December 5, 2013
You just KNOW this is the best day of your life, RIGHT? It has to be!
Once again we're continuing on with our somewhat different approach to aphiémi healing. We WILL get back to the instruction that Jesus gives us in Mark 9. We've been talking about the relationship between the Table of the Lord and healing, and I'd like to cover a little more of that ground today.
So far in our discussion, we really haven’t gotten to the central issue in the theme of today’s study. My purpose so far has been to lay some foundations for this picture of eating and drinking unworthily, and the consequences to our physical well being, so let’s move a little closer in our discussion.
We've already looked at these verses before, but here they are once again.
"Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep."(I Corinthians 11:27-30)
Now let me amplify these verses from the Greek text.
"Therefore, whoever eats of this bread and drinks of this cup of the Lord, treating them as commonplace, ordinary and incapable or unfit, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man place himself for examination in the crucible by eating of that bread and drinking of that cup, because he that eats and drinks treating the bread and the cup as commonplace, incapable and unfit to accomplish in him [that for which Christ died on the Cross] eats and drinks judgment to himself, not separating or discriminating between that which is ordinary and the Lord's body. For this reason many are weak, sickly, infirm, diseased and poverty-stricken, and many die prematurely."
If you grew up in church like I did, you most likely heard the instruction to "examine yourself" more times than you can count. The problem was that we were "examining ourselves" introspectively to see if we had any sin in us. There may be a sense in which that could be applied, but that's not what Paul was really talking about. In fact, when we turn introspectively in this examination process, we are far more likely to create the exact opposite result than what Jesus was after when Paul said, "As oft as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death 'til He come."
The Greek word in the original text is dokimazo, which means: to test, to prove, to scrutinize and to recognize as genuine after examination; to approve, to deem worthy. This was a word originally "coined" (if you'll excuse the unintentional pun) among numismatists who put metals through the fire to test their genuineness.
The word, dokimazo, describes the process by which the purity of coins were established -- putting gold, silver and other precious metals into a crucible and applying heat to the place where any impurities would come floating to the surface. Those impurities would be scooped off, and what remained would be classified as 99.9% pure. The .1% difference was always left as the possible margin of error in which some undetectable impurity might remain.
Just as an aside, Paul also uses this same word in writing to Timothy when he says, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (II Timothy 2:15 KJV)
The King James Version really misses the essence of what Paul wrote to Timothy. This verse should really render like this: "Be instantly responsive to the Lord, diligently making yourself available to Him in the midst of the crucible, a tried and tested laborer who has no fear of being examined -- one who, by virtue of God's testing and the time spent in the crucible with Him, knows the proven word of truth."
Quite a different picture, don't you think? That word, dokimazo (or actually its root, dokimon, which describes the smelting process itself), is what Paul is using to indicate how approval comes following examination.
And what is it that we are examining, proving or testing at the Table of the Lord? It is quite simple, really. Look at the context of the examination. "For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks judgment to himself because he doesn't discern the Lord's body."
Are you seeing it?
Discernment, in this case, is the ability to differentiate between what is taking place when you eat at the Table of the Lord and when you simply eat a piece of bread or drink a cup of wine. Let me explain.
The phraseology that Paul uses is very revealing. Immediately after saying "Let a man examine himself," he uses the Greek word, houtos, which means: in this way, in the manner spoken of, like this, in such manner. Talk about an illustration!
What Paul is literally saying is, "Let a man place himself for examination in the crucible BY eating of that bread and drinking of that cup." The examination comes by the Word being allowed to do His work in us by the power of His blood.
Let's look at this one more way. Consider how Paul put this to the Philippians.
"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Philippians 2:12-13)
Work out your own salvation? Huhh? How do we do that?
Again it is quite simple. We permit the Word to do His work in us. We permit the Word -- the Bread of Life, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself -- to reveal things in our lives that need change, correction, modification, elimination, etc. We permit the Blood of Jesus to finish the work of redemption, to destroy death, to rescue us from the Curse, to minister freedom from sickness, disease, infirmity and weakness.
And how do we permit the Word to do His work in us? How do we permit the power of the Blood of Jesus to accomplish His purpose?
By eating at the Table of the Lord!
By eating of the bread and drinking of the cup.
You see, there is nothing common about this. There is nothing ordinary about the broken bread and the cup of the Lord. There is a supernatural act that is designed into the very nature of the partaking.
There IS a supernatural thing taking place here. The bread and the wine are accomplishing in us -- as long as we permit it -- to do exactly what Jesus' body took, and what His blood accomplished -- literally!
The verses we read in the previous Coffee Breaks from Mark 9 include the following statements in verse 50: "Salt is good (beneficial), but if salt has lost its saltness, how will you restore [the saltness to] it? Have salt within yourselves, and be at peace and live in harmony with one another."
It isn't possible to be at peace and live in harmony with one another when you don't discern the body of Christ in those you disagree with. It isn't possible to live peaceably and harmoniously, fellowshipping with each other if you can't discern the presence of the Lord, and see the manifestation of Holy Spirit operating in those with whom you become connected in Ekklesia!
In a recent Coffee Break titled, RELIGION AND RACISM, we talked about the fact that great schisms have formed within the body of Christ over differences in doctrinal understanding. These are divisions that cause people to refuse to recognize other believers simply because their understanding of the Word has yet to bring them to a common understanding of certain doctrines. These people have accepted and acknowledged Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and have committed themselves to His Lordship in their lives, and yet they don't all see or understand things in the same way. The division has resulted in believers speaking evil of other believers instead of simply praying for one another and keeping the peace and harmony until Holy Spirit brings everyone to the same level of faith.
That kind of division brings sickness and disease -- especially to those who speak evil of other believers. Thus, when these same folks sit down together at the Table of the Lord, they fail to receive the healing and restoration and rebuilding -- both physically and spiritually -- that comes from eating of the bread; and they negate the blood of Jesus which provides the legal basis for freedom from the curse. That curse, of course, is twofold: it is the curse that came upon the human race when Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and it is the curse of the Law of Sin and Death.
Many Christians miss the significance of John the Baptist's prophecy of Jesus when he said, "And now also the axe is laid to the root of the tree." (Matthew 3:10) Many translations somehow pluralize the Greek word, tendron, and render it "trees" rather than "tree" (singular), and my contention is that they do this because of the very next statement that follows, "therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire."
I believe that is a serious mistake. Consider what tree Jesus was laying the axe to: the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Jesus was hung on that Tree, putting an end to that curse. Here's how Paul put it when he wrote to the Galatians (3:13):
"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree."
Our inability, therefore, to recognize and properly discern the body of Christ in each other -- even if what we see seems to amount to only crumbs(!) -- becomes a fundamental rejection of the price that Jesus paid for us all. It is not our business to play Holy Spirit in someone's life and to require of them to progress spiritually at the same rate we progress or understand what we understand. When we do so, we usurp the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, making ourselves to be lord instead and committing the same sin that Adam committed when he chose to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
So long as we continue to make choices and decisions about one another in violation and usurpation of Holy Spirit's authority we negate the spiritual law that Paul describes in Romans 8:2: "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."
The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus is supposed to be implemented in our character, our makeup, our spirits, our souls and our bodies each time we sit and eat and drink at the Table of the Lord. The catch here is that this law is supposed to be implemented!
We negate that implementation and by partaking at the Table of the Lord anyway, we effectively treat the bread and the cup as commonplace. There's NOTHING commonplace about it! The end result is that by our cavalier treatment of this very holy and sacred ordinance, we eat and drink sickness, disease and infirmity to ourselves, and many folks die premature deaths as a direct result.
It is a puzzlement to many Christians why some believers, who to all appearances live Godly lives in Christ Jesus, die in their 40's, 50's, or 60's. We tend to judge folks by what we see outwardly, but Holy Spirit knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts; and when we fail to discern the body of Christ properly otherwise, we bring sickness, disease, infirmity, weakness and -- in some cases -- plagues upon ourselves. So many believers have bought Satan's lie that they are only entitled to 70 years (or thereabouts) and they totally ignore the fact that, even in a sinful world, God promised us 120 years (Genesis 6:3) -- and that was under sin, before Jesus kept our appointment with death!
Wow! Sort of got off on a rabbit trail there. That's a discussion that we will follow up with in the days to come, but let's bring today's discussion to a conclusion.
The Table of the Lord, so long as we properly discern His body and regard the partaking of the Table as having spiritual, emotional, and physical consequences, is the walking out of our freedom, the partaking of the substance of faith, the enabling in a practical sense of what Jesus accomplished by His death and resurrection, the transforming of us from corruptible (and corrupted!) beings to incorruptible.
Each time we eat of the bread and each time we drink of the cup more of Jesus gets imparted and implanted in our being and more change takes place in us.
And THAT, folks, is what it is all about! That's where our healing comes. That's where the past can be eradicated in our lives. That's where the rebuilding and restoration of our beings into the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ is taking place.
Aphiémi represents forgiveness, remission, the eradication of the past. When we can come to the Table of the Lord with aphiémi towards those with whom we have issue -- whether it be the fact that they are not where we are spiritually (according to our perceptions), or whether they have offended us in some way, then we can come with a right heart and expect the bread and the cup to work in us the way Jesus intended when He said, "Do this in remembrance of me." (See Luke 22:19)
See you next week.
A continuing reminder: If you are in need of healing please join our prayer conference calls on either Monday, Wednesday or Friday of each week at 7:00 PM Eastern. Once again, the number to call is (805) 399-1000. Then enter the access code: 124763#.
Blessings on you!
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