Does Silence Mean Liberty, or Constraint ?
There’s a lot of debate concerning the “silence of the scriptures”. Some people say that what the bible is silent about, we have the freedom of choice over. Others say that what the bible is silent about, is forbidden to us. So, what’s the truth? Well, in reality, both beliefs are correct. So how could they both be correct, when they seem to contradict one another? The fact is, the two beliefs , do not contradict one another. Whether the silence of the bible permits, or restricts, depends upon WHAT the bible is silent about, and on whether or not it is TOTALLY silent, or is it simply silent about some of the details about a subject.
Let’s consider the subject of the Lord’s supper, as an example. The bible is certainly not totally silent about the Lord’s supper. If it were, we wouldn’t have any idea of such a thing to begin with. But, the bible IS silent about some of the details concerning the Lord’s supper. But on the other hand, the bible is not silent, details.
So then first, here’s something that the bible is NOT silent about, concerning the Lord’s supper. The bible is not silent, concerning the “ingredients”, to be used, in the Lord’s supper. Jesus gives us the commandment to take unleavened bread, as a symbol of His body, and to take the fruit of the vine, as a symbol of His blood, and to consume these “emblems”, in memory of Him.
Mathew 26, verses 26 thru 28 says this; “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, (this was a Passover meal, that Jesus and the disciples were having. And during the Passover, there was no leaven, in any Jewish household, therefore, there is no doubt, that this was unleavened bread) So.. “Jesus took unleavened bread, and blessed it (He gave thanks for it) and break it, and He gave to the disciples, and said; Take eat, this is My body.” (It represents His body. The disciples surely knew, that that bread they were eating, was not literally, flesh from Jesus’ own body)
“And He took a cup, and gave thanks (He blessed it) and gave to them, saying; Drink ye all, of it; (Not.. Drink ye, ALL of it, but rather, ALL of you, drink of it) Some versions say; “Drink ye all, FROM it.” The word can be translated either way.. OF, or FROM. But ask yourself this.. What, were the disciples being told to drink of? Or. what are they being told to drink from? There’s two possibilities; They were either being told to drink from the cup itself, the cup that Jesus was holding.. Drink of that cup. Or, they were being told to drink from the contents of that cup. Drink OF, the contents of that cup.
Did Jesus Say, One Cup ?
Many people hold to the teaching that we must ALL, drink from ONE cup, when we take the Lord’s supper. Because they think, that Jesus was saying; “Drink ye ALL, from this cup.” But of course, if Jesus had been saying that, then we’d have to have THAT cup, in our possession, wouldn’t we? But of course that’s impossible, so we can see how ridiculous that is.
And so those people say; Well, Jesus didn’t mean THAT particular cup, He simply meant from ONE cup. But we can read the scripture over and over again, and no matter how many times we read it, we see that Jesus doesn’t say anything, about ONE cup. As a matter of fact, the scriptures are SILENT, about the number of cups to be used. And so in this case, the silence of the scriptures, gives us the liberty, and the freedom, to choose for ourselves, how many cups we will use, as we drink OF, the fruit of the vine.
So then, if Jesus wasn’t telling us to all drink from the same cup, then what was He saying in that verse? Well, let’s read it again, but let’s read the next verse along with it, so that we don’t become guilty of taking one verse, out of context. So here are verses 27 & 28, so that we get the proper context; “And having taken a cup, and having given thanks, He gave to them saying; Drink of it, ALL of you. For THIS, in My blood of the covenant, being poured out for many, for the forgiveness of sins.”
Did you hear what Jesus said? “THIS, is My blood of the covenant..” In other words, THIS, is a symbol of My blood. Well, exactly what is it, that is a “symbol” of Christ’s blood? Is the cup that He was holding symbolic of His blood? Was the cup painted red or something? Or, was the fruit of the vine, which was inside the cup, a symbol of His blood? It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out, does it?
“THIS is My blood of the covenant..” What does “THIS”, refer to? THIS, obviously refers to what they were just told to drink from. Drink Ye FROM, or Drink ye OF, this fruit of the vine. ALL of you, drink of it!
Who is to Partake of the Fruit of the Vine ?
Now that is something that the bible is NOT silent about. How many of the Christians are supposed to drink of the fruit of the vine? Are we at liberty to choose how many of us drink of it? Jesus said.. “ALL of you, drink of it!”
Have you ever seen the Catholic priest give everyone a little wafer of unleavened bread, at one of their services.. But then not give anyone the fruit of the vine? The priest would be the only one to partake of the fruit of the vine. Why is that? Well, it’s because they don’t have any respect for the word of God, that’s why. They think they can twist it, and change it, and that somehow they don’t have to obey it. Well they’re wrong! They’re dead wrong!
You’ll be dead spiritually, if you refuse to partake of the unleavened bread, AND the fruit of the vine, every first day of the week, if you are physically able to do so. You can “refuse” to partake of it, by being present, and simply refusing it. Or you can “refuse” to partake of it, by being unwilling to even BE present. Or, I suppose you can “refuse” it, by allow someone else to tell you that you don’t NEED to partake of it. But what does the Lord say? The Lord says; “Drink of it! All of you!”
If you were to find yourself in a place where they tried to tell you that you’re not allowed, to partake of both the unleavened bread, and the fruit of the vine, then you better get out of that place fast, before you die spiritually.
Do you think that’s a “bold” statement, that if you don’t partake of the Lord’s supper, on the first day of every week, whenever possible, that you could die spiritually? Well, I don’t know if it’s “bold” or not, but it’s true. Now I’m sure that there’s a lot of people that would say that I don’t know what I’m talking about. And they’d probably say that I’d better shut up about claiming that you’re gonna “die” spiritually, just because you don’t partake of the Lord’s supper. But what if the bible actually says that? What if the bible at least, implies that?
Maybe we better investigate it a little more. What do you think.. Is the bible “silent” about any relationship, between partaking of the Lord’s supper, and remaining “alive” spiritually, or actually “dying” spiritually?
Abuse the Lord’s Supper, or Refuse the Lord’s Supper ?
Let me ask you this question.. What do you think would be worse, for your spiritual condition; To not partake of the Lord’s supper at all, or to partake of it, but to make a mockery out of it? Which would be worse? Do you remember the passage in 1 Corinthians chapter 11, where the apostle Paul was rebuking the congregation at Corinth, because they turned the Lord’s supper into a common meal? They totally made a mockery of it, and they totally ignored the very purpose of it.
The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11, verses 20 & 21; “When therefore YOU assemble yourselves together, it is impossible to eat the Lord’s supper. For in your eating, each one takes before the other, his own supper first! And one is hungry, and the other is satiated.” Some versions say “the other is drunken”. But the idea is not of being drunk with alcohol, but of being completely satiated from eating. “One is hungry, and the other is satiated.”
Now listen to this next verse, verse 22; “What? Have you not homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the congregation of God, and put them to shame, that have not? In this I praise you NOT!”
The Corinthians were making a common meal out of the Lord’s supper, “eating his own supper first”, the scripture says. The congregation was supposed to be worshipping God; But what were they doing? Eating and drinking, to satisfy their fleshly lusts, while in the worship assembly! Paul said; “I praise you NOT!” He was condemning them, is what he was doing. And they deserved to be condemned.
And so Paul says; “What? Have you not homes, to eat and drink in?” The worship assembly is NOT for the purpose of satisfying your fleshly lusts! the worship assembly is for worshipping God. Do your eating and drinking at home. Do it BEFORE the worship assembly. Do it AFTER, the worship assembly. But don’t do it DURING the worship assembly. It has nothing to do with eating or drinking in the same building where you worship; But it ahs everything to do with eating or drinking DURING the worship assembly!
So then total disrespect for the worship assembly, and for the congregation of the saved. And that’s why Paul said to them, in verse 22; “Or do you despise the congregation of God?” Do you despise the worship assembly?
Your version of the bible probably says; “Or do you despise the church of God.” But the word “church” here, is simply a substitution, for the words, “congregation”, or “assembly”. (And of course, that’s what the word “church” means, everywhere in the scriptures. It means.. “the called out congregation”, or “the called out assembly”) And the apostle Paul asks; Do you despise the worship assembly? Do you despise this assembly, this congregation, of called out worshippers?
We need to respect, not despise, the worship assembly. And we need to respect every ACT of worship. I don’t think that the act of partaking of the Lord’s supper, stands alone in regards to this, even though that’s the example given, I don’t think that all the other acts of worship, would be viewed by God, any differently. Therefore, we need to respect, each and every act of worship, because if we don’t, our spiritual well-being will certainly suffer.
Do you remember why I got into this example from 1 Corinthians? It was in regards to the question, of whether God makes a connection, between the abuse of the Lord’s supper, or the refusal to even partake of the Lord’s supper, and spiritual death. Well, keeping in mind the situation that existed in the Corinth congregation, listen to what Paul says to them in verse 30; “For this cause, (the cause that we’ve just been describing) “For this cause, many among you are weak, and sickly, and not a few, sleep!” And Paul is NOT talking about being weak and sickly physically. You don’t get weak, and sickly, from not taking the Lord’s supper, or from abusing it’s purpose. And you certainly don’t DIE physically from it! But yet Paul says; “and not a few, sleep.” You know what it means to “sleep”. It means to be dead! Spiritually dead! From abusing the Lord’s supper. Like it or not, those are God’s words.
What’s worse for your spiritual well-being.. Making a mockery of the Lord’s supper, or refusing to partake of it at all? I’m glad that I don’t have to be the judge of that. But at least we know that God’s NOT silent about it. You be the judge, while you live this life, and God will be the judge later on.
So this topic, “The Silence of the Scriptures”, is a very important topic. And that’s why I plan to continue on, with a couple more lessons on this topic. But we’ll, quit for now. But remember how God has NOT been silent, in regards to His eternal plan of salvation. We must, hear His word, because there’s no other source of faith. “So then faith comes by hearing the word of God.” Romans 10:17.
And we must, believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. “If you believe NOT, that I am He, you will die in your sins.” John 8:24.
And we must be willing to confess our faith in Christ. “If you confess Me before men, I will confess you before My Father who is in heaven. But, if you deny Me before men, I will deny you before My Father who is in heaven.” Mathew 10:32-33.
And we must, truly repent of our sins. “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3.
And we must, be buried with Christ, in baptism, for the forgiveness of our sins, if we want to be saved from those sins. “And now, why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.” Acts 22:16.
And there’s one more “must”. We must, remain faithful even unto death. “The one who endures to the end, the same shall be saved.” Mathew 24:13.
The Lord has spoken; Now it’s up to us to be silent and obey.