From the very first example of worship in the Bible, Cain and Abel in Genesis 4, we learn that God will not just accept anything we offer in worship; rather we must offer by faith in order to be accepted like Abel (Hebrews 11:4). Faith means taking God at His word and doing what He has said. The word of God produces faith (Romans 10:17). If one does not believe God’s word, then it will not benefit him spiritually (Hebrews 4:2).
The institution of the Passover included God specifying that a male lamb of the first year, without blemish, be used (Exodus 12:5). This specific instruction eliminated the use of other animals, female lambs, lambs with some sort of defect or blemish, and lambs that were a different age than a year old. While some sacrifices, such as the peace offering (Leviticus 3:1, 6), could be either a male or a female, for Israel to keep the Passover by faith required using the male lamb. To use a female lamb for the Passover would have violated God’s word. If God had given a generic instruction such as “a lamb” without any other specifications, then Israel could have used either sex as the Passover lamb, but when God specified “male” that eliminated the use of female lambs.
We understand this principle by the many times we use it on a daily basis. If I order food at a restaurant, or some sort of gadget online, I specify what I want; my specific selection, by its very nature, means I am electing not to have everything else. My food order means I have selected a particular meal. I don’t want everything on the menu, just what I ordered.
When Jesus instituted the Lord’s supper, He used unleavened bread and fruit of the vine. In fulfilling the law of Moses, Jesus kept the Passover with His disciples (Matthew 26:18-20). The Passover was accompanied by seven days of eating unleavened bread (Leviticus 23:4-6). While Jesus was gathered with His disciples for this, He took bread and fruit of the vine and gave it to His disciples instituting the Lord’s supper (Matthew 26:26-28). Jesus commanded His followers to partake of these two emblems to remember Him (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:24). This memorial represented His body and His blood, the blood of the New Testament, a new communion in the kingdom (Matthew 26:28, 29).
Could one substitute lambchops for the unleavened bread of the Lord’s supper and still keep it by faith? No. One could argue that Jesus is indeed the lamb of God, His death showed Him to be the ultimate Passover lamb (John 1:29, 36; Isaiah 53:7; Acts 8:32; 1 Peter 1:19; Revelation 5:6, 8, 12; 6:1). Yet, the pattern and command of the Lord when He instituted the supper compels us to use unleavened bread if we are to keep it by faith.
Our worship must be regulated by what God has ordered if we are to do it by faith and be acceptable to Him. We live by every word that proceeds out of His mouth (Matthew 4:4). If we have the command and example of speaking, teaching one another, singing and making melody in our hearts, then God has specified what we should do and where the melody should be made (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). We should offer the acceptable sacrifice of praise to God, the fruit of our lips (Hebrews 13:15), rather than incorporating additions which have no New Testament basis, very late historical precedent, and involve the assembly in listening for entertainment rather than speaking the word of Christ to one another. Let us worship by faith, doing what God has specified in His word.