Jack Carroll - First Day of the Week - Hayden Lake Convention - June 26, 1949

(You will find this a very helpful message.  It assures us also that the standard of the Lord's people was the same then as it is now.)

 

I do not have to remind you that this is the first day of the week.  It is the Lord's Day; it is not your day or my day.  It is not for your pleasure, but for His pleasure.  We have no hesitation in saying this morning that the spiritual health of the people of God depends largely on how they spend the hours of the Lord's Day. We would like to think that everyone here, the youngest as well as the oldest will remember that the way in which they live on the first day of the week will affect the way in which they live on the days that follow.

 

God in His wisdom has arranged that His children should begin the week with Him.  The Jewish people and the other seventh day keepers give the Lord the last day of the week.  The Lord's people throughout the world give Him the first day.  A good beginning will help us to live the other days of the week in a manner that will be well-pleasing unto Him.  What would you think of a child of God who, on the first day of the week, went fishing or hunting, or to a baseball game, or engaged in other games?  Such behavior “becometh not the Gospel of Christ.”

 

We need this first day of the week because we are a trinity.  We are a spirit, soul and body, 1 Thessalonians 5:23.  Our spirit needs to be refreshed, our soul needs to be refreshed, and our body needs to be refreshed.  We do not have to always be on the go.  There are chores in connection with farm work, etc., that need to be done, but we do not like to see a child of God planning any extra activity on that day.  I would like to think that we would all endeavor to so spend the Lord's Day so that we would be refreshed in spirit, soul, and body.

 

It was the custom, as we know, for the first Christians to come together on the first day of the week to break bread.  They came together in homes consecrated to God.  The “church in the home and the preacher without a home” are vital to a true understanding of the New Testament teaching.  Those first Christians, then, came together to break bread.  I wonder, do you value this privilege of leaving your own home to come to the home of another, and there to have fellowship with your brethren in the breaking of bread?  We often read of Jesus doing certain things “that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”  He deliberately sought to have the Scriptures fulfilled in His life and ministry.  The Scriptures are still being fulfilled today as God's children, in simple childlike faith, carry out the mind of Christ in coming together on the first day of the week to break bread.

 

I wish this morning that I could establish in your minds the direct parallel that there is between the Old Testament Passover Feast and the New Testament breaking of bread.  Every child of God should read Exodus 12 over carefully.  Notice especially the necessary preparation for that feast in verse 19, in putting away of the old leaven; the place where the Passover was to be kept, verse 3; and those who should partake, verse 43.  I would like to emphasize one point in connection with the Passover night in the homes of the children of Israel--it was celebrated in their homes, and only in their homes.

 

I am anxious to impress, this morning, on every mind and heart here that Jesus Himself established the breaking of bread in a private home in the city of Jerusalem.  It was not in a synagogue nor in the temple, but in a private home.  Throughout the pages of the New Testament this fact is clearly taught: that God's people continued to meet on the first day of the week in homes that were consecrated to God.  There they remembered their Master in the breaking of bread.

 

We make no secret of the fact that we are teaching men and women all over the world how to do without the hireling ministry and the public building.  If, in any measure, the veil that has blinded your minds for years has been removed and you are beginning to see clearly, there will be in hour heart a great gladness for the simplicity that is in Christ.  I hope none of you look lightly on the breaking of bread on the first day of the week--that it is not a meaningless ritual that you go through and are glad when it is over.  This would be very sad indeed!

 

In connection with the Passover Feast, it was customary for the oldest son to ask his father, the head of the house, “What mean you by this service?”  The father would tell the story of that first Passover when the blood of the slain lamb was sprinkled on the doorpost and lintels of every such home where the destroying angel passed over. You can imagine how those children in the home would listen to this story and when they took part later of the feast, their minds would be filled with thoughts that thrilled and nourished their spiritual lives.

 

It may be there are some in our midst this morning that are not clear in their minds with regard to the meaning and significance of the “breaking of bread.”  There are two words in Paul's letters that have helped me in this connection.  He wrote that Christ “gave Himself.” He did not give any less; He could not give any more; He “gave Himself” fully, utterly, for your salvation and mine.  Without that giving, there is no salvation for any human being.  I believe that Paul was anxious that this truth should grip the minds of the people to whom he wrote.  We owe everything to Him.  Without Christ, we have no hope; with Christ, there is hope.  Christ gave Himself in order to make this hope possible.

 

These two words, “gave Himself,” occur in 1Timothy 2:4-6.  When our Lord died on the middle cross of Calvary, He tasted death for every man.  It was for the world of humanity, regardless of race or color.  The door of Salvation was opened wide that “Whosoever will, may come.”  In Galatians 1:4, we read that Christ “gave Himself for our sins.”  He opened up a way of salvation for every man--for the good, the bad, the rich, the poor.  Do we appreciate, as we should, our forgiveness of sins?  Paul wrote, “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”  Also, “Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission.”

We are reminded, every first day of the week when we come together to break bread, that sins confessed and sins forsaken can be forgiven.  If you are willing to confess and forsake your sins, “there is forgiveness with God that He may be feared.”  When we partake of the cup, we are reminded that His blood was shed for the remission of sins.  Should that not make you glad that the awful crushing burden of sin can be taken away, removed, buried, forgiven, forgotten forever?

 

He gave Himself for our sins that He might deliver us from this evil world. I do not have to remind you this morning that we are living in an evil world.  Iniquity abounds.  Rebellion against God is seen everywhere.  Society is corrupt.  The social life of men and women today is more corrupt and defiling than it was twenty years ago.  This age is fast ripening for judgment.  We have only to read the first page of any newspaper to become aware of the ever-increasing corruption that exists.

 

What would you think of a child of God who would attend a Bible Study on Wednesday evening and a movie picture of Thursday evening?  We hope that nothing like that will creep in amongst God's people.  Remember every first day of the week, when we come together to break bread, that He gave Himself for us, not only that He might deliver us from our sins but also from this present evil world, from the dance hall, from the roller-skating rink, from every place that would rob us of the peace of God.  We know that the world can be very attractive.  It offers so much to entice especially the young people.  We also know how one person in a little group can exercise a defiling influence over others, and the company of such a person should be avoided.  Will you give this verse a place in your heart?  Will you let this truth so influence your daily living that you will hesitate in going any place where the presence of the Lord would not go with you?  Moses said that he would not go; he dared not go any place “if Thy presence go not with me.”  In Hebrews 13:5, the Lord promised, “I will never leave thee, or forsake thee.”  Can you see, then, the need of abiding in His presence?  This promise is made to every child of God who values His presence above all others.

 

Titus 2:14, we would like for everyone to memorize verses 11 - 14.  In verse 14, we read that Christ “gave Himself for us.”  The main thought of redemption is the possession of that which has been purchased.  He gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity.  The word iniquity means lawlessness--taking our own way.  Most men and women outside of the family of God are rebels.  They say in their hearts, “I want to live my own life; I want to go my own way and be my own master.”  That is the language of the rebel.  When Christ gave Himself on Calvary for us, His purpose was that this spirit of lawlessness might be forever broken--that we would manifest before the world that we are “a people for His own possession, zealous of good works.”

 

There are some people inside this family of god who believe that this is a “free-for-all.”  They feel that they are at liberty to do what their minds and hearts desire.  They imagine that there is no discipline, no order, and no government inside God's Kingdom.  This is not so.  The mark of a good government is that it is not seen until it is needed. Someone said, “The less government, the better governed.”  There is no room in the family of God for lawless men or women.


There is order, there is discipline, and there is government inside this fellowship of God's people “that He might purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works”--a people for His own possession, those whom He could look down upon with pride and say, “These people are Mine, they belong to Me.”  Every first day of the week, in the breaking of bread, we are reminded that we “are not our own.”  Don't you think that if you endeavored to bring some of these things to remembrance every first day of the week when you come together in that home consecrated to God that you would be helped and strengthened, and this breaking of bread would be a source of great peace and joy?

 

Galatians 2:20, this is Paul's own personal testimony.  “Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  If God could love, if Christ could die for a sinner like Saul of Tarsus, there is hope for any sinner.  He said Himself, 1Timothy 1:15, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners 'of whom I am chief.'” We would like to assure you upon the authority of God's Word and upon the authority of these emblems that the love of Christ goes out to all; there is room in the family of God for all.  Has it ever gripped your heart that Christ loved you and that Christ died for you?  His love cannot be measured.  The “love of Christ passeth knowledge.”  We are reminded of this in the breaking of bread.

 

Ephesians 5:1-2, these two verses are connected with verses that go before in the fourth chapter.  Here we have what was symbolized by the whole burnt offering of the Old Testament--pointing forward to the fully consecrated life of Christ, that gave us a headline, a pattern and showed to us how we can walk in love as He did.  I recognize this morning that it is not easy always to walk in love.  It is difficult for us to love people we don't like.  There are some people naturally that we find it difficult to love.  If you went out of your way once in a while to manifest the love of Christ to people you don't like, it would prove a healthy spiritual exercise.

 

There are none of us but who grate oft-times on the nerves of other people.  We should try to walk carefully and not tramp on other people's corns.  I owe much to my brethren.  Their patience and forbearance and love amaze me.  It says of Jesus, “Having loved His own, He loved them unto the end.”  He knew that night that one would betray Him, another would deny Him, all would forsake Him and glee, but He kept on loving them just the same.  When we partake of the emblems of His broken body and shed blood on the first day of the week, we pledge ourselves once again to love each other, and especially those we do not like.

 

What, then, should our reaction be to this fact, that “He gave Himself” fully, utterly, for our salvation?  He could not give more, He did not give less.  Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service and be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."  Daily obedience to the teaching of these two verses is the only way we can express our appreciation of His mercies, and the real significance of the Breaking of Bread.  “He gave Himself”--we give ourselves!  May we, each and all, be willing for this regardless of consequences “for His Name's Sake.”