May 16, 2014
A quick note before we get started today: due to increased family activities on Fridays with the encroaching summer, more and more people are finding Friday nights an issue to join us for our Healing Prayer Call. Accordingly, we are temporarily suspending our Friday night calls until the need requires its resumption. Meanwhile, we continue to minister to folks on Mondays and Wednesday nights at 7:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific).
For months, now, we've been focusing on healing, on the Table of the Lord as it relates to healing, and to the Covenant that Jesus Christ made on our behalf which is demonstrated so effectively and so phenomenally with His Table. I'd like to take another crack today at describing this Covenant we have in Christ, with Christ, and the co-equal benefits we (both Jesus and us as Covenanted believers) receive.
Let me begin today by saying that if Jesus Christ is going to get His benefits from the covenant He has made with us and on our behalf, we MUST become His co-equal partners. I keep saying this, and it is at the center of all covenants: those who enter into covenant regard each other as co-equal. Covenant shores up our weaknesses. I know some folks have a struggle with the idea that Jesus has any weaknesses -- and from our perspective, He absolutely does not. From Jesus' viewpoint, however, until we have been transformed and conformed to His image and likeness, He is incomplete, lacking, and minus His counterpart, His other self.
Perhaps I can render this another way. Covenant completes us. Jesus has made Himself to be incomplete without us. (I will get to that picture in a moment.) We are, without doubt, incomplete without Him!
Jesus fulfilled both parts of the Covenant -- His part as the provider and enforcer, and our part, which required the shedding of blood for the remission (aphiémi: eradication) of all past sins, iniquities, failings, etc., and -- more than that -- the curse that brought about sin, sickness, disease, infirmity and demonic affliction. In his general letter to the Hebrews (the Jews scattered abroad), Paul expressed it this way.
"Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." (Hebrews 1:3. KJV)
" But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God, From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool." (Hebrews 10:12-13, KJV)
This phrase, "sat down," is an expressive metaphor from the Hebrew meaning that He finished everything that He needed to finish and fulfill on our behalf. The expectation that His enemies would be made "His footstool" was His expectation that we would do our part, empowered by Him, to defeat those enemies. Perhaps we can get into this a bit more as this discussion proceeds.
Where I want to take today's discussion is to show you the concept -- from Jesus' perspective -- of His being made complete in us. That, my friends, is what being co-equal is all about. That is what THIS covenant was ordained for.
Take a look at something that Paul writes in his epistle to the Romans.
"For those whom He [the Father] could foresee and know [their choices and decisions] beforehand, He also did ordain and determine to become jointly formed and fashioned into the image and likeness of His Son, so that He might be first begotten son among a multitude of brothers and sisters.
“Furthermore, those whom He ordained and determined [by virtue of knowing in advance their choices and decisions] He also called, beckoning them in their inner beings; and those whom He called, He also determined and declared to be innocent [rendering judgment of them beforehand]; and those whom He determined and declared to be innocent, He made glorious [magnifying them as He magnified His Son].
“What shall we say, then, regarding these facts? If God the Father be for us, having made these determinations on our behalf, who can possibly succeed in opposing and withstanding us?"(Romans 8:29-31, my translation with amplification)
Now are you beginning to get the picture? Do you see where we stand with the Father? Do you see where we stand with Jesus Christ?
God the Father has determined to have for Himself a family. He -- in concert with Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit -- made this determination before Creation ever unfolded. If you take the concept of family, you understand that you WILL have an older brother who is the firstborn. But that older brother is going to have younger brothers and sisters; and those brothers and sisters have all the same rights of inheritance and access to the resources and assets of the family that the older brother has access to.
The older brother's position gives him some rights of determination and delegative authority on behalf of the younger family members, but positionally he is treated as co-equal with his brothers and sisters. All of the siblings have equal access to, and use of the family resources, along with the family's authority and power by virtue of their extreme wealth.
Put that in context, now, to Jesus Christ as our older brother. Consider His statement to the disciples as He prepared to leave them: "All (exousia) privilege, force, authority, power and jurisdiction is given unto me in Heaven and in earth. You go, therefore, [by virtue of your relationship to and with me] and disciple, instruct and teach all nations, tribes and ethnic groups and peoples, immersing them in the (onoma) character, the makeup, the power and authority -- the very essence -- of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe, guard and protect all that I have charged you with [in every respect, without compromise or redaction]; and take notice of the fact that (eimi) [all that] I am [have been, and ever will be -- the totality of my existence] with you, even unto the final and total completion of this age. So be it!" (Matthew 28:18-20, my translation with amplification)
Jesus, therefore, was commissioning His disciples to go forth in, with, and through ALL of the power and authority that He had -- and Brother, was that ever SOME power and authority! Look at what Mark records concerning this same event.
"[All of] you go into every area and segment of the world and proclaim, herald, declare and preach the good news [that I have given you] to every single creature. He that believes, implicitly trusts in, exercises faith, and is immersed [in the character, makeup and essence of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit]] shall be saved, healed, delivered, preserved, caused to prosper, and made completely whole; but he who disbelieves [refusing to trust in and exercise faith] shall receive sentence and judgment [according to the Law].
"And these (semeion) distinguishing signs, evidences, wonders and proofs [of my commission to you, and your relationship to and with me] shall accompany and closely follow you: In my(onoma) character, makeup, power and authority -- the very essence of who I am -- they shall cast out demons (evil spirits); they shall speak with fresh new [and previously unlearned] languages and tongues; they shall take on (serpents) artful, cunning and malicious persons whose arguments cannot and will not dissuade; should they drink or partake of any deadly, poisonous thing, it shall not hurt or injure them in any way; they shall lay hands on the sick, the infirm, those who are weak and without strength; and they shall recover, mend, and see their infirmities cease." (Mark 16:15-18, my translation with amplification)
No promise or prophecy of the Lord could better describe our co-equal status. These are the distinguishing signs and evidences that followed and accompanied Jesus. Fully one-third of all the miracles that Jesus performed as recorded in the Gospels incorporate the casting out of demons, as Jesus exercised the authority that was His to exercise.
The remaining two-thirds of His recorded miracles include the raising of the dead, healing of the sick and infirm, cleansing the lepers, commanding the weather, commanding plant-life such as trees, walking through walls, disappearing in the midst of crowds, taking on the Serpent following his 40-day fast, along with other (serpents) artful, cunning and malicious Scribes and Pharisees whose legalistic and twisted demonic arguments from Scripture could not and would not dissuade Him, and -- surprise, surprise! -- remitting the sins of people even before He had gone to the Cross.
I've always been a bit amused at folks who think that Jesus was advocating the handling of snakes. EVERYTHING He prophesied of and to "them that believe" was a demonstration of exactly what He had accomplished and fulfilled during His three-and-a-half years. Jesus never handled snakes, but He DID take on serpents -- regularly! He referred to the Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees on more than one occasion as a "generation of vipers," meaning of course that their lives, their motivations and their speech were artfully crafted to manipulate people and lead them into further legalistic bondage, away from the relationship with God purposed from the beginning.
Everything, therefore, that Jesus promised to and prophesied of His followers was something they had a proof text for in His life and ministry.
I know that some folks have tried to become so technically picky (legalistically artful and manipulative) with the Scripture as to suggest that these "signs" and evidentiary proofs of the "Lord working with them and confirming the Word with signs following" (Mark 16:20) applied ONLY to the apostles and disappeared shortly after the turn of the century.
These same doubters and unbelievers promote the idea that apostles and prophets died out in that same time frame, and that Paul's statements in I Corinthians and Ephesians are to be ignored because the body of Christ has already "come to the unity of the faith," having been perfected at the Cross.
It really is one of the looniest doctrines I've ever heard. It defies any rationale concerning Paul's preaching on apostles and prophets roughly 30 years after Jesus ascended, and forces one to dismiss whole portions of God's Word if they are to believe such nonsense. Those who "artfully craft" and "maliciously use" God's Word so as to seduce believers and keep them from their full covenant benefits are nothing more than a modern "generation of vipers."
If we are seated with Christ in heavenly places -- as Paul writes in Ephesians 1:20-23, "Far above all principality, and power, and might and dominion, and every name (onoma) that is named, not only in this world but that which is to come: and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the Ekklesia (not church) -- that called out and betrothed company of people by the Bridegroom -- which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all," then we most certainly ARE co-equal with Jesus Christ!
When have you ever seen a body-less head accomplish anything? When have you ever seen a headless body accomplish anything?
NOW do you understand covenant?
We've been fitted together and joined together with Jesus Christ as a living, breathing extension of Him. If you'll pardon the rather oversimplification, He is us, and we are Him. Whatever He does, He does through us. Things don't happen without our participation. Jesus Christ does not randomly, mystically, perform miracles in the earth, or work some kind of sign and wonder in the earth without the direct participation of His covenant people.
We have and live a covenant that requires our all. Jesus has made a covenant with us that requires His all -- and the last time I checked, He hadn't left anything out or stopped His covenant partners from living in, and operating in all that He is and has.
Folks, His covenant is as alive and breathing today as it was when He said, "All (exousia) privilege, force, authority, power and jurisdiction is given unto me in Heaven and in earth. You go, therefore.." .
That's OUR responsibility. Our covenant responsibility to the Lord is to do the works that He did, to preach the Word that He preached, and -- moreover -- to fulfill His prophetic Word,
"Truly, of a surety, I declare to you, He who puts their full faith and credit in me, entrusting their entire well being to me, shall not only take care of my business, performing the same acts, deeds and [miraculous] works that I do, he shall enlarge upon them, working and accomplishing greater, stronger, more powerful [and magnificent] acts and deeds because (and by reason of) I leave to join with [and be seated with] my Father.
"And whatever [deed, act or work you have seen and heard of me] you desire, call for or require in My (onoma) authority, makeup, nature or essence, that will I perform and accomplish so that the Father will be rendered and esteemed glorious, being magnified in and through the fully matured and patterned Son." (John 14:12-13, my translation and amplification)
Finally, finishing up with some Scriptures we used last week:
Ephesians 1:18-23 (NASB): "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all."
Ephesians 2:4-7 (NASB): "But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus."
Do you see where this leads?
We've been seated IN CHRIST and with Him in the Heavenlies. That's our legal position! Jesus paid the necessary -- COVENANT -- price so that we would once again have access to the Throne with all the authority and power necessary to make Jesus' enemies His footstool.
Again, if you are in need of healing -- especially if you have some terminal disease or prognosis of a very short time to live from the doctors -- please join our prayer conference calls on either Monday or Wednesday of each week at 7:00 PM Eastern. Once again, the number to call is (805) 399-1000. Then enter the access code: 124763#. Let us minister to your need for healing!
Blessings on you!
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