THE LORD’S SUPPER AND THE GOSPEL IN I CORINTHIANS
“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you. That the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread: And when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my Body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in My blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me.” I Corinthians 11:23 to 25.
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” I Corinthians 15:1 to 4.
All true and faithful servants of the Lord repeatedly present to the lost sinners the gospel of I Corinthians 15:1 to 4. Surely we have here a clear statement of the “good news” for sinners which the risen Christ gave to us through our Apostle Paul. This message is quite different from the gospel of Matthew 10:5 to 8, the gospel of the kingdom which Christ and His Apostles proclaimed unto Israel when water baptism, unto repentance for the remission of sins, was in order. When Christ on earth mentioned the facts of our gospel to even His chosen few, it was completely hid from them. Luke 18:31 to 34. At that time they had been preaching the gospel for more than two years; but not Paul’s gospel.
Where did Paul receive this gospel? Read Galatians 1:7 to 18. He was led out into Arabia and received the “Grace of Christ” message, the gospel of the uncircumcision, from the risen Lord. Galatians 2:7. It was a direct revelation. Paul was not present when the Eleven received the great commission. Neither did he receive his gospel from the Twelve who companied with the Lord Jesus on earth. They added nothing to him in conference, but learned from him the new message and the new commission that he received by revelation from heaven. Galatians 2:7 to 9.
The Twelve were told to stay in Jerusalem and preach the circumcision gospel to the circumcision. Acts 8:1; Galatians 2:9. Christ met Paul in the Jerusalem temple and told him to get out of Jerusalem and go far hence to the Gentiles. Acts 22:17 to 22. Paul’s Grace Gospel was by revelation.
Neither was Paul present with Christ and the Twelve when Christ broke bread with them just before His death. But in the same manner that Christ revealed to Paul a gospel for the Gentiles He likewise revealed to Paul the Lord’s Supper for the Gentiles. In I Corinthians 12:2, Paul wrote, “Ye know that when ye were Gentiles.” Israelites had not been Gentiles; therefore He was addressing Gentiles. There are a number of references to Israel and Israel’s religion in I Corinthians, but the message was addressed to saved Gentiles as well as to saved Israelites.
Now, unless we can find some good and sufficient Scriptural reason for separating the two revelations, perhaps given at the same time, it would seem as reasonable that we should no longer preach the gospel of I Corinthians 15:1 to 4 in this age, as to eliminate the Lord’s Supper for this age. We know that that gospel is still our message today and by it we are saved as were the Corinthian saints of the first century.
BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER IN I CORINTHIANS
Let us read and study these words of the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 1:17: “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.”
Now, let us remember that we have found in this Epistle that the risen Lord, by revelation, gave to Paul, for Gentiles, the gospel of grace and the Lord’s Supper. Most assuredly He did not give to Paul, by revelation, water baptism for the Gentiles. In his message water baptism did not have the meaning and merit that it had in the message of the Twelve. Compare Mark 16:15 to 18 and Acts 2:38 with I Corinthians 1:17.
The Twelve were sent to preach their gospel and to baptize. Paul was sent to preach his gospel, but Christ sent him not to baptize. If water baptism had any merit in Paul’s ministry and gospel he would have said: “I thank God I baptized many of you;” for he could have wished himself accursed for Israel’s sake, for whose salvation he had desire and heaviness of heart. He travailed for others that Christ might be formed in them. But he didn’t even remember whether he had baptized any others.
Any careful student of the Bible can develop from John 1:31 to Colossians 2:11 that water baptism gradually lost its importance and finally ceased to have a place in God’s program. Water baptism was not given to Paul by Christ when he received, by revelation, for the Gentiles, the gospel and the Lord’s Supper.
Baptism received once-for-all by the believing sinner, in a few moments, has no connection with the Lord’s Supper received by the believing saint just as often as he desires to remember the Lord’s death till He come. He may partake of it in or out of a church building, with or without the ministry of a clergyman, reverend or pastor, as oft as he pleases.
THE LORD’S SUPPER AND THE NEW COVENANT
In Matthew 26:28 and Mark 14:24 we read the words of the Lord Jesus, “This is My blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” In Luke 22:20, we find the language, “This cup is the New Covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.”
It is true that the new covenant is for the House of Israel. Jeremiah 31:31 to 35. Hebrews 8:7 to 13. It is true that by the guarantee of the New Covenant, Israel, as a nation, is to be saved. Hebrews 8:11; Romans 11:26 to 29. Just what Israel is to eat and drink at Messiah’s table in the kingdom is not clear. It is true that before the Nation Israel was born, Melchizedek, King of Salem, brought forth bread and wine, as priest of the Most High God. Genesis 14:18. The Melchizedek priesthood did not pertain to the Old or the New Covenant. Melchizedek spoke of the everlasting Christ; and identified with the shed blood of the everlasting Christ there is an everlasting Covenant. Hebrews 13:20 and 21.
To Israelites pertaineth the covenants. Romans 9:4. But to Israel Christ belonged. He is mentioned in connection with Israel and the covenants, as Christ, who is over all, God blessed forever. Romans 9:5. We do not give up Christ because He was of Israel. Our Saviour was crucified as King of the Jews. He said “salvation is of the Jews.”
It is by the precious blood of One who died as a condemned Israelite, under Israel’s law, that all Gentiles, as well as all Israelites, are saved and become members of the Body of Christ.
It is true that the blood of Christ, mentioned in Ephesians 2:13 and Colossians 1:20, is not called the blood of the New Covenant and it is doubtful if the Body of Christ in Ephesians and Colossians, can be called, with Scriptural authority, “the New Covenant Church.” Because of the absence of Covenants in Paul’s prison Epistles, and because it is reasoned by some Christian brethren that the “dispensation of the mystery” could not be designated as “a mystery”, if it were in fulfillment of the covenants which God made with Israel, the cup which is the New Covenant in Christ’s blood should not be given to members of the Body of Christ. These brethren reason, and perhaps correctly, that the New Covenant was suspended with Paul’s statement in Acts 28:25 to 28 with the close of the “Acts” period. And at that time the risen Lord through Paul revealed a new message, if He did not usher in a new dispensation, with truth concerning the mystery; that is, blessings, a hope and a calling not promised in Israel’s Covenants. He instructed Paul to proclaim a message for Gentiles different in many respects from the message in his preprison Epistles.
However, these Christian brethren continue to proclaim the gospel of Hebrews 9:26; “Christ appeared in the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself”; and they continue, and should continue, to claim the once-for-all sanctification through the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ as told in Hebrews 10:10 and 14.
Are we not to draw nigh to God in full assurance of faith, because we have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus? Hebrews 10:19 to 21. Is not Christ in heaven itself to appear in the presence of God for us (saved ones)? Hebrews 9:24.
All of this is because of the blood of the New Covenant. The general rule is, that Christian brethren who drop the Lord’s Supper, because of its association with the New Covenant, come by the same reasoning to do away with an interceding Representative for members of the Body of Christ.
In connection with all of the blessings mentioned in Hebrews, to which members of the Body of Christ are entitled, the blood is called the blood of the New Covenant, the blood of the Everlasting Covenant and the blood of Jesus.
But if the so-called Ultra-dispensationalists are to eliminate, with the Lord’s Supper, all that is associated with the New Covenant it will mean the doing away of the priesthood of Christ for members of the Body of Christ. To do away with that work of Christ, in the seventeenth chapter of John’s Gospel, leads to the teaching of some that the members of the Body of Christ need no advocate in heaven.
Let us be Bereans; but move slowly in discarding all that is associated with the covenants, even though we are sure that the most glorious truths and richest blessings that God has ever guaranteed to any people are revealed for members of the Body of Christ, in the prison Epistles of Paul.
While it may be proved that Covenant dispensations and the dispensation of the mystery differ, yet it is not such a simple matter to prove that not any blessing or benefit from the Abrahamic Covenant and the New Covenant can be claimed by members of Christ’s Body.