1 Corinthians 10:17†
This evening we want to consider the bread that is used in the Lordís Supper as a type of the Lordís church. The recipe we use for the Supper was furnished by a converted Jewish Rabbi, which is commonly used among true Baptist churches.
As we observe the bread, we see that it is one bread, or one loaf of bread. First, we want to see that the bread is symbolic of a local church body. Like this bread, a church is not broken or divided, but it is unified into one loaf, or one body in Christ.
As we think about the one loaf as representing one local church body, we now want to consider each of the ingredients of the bread, and try to make a spiritual analogy with these.
1. The first ingredient of the bread is Ė 1 cup of plain flour.
This part of the bread represents the members of the church. We are the flour. Flour is made of grain, which is the corn or seed of the wheat. We want to notice the process of making flour this evening.
First, the grain must be reaped from the field. In old times this was usually done with a sharp sickle. Spiritually, we were reaped by the gospel sickle and the power of the Holy Spirit. The wheat doesnít reap itself, but it must be reaped by someone else.
Secondly, the wheat is threshed. In this process the grain is loosed from the chaff. This was accomplished by trampling the wheat using oxen, or beating it with sticks, or by using other instruments that were designed for this purpose. Believers need to be threshed of the chaff of sin and worldliness. We need for the rod of Godís Word to beat off the chaff that is connected to our lives, that keeps us from being useful to the Lordís service. The Word of God is powerful and can break loose those ties of sin, and worldliness, and false religious notions that have a hold on our lives.
Thirdly, the grain was winnowed. This process separated the grain from the chaff. This was accomplished by throwing the grain up in the air and blowing away the chaff with a fan. Believers also need to be winnowed. Not only do we need to be threshed, but we need to be separated from those sins that so easily beset us. We need the wind of the Holy Spirit to blow upon us, and blow away all the chaff of sin, and unbelief, and worldliness, and false doctrines that encumber us.
Fourthly, after the grain is separated from the chaff, it is ready to be made into flour. This was done by grinding the grains of wheat using millstones. Believers need to be ground up by the millstones of humility, and godly fear, so that we might be like fine flour, prepared and unified for use in the church.
Fifthly, before the flour is ready for use it needs to be sifted. This final finishing process involves trials and temptations, and removes the residual impurities, and makes us most suitable for the Lordís service in His church.
Finally, we notice that the flour for the bread must be plain flour. It must not contain baking soda or any other leavening agent. Leaven is a type of sin, and therefore there must be no leaven in the flour, or added to it. The church must be free from sin.
2. The second ingredient is ľ teaspoon salt.
Salt had several uses in Bible times, but it was especially used for seasoning and preserving foods, and also as a cleansing agent. Jesus said that we are to be the salt of the earth. Our testimonies need to be seasoned with the salt of Godís grace. Our lives need to be a savor of life that cause men to want what we have. Our lives also need to be cleansed and preserved with the salt of Godís grace. As such, our lives should also be a preserving and cleansing influence upon the world around us. Our church as a body should have a savory testimony in our community. It should have a preserving affect and a dampening affect upon sin.
3. The third ingredient is Ė 3 tablespoons of soft shortening.
Shortening is simply a viscous form of vegetable oil. Shortening gives the bread good texture and better flavor. Oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit of God. As such, the Holy Spirit keeps churches soft and amiable, and from being hard and dry. Without the oil of the Holy Spirit, a church will be as hard as a rock and as dry as a dead, dry bone.
4. The fourth ingredient is Ė about 1/3 cup water
Water is the solvent that bonds and blends all of the other ingredients together and makes baking of bread even possible. Without water you couldnít bake bread. Water in the Bible is symbolic of both the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. A church cannot be a church without the Word of God as it is empowered by the Spirit of God, through the man of God, unto the saints of God.
Like the oil, the water of Holy Spirit unifies and bonds all the ingredients of the church together. And the water of the Word of God strengthens and bonds the body of the church together through good, sound doctrine, and cleanses it through the washing of water by the Word.
5. The fifth and final ingredient is Ė 1 teaspoon sugar
Sugar gives the bread a good flavor. Without sugar the bread is sort of drab and blah. I want to liken sugar to the love of God. Many Baptists today underestimate and understate the importance of the love of God in our churches. Without the love of God our churches are drab, and blah, and dead, and bitter.
It isnít hard to tell when a church is missing the love of God in its services. People are unfriendly, and indifferent. There is an atmosphere of tension and strife. The services are drab and blah. The music is blah, the preaching is blah; there are no hardy amens. The members walk out the same way they came in; blah! They donít speak kindly to one another, or seem to care for one another.
Their missing that one little teaspoon of sugar. It doesnít take much; a little of the love of God goes a long, long way in a church.
Finally, you mix all of these ingredients together real good in a bowl, and then you roll it out on a pan, and bake it in the oven until it is ready to serve for the glory of God.
May the Lord help our church to be made of all the right ingredients. May our church be made of unleavened flour that is properly prepared and suitable for the Lordís work. May we have the seasoning salt of Godís grace. May we have plenteous oil of the Holy Spirit, and the water of the Word of God.
May we have a helping teaspoon full of the sugar of Godís love, which is the bond of perfectness. Love completes and keeps all the rest together. It is love that forgives one another. It is love that overlooks the faults and short-comings of others, including the preacher. It is love that restores one who is overtaken in a fault in the spirit of meekness. Without love a church is ready to die, and is dead while it liveth.
In conclusion, we want to compare the bread and wine of the Lordís Supper with the body and blood of Christ.
Jesus is the Bread of Life. He was made of pure, virgin born wheat. He was threshed and winnowed, as it were, in that He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. He was ground to fine powder fit for baking in His humiliation and fear of God. He was sifted in Satanís sifter of temptations. He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Jesus had plenty of salt. His words were all seasoned with grace, and supplied abundance of grace to all those who could receive Him. His life was clean and pure, and by His life many are made pure and are preserved in Him. His life has had the greatest of all cleansing and preserving effects upon this world. It is because of Him that this world is preserved.
Jesus had the oil of the Holy Spirit without measure. His life was marked by the power and demonstration of the Spirit which showed forth both in His preaching and teaching, as well as in His miracles. Jesus wasnít hard and dry like some Baptists, but He was tender and compassionate, full of grace and truth.
Jesus was the water of life. He is the Word of God incarnate. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the one who cleanses His church with the water of His Word. Yes, ďthe Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.Ē 1 John 1:14.
And Jesus was the love of God that was manifested to the world. John 15:13† ďGreater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.Ē Yes, Jesus is the very expression and manifestation of the love of God.
And His body was put in the oven of Godís wrath and judgment to bake, as it were, for the sins of His people, and to be broken on that cruel old cross for we who believe.
Finally, the wine of the Lordís Supper is symbolic of His precious, sinless blood. The blood of Jesus contained no impurities. His blood contained nothing toxic or poisonous. His blood contained no diseases or viruses that resulted from Adamís sin. His blood contained no cancer cells or mutated cells that could cause leukemia or other types of cancer.†
No Beloved, His blood was pure, and perfect, and sinless, and therefore it was precious! And His precious sinless blood is best pictured by fermented wine. Through the fermentation process the impurities and leaven of the grape are removed. Therefore, the best representation of the precious blood of Christ is wine, and not grape juice, or soda pop, or any other substitute.
So tonight as we partake of the Lordís Supper, we use unleavened bread and wine to picture the sinless body of Jesus that was broken for us, and His sinless precious blood that was shed for us on the cross.