Jack Carroll - Urach, Germany Convention - 1952

I would like to speak to you this morning about our fellowship as brethren when we come together on the first day of the week.   We not only have fellowship with each other, but with brethren in every part of the world.  We are not an American family, a British family, a Swiss family, or a German family.  We are part of a worldwide family fellowship.  There is no greater privilege on earth than to have a place inside of this family fellowship, where all questions of race and nationality are forgotten, and we partake of the emblems of our Lord's broken body and shed blood, as brothers and sisters in the same family.

 

There are two chapters in the Bible which ought to be read often by every child of God:  Exodus 12 - where we read of the first Passover, and Luke 22 - where we read of the last Passover and the first institution of the Breaking of Bread.  There is a very close connection between the Old Testament Passover Feast and the New Testament Breaking of Bread.  The New Testament Breaking of Bread on the first day of the week is the perpetuation of the Old Testament Passover Feast. There are seven things mentioned in Exodus 12 in connection with the Old Testament Passover Feast that every child of God should study carefully: 1) The preparation that was made, 2) the place where the feast was kept, 3) the number that came together in any one home, 4) the appointed time for the keeping of the feast, 5) the purpose that God had in mind when He established the Passover Feast, 6) the manner in which it should be partaken and 7) those who were worthy of having a part therein.  I will mention two, of these seven, in connection with the Old Testament Passover Feast and the Breaking of Bread in the New Testament

 

 1) The Passover Feast was established in the homes of the children of Israel: it was primarily a home feast.  Throughout the whole history of the Jewish people, the Passover Feast was never taken to a synagogue or temple.  The New Testament Breaking of Bread was established in a consecrated home in the city of Jerusalem.  It was celebrated only in the consecrated homes of the people of God in New Testament days as we said yesterday, the church in the home, and only in the home.  Should we ever depart from this, we become a part of Babylon, the mother of harlots.  We make no Secret of the fact that in every land we are teaching men and women how to do without the hireling minister and public buildings for the worship service of God.  Our coming together in consecrated homes on the first day of the week, to remember our Master and Lord in the Breaking of Bread, is a protest against clericalism, priest craft, and churchianity - this trinity of evil which is blinding the minds of men and women the world over, from the simplicity of Truth, as it is in Jesus.  It is the privilege of God's children to consecrate their homes to be used in this way, and have fellowship with their brethren in New Testament days, who consecrated their homes so that God's people could meet together to break bread.  Even when some leave their own homes to meet in the home of another on the first day of the week, they are giving their testimony to their friends and neighbors to that which Jesus lived and taught in the days of His flesh.

 

 2) In connection with the Old Testament Feast, all leaven had to be searched out and destroyed before it could be partaken of worthily.  The head of the house, with a lighted candle, followed by members of the family, searched every room for leaven, and if any was found, it was destroyed. In connection with the Breaking of Bread on the first day of the week, in obedience to the command of Jesus: "This do in remembrance of me," there must he an examining of ourselves, and a putting away of all that has hindered our fellowship with God and each other during the week, if we are faithful in this, we can eat and drink worthily.

 

Sometimes we fear there are those to whom this coming together to break bread is but a ritual, a meaningless form.  I believe with all my heart this morning that when this New Testament Breaking of Bread was instituted, the purpose in the mind and heart of Jesus was that it should be a source of comfort, encouragement, and inspiration to His people until He came back again.

 

It was the custom in every home in Israel in celebrating the Passover Feast, for the oldest son of the family to ask his father in the presence of all, "What mean ye by this service?"   There may be in some of our hearts today the question, "What mean ye by this Breaking of Bread on the first day of the week?" We would like to help you understand this a little better if we can.

 

Every first day of the week, when we come together to break bread, we are reminded first of all of the great foundation truth of the Gospel, that He whom we confess as Lord and Master "gave Himself" fully and utterly for our salvation and for all men.  This should create a great thankfulness in our hearts - that when we could do nothing to settle the question of our sins, and no one could help us, our Master "gave Himself."  He couldn't give any more; He didn't give any less, to make your salvation and mine possible.

 

There are some verses in Paul's letters that I would like to read over this morning in which the two words "gave Himself" (speaking of Christ) occur.   I Tim. 2:6, "Who gave Himself a ransom for all."  We are reminded each first day of the week that when Christ died upon the cross, He gave Himself a ransom for all.  He tasted death for every man. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." By the atoning death of Jesus on the cross, the way was opened up for men and women of every race and nationality to enter into this family fellowship, which means so much to all of us.

 

 I would like you to turn to Galatians 1:4, "He gave Himself for our sins that He might deliver us from this present evil world."  His purpose in giving Himself upon the cross was not only to make atonement for our sins, but also to deliver us from this present evil world.  There are many today who would like to have their sins forgiven and names written in heaven but they are unwilling to be delivered from this present evil world.  We are living in. an evil world - a world becoming steadily more and more corrupt, iniquity abounding on every hand.  God's purpose in giving His Son was that the power of this present evil world might be broken in every life.  When we come together on the first day of the week, we are reminded of this truth.  We can examine our own hearts; we can ask ourselves before we meet together, "Am I becoming more worldly and less godly or more godly and less worldly?"  It isn't easy for God's people to break with the world and its attractions.  It never will be easy but every child of God has to decide for himself whether they will live for things present or things unseen - temporal or eternal.

 

 It wasn't easy for Abraham to say goodbye to his own city and people, to break forever with the world in which he lived, to go forth in obedience to the call of God, not knowing whither he went.  He went forward when he couldn't see; he obeyed God when he didn't fully understand - be trusted God against his own feelings and Abraham became the "Father of the faithful."  He left us an example, in this our day, so that we can follow in His steps.

 

Moses was a man mighty in word and deed.  He was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.  He was the recognized heir to the throne of Egypt and could have lived in a great palace and reigned over a mighty empire.  But we read that, "Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter," refused all that he could have enjoyed in Egypt, "Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt, for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward."  The choice that Moses made settles forever the value of all that this world has to offer in comparison to the "unsearchable riches of Christ."  It never has been easy to become God's child.  It never will be easy.  There must be a turning away from all that this world offers, and a willingness to make the choice that Abraham and Moses made.

 

On a mountain in Moab, three women talked together: Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth.  Naomi was on her way back to the land of Bethlehem Judah where God had given His people bread.  Her daughters-in-law accompanied her to this mountaintop and there she told them that following any further would mean earthy loss.  She had nothing to offer them materially; she advised them that if they wanted to make anything out of their lives in this world, to go back to their own people and back to their own gods.  But Ruth said, "Entreat me not to leave thee or to return from following after thee, for whither thou goest I will go, and where thou lodgest I will lodge; thy people shall be my people and thy God, my God." Ruth turned her back upon her own people and her own gods and accompanied her mother-in-law to the land of Bethlehem Judah where God had given His people bread.  The choice that Abraham, Moses and Ruth made is the choice that we must make in our day and generation if we are to enter in to the fellowship of God's people and God's family.

 

Turn now to Titus 2:14, "Who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."  Every time we come together on the first day of the week, we are reminded, first of all, that Christ "gave Himself" for all, that He tasted death for every man, that He "gave Himself" for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world according to the will of God.  In this verse, we are reminded of the fact that He "gave Himself" for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity.  Iniquity is taking our own way, suiting ourselves, pleasing ourselves, unwilling to recognize Christ as our Lord and Master.   Iniquity is that thing in men and women that objects to order, discipline, and guidance.  The word in the original means anarchy or lawlessness. The United States government refuses to admit any man or woman into the country that does not believe in order, discipline, and government.

 

In every true human family, there is order discipline and guidance.  There is an equality of relationship in the human family but there is not an equality of responsibility.  The youngest babe has not the same responsibility as the oldest son or daughter.  In this family of God, there is an equality of relationship but then is not an equality of responsibility.  There are elders in this family, there are elders in the Work of God, and these are responsible for maintaining order, discipline, and guidance in the family of God..

 

I have been in some homes in America where there was nothing but confusion and disorder - no evidence whatever of any guidance or government, where it was difficult to tell whether the family was moving in or moving out.  In this family of God, there must be order, there must be discipline, and there must be guidance or government.  Otherwise, there will be much confusion amongst God's people.  Every first day of the week, when we come together to break bread, we should remember that Christ "gave Himself" for us that He might deliver us from all lawlessness, that He might purify unto Himself "a peculiar people" that would be manifestly His own in every land.  There is no room in this family and kingdom of God for any who are unwilling to walk orderly, to be subject to discipline and the guidance that is so necessary for all of us in this family of God (Hebrews 12:5,17).

 

Turn to Galatians 2:29, "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me, and the life, which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."  Paul's understanding, of what it meant to be a Christian, was this: that Christ lived for him, died for him, and that He might live again in him.  It is our privilege, to give these bodies of ours to Christ to be His temples, that He may live His life over again in us, and through us, manifest His own Spirit and His own Nature to all whom we come in contact.  

 

Christianity is not a church or creed or a system of beliefs and doctrines - but a life!  We who confess Him as master and Lord are responsible for yielding our lives to Him, that He can live His life over again in these mortal bodies of ours.  Christ, enthroned in our hearts and reigning in and over our lives, is our only hope of glory.  Jesus said, "Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him and he with Me." In other words: I will live my life over again in that man or that woman.

 

 It is good for us to be reminded often of these great facts of the Gospel:  1) that Christ gave Himself, 2) for our sins that He might deliver us from this present evil world, 3) that He might redeem us from iniquity, and 4) that He might live His life over again in those who call themselves His followers.

 

 If He gave Himself to us and for us, what can we give?  I have been going to Conventions like this for many years and have come to the conclusion that a convention is an empty and meaningless thing unless we are stirred and moved to make a new surrender to God.  If we, as servants and saints, leave these grounds without saying a new "yes" in our hearts to His claims, this convention will add to our condemnation on the great day of reckoning.  Let me quote the first verse of Romans 12, which tells us so simply and clearly what we can give in this our day, since He has given Himself so fully, so completely for us.  Paul says, "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."  Are we willing for this, this morning?  Are we willing to present our bodies to Him to live in, to be His temple so that He can through us manifest Himself to a world that knows Him not?  May God grant that there may be a new "yes" in every heart to all that He has said to us here, that we may more fully give ourselves to Him in the interests of His Kingdom.