“Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:” I Corinthians 5:7
This morning, I am going to teach you something about the Lord’s Supper that you have not heard before. Most of us, at least.
In the Upper Room, our Lord instituted a new ordinance. It was something that the Jews had not known before. It was a new ordinance.
Now, an old era had ended with the Passover. A new era is beginning with the institution of the Lord’s Supper. Our Lord reaches back with the Passover and reaches forward with the Lord’s Supper and brings them both together and shows us how the Lord’s Supper is a substitute Passover. It is the New Testament Passover, if you please.
It was for the same purpose. The Passover was offered once a year on the fourteenth day of the first month (that’s our month April), and a lamb was taken on the tenth day of that month. This lamb was taken to prove that it was without blemish, and on the fourteenth day of the month, that lamb was offered as a sacrifice. Following the offering of that lamb as a sacrifice, the lamb was eaten in a feast. It was Passover season. Every year the Jews did this on the same day of the same month. There was a reason. Now don’t miss it. There was a reason.
The Passover was the thing that delivered the Israelites from the land of Egypt. It was an annual observance, a Thanksgiving observance, a memorial feast, if you please, thanking God for deliverance from the bondage in Egypt years before. So each year from the time the Jews were delivered by the Passover, the night the death angel came and took the firstborn of all the families that were in Egypt unless they had the blood applied to the doorpost and the lintels of the door outside the house, they celebrated this Passover with a memorial time and then Jesus came. Now I Corinthians, Chapter 5, Verse 7 says that “Christ is our Passover.” Now, we don’t have Passover anymore. It’s a very interesting thing to me. Do you know that even the Jews don’t offer lambs anymore? They have the Passover time, but they don’t offer no lamb. For almost two thousand years, they had offered lambs every year. Every house offered a lamb. But not anymore. Here in the city of Hammond, the most orthodox of Jews do not offer a lamb anymore as a sacrifice. They eat the Passover meal and they have the Passover Eucharist and so forth, but they offer no lamb. Even our Jewish friends believe subconsciously that Christ was the Lamb of God, the Passover Lamb. So there is no need for a lamb anymore.
Christ is going to offer Himself as our Passover. So what does He do? He substitutes something in the place of the Lord’s Supper that has no lamb. It has the eating just like the Passover, but no lamb. So our Lord takes bread. Unleavened bread. Why unleavened? Because leaven in the Bible symbolizes sin.
In our Lord’s body, there was no sin, and so He said, “I want you to take this little piece of bread now, this unleavened bread, and I want you to periodically eat of that bread, symbolizing My perfect body without spots, without blemish, and without sin.” Then He took the fruit of the vine and He said, “This cup is the New Testament in My blood, which is shed for you.” Now, let me say this. There are people, good people, who believe that the juice this morning was actually the blood of Christ and that the bread was actually the body of Christ. And they take it from Luke 22 when Jesus said, “This is my body which is given for you.” And they said, “This is His body.” No, that’s not His actual body. And He also said that you are the salt of the earth. (Does that men that Dr. Billings is a block of salt this morning? No, he’s got a block of wood on his shoulders, but he’s not a block of salt this morning.) No. “Ye are the salt of the earth” does not mean that we are actually salt. It means we do in the world what salt does to meat and to food, preserving. He said, “This is My body.” He does not mean it is actually His body. He did not mean that the juice this morning was actually His blood. If it were true that the juice were actually His blood, we couldn’t have drunk it this morning because in Chapter 17 of Leviticus, God placed a curse on anybody who drank blood. There is a curse upon the drinking of blood.
Actually what it is is this. This is only a picture. Look, if our Lord had a picture of Himself, if they had cameras back in those days, and our Lord had said, “Look, I want you to get a picture; everybody get a picture of Me, and I want you periodically to come together and look at that picture and remember Me.” That’s exactly what He said. They had no pictures; they had no cameras in those days; no one knows what our Lord looks like. Some effeminate sissies have drawn some pictures of Him, made him look like a sissy Jew, when that’s not true at all. Jesus was not some kind of a sissy, effeminate, tranquil kind of a fellow. I think these pictures aren’t even close to what He looked like. But He gave us the unleavened bread, picturing His body. He gave us the fruit of the vine, picturing His blood. May I stop and say this just in passing for those who are guests? I do not think it is right or scriptural to take fermented wine at the Lord’s Table. This morning we had grape juice. And that is scriptural. It is not right to take fermented wine, for fermentation is the same thing to juice as leaven is to bread. Leaven is molding. Leaven is old bread; it is corruption; it is—a better word is—decay; leaven is mold.
What fermentation is to juice, leaven is to bread. If there is no leaven in the bread, there should be no leaven in the juice. Consequently, we give unleavened bread and unleavened juice, or unfermented grape juice, if you please. Now, here is something that I want you to hear carefully. When our Lord instituted the Lord’s Supper, He pointed back to the Passover. He said, “Now, I want to take this last Passover with you.” From the time that Jesus took that Passover until this day, nobody ever ought to take a Passover again. Within a few hours He was crucified on the cross; He was the final lamb, the final Passover. No need for a lamb, no need for a Passover. But there’s something about the Passover that you must know.
When the Jews began the Passover nearly two thousand years before Christ, they had a fearful choice to make. The Egyptians had over two thousand gods, and each god had a theophany. The world theophany means that each god had an animal that people believed that god entered. Now, the head god, or the king god, the head of the pantheon of the Egyptian people, was the god Amon-Re. Now this god had a theophany. The theophany of this god was the lamb which means that nobody, unless he had permission from the headquarters, could ever kill a lamb. It was a penalty, a crime with a penalty of death for anyone who was not qualified to kill a lamb. Why? Because here is the great god, over two thousand gods; each god had a theophany. One god’s theophany was a bug; one god’s theophany was a dog; one god’s theophany was a cow; but the theophany of Amon-Re, the king of the gods, the head of the Pantheon, the theophany of this god was the lamb, which means in Egypt it was a crime punishable by death, a terrible crime, for anyone not qualified to kill a lamb. For in so doing, they were blaspheming the king of all the gods, Amon-Re.
Picture, if you would, please, the dilemma. God comes along, and God says to the Jews, “I want every family to kill a lamb.” Now, think of the consequences involved here. Egypt said, “If you kill a lamb, you die.” God says, “You don’t kill a lamb, your firstborn dies.” Now here is a confrontation between Amon-Re and Jehovah God. Here is a confrontation between the Egyptian rule, the Egyptian monarchy, and God Himself, on one side. Now, let’s picture a family. Let’s gather a family around in a circle, and let’s hear them as they talk. The father says, “Folks, we have a problem. As you know, we have been commanded by God to kill a lamb and to take the blood of that lamb and sprinkle that blood on the doorposts and on the lintels of our houses. Outside, where everybody can see it. We know that if God be wrong, we die. For we have entered into blasphemy. We have entered into sacrilege. For we know that the god of Egypt, Amon-Re, has as his theophany the lamb. If we kill that lamb, we are killed by the Egyptian government.
On the other hand, God says if we don’t kill the lamb and put that blood on the doorposts that the firstborn is going to die. Let’s just gather the family around and let’s see. “What do you think?” And the lady says, “Well, my, my, my, that’s terrible. We never have killed a lamb. Nobody in Egypt kills a lamb. Why, it’s an awful crime to kill a lamb. Nobody would—we never have killed a lamb. The lamb is sacred, like the sacred cow in India; the lamb is sacred, we dare not kill a lamb because it would do sacrilege to Amon-Re, the king of all the gods, the head of the Pantheon.” The oldest child says, “But, look, God says I’ll die if you don’t offer a lamb.” Can you feature the dilemma? Put your family there. Think about it. These were people, mothers, fathers, boys, girls, families, like you and like me. Now, let’s just take the Colsten family. They gather around together, and John says, “Elaine, what shall we do?” That’s what John always says. “Elaine, what shall we do?” Well, sometimes he doesn’t get that far. It’s already done before he says it. “But Elaine, what shall we do?” Here is K.K., our Keren, our oldest. God says if we don’t take a lamb and kill that lamb and put the blood on the doorpost K.K. is going to die. But John says, “If I take a lamb and kill it, I’m going to die.” It’s either you or K.K. I hope you go, Bud. I’d hate to have a good little girl like K.K. go and a dud like you stay. But I—anyway, he says, “What shall we do?”
There was a confrontation, a decision to make. Is God God, or is Amon-Re God? That was the decision to make, and they had to make the decision. You mark it down, brother, every Jew wasn’t going out and killing a lamb and slinging it on the doorpost saying, “That is that.” Oh, no. It was of serious consequences. These Jews had been in bondage for these long many years. They had grown up in bondage, and I don’t care who you are, you are affected by your environment. And now they face this decision. When they kill that lamb, when John Lefkowitz over here, or Abe, when he killed that lamb, he was committing a crime against the government. And death would be his. If he doesn’t kill the lamb, that night when the Passover angel comes through and looks at those houses without the blood on them, or the lintels on the doorposts, and, if the death angel of God be true, the firstborn, K.K., is going to be dead tomorrow morning, and Elaine and John are going to come in and find the little lifeless body of their precious little K.K. in bed, gone, if there is no blood on the doorpost. Oh, what shall we do? What shall we do? There was a decision; they had to decide once and for all—do we really believe in God?
They had an open decision. On one side, the world said, “Do what we say and live. Do not do what they say and die.” One the other side, the Living God said, “Follow Me and live, or do not follow Me and die.” They had the advertisement of the world; they had the advertisement of God. On one side, the worldly system said, “If you don’t obey us, you’ll die. If you do, you’ll live.” God said, “If you don’t obey Me, you’ll die. If you do, you live.” And that same confrontation is at the face of every person in this world today.
Young people, for example. Television commercials come on and say, “Do this and live.” The Bible says, “Do that and die.” The Bible says, “Come to Christ and live.” The world says, “Come to Christ and die.” Our public school systems say, “Believe this and have real life.” God says, “You believe that and it’ll be death.” God comes and says, “Believe this, and you’ll have life. If you don’t believe this, you’ll have death.” Every person that’s ever walked the face of this earth has faced the same simple, basic decision the Jews faced two thousand years before the cross when they had to choose either to take a lamb and face the penalty of death and the hands of the world or not take a lamb and face the penalty of death at the hands of Almighty God.
Now, if God be true, serve God. If the world be true, serve the world. But you’ve got to decide which is true. You’ve got to decide. If you want to risk your chances on a Christ-less world, go ahead. But if God be true, you’re going to hell. If you want to take your chances on living for God and, if God be true, you’re going to heaven. God has always said, “Choose Me and choose life. Don’t choose Me and you die.” The world has always said, “Choose me and you’ll have life. If you don’t choose me, you’ll die.”
Satan still lurks in the Garden of Eden with his serpentine temptations. He comes and says, “Believe me and live.” But God always comes with the Word of God as He gave to Adam and Eve and every person who has ever walked the face of this earth, “Believe Me and live.” The honest simple truth is do you believe God or the world? Do you believe God or Amon-Re?
This morning, you face that same decision. The same one. You say, “I don’t believe there is a God.” Okay, then you believe the world. When the Passover angel comes through, you’ll die and go to hell. Or you say this morning, “I do believe God. I do believe God. I believe that God gave His Son, and His Son died for me as the Lamb of God; I am willing to trust the Savior.” You face the same decision every Jew faced in Egyptian bondage two thousand years ago.
But there was a second thing. It was an open decision. God didn’t say to the Jews, “Now, I want you to take a lamb.” Now, boy, that was serious. Can you feature how they felt for those four days? Dr. Billings, for your family you brought that lamb and set that lamb for four days between April 10 and April 14, waiting the death of that lamb? And the authorities would come by and say, “Billings, what’s that lamb for?” And you’ll say, “I am going to kill it in four days.” The authorities—the policeman would say to you, “You do and you’ll die.” In the time you looked at that lamb, you’d say, “Oh, is God right, or are the authorities right?” For those four days. But now, wait a minute. God said, “I want you to kill that lamb.” When that life went through the breast of that lamb, that Jew must have said, “Oh, God, I trust it all to You. If You’re wrong, I’m gone.” Then the Lord said, “Take the blood and sprinkle that blood with a hyssop weed.”
Did any of you ever grow up when you had these little weeds that you pulled out of a socket, sort of? When you pulled them, they didn’t come out of the root but came out of a little socket, and you would suck on them and they were sweet? How many remember these? That’s about what a hyssop weed was. It looked like it had a little caterpillar on the end of it. Remember that? A little bunch of something on the end of it? Used to grow all over Texas—everywhere you would find them. And a hyssop weed was found everywhere.
God said, “Take a hyssop weed and dip it in the blood and put it…”—where? In the bathroom? No. In the kitchen? No. In the living room? No. Wait a minute now. Don’t you think that Passover angel could have seen inside that house? When the death angel came over that night don’t you think an angel could have known by looking inside the house? But the Lord said, “On the outside. I want blood on the mantle, on the doorposts; I want it dripping down.” So everybody can see it. Everybody. That means if God had been wrong, and the authorities came through that night, everybody who had blood on his house from killing a lamb would be killed at the hands of the Egyptian government. Why didn’t God say, “Put it on the inside”? Why didn’t God say, “Put it on the hearth. On the inside of the door. Inside, inside the doorposts”? I’ll tell you why. God never has wanted His people to keep secret their stand for Him. He never has.
God wanted every Jew to tell the entire Egyptian nation, “We believe God. We want you to know we believe God.” That’s why I think you ought to take your Bibles to school; don’t leave them at home. That’s why I think you ought to take a Bible to work. That’s why I think folks ought to know how you stand. God did not want kept secret their decision. Here is a Jew; he killed a lamb. He could have killed a lamb in secret. He could have taken a chance. But God said, “Not on your life. I want that blood on the outside of the house so everybody who comes by can say, ‘That person believes in God.'” Away with the kind of Christianity that never tells anybody you belong to Jesus Christ. This secret discipleship. Listen, there are young people in this house today who go to Hammond High School, and nobody there knows that they are Christians. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. Put the blood on the outside of the house.
A man came to me not long ago, said something about one of our deacons. He said, “What profession are you in, Mr. Hyles?” And I said, “I’m Pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond.” He said, “I found out last week that one of the men that works with me is a member of your church.” He said, “Funny thing, he’s been working with me for twenty years, and I never knew he was a church-going man.” A deacon. God pity that kind of rubbish. Let the whole world know where you stand.
I said to my class this morning, “The average Christian would be ashamed to carry his Bible down the street.” The average person sitting in this house this morning would be ashamed to carry his Bible to work tomorrow morning. You would be ashamed to just get the Bible and walk down the street with your Bible under your arm. You would be ashamed. Put the blood on the outside.
I told our prayer meeting crowd in my class this morning, the other day I was on the airplane, opened my Bible and began to read it. A fellow walked by—a very personable fellow. He said, “Hey, getting your sermon for tonight?”—or Sunday, or something. I said, “No, I’m just reading the Bible.” So he went back to the restroom and came back and he stopped and said, “Say, that’s interesting. I fly every week. I haven’t seen a fellow ever with a Bible before on an airplane.” I said, “You haven’t flown on my airplane, then.” He said, “My name is so-and-so.” I said, “My name is Jack Hyles.” He said, “What are you doing?” I said, “Well, to be honest with you, I’m writing a book.” “Oh,” he said, “You’re an author. How many books have you written?” I said, “Fifteen.” “Why,” he said, “I have written about fifteen too. I write books—textbooks for universities.” I said, “What kind of business are you in?” (By the way, I didn’t want to talk to him. I wanted him to leave me alone. I wanted to be quiet. I talk to people all the time, and I wanted some time to be quiet and read my Bible. I tried to shove him off and get rid of him, and I couldn’t, and I tried again, and couldn’t.) Finally I said, “What kind of business are you in?” He said, “I teach at the University of Chicago.” I said, “Sit down. I want to talk to you. Some things I’ve been wanting to say to somebody for a long, long time.” He had a nice haircut, like you ought to have, and he had a nice white shirt and tie, and was a very personable fellow, but I’m saying my Bible was open God wants no secret discipleship.
If you’re a Christian, let everybody know about it. If you’re not, then put your sign down. It was an open decision. Anyone who loves another wants to tell it. Anyone whose heart beats with love for another wants to tell it. If your heart is full of love for Christ, you want to tell it. “I’ll sing it—I’ll tell it wherever I go. I want all to hear it. I want all to know the joy of salvation that makes my heart glow. For I have been born again.” Tell it. The Lord Jesus said, “Go and tell what great things the Lord thy God hath done for thee.” Seems to me that here ought to be something in the heart of every person who loves another that just wants to burst forth and tell it. If you’ve fallen in love with Jesus Christ, and He’s your Savior, He saved your soul, you’re on your way to heaven—don’t put that blood in the closet. Put it on the front porch so the whole world can see it. But you say, “Brother Hyles, I’m afraid they’ll call me a fanatic.” Yes, and the Jews were afraid they’d get killed too. But God wants it on the outside. But there’s something else. It meant an open break. An open break.
These people had been in Egypt for these many years. And the Egyptian religion was not monotheistic; it was a religion of many gods. They had over two thousand gods, and the head god, the king of the gods, was Amon-Re, and Amon-Re’s theophany was the lamb, and these people had been taught to respect the lamb. I mean, I’m sure there are some fundamental Jews, like Hyles and others, who would bow their necks and were stubborn. Bill Harvey said, “If Hyles ever drowns, he’ll float upstream.” And I’m sure that here were some that bowed their necks and said, “We don’t believe that stuff.” But I’ll tell you what the average Jew said because I know mankind and human nature. The average Jew said, “We are not Egyptians, but we don’t believe in criticizing anybody else’s religion.” The average Jew said, “We’re not Egyptians, but we’re here and we believe that the lamb is sacred, and we’re not going to kill a lamb because it would be against the religion of the Egyptians.”
God comes along and says everybody has to kill a lamb. Everybody. Everybody. If you don’t kill a lamb, your oldest child will be dead the next morning. You have got to do it. And the Jew said, “What? You mean I’ve got to choose between Jehovah and Amon-Re?” Yes, yes. Actually God said, “Either you make an open break with me, or you make an open break from your false religion.” You new Christians. You make an open break with that heresy if you come to God and mean it. An open break. God is saying, “I want you to be sacrilegious toward Amon-Re, or you die.” You’ve got to break the law of religious Egyptian people. And you’ve got to be sacrilegious to the Egyptians, or you’re going to die. God demands an open break. Actually, what He’s saying to kill the theophany of their greatest god. Of their greatest god. So awhile ago, we sat here at the Lord’s Table. Do you know what it meant? When you took that juice and that bread, do you know what it meant? It meant that you were saying, “I have chosen to believe God when He says, ‘God gives life.'”
The honest trust is that awhile ago you said as you took the Lord’s Supper, “I believe God. I believe He gives life. I believe that to live for Christ is life; I believe that to refuse Him is death.” But then you said something else awhile ago whether you knew it or not. You said this. You said, “I’m willing to make it open, too.” Open. Lord, I want everybody to know I’m a Christian; that’s why I take this. Just like the Jews took the Passover. For him, that Passover night was to let everybody know, and you said, “Lord, I’m wanting everybody to know.” What you said awhile ago was, “Lord, I’m going to go back to school, and I’m going to let everybody know I’m a Christian.” What you said awhile ago, “This is my Passover, and I’m going to put it on the outside of my house. Everybody’s going to know.” What else you said was, “I’ve made an open break. I’ve made an open break with heathen religions. I’ve made an open break with the old religions. And I’m choosing life through Jesus Christ.”
I was thinking as we took the Lord’s Supper how many times I’ve taken it. I can recall when I was the age of Jeffrey over here; it wasn’t saved. I used to pass the Lord’s Supper, and my mother had to snap it out of my hand because I’d want some of that juice and crackers. And I used to say, “Mama, I want some juice and crackers.” I didn’t get saved until I was almost eleven, and one of the reasons I wanted to get saved was ’cause I wanted to be able to drink that juice and crackers. I wanted juice and crackers. I used to wonder why they didn’t serve more. Good night, we used to have the Lord’s Supper after preaching. I used to say, “It’s 12:15 and here they are serving refreshments?” You can’t taste the stuff. A little bitty old cracker about like that, reminds me of some of these wedding receptions we have around here. Just a little juice, a little cracker, that’s all you get. And I remember the first time after I was baptized; then I couldn’t wait till the Lord’s Supper. One of the first things I thought about after I got saved and baptized was now I get that cracker and drink that juice. Was I ever disappointed. It wasn’t quite what I had hoped it would be. I wanted that cracker and juice, and I can recall the first time I ever took it. And it was right to take it then, because I was saved and baptized. It was right to take it and I did. And through these years how many times I’ve sat at the Lord’s Table.
I recall my first pastorate way up in the country. I had one deacon; he wore overalls every Sunday. He and I gave the Lord’s Supper together. We had a building where two woodpeckers got loose in it every week. Two woodpeckers lived inside this church. You say, “Why didn’t you close the door?” We couldn’t even close the walls. We couldn’t even close the floor. We couldn’t even close the ceiling. And so the woodpeckers would be in there. And I recall the first time I ever administered the Lord’s Supper. I got up—about time to have it, it was on a Sunday night. Those woodpeckers had gotten back in Sunday afternoon. So I got a broom and tried to chase the other woodpecker out. The folks were already there. The folks were waiting, and the pianist was playing softly “The Old Rugged Cross”—that’s all she could play. And just playing “The Old Rugged Cross” softly while Wood Armstrong and I tried to chase the woodpeckers out. I recall that the table was not a pretty table like this, it was a little black table, had four little old rickety legs on it, somebody had it during the Civil War and had disowned it, taken it to a used furniture store, and we bought it.
People were all sitting there while I was trying to get the woodpecker out. And so we would stop and then we’d hear “Peck, peck, peck, peck.” And you can’t take the Lord’s Supper with a woodpecker pecking. So I’d get the broom and I looked out and I saw that table just about to turn over, and I had cooked that stuff myself.
Really, I didn’t know you could buy the elements. I got some flour and water and put it together, rolled it out, and put it in the oven and cooked it. Then I broke it in little pieces. You deacons think you got it rough—I had to break it myself. I didn’t know what kind of juice to get. All they had was Welch’s grape juice and Church’s grape juice. I thought Church’s sounded more religious so I bought the Church’s grape juice. I didn’t know you had things you could screw in the bottle and squeeze the little old rubber thing, and it would go out. I took that big bottle of grape juice and poured it in every one of those little things, one at a time, and put it on the table. I got me an ole white piece of cloth and put it over it. I didn’t know you had tops on these things. It was the Lord’s Supper, and every time you take it you’re supposed to say, “I’ve chosen to believe that life is in Christ; I’ve chosen to let the whole world know I’m saved, and I’ve chosen to make an open break, if need be. If the Egyptian army wants to come and kill me because I destroyed a lamb, that is okay. I’m going to stick with Christ. I believe Christ is the Savior. I trust Him.
This morning if you’re not saved, you ought to trust Him as your Savior, and believe God. The old battle is raging in every life that’s not saved. The Devil says, “Believe me and live.” God says, “Believe Me and live.” Amon-Re says, “Believe me and live.” God says, “Believe Me and live.” Whichever one you choose, you’re taking a chance on the full wrath of the other. If Amon-Re be right and you believe God, you will die. If God be right and you believe Amon-Re, you will die. And this morning, if you’re here and you’re saved but never have been baptized, put the blood on the outside of the door. Walk down the aisle. Get baptized. Let people know whose side you’re on. If you’re here this morning living in this area and have no church home and never have joined a church here, put the blood on the outside. Walk down this aisle. Let us write and get that membership for you. Put the blood on the outside. Let the whole area know you belong to God. And make an open break as every Jew had to do. I’m sure the households went to bed that night and the dad said, “I think I did right. The blood’s on the outside of the doorposts and lintel, and I full well know that if I did wrong, I’ll die tomorrow. But if I did right, we’ll live. But if God be honest, our firstborn won’t die.”
I’m sure the next morning the Jewish man got up bright and early and rushed into the crib or bed where slept the oldest, or the firstborn. He looked and felt, and the body was warm. And the dad said, “He’s alive. He’s alive.” God is God, and God is right. Amon-Re is wrong.”
After four thousand years, God is still right, and Amon-Re is still wrong, and there is still life in the blood of the lamb.
Would you be free from the burden of sin?
There’s pow’r in the blood;
Would you o’er evil a victory win?
There’s wonderful power in the blood.
There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.
The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.
Let us pray.