works as oil is to water.” If by grace,” says the Spirit of God, “then it is no more works. . . but if it be of works, then is it no more grace” (Rom.11:6). People say, :But you must have both.” I have heard it put like this: there was a boatman and two theologians in a boat, and one was arguing that salvation was by faith and the other by works. The boatman listened, and then said, “Let me tell you how it looks to me. Suppose I call this oar Faith and this one Works. If I pull on this one, the boat goes around; if I pull on this other one, it goes around the other way, but if I pull on both oars, I get you across the river.” I have heard many preachers use that illustration to prove that we are saved by faith and works. That might do if we were going to Heaven in a rowboat, but we are not. We are carried on the shoulders of the Shepherd, who came seeking lost sheep When He finds them He carries them home on His shoulders. But there are some other names used. It is called

6. The Gospel Of The Glory Of God

I love that name. It is the Gospel of the Glory of God because it comes from the place where our Lord Jesus has entered. The veil has been rent, and now the glory shines out; and whenever this Gospel is proclaimed, it tells of a way into the glory for sinful man, a way to come before the Mercy Seat purged from every stain. It is the Gospel of the Glory of God, because, until Christ had entered into the Glory, it could not be preached in its fullness, but, after the glory received Him, then the message went out to a lost world. It is also called

7. The Everlasting Gospel

Because it will never be superseded by another. No other ever went before it, and no other shall ever come after it. One of the professors of the University of Chicago wrote a book a few years ago in which he tried to point out that some of these days Jesus would be superseded by a greater teacher; then He and the Gospel that He taught would have to give way to a message which would be more suited to the intelligence of the cultivated men of the later centuries. No, no, were it possible for this world to go on a million years, it would never need any other Gospel than this preached by the Apostle Paul and confirmed with signs following; the Gospel which, throughout the centuries has been saving guilty sinners.

THE GOSPEL DECLARED

What then is the content of this Gospel? We are told right here, “I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” There is such a thing as merely believing with the intelligence and crediting some doctrine with the mind when the heart has not been reached. But wherever men believe this Gospel in real faith, they are saved through the message. What is it that brings this wonderful result? It is a simple story, and yet how rich, how full. “I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received.” I think his heart must have been stirred as he wrote those words, for he went back in memory to nearly thirty years before, and thought of that day when hurrying down the Damascus turnpike, with his heart filled with hatred toward the Lord Jesus Christ and His people, he was thrown to the ground, and a light shone, and he heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” And he cried, “Who art thou Lord?” And the voice said, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.” And that day Saul learned the Gospel; he learned that He who died on the Cross had been raised from the dead, and that He was living in the Glory. At that moment his soul was saved, and Saul of Tarsus was changed to Paul the Apostle. And now he says, “I am going to tell you what I have received; it is a real thing with me, and I know it will work the same wonderful change in you. If you will believe it. “First of all, “That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” Then, “that He was buried.” Then, “that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” The Gospel was no new thing in God’s mind. It had been predicted throughout the Old Testament times. Every time the coming Savior was mentioned, there was proclamation of the Gospel. It began in Eden when the Lord said, “The seed of the woman shall bruise thy head.” It was typified in every sacrifice that was offered. It was portrayed in the wonderful Tabernacle, and later in the Temple. We have it in the proclamation of Isaiah, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him: and with His stripes we are healed.” It was preached by Jeremiah when he said, “This is His Name whereby He shall be called, the Lord our Righteousness” (Jer.23:6). It was declared by Zechariah when he exclaimed, “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones: (Zech.13:7) All through those Old Testament dispensations, the Gospel was predicted, and when Jesus came, the Gospel came with Him. When He died, when He was buried, and when He rose again, the Gospel could be fully told out to a poor lost world. Observe, it says, “that Christ died for our sins.” No man preaches the Gospel, no matter what nice things he may say about Jesus, if he leaves out His vicarious death on Calvary’s cross.

CHRIST’S DEATH – NOT HIS LIFE

I was preaching in a church in Virginia, and a minister prayed, “Lord, grant Thy blessing as the Word is preached tonight. May it be the means of causing people to fall in love with the Christ-life, that they may begin to live the Christ-life.” I felt like saying, “Brother, sit down; don’t insult God like that;” but then I felt I had to be courteous, and I knew that my turn would come, when I could get up and give them the truth. The Gospel is not asking men to live the Christ-life. If your salvation depends upon your doing that, your are just as good as checked for Hell, for you never can live it in yourself. It is utterly impossible. But the very first message of the Gospel is the story of the vicarious atonement of Christ. He did not come to tell men how to live in order that they might save themselves; He did not come to save men by living His beautiful life. That, apart from His death, would never have saved one poor sinner. He came to die; He “was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death.” Christ Jesus gave Himself a ransom for all. When He instituted the Lord’s Supper He said, “Take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me. . . This cup is the new covenant in My Blood” (1 Cor. 11:24,25) There is no Gospel if the vicarious death of Jesus is left out, and there is no other way whereby you can be saved than through the death of the blessed spotless Son of God.

Someone says, “But I do not understand it.” That is a terrible confession to make, for “If our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: (2 Cor. 4:3). If you do not see that there is no other way of salvation for you, save through the death of the Lord Jesus, then that just tells the sad story that you are among the lost. You are not merely in danger of being lost in the Day of Judgment; but you are lost now. But, thank God, “the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost,” and seeking the lost He went to the cross. “None of the ransomed ever know How deep were the waters crossed; Nor how dark was the night that the Lord passed through, Ere He found the sheep that was lost.”

THE NECESSITY OF DEATH

HE HAD TO DIE, to go down into the dark waters of death, that you might be saved. Can you think of any ingratitude more base than that of a man or woman who passes by the life offered by the Savior who died on the Cross for them? Jesus died for you, and can it be that you have never even trusted Him, never even come to Him and told Him you were a poor, lost, ruined, guilty sinner; but since He died for you, you would take Him as your Savior? HIS DEATH WAS REAL. He was buried three days in the tomb. He died, He was buried, and that was God’s witness that it was not a merely pretended death, but He, the Lord of life, had to go down into death. He was held by the bars of death for those three days and nights, until God’s appointed time had come. Then, “Death could not keep its prey, He tore the bars away.” And so the third point of the Gospel is this, “He was raised again the third day according to the Scriptures. “That is the Gospel, and nothing can be added to that. Some people say, “Well, but must I repent?” Yes, you may well repent, but that is not the Gospel. “Must I not be baptized?” If you are a Christian, you ought to be baptized, but baptism is not the Gospel. Paul said, “Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel” (1 Cor. !:17) He did baptize people, but he did not consider that was the Gospel, and the Gospel was the great message that he was sent to carry to the world. This is all there is to it. “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and was buried, and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”

THE GOSPEL ACCEPTED

Look at the result of believing the Gospel. Go back to verse two, “By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” That is, if you believe the Gospel, you are saved; if you believe that Christ died for your sins, that He was buried, and that He rose again, God says you are saved. Do you believe it? No man ever believed that except by the Holy Ghost. It is the Spirit of God that overcomes the natural unbelief of the human heart and enables a man to put his trust in that message. And this is not mere intellectual credence, but it is that one comes to the place where he is ready to stake his whole eternity on the fact that Christ died, and was buried, and rose again. When Jesus said, “IT IS FINISHED” the work of salvation was completed. A dear saint was dying, and looking up he said, “It is finished; on that I can cast my eternity.” Upon a life I did not live, Upon a death I did not die; Another’s life, another’s death, Is take my whole eternity.” Can you say that, and say it in faith?

THE GOSPEL REJECTED

What about the man who does not believe the Gospel? The Lord Jesus said to His disciples, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15,16). He that believeth not shall be devoted to judgment, condemned, lost. So you see, God has shut us up to the Gospel. Have you believed it? Have you put your trust in it; is it the confidence of your soul? Or have you been trusting in something else? If you have been resting in anything short of the Christ who died, who was buried, who rose again, I plead with you, turn from every other fancied refuge, and flee to Christ today. Repent ye, and believe the Gospel.

“O, do not let the word depart, And close thine eyes against the light; Poor sinner, harden not thy heart, Be saved, O tonight.”





What About Head Coverings?

19 12 2013

I wanted to teach a detailed lesson on the subject of headcoverings but I found one by my favorite preacher H.A. Ironside and I thought it would be a bigger help to present his teaching on the subject:

 

“In order to understand this portion properly we need to try to visualize conditions existing in those distant days. Corinth was a loose, dissolute city. I question if any of the other great cities in which the apostle preached the gospel were worse in character. We are rapidly getting into the same condition, for we are living in a day when everything like purity and chastity is looked on as a joke, and people are utterly cynical and indifferent in regard to personal morality. The literature of our day reeks with filth, pictures are vile and lewd, and plays and movies are just as bad. Low standards of behavior are prevalent. But Corinth was even worse.

Therefore the apostle desired that Christian women especially not do anything that would cast the least cloud on their reputation for purity. Loose women in those days went about bareheaded and were found in the streets unblushingly seeking those who might be companions with them in their sin and wickedness. Women who sought to live in chastity and purity were very particular never to appear in public unveiled. The unveiled woman was the careless woman, the immoral woman; the veiled woman was the careful wife or mother who was concerned about her character and her reputation.

It seems that after Christianity came to Corinth and converted women rejoiced in a liberty they had never known in the old pagan days, some of them were inclined to be rather careless and indifferent about the customs of the day. They perhaps were saying, “We are all one in Christ; Paul himself has taught us that in the new creation there is neither male nor female, and so there is no reason now why Christian women should be subject to any of the conventionalities of the day. We can go unveiled and bareheaded in public places, and we need not be concerned about it.”

The Corinthians wrote to Paul to get his judgment in this matter and he introduced his answer with this comment: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” In other words, “I am about to give you instruction, instruction that I have a right to give as a divinely appointed apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. I seek in all things to be subject to Christ. When He speaks, I endeavor to obey. Now I trust that you will have the same spirit in regard to the guidance I am about to give you, that you will seek to follow me, to be led by me just as I seek to be led by the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Then Paul praised the Corinthians for their obedience to instructions he had given them in the past. “I praise you, brethren,” he said, “that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.” He was the one who under God had founded the church at Corinth, and before leaving them he had taught them what they needed to know to carry on. Now he had to approach a rather delicate subject and give them directions that some might resent, but first he gave them credit for all their past cooperation.

When Paul used the word “ordinances,” he was not referring simply to the two Christian ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s supper, though these would certainly be included. It is unthinkable that any Christian should ever set them to one side, but the word here has a much wider meaning. It refers to the instruction given to the Corinthians regarding a great many things that have to do with the happy fellowship of saints. A little while ago these people had been idolaters, led by Satan, captive at his will; now they were redeemed and seeking to walk together as Christians.

They needed to subject themselves to the revealed will of God if they were to have joyful fellowship in the church. As we study Paul’s teaching here about woman’s place in nature and in the church, I wish you would bear in mind that he was not speaking, as he does elsewhere, of woman’s place in the new creation. In the new creation, as already intimated, there are no distinctions. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). We were all sinners alike; we have all been redeemed alike; we are all indwelt by the Holy Ghost alike; we have all been baptized into one body alike. All distinctions vanish as we think of one another as members of Christ. We are all one in Christ.

But this does not alter the fact that we still have our natural place, which we must maintain. The Christian is not to be careless as to his responsibilities and you will see how important this is if I illustrate it as follows: According to the Word of God I am a heavenly citizen, but if I say, “Since I am a heavenly citizen, I have no responsibilities to any country here on earth,” I will soon have to reckon with the tax collector and other authorities. The governors of this world will soon teach me that I have earthly relationships that must be maintained. Likewise, although there is neither male nor female in the new creation, we have our distinct places to fill in nature and in the church.

“I would have you know,” Paul wrote, “that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” Someone may ask, “But is not Christ the Head of every woman?” Yes, in the new creation Christ is the Head, and men and women are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones, but here Paul was speaking of creation, not the new creation.

In creation the Head of every man is Christ. When God said, “Let us make man in our image” (Genesis 1:26), He had Christ in view, and when the first man came into the world, he came as the type of Him who was to come. And so the Head of every man is Christ, and man is to be subject to Christ and to represent Christ. But God did not leave man alone in the world. He said, “I will make him an help meet for him” (2:18), and He created woman. “Thy desire,” He said to the woman, “shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” (3:16). When God gave Eve to Adam, she saw Adam as her head, and that relationship still exists: “The head of the woman is the man.”

I suspect there are some modern women who resent that; they would like to make the woman the head of the man. They resent the thought that God has given to woman anything that looks like an inferior place, but let us put aside any suggestion of inferiority. The point is that it is the responsibility of the husband to care for and to protect the wife—the husband “giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel” (1 Peter 3:7).

When a woman marries and agrees to take her husband’s name, she tacitly consents to Paul’s teaching. Some women do refuse to take their husbands’ names. They say, “We will not subject ourselves in any way, and in taking our husbands’ names, we would be subjecting ourselves.” I believe that a woman should not marry a man until she is willing to accept him as her head and assume his name. If she is not willing, it would be far better for her to remain single so she can run things to suit herself.

If a woman had said to Paul, “I refuse to take that place of subjection,” he would have replied, “The Head of Christ is God.” In other words, “Remember, the Lord Jesus took the place of subjection. He humbled Himself, but it is His glory to be in that place. When the Son of God became man, He assumed that position and He will keep it for all eternity.”

Paul continued, “Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoured! his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoured! her head.” If a man should stand up in public to pray or to preach (the word translated “prophesieth” here really means “preach”) wearing a covering on his head, he would be dishonoring his Head—not that which is above his neck, but his Head who is Christ. If I stood in this pulpit preaching with my hat on, every one of you would rightfully say, “Has he no respect for the Master whom he professes to serve?” When I come into the presence of God and Christ and the angels who are learning the wisdom of God in the church, I remove my hat.

For the same reason when a woman comes into the church, she keeps her hat (or head covering) on to honor her head. Who is her head? The man. To uncover her head would be to show that she wants to be like the man. She dishonors her head if she says, “I am not going to be subject to such a rule; I have as much right to have my head uncovered in a public meeting as a man has.” Paul did not say that she dishonors the Lord Jesus Christ. She may be quite unconscious of dishonoring anyone, but I am telling you what the Word of God says. Concerning this and other matters it has well been said, “Some things are commanded because they are right; other things are right because they are commanded.” “Thou shalt not steal” is an example of the former. The commandment did not make it wrong to steal; it was always wrong to steal. “Let her be covered,” on the other hand, is right because it is commanded. God has spoken and it is often in little things like this that our state of mind is revealed—either our self-will is still at work or we are ready to be subject to the Word of God.

In that pagan city of Corinth it would have been a great shame and disgrace for a woman to appear in public with her head uncovered; it would have marked her out as an immoral person. Of course we must recognize that customs change, but the principle of this chapter remains the same. God is calling Christian women to modesty of deportment so that they may be distinguished from worldly women.

Paul emphasized his point by saying, “If the woman be not covered [veiled], let her also be shorn.” In other words, “If she does not have a covering over her hair, let her really be like a man. Let her go to a barbershop and have her beautiful locks cut off.” I do not understand why a woman would want to be so manlike anyway; a womanly woman is one of the sweetest creatures God ever made. I like a womanly woman and a manly man, and I wonder if anyone really admires a manly woman or a womanly man. Let each one keep his proper place in God’s creation.

The apostle went on to explain: “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.” She is superior to the man in so many ways that she lowers herself when she gets out of her own sphere and tries to take the place of the man. I wonder sometimes whether women have any idea how even worldly men express their disgust at the manlike behavior of women in public places these days.

When a woman takes out a cigarette and begins to smoke, I hear even unsaved men say, “What are we coming to? I am glad I did not have a mother like that.” Men hate to see women aping men, and Christian women should be absolutely above reproach. The woman was taken from man—“The man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.” An old writer said, “When God created man, He made him of the dust of the ground; when He created woman, he took her from the man. He did not take her from his head in order that she might lord it over him; He did not take her from his feet that he might trample on her; He took her from his side, close to his heart, in order that she might be his companion and that he might love and care for her.”

And so we read, “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man… Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man [through creation], even so is the man also by the woman [through birth]; but all things of God.” So everyone has his place to fill in creation and none can take the place of the other.

We have skipped over 11:10, which comes in parenthetically: “For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.” Admittedly this is a somewhat difficult verse. A marginal note in some Bibles reads, “Power—in sign that she is under the power or authority of her husband.” I think that marginal note was probably inserted by some worthy brother in years gone by who may have had a little difficulty in maintaining his position as head of the house! I question that this is what “power” means here. You see, if a woman in a city like Corinth appeared in a public place with her head uncovered, she would at once be exposed to insults. But if when going shopping or visiting friends or going to the Christian services, she put a veil over her head, she walked down the street unmolested. Her covering was her power.

I spent the first six years of my Christian experience as an officer in The Salvation Army. In those days I often had occasion to see how that beautiful little blue bonnet was the power of the Salvation Army lassie. One day when I was seeking the lost in a saloon on the Barbary Coast in San Francisco, two of our Salvation Army lassies appeared and I noticed that everyone treated them respectfully except for one man, a half-drunken sailor. When the Salvation Army girl approached him with a tract, he turned toward her and made a movement as though he would have kissed her. As she drew back, five of those ungodly men immediately sprang to their feet, knocked the sailor down, thrashed him within an inch of his life, and threw him out into the gutter for the police to pick up. Her bonnet was “power on her head.”

Lots of other girls were in that saloon—God help them—whom nobody would have fought for or protected. There they were with their brazen faces and uncovered heads, lacking the lassie’s power, and proving the apostle right. So Paul was saying, “Women, you are not belittling yourselves when you show proper respect by appearing in public places with your heads covered. You are simply availing yourself of that which is your protection against insult.”

But what does the expression “because of the angels” mean? It is a little difficult to know nineteen centuries later just what was in the mind of the apostle. Many think he meant that whenever Christians are gathered together, God’s holy angels in Heaven are looking down with delight on the scene; that the angels note with approval everything that savors of subjection and obedience to the Word of God; and that they also observe with disapproval everything that savors of self-will and insubordination. However, since we are told that angels are learning the wisdom of God in the church, the apostle may have been saying, “Let the angel hosts see in Christian women a reverence, a modesty, and a respect for holy things that are not found in the women of the world.” If that is the meaning of Paul’s words, it is very beautiful.

Isaiah 6:2 refers to a class of holy angels called the seraphim, each of which “had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.” The apostle may have been picturing these angels, who cover their faces in the presence of God, looking down to see the covered women sitting in reverence and modesty in the presence of God. That may be the meaning of “because of the angels.”

William Thompson had another suggestion. In his work The Land and the Book he pointed out that from the days of the apostle John the word “angel” was used for the minister in a church. Dr. Thompson said that no one who has not seen for himself the conditions under which the ministers in eastern churches worked can understand why the apostle told Christian women that they should keep their faces veiled “because of the angels.” Until recent times in oriental lands the women and men were segregated as they gathered together so that there would be nothing to disturb the equanimity of the men, but the “angel” or minister stood on a platform and saw both groups. Probably he had never looked at the uncovered face of a woman other than his mother or sister or other near relative, and therefore if the women were not veiled, he would be so disconcerted by looking into all those unveiled faces that he might not be able to keep his mind on his message!

Moving on in the passage we read, “Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?” Paul was saying, “Should she not take a reverent attitude? It is perfectly right for me to pray with my head uncovered, but a woman is to cover her head as a sign of reverent subjection.” Going back to nature the apostle said, “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.”

Someone may say, “That settles the question. Her hair is her covering.” But the apostle said earlier that if she does not cover her hair, she is to let it be cut short. She has that natural covering which distinguishes her from man and over that she is to put a veil. Why? Because a woman’s hair is her glory. Is not that most striking? In the presence of God she is to cover her chief beauty so that no mind may be turned from Christ to her beautiful hair. It is precious to think of Mary of Bethany and of the poor woman in Luke 7 who anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped them with their hair. They cast their glory at His feet.

Closing this passage, Paul wrote, “If any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.” He was saying, “If people are going to make a fuss about a matter of this kind, all I have to say is that we have no such custom. If women will persist in being disorderly in this way, you cannot discipline them; you cannot put them out of the church. I have laid down God’s Word. Now let the women settle it themselves; let them decide how far they will subject themselves to the Word of the living God.”

What is the real importance of head coverings? It is the test of whether our wills are subject to God or whether we are going to be subject to the fashions and customs of the day in which we live. The Christian is one who has forsaken the world for Christ’s sake; he has turned his back on “the fashion of this world [that] passeth away” (7:31) so that he may subject himself to another, even the Lord from Heaven. I beg of you, my brother and sister, remember Romans 14:22: “Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.” Settle with God just how far a passage like this, having to do with customs of long ago, has authority over your conscience at the present time, but do not go beyond conscience. In all things seek to be obedient to the Word of the living God, for this is the path of blessing. “





The Mass Vs. The Lord’s Supper

20 11 2013

The following is a sermon preached by H.A. Ironside concerning the nature of the Lord’s Supper as taught in the Bible as opposed to the mass as taught by Rome. Dr. Ironside is thorough and Biblical in both his teaching of the Lord’s Supper and his condemnation of the heretical doctrine of the mass in which the Lord Jesus is sacrificed over and over again.

The Pastor learned late in the previous week of the possibility of holding a great Protestant Rally in the Moody Church, with Mr. H.A. Ironside as speaker, on the Sunday following the Eucharistic Congress held in Chicago. The time was much too short for extensive advertising, but through announcement in the Saturday papers, and the co-operation of a large number of city ministers, many of whom were present at the Rally, the effort became known to a great many. Pastor John O’Hair and Pastor James Gray, very kindly mentioned the meeting to their radio audiences. The former presided at the Rally. More than 3,500 people attended.

It is possible, as I speak to you to-day, that I may use the word “Catholic” as opposed to “Protestant.” If I do, it is simply a slip of the tongue, for I maintain that every true Protestant is a real Catholic, that every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is a member of the one Holy Catholic Church, purchased by the precious blood of the Son of God. But I distinguish between a Catholic and a Romanist. When I was speaking, on one occasion, to a Roman Catholic priest whom I met in a train in California, he asked me what my profession was and I said, “I am a Catholic priest.”

He looked at my collar and said, “You are surely jesting with me.”

I said, “No, I never was more serious in my life. I am a priest in the Holy Catholic Church. I mean that I am a member of that holy and royal priesthood composed of all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and together forming the Holy Catholic Church.” So if I use the word “Catholic” when I mean “Romanist” you will understand me.

I am not here to say anything unkind against the Roman church. As my friend, Brother O’Hair, has reminded you, our Government guarantees to every man the right to full liberty of conscience in regard to religious privileges. As we wish to enjoy that liberty ourselves, we are glad to accord it to others. But I simply desire to examine some of the teachings of the Church of Rome and compare them with the teaching of the Word of God, particularly on the great central doctrine of that church, which is called the Sacrament of the Blessed Eucharist, or the Sacrament of the Mass.

THE CRUX OF THE MATTER

Every Roman Catholic priest will tell you that all the claims of the Church of Rome stand or fall with the doctrine of the real presence of Christ in the Mass. If the bread and wine used in the Sacrament of the Mass, when consecrated by the priest, are changed in some mysterious way into the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ so that the communicant receiving the bread actually takes into his mouth and eats and digests the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ-if this is true, then the Church of Rome is the true church of Christ and every one of us should be members of it. But if it is false, if it is absolutely opposed to the teaching of the Word of God, then the Church of Rome is an apostate church and every faithful believer should come out of her in order that he might not be held accountable for her sins.

It was because the great reformers of the sixteenth century saw this clearly and were assured in their own hearts that the doctrine of the Church of Rome in regard to the Eucharist or the Mass was absolutely opposed to the Word of God and was not only blasphemous but idolatrous, that they came out in protest against that apostate system and they won for us at tremendous cost of Christian blood the liberty that we now possess. And yet we, unworthy children of such worthy sires, are frittering away our liberty and we are allowing our children to be ensnared again by this evil system from which our fathers escaped with such tremendous effort.

BASIC TRUTH

I want to call your attention first of all to a passage in the 10th chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews which may not seem at first sight to have any reference to the subject in question, but I think we shall see that it not only has reference to it but presents the basic truth in regard to it. The 10th chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, beginning with verse 11:

And every priest (the Apostle is referring to the Levitical priesthood) standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man (that is, the Lord Jesus Christ who as to the mystery of His person is both God and man in one blessed, glorious person never to be divided), after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God: from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that He had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”

Now here is the crucial text that I want you to get:

Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.”

CHRIST’S FINISHED WORK

In the Epistle to the Hebrews the apostolic writer contrasts the ritual system of the Old Testament dispensation with the glorious work achieved by Jesus Christ when He offered Himself on Calvary’s cross for our redemption. He draws our attention to the fact that under the old economy the priest’s work was never done because the sin question was never settled. No sacrifice had been found that was of sufficient value to atone for the sins of the world and so whenever men sinned afresh they had to come with a new sacrifice. One offering followed another constantly, therefore there was not even provision made for the priest to sit down in the tabernacle or in the temple of the Lord. The priest’s work was never done for sin was never put away. But he goes on to say that in those sacrifices there was an acknowledgment again made of sin from year to year. That is, the worshiper under the Old Testament dispensation came to God in faith, confessing his sin, and brought his animal sacrifice, whether a bullock from the herd, a sheep from the flock, or two birds. He confessed his sin and these sacrifices were offered for him. They did not cancel his guilt. They did not cleanse his heart. They were rather in the nature of a note that a man gives to his creditor for a debt. A man is owing a certain sum of money. He makes out a note for that sum. He is unable to pay when it is due, so he makes out another note, and in those notes there is an acknowledgment again made of the debt from year to year. So in the sacrifices of old there was simply an acknowledgment of sin made year after year. Sometimes when a man must give a note for a debt he has a wealthy friend who is good enough to endorse that note for him. By endorsing that note his friend says, “If you are not able to pay when the note becomes due, I pledge myself to pay for you.”

THE SIN QUESTION SETTLED

When these people of old gave their notes to God by bringing their sacrifices again and again, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son still ex-carnate, endorsed every note and He said,

Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me) to do Thy will, O God.”

In the fulness of time He came, made of a woman, made under the law, and He went to Calvary’s cross and there, may I say, gathered up and settled for all those notes of the past, and undertook the full responsibility for every believer to the end of time and offered Himself a sacrifice for the sins of men. By that one all-sufficient offering of Himself upon the cross, He has settled the sin question to God’s satisfaction so that now God can be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.

The sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ had both a backward and a forward aspect. It put away all the sins of the past that had only been covered by the blood of the sacrifices and made ample provision to put away all the sins of the future for every one who would believe on Him. The means by which needy sinners avail themselves of an interest in the finished work of Christ is very simple. The sinner has to take his place before God as a lost. guilty man, owning his iniquity and putting his trust in the Man who died on the cross; for

By Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by Moses’ law.”

In this New Testament economy Christ is the only sacrificing priest. He is the one all-sufficient victim. Christ having made atonement for sins, rose from the dead and God has manifested His righteous satisfaction in the work of the cross by seating Him in heaven at His own right hand.

A FEAST OF LOVE

Our Lord Jesus before He went away, foreseeing all this, gave to His disciples that feast of love which we commonly call “The Lord’s Supper.” In the Lord’s Supper this mystery of redemption is wonderfully and beautifully pictured. I want to read to you the various scriptures in the New Testament that refer to it. I am going to read each passage that speaks of this feast of love in order that you, hearing them, may compare them in your own mind with the celebration — the idolatrous celebration — which you have either seen or of which you have been reading during recent days, and I ask you to put the questions to yourself: Is there anything here that is remotely connected with this ceremony that myriads have been so occupied with during this past week? Is there in this a sin offering? Is there a sacrificing priest? Is there any provision here for incense, any provision for worshipping the Virgin Mary, any provision for a great hierarchy with their brilliant garments? I read the other day that $200,000.00 worth of priestly garments were ruined by the rain during the celebration at Mundelein. You could put all the apostles, and the 500 who saw the Lord after His resurrection, and all the Christians in the early days, out in the rain and hail and they would not ruin $10.00 worth of priestly vestments! Is there anything that compares with the ceremony that has been enacted in this city and its environs in the last few days and which is supposed to be the continuation of that of which our Lord speaks here?

In the 26th chapter of Matthew-our Lord had just eaten the Passover with His disciples — we read, beginning at verse 26:

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 an hymn they went out into the mount of Olives.”

How beautiful in its simplicity is this first celebration of the Lord Supper! How different to this mysterious ceremony which is the very center of the Roman Catholic system!

OTHER VERSIONS

Now turn to the Gospel of Mark and get his account of the same Supper. See if there is anything which Matthew left out which he has inserted which might give some ground, some basis, for the doctrines that have gathered round the so-called Sacrament of the Mass. St.Mark 14:22:

And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And He took the cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And He said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.”

“And as they did eat.” I would draw your attention to that. Every Roman Catholic is instructed to take the Sacrament of the Mass fasting. Have you read that after “they did eat, Jesus took bread.” They were just concluding the Passover meal. And “Jesus took bread.” Mark you, not some special cake marked with the mystic letters “I.H.S.” which are supposed to mean “Iesus Hominum Salvator”, but that might just as wall mean the Egyptian deities “Isis”, “Horus”, “Seb”, as they did ages ago in a similar ceremony.

Now I turn you to the account given by our brother Luke, Doctor Luke, the beloved physician. Luke’s Gospel 22:19:

And He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave 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 testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”

PAUL SPEAKS

The Apostle John does not give us any account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper, but after Christ’s ascension and after the conversion of Saul of Tarsus when he became the Apostle Paul, a special revelation was given to him, and in the 11th chapter of 1st Corinthians we get the full account of it. Read from verse 20:

When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What! have ye not houses to eat and drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord (the risen, ascended, glorified Lord) that which also I delivered unto yen, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed (the night in which He was to know experimentally the untrustworthiness of the human heart) took bread: and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in My blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come.”

Observe how this feast links together the two great facts of Christianity, the death of Christ and His second coming. The Lord’s Supper is taken in remembrance of One who died, but as we take it we look forward and wait for His coming again.

TILL HE COME


A friend of mine, giving some lectures at a church not long ago, spoke of the second coming of the Lord and the pastor came up to him after the service and said, “I am sorry that you touched that subject. We don’t believe here in the second coming of Christ.”
“Oh, you don’t?”
“No.”
“What is that table that you have down there in front of the pulpit?”
“That is the Lord’s Table.”
“What do you do with it?”
“We use it when we take the Lord’s Supper.”
“What do you take the Lord’s Supper for?”
“Because the Word of God tell us to.”
“How long are you going to take it?”
“As long as we are here, I suppose.”
“What does the Bible say?”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
” ‘As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup ye do show the Lord’s death till He come.’ If you don’t believe He is coming again you’d better cut that out. It is a witness that the Christ who died is coming again. He says, While you are waiting for Me, do this in remembrance of Me.”

Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shah be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.”

Then in the 10th chapter of the same Epistle we read in verse 16:

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” Verse 21: “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.”

THE TEACHING IS CLEAR

I have read all these passages because they give you every verse in the New Testament that definitely refers to the Lord’s Supper. You can see just what they teach. Our blessed Lord was going out to die and before He left His disciples He gave them this memorial feast. There is a striking passage in the book of the prophet Jeremiah in which he is predicting dire judgments coming upon Israel and he says that so many people will die that there will be none left to break bread for them (that is the marginal reading), nor to give them the cup of consolation. It evidently referred to an old custom that when somebody died loving friends gathered together with those who were left and they sat down and ate and drank in memory of the loved one, probably talked of his virtues and tried to comfort his loved ones.

Now our Lord Jesus Christ has come to the end of His thirty-three wonderful years here upon earth. He is about to go out to die. He came for that purpose. He said, “The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Now He has His little company of disciples gathered about Him. They have kept the Pascal feast, the last Passover that God ever recognized. Actually, they kept the Passover and Christ died on the same day, because the Jewish day began in the evening and went on until the next evening. So the Lord ate the Passover with His disciples on the first evening and before the next evening — between the two evenings — He died on the cross, Christ, our Passover, sacrificed for us.

A MEMORIAL FEAST

Our Lord, with all this before Him, takes a piece of bread — just common bread, the bread they were using at the Passover — probably unleavened bread, although there is no scripture that definitely indicates that it must be that. I don’t find that the Word of God has been careful to legislate whether the bread should be leavened or unleavened, whether the wine should be fermented or unfermented. I think we may see the wisdom of God in it, for there are circumstances under which, if there were such a rule, many of God’s children could not partake. But He took bread and held that bread in His hand and said to the disciples, “This is my body which is given for you,” Observe: There He sat at the table. He is not indicating that any change takes place in the bread. He is there in His perfectly human body and He holds this bread in His hand and He says, “This is my body.” Surely any one must be blind who cannot see what He is telling them is this: This bread, I want you to understand, is to bring before you the truth that my body is to be sacrificed for sin. He had not yet been sacrificed and yet He speaks as though it had already taken place. “This do in remembrance of Me.” And He passes the bread around to them. There is no mysterious priesthood; there are no costly vestments; there are no candles burning in a ceremonial manner; no smoking incense ascending. They have partaken of one meal and then He gives them this beautiful memorial feast. He does not even appoint a clergyman to preside there. He addresses them as brethren and He saps, “This do in remembrance of Me.”

SIMPLE AND BEAUTIFUL

I think, my brethren, the simpler we can be in our thoughts of the Lord’s Supper the better. I read some time ago of a Hindu who was living in a village when a missionary came for the first time and they said to him, “Come. You must see So-and-So.”

The missionary went to this man’s house. When he saw a white man coming with a Bible he rose to greet him and bowed at his feet. The missionary said, “Stand up. I am just a man like yourself.”

“Oh,” said the Hindu, “you have come with the Book. I have waited for it for twenty years.”

“How is that?”

“Well, twenty years ago I took a long journey. I heard a man in the market place (he looked like you) read from a book. He told the story of the Great God of Love who sent His Son to die for sinners. I bought a book.” He produced a copy of Matthew’s Gospel all worn so that hardly a leaf was whole. “I took it home. I have eaten that book. I have read it over and over. I have read it to all the people in the village. I have been praying that God would send somebody to tell me more.”

He asked him to eat with him. Now the host was a little embarrassed. He had a bowl of rice and he turned to the other man and said, “Before we eat, I always do as Jesus said.”

The missionary did not understand. But he said, “Go ahead. Don’t let me interfere.”

The Hindu closed his eyes, thanked God that Christ had died for him, and then he said, “I eat this rice because the body of my Lord Jesus was nailed on the cross for me.” Then he took the common drink of the land and said, “I drink of this because my Lord Jesus died for me,” and he gave some to the missionary, as he had given the rice, and they ate and drank together.

The missionary said, “How long have you been doing this?”

“For twenty years.”

“And how often!”

“Every time I eat a meal.”

He saw nothing in the Book that would tell him how often. So I repeat, the simpler we can be the better. It is a memorial– that is all.

WHAT DOES “EUCHARIST” MEAN?

You ask, Do you not believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist? Some may not know the meaning of the term Eucharist. It is “thanksgiving.” Oh yes, dear friends, every instructed Christian believes in the real presence in the Eucharist, but He does not believe that the bread ceases to be anything but bread and he does not believe that the wine ceases to be anything but wine. He does not believe in a strange, mysterious transformation of cereal bread and of wine into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. But he believes this: “Where two or three are gathered together in My name (as Jesus said) there am I in the midst.” Some of the sweetest moments of my life have been spent at the Table of the Lord, communing with the Blessed One who of old said, “Do this in remembrance of Me,” and faith’s eye could discern Him there standing in the midst, showing His wounds and spreading His hands.

A Roman Catholic layman in St.Louis who does much to put Protestants to shame because of his zeal in advertising his religion, recently put out an advertisement like this: “Catholics believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist; Protestants believe in the real absence.” But that is false. Protestants do not believe that the bread and wine undergo any mystic change, but they do believe that as you eat and drink in remembrance of Christ, Christ is present in His sweet and wonderful way, manifesting Himself to the hearts of His beloved people so that by faith they are enabled to feed upon Him. We feed upon Him in remembrance. We look back and think of the sorrows He bore. We contemplate His cross and bitter passion, and as we do, we eat of His flesh and drink of His blood, and as we feast on Christ we find our love for those things for which Christ died upon the cross becoming less, and our love for those blessed things into which He would lead us through the new and living way, through the veil into the holiest, becoming greater, for we become like that upon which we feed.

NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN CHRISTIANS

In this feast Christ gives the bread and then He gives the wine. He did not separate believers into a clergy and a laity and say to the clergy, “The wine is for you: the bread is simply for the laity.” There is no such distinction made in the Bible. For two centuries and a half after Christ’s gospel began to be preached in this world you will search reputable church history in vain to find such a distinction. There were officials in the church; there were elders and there were deacons; elders who had a special oversight, but no such distinction as the dividing of Christians into the laity and the clergy, the clergy having special access to God and special authority in dispensing divine mysteries. This was unknown in the early days of Christianity, and in those early days the Lord’s Supper was observed in simplicity. We have distinct records of it.

If you care to look it up you will find that the Younger Pliny, when Governor of Bythinia, wrote to the Emperor Trajan asking what offense the Christians had committed for which they should be exterminated. He said in substance, “I have been trying to get all the information I could regarding them. I have even hired spies to profess to be Christians and become baptized in order that they might get into the Christian services without suspicion. Contrary to what I had supposed, I find that the Christians meet at dead of night or at early morn, that they sing a hymn to Christ as God, that they read from their own sacred writings and partake of a very simple meal consisting of bread and wine and water (the water added to the wine to dilute it in order that there might be enough for all). This is all that I can find out, except that they exhort each other to be subject to the Government, and pray for all men.”

Pliny could not understand why they should be persecuted. He knew nothing of a gorgeous altar, of a sacrificing priest, nothing of a special cake upon the altar which the faithful were to fall down and worship as the Incarnate God, but his spies found Christians partaking together of a very simple meal of bread and wine and water.

Justin Martyr, who wrote about the same time, gives us a very clear account of the way in which the Lord’s Supper was observed. He knew of no priesthood, no altar, no mystic change. He certainly knew of no prayers to the Virgin Mary. He knew nothing of ascending incense or anything of the kind, but he describes just such an observance of the Lord’s Supper as you would find in any evangelical company of Christians to-day. He speaks of one of the elders presiding, of the people singing together, of giving thanks for the bread and wine, of distributing these elements among the faithful and sending portions to any who were not present because of illness-beautiful in its simplicity, as is the account given in the gospel.

WHEN THE CHANCE OCCURRED

But you go down through the Christian era a few centuries and you find everything is changed. You enter a Christian church. The Lord’s table is conspicuous by its absence. Instead of a table you have an altar. An altar in a Christian church! The altar belonged to Judaism. But the altar is typical of Christ Himself whose glorious person sanctifies the offering He gives, and second, it typifies the cross upon which He was uplifted. The Christian’s altar is the cross of Christ, but in these churches of the centuries after Constantine we find an altar again and, serving there, is a priest with special vestments, not such as were used by the Jewish priesthood, but vestments which were identical with those worn by the priests of Babylon centuries before. What had brought about the change? Simply this: As long as Christianity was persecuted, as long as the Christian company was under the ban of the Roman Government, simplicity and reality prevailed. But the day came when the state become the patron of Christianity and an effort was made to unite the ancient heathen religion and the Roman Empire with the new Christianity. The result was that little by little pagan forms and ceremonies were brought in and displaced the early Christian forms which were so simple, so beautiful and so scriptural. The altar was not even taken from Judaism, for no such altar as the altars of Judaism was ever found in so-called Christian churches.

HEATHENISM

A few years ago I had a company of Indian youths in Oakland, California, that I was educating. I was teaching these young men church history, and one day, to give them a practical lesson, I took them to San Francisco through three Chinese temples and then I took them through two Roman Catholic churches. After our visits I said to these youths, “Now tell me what you saw in each place,” And they wrote it all out. They said, “In each building we found holy water at the door. Each building had an altar. Each building had priests in costly vestments bowing below the altar. Each building had candles and incense. In each building a bell rang when the worshipers were to kneel down.” The Romanist and pagan temples were practically alike.

Any one who familiarizes himself with the history of the ancient heathen cults can see where all these forms and ceremonies came in that are now linked up with what is called the Sacrament of the Eucharist. The identical customs were practised by Babylonish priests over 500 years before Christ. There was in the Babylon temples and on the altars an image of a woman with a child in her arms. This woman was said to be the Queen of Heaven. Her child was called the Seed, which was evidently Satan’s imitation of the truth involved in the words, “The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head.” To this woman was sacrificed a bloodless offering consisting of round moon-shaped cakes, and these being presented to her were put upon the altar and the faithful bowed down in reverence before them.

In the 44th chapter of Jeremiah the people had read of the same cult transferred to Palestine and observed afterwards among the dispersed Jews in Egypt:

Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger.”

In the 44th chapter of Jeremiah the people had turned from their idolatry, but they declare that they are going back to it. In verse 15 we read:

Then all the men which knew that their wives had burnt incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying, As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee: but we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.

COMPROMISE

This ancient custom of offering these round cakes was taken up by the apostate church. They said,

“The best way is to get all the different religions into one and we can take this heathen rite and turn it into a Christian ceremony. This round cake we will call the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ.” That is what is called the host. It must be absolutely round. It is taken into the church and the priest blesses it. If it has a piece broken off of it, anybody can eat it; it is just bread.

The Roman Catholic church will tell you that this is taught by our Lord when He said, “This is my body which is given for you.” But as He said that He was there with them. No part of it was broken for them. He handed them this bread and they partook of it, clearly giving us to understand that the bread was God’s wonderful way of illustrating the value of feeding upon Christ. We feed upon bread and we get physical strength. We feed upon Christ and we get spiritual strength.

But now they tell us that the bread is changed when the priest blesses it. We charge that to fall down and worship that piece of bread is an act of idolatry. The Roman Catholic church says that bread is actually Christ. We say, “Do you mean us to understand that – that bread is literally the body of Christ, literally the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ?”

“No, not literally, but mystically it becomes such.”

It is a well-know fact that Roman priests have been poisoned at the altar drinking wine that had been blessed and was supposed to be turned into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ, when some enemy had poured poison into it. It has been known that the host has been poisoned. They understand that no such change as they declare, actually takes place. But they say that at the moment of consecration Christ comes and enters it.

Here is a man making images. You say, “Are these images actually gods?”

“No, not yet.”

“When will they become gods?”

“When the priest takes them and blesses them and consecrates them to the deity they represent. Then the deity will come and dwell within them so that when the worshiper bows down he is not worshipping the image but the soul of the divinity that dwells within.”

BLASPHEMY AGAINST CHRIST’S SACRIFICE

Is there any difference between that and the Romish doctrine? None whatever. The bread was bread until the priest blessed it, and then in some mystical way Christ’s body, blood, soul and divinity became identified with it. Worship in the New Testament is only given to God the Father and God the Son in the energy of the Holy Ghost. Then the Roman church tells us that this host is a continual unbloody sacrifice for the sins of the living and the dead. Christ died once on the cross, but Christ is offered daily upon the altars of the Roman church. This, we maintain, is a denial of the all-sufficiency of the one offering of our Lord Jesus Christ. As long as sacrifice had not been found that could put away sin, it was necessary for one offering to follow another, but when Christ came into the world and offered Himself without spot unto God, then the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, thus signifying that the way into the holies is made manifest and every believer is entitled to enter into the very presence of God, washed from every sin and justified from all things through the infinite value of the atoning work of the Son of God. Now, to talk of any man on earth offering a continual sacrifice for the sins of the living and the dead is not only blasphemy against the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, but if is absolute nonsense, for the Word of God says, “Without the shedding of blood is no remission of sins.” It is worthless because being bloodless it has no value to atone for sin and because it isn’t needed to atone for sin for Jesus’ atonement has already been made.

PROTESTANTS NEED REVIVAL

Therefore, I say, there is a tremendous chasm between the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Mass and the Bible doctrine of the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper is a memorial feast. Christians, members of the body of Christ, come together to remember the One who died for them and who put away their sins, and do this because their sins have been put away. No instructed Christian would approach the Lord’s Table to get forgiveness. I come because my sins have been forever put away by the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus and I desire gratefully to remember the One who offered that mighty sacrifice and so fitted me for the presence of a holy God.

There can be no compromise between the two systems. While Protestant churches have been sleeping Rome has been stealing the fruits of the Reformation. While they have been quarreling about the most trifling things Rome has been getting a great many week Protestants who have looked in vain for spiritual help because they have not been hearing the precious gospel of the grace of God.

But let there be a revival of doctrinal preaching; of the proclamation of the great truths of the Reformation; of the universal priesthood of all believers, doing away with anything like a special priesthood; of the membership in the body of Christ of all who have been washed in the blood of Jesus, justified from all things, by faith in the one offering that has forever settled the sin question; of the Lord’s Supper not as a sacrament but a memorial feast. Let these great truths be re-emphasized and wherever the Word is preached in faith and dependence upon the Holy Ghost God will use it to bring joy and peace and gladness to souls as in Reformation days.

LUTHER LIT THE TORCH

Let me just remind you of Luther. When he was still a monk of the Augustinian order he went to Rome to transact business for his Order. He was delighted to go. A restless, unhappy man, having tried everything the church had to offer and yet without peace with God, he said, “If I go to Rome, the holy city, I will find all I want.” So he went, earnestly counting on meeting God. Giving his testimony afterwards he says, “Rome living would have made me an infidel, but Rome dead kept me a Christian.”

When he arrived there and saw the simony of the priests and the corruption of the church his soul was filled with horror. He said, “In Rome they sell everything for money, forgiveness, the right to commit sin– everything. In Rome they would sell the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost!”

Then at last, as he wended his way through the city, he came to the church of St.John Lateran and he learned that in it there was supposed to be the very staircase down which Christ walked from Pilate’s judgment hall. It was said that if one would go up that staircase on his hands and knees he would get great spiritual blessing by the time he reached the top. So earnest was this German monk that he was ready to do anything that might give peace, and he started up that staircase, until suddenly in the midst of it all a passage of scripture came rushing down into the depths of his soul: “The just shall live by faith.”

He sprang to his feet and said, “What a fool I am. If ‘the just shall live by faith’ what am I doing climbing this staircase?”

He went back to Germany to light that torch which for hundreds of years has been the light of all our Protestant lands and which it is Rome’s persistent and determined effort to put out if it possibly can. Rome wants religious liberty and we gladly accord the liberty we want ourselves, but let Rome become supreme again in this country or any other Protestant country and we will no longer have an open Bible, or a public school, or any of the institutions that we have learned to value. God wake us up that we may not leave to our posterity a land of bondage out of which God mercifully delivered our forefathers.








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