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2595. What The Lord’s Supper Sees And Says

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No. 2595-44:529. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, July 1, 1883, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, November 6, 1898.

For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. {1Co 11:26}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2307, “Greatest Exhibition of the Age, The” 2308}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2595, “What the Lord’s Supper Sees and Says” 2596}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2638, “Right Observance of the Lord’s Supper, The” 2639}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2872, “Lord’s Supper, The” 2873}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2942, “Object of the Lord’s Supper, The” 2943}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3151, “Lord’s Supper, Simple But Sublime, The” 3152}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3338, “Witness of the Lord’s Supper, The” 3340}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3501, “Feast of the Lord, The” 3503}
   Exposition on 1Co 11:17-34 Lu 22:14-24 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2638, “Right Observance of the Lord’s Supper, The” 2639 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Mt 26:17-30 1Co 11:18-34 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2865, “Fencing the Table” 2866 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Mt 26:17-30 1Co 11:20-34 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2595, “What the Lord’s Supper Sees and Says” 2596 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Mt 26:17-39 1Co 11:20-34 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2699, “Examination Before Communion” 2700 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Mt 26:26-30 1Co 11:20-34 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2268, “Question for Communicants, A” 2269 @@ "Exposition"}

1. There is something very tender about the supper which Christ has instituted, for it very specially concerns himself. Other things illustrate the truths which he taught, or the blessings which he purchased, or the duties which he enjoined; but this supper has mainly to do with our Lord Jesus Christ himself. Truly, as we think and speak of it, we shall learn precious doctrine, and we shall be stirred up to gracious practice, but the central thought at this table is concerning our Lord himself, and that part of himself which it is most easy for us to experience, — his flesh, with which he touches us so tenderly, making himself bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, — his blood, which makes him so near akin to us, —

    “In ties of blood with sinners one.”

2. It is very blessed not only to be reminded of Christ, but of that part of Christ to which we can most readily come. His Godhead is beyond us, but his manhood is near to us; and I think that the tenderness of this supper is greatly increased by the fact that it celebrates our Lord’s death. If anything concerning our departed friends especially touches our heart, it is their death. How lovingly we remember their last moments! Their final utterance sounds to us like the language of prophets; words that were commonplace before become golden when spoken to us by loved ones as they leave us. The tear comes readily enough to the eye, and the heart beats faster than usual when we begin to remember our well-beloved friends, and to remember them in the solemn moment of their death. At this supper, we shall not forget that our blessed Master is exalted, and sits at the right hand of God, and we shall be also forcibly reminded there that he is coming a second time in the clouds of heaven with all the pomp and glory of his Father’s court; yet, the main intent of our gathering around this table is to proclaim his death. That is the principal point; therefore, beloved, collect all your thoughts into one thought, and all your contemplations into one contemplation, and lay them all at the foot of the cross as you “eat this bread, and drink this cup.”

3. For me, it is an extremely tender memory that you and I should be called on to keep up this memorial as if our Lord gave us this supper with the commission that each one of us should see to it that his memory was always fresh; — I was about to say, to keep his grave in order, but it is not so; he is not here, for he is risen; — but, at least, we are to keep the letters on this monument always deeply inscribed and legible, proclaiming his death that everyone who passes by — that everyone who rambles into the cemetery where men have slept, and pauses at this open tomb, and asks who once slept here, — may know from us that it was Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God and the Son of man, our dear and ever-to-be-adored Saviour, who died, and was buried, and rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures.

4. You see, then, that this supper concerns our Lord Jesus, and it especially concerns his death; and you have to attend to this ordinance, and so to freshen up the memorials of the departed One. Do you not think that it will help you to do it if you remember that he has not gone far away? Before I rose to speak to you, I thought within myself that I could hear his footfall on this platform, and I opened my eyes after my brother’s prayer almost expecting to see the Master here. He is not here in that sense; though, if I said that he is here, who would dare to contradict me? He has so gone away as to be still present, and he is still present so as to be absent. Make what you can of that riddle; many of you understand the blessed paradox. We have not lost our Lord’s spiritual presence, but we are looking for his bodily presence; and, I think, he is so near already that, if he were suddenly to appear in our midst, it would be no surprise to us, and we would all clap our hands, and say, “Welcome, you long-expected One! We knew that you would come, and we felt the influence of your presence; the coming event had cast its brightness on us. We knew that you were on the way, for our hearts burned within us, and we felt you coming nearer, and the days of your glory dawning.”

5. Very well, then, bearing all this in mind, we have now to consider what the apostle said about this supper; and, first, I shall ask you to think of the backward look of this ordinance: “You proclaim the Lord’s death.” Secondly, I shall ask you to listen to the present voice of this ordinance, to try to hear what it now whispers in our ear; and then, thirdly, I shall speak of the prophetic glance of this ordinance, since the text tells us that in it we “proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes”; so there is in the ordinance a glimpse at Christ’s coming glory, a gleam of that long-expected light.

6. I. First, then, let us think of THE BACKWARD LOOK OF THIS ORDINANCE.

7. It was intended to be the memorial of the great event of Christ’s life; and I think you will all agree with me that it is a most effective memorial. It has been said, by men well competent to judge, that there is no better memorial of an event than the celebration of some such festival as this. If you write the record of it in a book, the book may be placed on a shelf, and perhaps remain unread; or it may be completely destroyed so that not a copy of it remains. If you set up a stone or bronze pillar, and inscribe on it some words by way of memorial, that pillar may be turned to some other use, and the original intention of its erection may be entirely forgotten. I have seen marble columns, recording Roman triumphs, built into the houses of Italian peasants; and you may have seen the same. Painted windows are broken, and even solid bronze wears away. How can you keep a thing on the tablets of man’s memory? Here is a nine days’ wonder, — will it last for nine centuries even in old worm-eaten books, or engrossed on parchment? Will not the Record Office be invaded by the rats? Has it not often happened so, and the best preserved documents have perished? But institute a supper like this, so that, wherever the followers of Christ meet together, a piece of bread and a little wine may suffice them immediately to proclaim Christ’s death, and you have instituted a memorial which will outlast your granite, and laugh to scorn memorials of bronze. Speak of imperishable marble? Here you have something far more enduring; and now, for nearly two millennia the Church of God has kept alive the memory of Christ’s death by this sacred feast. In the wisdom of Christ, it was given to us; let us not grow so wise — or rather so foolish — as to neglect it.

8. In looking back from this ordinance, we see it to be not only a most effective memorial, but also a most instructive symbol. Of what does this supper consist? Simply of bread and wine. The bread must be broken; and what better emblem of suffering can you have than that? The bread itself, if properly viewed, appears to be a mass of suffering. The seed is cast into the ground, which has been cut up by the sharp ploughshare. It lies buried for a while in the cold clay. When it rises, it has to endure, first the frost and all the trials of the wintry weather, and then the heat of summer. And when it ripens, it is cut down with a sharp sickle. The sheaves press on each other; they are thrown on the barn-floor, and the precious grain is threshed out by severe beating. Next, it must be taken to the mill, to be crushed between great stones; and when it is utterly bruised into fine flour, it must be kneaded, and made into dough. Then it must be baked in the oven, and it has not finished its long process of suffering until, at last, it is laid on the table, and broken in pieces, and then further broken with the teeth in order to enter into men, and become their nourishment. So that the broken bread is an admirable emblem of that precious body of our Lord Jesus Christ into which all kinds of griefs were condensed until the “Man of sorrows” was utterly consumed by them.

9. And look, too, at the wine in the cup. Does that not also indicate pain and suffering? Have you ever seen the vine, — especially in the wine-producing countries, — how it is cut down until, in the winter, it seems to be nothing but an old dead stump? How sharply do they prune it, and cut it back if it is a good vine! And when, at last, it bears its clusters, the grapes are gathered, and thrown into the wine-press, and crushed beneath the trampling feet of the labourers; and the freely flowing juice of the grape is the picture of Christ’s sacrifice, — the yielding up of his life, — the pouring out of the precious blood of Jesus.

10. Now take the two emblems individually; you cannot make the Lord’s supper with the two joined together. You must have them both, but you must have them separately, for, when the blood is separated from the flesh, then death ensues. So, on the table, you not only have two tokens of intense suffering, but you have in the two separate from each other a most marked and instructive symbol of death. This is just what the Lord intended that it should be; and when we come here, we can hardly help remembering his death, for it is so clearly presented before us. I do not know what the mass illustrates, with all its mummery and mockery; what that can have to do with Christ, I cannot tell. But here you have, as Christ instituted the ordinance, a fair sign and symbol of his broken body, and of his shed blood, and therefore of his death.

11. You have also, in this supper, something more than this; and that is, a most pleasing and happy display of the result of that death. Our divine Master died. “Woe, woe,” we cry, “that heaven’s darling should lie dead in the tomb!” Yes; but see what comes out of his death. Men are now called to feast with God. Our Lord Jesus, by his death, has provided this sacred provision on which hungry souls may feed even to the full, and they are invited to come and take from what is provided, — the good cheer of heaven, the bread that strengthens man’s heart, and that wine which safely makes glad his spirit. Yes, man is not now an outcast; no longer does he wish for the swine’s husks to fill his belly, even if they cannot satisfy it; but he sits at the table, and a feast of fat things is prepared for him, — necessities and dainties, — bread and wine provided for him in Christ. And that is plainly illustrated to all who care to see it in this supper. Nor is this all.

12. There is, in this supper, a personal and yet united confession and testimony to Christ. It might have seemed difficult to blend these two, for religion is a personal matter. If Christ is to save me, I must personally feed on him; and yet, religion is also a social matter. If Christ is to save me, it must be in connection with the his entire Church which he has redeemed with his most precious blood. Now here, at the table, eating is an individual act, no man can eat or drink for his fellow men; and so, each man proclaims that he, from his own heart, of his own accord, by his own faith, receives Christ to be his Saviour. Yet inasmuch as no one man alone can celebrate the Lord’s supper, but there must be two or three at the least, so the great fact is proclaimed that we are not saved alone, but saved as members of one body, — the Church of God which he has redeemed at so great a cost.

13. See, then, how the unit is lost collectively; indeed, not lost; it is still there, and yet it is no longer separate; and this supper illustrates all that. Come, therefore, beloved, to this ordinance which has such richness of meaning in it that the few words I have spoken only touch the surface of the subject. Come, I say, and think of your Beloved. He has died, — he has died for you; that dear body of his, black and blue with the cruel stripes, and crimson with its own blood, — that life poured out, though it was for all his people, yet was especially for you, my brother, — for you, my sister. You did not see Christ die; but if your faith is in a right condition, you may see him die, as it were, emblematically; you may see his death vividly displayed, in a striking way, in those emblems on the table. May God give you grace to see it; and, in response, to love him more who died on Calvary for you! Oh, if you had seen him die, the horror of that scene would have overcome you; and, instead of sweet thoughts of devotion, as you imagine might be the case, you would probably have been overwhelmed with terror. But now, as through a magnifying glass, in the emblems of the body and the blood of Christ, you may see him in a softer light. The horror may not oppress you, but you may sit in that pew, and see him who died for you, — see him with a holy joy that he should have loved you and given himself for you. It is you who are to think of him, it is you who are to discern the Lord’s body, it is you who are to eat and drink worthily, with all your heart, proclaiming Christ’s death; it is you who are to represent him, — you, with all your brothers and sisters, but you none the less as truly as if you were alone. “As often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death”

14. That is the backward look of this ordinance; may God’s Spirit enable you to give that look at this moment!

15. II. And now, dear friends, secondly and briefly, bow your ear a little, and listen to THE PRESENT VOICE OF THIS ORDINANCE TO YOU. What does it say at this hour?

16. It says to me, — and my heart shall hear it, — that Christ’s death must still be kept in the forefront. I am to “proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” Whatever I forget, I am to remember that; and this supper is instituted on purpose so that I may do so. Oh my heart, you must keep a dying Christ always before you! Christ to the forefront for myself! Christ to the forefront in my teaching! Christ to the forefront in all my prayers! Christ to the forefront everywhere! Oh memory, leave no other name but his recorded on my heart! Whatever else may come or may go, my heart, you are told that you must still remember his death, and keep it right in the forefront of everything!

17. But over the table I hear a whisper come, “You do still need this memorial.” We are not only to remember Christ, we are to “do this” in memory of him. This ordinance is intended to help our memory. Is it possible that we can forget our Lord’s death? Ah! if it had not been possible, and probable, that we should forget it, there would have been no need for this supper; but it is ordained because we are naturally forgetful, we are ungracious enough to let even the best things slip. We do not forget our earthly loved ones who have been taken from us; the dear infant child has his name inscribed on the tablets of his mother’s heart, the husband has not forgotten his spouse; but yet we grow forgetful of our Lord, and hence he left us this sweet forget-me-not. He says to us, as it were, “No, my beloved, I will not let you forget me, I will give you something that shall frequently remind you of me. Come often to my table, and there constantly think of me afresh and anew.”

18. What else does this ordinance say? It says, “In this supper, I have fellowship with the centuries that have gone before, and with those which will follow.” When our Lord said to his first disciples, “Do this in remembrance of me,” he really gave that command to each one of us who believe in him; but he also gave it to all the saints who have gone before us, and to all who will come after us. Does it not charm you to think that you are eating as Paul did, and as James and John did, — that you are in the fellowship of the martyrs and confessors, the Fathers and the Reformers, and that we, in this ordinance, enter into the great cloud of witnesses, and take our part with them? I look at this supper — which some seem to regard as an unimportant ceremony, — as a thing most august and sacred, seeing how many hands have combined to break this bread, and how many lips have partaken of this cup. So it will be in the future when you and I sleep with our fathers. If Christ shall not come for a long, long while, this ordinance will still be observed by the faithful. If his coming should be delayed for ten thousand years, — which God forbid! — yet still this supper table would be spread, and loving hearts would gather around it to keep this memorial alive on the earth “until he comes.” Do you see what this communion really is? It is a bridge of diamonds; it springs from our Lord’s death with one grand arch, and it spans the intervening time “until he comes.” Blessed are those who are treading that glorious bridge, and marching on, washed in the blood of his death, until they shall wear the white robes of his victory in the day of his appearing.

19. I think I hear another voice coming out of the depth of the cup. It says, “He will come. He will come.” And, oh! blessed assurance, he must keep his tryst; this supper is his pledge, and it would be a cruel mockery of us if he never came. He must come. My brothers, it is nearly two millennia since Jesus said to his disciples, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; so that where I am, there you may be also”; and he will come. Do not grow weary; or, if you do faint with the long watching and waiting, do not grow doubtful. He will come. Your forefathers thought that he would come in their time. Some of them imagined themselves very wise, and tried to interpret the prophecies which never will be explained until they are fulfilled; and they lost themselves in endless mazes of conjecture. Do not do so; but, still, do not fling away your faith because you cast aside your speculation. Believe, and hope, and patiently wait, and look each day for the returning Christ, for he may come before tomorrow’s clock strikes at noon, he may come before the midnight hour shall fall on the hush of this great city. Even before the word I am speaking shall leave these lips, and reach your ears, he may appear, for “of that day and that hour no man knows, no, not the angels who are in heaven.” But it is ours to stand watching, and waiting, and hoping, for this supper tells us that he will surely come again.

20. One more message comes to me from this broken bread, and that is, that it is his first coming that makes us ready for the second. Is it not so? “You proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” You keep before your mind’s eye the fact that he came once to die, in order that you may feel joy in the fact that he is coming again, not to die, but to reign for ever and ever. I think I hear the countless trumpets, and see the dead rising, and behold the King attended by ten thousand times ten thousand kings. Kings, did I call them? They seem to me like stars; no, like suns, for “then the righteous shall shine out as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” Their Lord has come, and his saints are gathered to him. Caught up into the clouds, the living ones are with him, and the dead have risen and joined them. Oh, the splendour of that tremendous day! Though we do not know when that day shall be, we know that he will come; the angels gave the promise to the men of Galilee, and it shall be fulfilled: “This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in the same way as you have seen him go into heaven.” In the clouds of heaven, with great pomp, he will appear, and as we come to this communion table, we must think of that glorious appearing of our Lord.

21. III. Now, lastly, I have to speak about THE PROPHETIC GLANCE OF THIS ORDINANCE. I have partly referred to that already, for one thought in our text blends with another.

22. The prophetic glance reveals to us the fact that Christ will come again. We are to celebrate this supper “until he comes.” Then, he will come. Do not fall asleep, you virgins, for at midnight the cry shall be heard, “Behold, the Bridegroom comes.” Oh you who serve him, do not begin to beat your fellow servants, and to be drunk, for he will come, and he may soon be here! By this supper we are assured that he will come.

23. “But,” perhaps you say, “his saints have waited for him nearly two thousand years.” What is that? Two thousand years? Think of those who waited four thousand years before Christ came here to die. Now, I consider that, to wait two thousand years for our Lord’s Second Advent is a trifle compared with waiting four thousand years for his First Advent; for, you see, the salvation of all his people depended on that first coming. The ancients might well ask, “Will he come to die?” Oh my brothers, if Abraham and the patriarchs and the prophets had been dubious about his coming to bleed and die, I should not so much have wondered. Four thousand years passed, and yet he had not come; might not each man have put his hands on his loins for fear that he would not come, — that there would be no redemption, — no pouring out of the great price by which men would be set free? Four thousand years to wait for that! Why, now, if we have to wait forty thousand years for his Second Advent, it need not be such an anxious time of waiting, because we may expect him to come in his glory, we may expect him to come to be admired in all those who believe, we may expect him to come to reign for ever and ever. We may be sure that he who slew the dragon will come to divide the spoil; he who routed death and hell will come to lead captives captive, and to reign for ever and ever, King of kings and Lord of lords. You are not waiting in the night; for the Day-Star has risen. You are not waiting in the thick darkness; the dawn has broken on you. Christ has appeared once; you are redeemed by his blood, you are children of the living God. Patiently wait, then, for he will most surely come, and every hour brings him nearer.

24. What does this ordinance further say to me? Why, surely, that Christ’s coming will be better than ordinances. If, when he comes, there will be no more Lord’s suppers as we observe them now, and if it is, as it certainly is, a rule of the kingdom always to go from good to better, and from better to best, — as God never brings out the best wine first, and afterwards what is worse, but it is always something better, and better, and better, then what must Christ’s coming be? Brethren, communion with Christ in the ordinances is very very sweet. Oh, sometimes, we have had such pleasure, such delight, such rapture, at the table of our Lord, that we could hardly have endured any more! At such times, I have sympathized a little with Peter when he wished to build three tabernacles, and to remain on the Mount of Transfiguration. It is very easy to get up to a great height, but, alas! we soon get down again. I wish that we could always do, in spiritual things, what I have done today in temporal things; I am so lame, and it was so great a pain for me to get up here, this morning, that I said, “God willing, if I once get up to my platform, and preach, I will not go down again until I have preached the evening sermon”; so I have remained upstairs all the day. When I was once up, I kept up. Now take care to do that in spiritual things. You know, if you go down, you lame folk, you may not be able to get up again; so stay up when you are up, and try to continue enjoying the presence of your Lord and Master. But, if Lord’s suppers and communions with Christ in outward ordinances are so sweet, and we are to go on to something even better when the Lord himself comes, then, what excessive delight it will be! Oh, to catch a glimpse of him! If the feet of his servants on the mountains are beautiful, what must his own dear face be when he shall be down in the valleys among us? Oh, if the sound of his gospel is like silver bells, what shall be the utterances of his own dear lips when his words shall be as lilies dropping sweet-smelling myrrh? Ah, me! there is something coming for you, believer, of which you know only a very little yet. Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into your heart to know them; yet God has revealed them to you by his Spirit. You know them to some extent, but not perfectly as yet, for here we see in part, and understand only in part, but there we shall know even as we are known. Be of good comfort, brothers and sisters; get all the sweetness you can out of this supper while it lasts, but do not forget that there is something better than this still to be revealed. This ordinance is only like a candle, or a little star; when Christ comes, you will not need it, for he is the sun.

25. Further, does not this supper, as it looks into the future, tell us that the time is coming when we shall be rid of all infirmities? Where is the need of this supper, except that we have such weak, frail memories? When it shall be taken away, it will be a sign that we have good memories, — memories that will miss nothing, but will retain what is good and blessed for ever and for ever. When this communion is no longer to be observed, it will be a happy sign that we have come to our perfection.

26. Here I will close, but I seem, in closing, as if I said to you, “This is a kind of preface.” In my old Puritan books, I often find a preface written by some other hand to introduce the author’s writing. Well, this is my preface to introduce you to this marvellous book, — the communion, the feast of love, the Lord’s supper. There is no teaching anywhere like it. I have been in the habit of coming to the Lord’s table every first day of the week now for many years; I have never omitted it except when I have been too ill to move. Has it lost its freshness? Oh, dear no! It is always a standing sermon, containing more teaching than volumes of men’s sermons. I do not know how they get along who have the communion only once a quarter or once a year. Paul said, “as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup.” He should have said, “as seldom as you drink it,” according to the habit of some. There is no law about the frequency of its observance, except the sweet law of love which seems to say, “If this is a window where Christ looks out, then let me often approach it. If this is a door through which he comes to my heart, then let me stand often at this door.” “Often,” — frequently, — I think that at least once in the week it is good for us to come to the table of our Lord.

27. But there are some of you who have never come to this table yet. If you are not God’s people, do not come; it would do you no good, it would rather do you harm to partake of these emblems. If you are not believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, do not come to his table; you would be hypocrites or intruders. But if you are sincere believers in Christ, how can you stay away? “Do this,” he says, “in remembrance of me.” Suppose your Lord were to come, and you had never done as he told you? What would you say to him? “It is such a simple matter,” you say. Yes, in some senses it is; therefore, attend to it. If it were a matter in which your soul was concerned, so that you could not be saved without it, you say that you would attend to it. Would you? What wretched selfishness that would be! Is this all that you are to live for, — that you may be saved? Are you really worth saving, such a miserable creature as you are? You seem to me to be too poor a thing to be worth redeeming. If you are what you should be, you are believing in Christ, and you are saved, and now you say, “What can I do to show my gratitude to him who has redeemed me?” Your heart expands, your spirit is enlarged; and if there is anything, little or great, which Christ commands as a proof of love for him, you are delighted to do it. Do you not sometimes wish that he would give you something very hard to do, — some difficult enterprise? Have you never envied the men who died for him burning at the stake? Oh, it must have been grand to have proved one’s love to him! But he says, “If you love me, keep my commandments”; and this is one of his commandments, “Do this in remembrance of me.”

28. Now come, dear friends, to this table of communion, seeking your Lord and Master; and may you find him, and your hearts be made glad! Amen.

Expositions By C. H. Spurgeon {Mt 26:17-30 1Co 11:20-34}

26:17-19. Now on the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to him, “Where do you wish that we prepare for you to eat the passover?” And he said, “Go into the city to such a man, and say to him, ‘The Master says, "My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at your house with my disciples."’ ” And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they prepared the passover.

Note their prompt obedience: “the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them.” In this respect, they set an example we shall do well to follow.

20. Now when the evening was come, he sat down with the twelve.

This was the memorable night when the Jewish passover was to melt into the Lord’s supper, just as the stars of the morning dissolve into the daylight.

21. And as they ate, he said, “Truly I say to you, that one of you shall betray me.”

This saying of our Lord must have startled his disciples; they had all made great professions of affection for him, and for the most part those professions were true; but this sentence must have fallen like a bomb-shell among them: “One of you shall betray me.”

22. And they were extremely sorrowful, and every one of them began to say to him, “Lord, is it I?”

They did not doubt their Lord’s declaration, they knew it must be true; and it produced in them deep emotion: “They were extremely sorrowful.” It also worked in them earnest self-examination; none of them said, “Lord, is it Judas?” Perhaps there was not one of them who could have thought so badly of Judas as to suppose that he would betray his Lord; they had such esteem for him that they had made him their treasurer. It is always wise for us to turn the magnifying glass of critical examination on ourselves; we cannot do any good by suspecting our brethren. Suspicion stings like an adder; but we may do ourselves great service by suspecting and examining ourselves. Self-suspicion is near akin to humility and truthfulness; it was so with all except one of these disciples who began to say to Christ, “Lord, is it I?”

23, 24. And he answered and said, “He who dips his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. The Son of man goes as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”

So, you see, dear friends, that a man may get very near to Christ, — indeed, he may even dip his morsel in the same dish with his Lord, and yet he may betray him, even as Judas did. We may be very high in office; we may apparently be very useful; — I have no doubt that Judas was extremely useful to the twelve and to the Master; — and yet, for all that, we may betray him. May God grant that we never may! It is far better that we perished at our birth than that we should live to be traitors to our Lord.

25. Then Judas, who betrayed him, answered and said, “Master, is it I?” He said to him, “You have said.”

And if he had not been a hopeless reprobate, this unmasking of him ought to have driven him to repentance. A man may secretly indulge in his heart a wretched intention, and, when discovered, he may loathe it; but, alas! there was nothing in Judas which could respond to the grace of God.

26-28. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke 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 all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Go into any Roman Catholic Church, and watch the priest’s performance at the altar, and see whether there is the least likeness between that mummery and this divinely-appointed ordinance. I can hardly imagine two things which are so widely apart. How did the Lord’s supper ever grow into the mass? It must have taken long years of moss and ivy and lichen and all kinds of clinging things to overgrow the original, natural column which the Saviour set up, and to turn it into that mingle-mangle of which the Romanists and Ritualists think so much. The only safe rule is to keep close to Scripture in everything; for, if you add a little, someone will add more; and if you alter one thing, the next person will alter another, and, eventually, you will not know what the original was. I have seen a peasant, in Italy, wearing a coat of which I believe neither man nor angel could tell which was the material from which it was originally made, for it had been patched so often; and, in the same way, if we did not know what was the original ceremony of the mass, it would be impossible for us to tell now, for it has been so patched and mended that it is not at all like the original. Let us, beloved, keep strictly to the letter of God’s Word, and also to the spirit of it, lest we err from the truth as so many others have done.

29, 30. But I say to you, ‘I will not drink henceforth from 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.

Was it not brave of our dear Lord to join in singing a hymn at such a time as that, and under such circumstances? He knew that he was very soon to die; he was going out to his last dread conflict; yet he went to it singing a Psalm. It was to his Passion that he was going, — to Gethsemane’s agony and bloody sweat; yet he led the way there with a sacred song on his lips: “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives.”

Now let us turn to Paul’s first Epistle to the Corinthians, at the eleventh chapter. We shall see there how this supper of the Lord had been changed, even in the few years since the death of the Master.

11:20, 21. When you come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. For in eating everyone takes before another his own supper; and one is hungry, and another is drunk.

They seem to have brought their own provisions to the assembly, and to have made a feast of it, and they even thought that was an observance of the Lord’s supper. They differed in social position; and, consequently, one had little and another much, and some even went to excess so that they were actually “drunk.” Paul might well rebuke such unseemly conduct.

22. What? do you not have houses to eat and to drink in? or do you despise the church of God, —

“Do you think that, as a nominally Christian assembly, you are constituted merely so that you may eat and drink? ‘What? do you not have houses to eat and to drink in? or do you despise the church of God,’ ” —

22. And shame those who do not have anything?

“Making the poor who come to the gathering feel their poverty by observing the superiority of your provisions to their own.”

22, 23. What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you. For I have received from the Lord what also I delivered to you, —

“And therefore you ought not to have gone astray. I told you how to observe this ordinance, so you have wilfully erred. This is what I delivered to you,” —

23-27. That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he also took the cup, when he had supped, saying, “This cup is the new testament in my blood: do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Therefore whoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, —

That is, from wrong motives, without sincere faith and devotion to God, —

27-29. Shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he who eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks condemnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

You notice that I introduced the word “condemnation” instead of “damnation.” That word does not correctly give the meaning of the original; it is not damnation, but condemnation, or judgment, as is clear from what follows.

30. For this reason many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

There is no doubt that God visited on the Corinthians, in the way of chastisement, their lack of reverence at his table; many were weak and sickly among them, and many died. They were not lost if they were believers in Christ, but the church at Corinth sustained a great loss through their departure; and I have no doubt that God still exercises a special discipline over his own people. Those who are outside are, to a large extent, left to sin as they please; their punishment will fall on them hereafter; but the child of God cannot be allowed to do so, and he shall be chastened for his sin. The Lord still says to his spiritual Israel, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” A father may leave another man’s child alone, but his own boy shall not transgress without smarting for it. Such conduct as is described here does not bring damnation, for there is no damnation for those who are in Christ Jesus; but it does bring the chastening with which God visits his children when they walk contrary to him.

31. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

But when a church has lost its conscience, and gets into such a state as this Corinthian church fell into, then, since it does not judge itself, God judges it, and chastens it severely.

32. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, so that we should not be condemned with the world.

Perhaps someone thought just now, “I do not want to be in the Church of Christ if it gets special chastening.” That is one among many reasons why I do want to be in the Church of Christ, for “we are chastened by the Lord, so that we should not be condemned with the world.”

33, 34. Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. And if any man is hungry, let him eat at home; so that you do not come together to condemnation. And I will set the rest in order when I come.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Church, Ordinances, The Lord’s Supper — Feeding In Green Pastures” 947}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Second Advent — ‘Oh Lord, How Long?’ ” 356}

Church, Ordinances, The Lord’s Supper
947 — Feeding In Green Pastures
1 Thou whom my soul admires above
   All earthly joy and earthly love,
   Tell me, dear Shepherd, let me know,
   Where doth thy choicest pasture grow?
2 Where is the shadow of that rock
   That from the sun defends thy flock?
   Fain would I feed among thy sheep,
   Among them rest, among them sleep.
3 The footsteps of thy flock I see;
   Thy sweetest pastures here thy be:
   A wondrous feast of love appears,
   Bought with thy wounds and groans and tears.
4 His dearest flesh he makes my bread,
   For wine his richest blood is shed:
   Here to these hills my soul will come,
   Till my Beloved lead me home.
                     Isaac Watts, 1709, a.

Jesus Christ, Second Advent
356 — “Oh Lord, How Long?”
1 To Calvary, Lord, in spirit now,
   Our weary souls repair,
   To dwell upon thy dying love,
   And taste its sweetness there.
2 Sweet resting place of every heart,
   That feels the plague of sin,
   Yet knows that deep mysterious joy,
   The peace with God, within.
3 There, through thine hour of deepest woe,
   Thy suffering spirit pass’d;
   Grace there its wondrous victory gain’d,
   And love endured its last.
4 Dear suffering Lamb! thy bleeding wounds,
   With cords of love divine,
   Have drawn our willing hearts to thee,
   And linked our life with thine.
5 Thy sympathies and hopes are ours:
   Dear Lord! we wait to see
   Creation, all below, above,
   Redeem’d and blest by thee.
6 Our longing eyes would fain behold
   That bright and blessed brow,
   Once wrung with bitterest anguish, wear
   Its crown of glory now.
7 Why linger then? Come, Saviour, come,
   Responsive to our call;
   Come, claim thine ancient power, and reign
   The Heir and Lord of all.
                     Edward Denny, 1839.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

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Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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