ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: INTERCESSION, Part 2
Greetings & Salutations!
Got that first cup of good, dark-roasted Columbian Supremo poured, yet?
We will continue today with the discussion we began in our last Coffee Break, but before we do, let's do a little housekeeping, first.
Most of you are aware that changes are taking place to the
Meanwhile, many of the boards I've been involved in for the past five or six years have moved and are active on Multiply; and if you visit http://capener.multiply.com, this will take you to my personal site. Multiply has afforded me the opportunity to provide samples you can listen to of the various spontaneous praise and worship CD's we have recorded and published during the last few years. These CD's are available for purchase (and if you'll permit me a small commercial moment) they can make some wonderful Christmas gifts for friends and family.
There! That's the first time in all these years of posting that I've done any advertising. It's not something I'm given to doing much of, but these spontaneous worship gatherings captured in digital recordings provide a completely different worship environment than you will find in traditional settings. I recommend them -- not because Della and I are involved, but because of the presence of the Lord. Listen to some of the samples. You'll quickly get the idea.
Finally, before we get started today, I will be taking a
hiatus from the Coffee Breaks beginning in mid-December and resuming toward the
end of the first week of January, during which time we will make every effort
to complete the transition of the Coffee Break archives over to www.AnotherCoffeeBreak.com,
and completely phase out our
My thanks and appreciation to the loyal readership of these Coffee Breaks. January 2009 begins the fifth year of publication of ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK. The growth of readership has gone through spurts and spasms, and depending on who you talk to (and who is doing the checking) we have something on the order of 500,000 (my figure) to 2 million or 3 million readers around the world in just about every major nation. That's a blessing to me and, I trust, to those of you who have continued to subscribe.
Now then, let's get on with today's discussion.
Yesterday morning, around , the Lord
awakened me with the statement He made to the prophet Ezekiel (see Ezekiel ): "I
sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the
gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it:...." and He stopped there. Then He said to me, "It
As I meditated on what He was saying, He reminded me of
how He picked Noah because of his faith and right standing before God to
preserve the human race. Then I saw Him choose Abraham out of all the
people on earth to become the father of a nation and a people who would walk by
faith. I saw how Joseph was chosen to preserve his family, and the future
of the nation of
Again, I saw Moses leading Israel out of Egypt; I saw their rebellion against God and the stirring of His anger against them and expressed desire to destroy the nation and start all over again with Moses. I saw how Moses pleaded with God and how his intercession spared the whole nation.
Move forward in
You're beginning to get the picture, I'm sure. History is filled with examples of how just one individual put everything on the line with God, and how their pursuit of His righteousness and mercy altered the course of history.
Let's take it to more modern times.
In the early days of this nation we had a man by the name of Jonathan Edwards. He, along with George Whitefield, were both intercessors and preachers who were largely responsible for what we know as The Great Awakening. Jonathan Edwards made the following observation of prayer and intercession, and it marked the life of a man whose influence upon our nation's founding fathers was nearly immeasurable.
"I feel an ardency of soul to be . . . emptied and annihilated, to lie in the dust and be full of Christ alone, to love Him with a holy and pure love, to trust in Him, to live on Him, and to be perfectly sanctified and made pure with a divine and heavenly purity."
That, my friends, is the mark of the intercessor -- one who has emptied themselves and focused on what the heart's desire of the Lord Jesus Christ is, and then implements that desire in prayer with commands, decrees, and declarations which rip apart the strongholds of Satan and prepare the way for the Gospel to be heard and received.
Edwards had the soul and the spirit of an intercessor. He often wept over his congregation as he preached. His preaching, combined with his weeping and groaning intercession while he preached, created what some observers referred to as "a spiritual hurricane" resulting in people falling down prostrate under conviction, others being "slain in the spirit" (to use the Pentecostal expression), and still others hanging onto their chairs or columns along the sides and center of the auditorium to keep from falling.
His oft-companion in ministry, George Whitefield, was
easily the most widely traveled preacher in the world until modern times.
He crossed the Atlantic 13 times preaching throughout
John Newton (who wrote Amazing Grace) said of Whitefield,
"It seemed as if he never preached in vain."
George Whitefield -- as I have noted in the Coffee Break series, THE
AMERICAN COVENANT -- was followed continually by
But these are only anecdotes of intercessors. Let's get to the picture of intercession, and what is accomplished in the midst of it.
We come back to a verse we've quoted several times from Psalm 115:16 where David writes, "The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men."
This is an extremely important principle to remember. Genesis 1 and 2 tell us that following creation of the earth and all that is therein, he formed man, breathed His life into him, then gave man dominion over everything upon the earth, and put him into the Garden of Eden to "dress it" (the Hebrew word is 'abad: meaning to work it, care for it, and have dominion over it) and "keep it" (the Hebrew word here is shamar: meaningto guard, protect and hedge about, being circumspect of all therein).
Adam surrendered day-to-day control of the earth to Satan
by virtue of his eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and
bringing a curse upon the earth, but God still held Adam (and his seed)
responsible. When Jesus came, both as the seed of Adam and the son of God
(by virtue of the Holy Spirit), he -- through His suffering, death,
cancellation of the curse and restoration of access to and fellowship with God,
and resurrection from the dead -- restored total dominion
Wheww! Sorry about that long sentence, but you get the picture.
Jesus, now seated at the right hand of God the Father, now functions as our intercessor. (See Isaiah 53:12, 59:16, Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:25) But there's more!
In Romans 8:26, the apostle Paul writes, "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."
We can also read this last phrase in the Greek text like this: "But the Spirit Himself (the better rendering) makes intercession on our behalf, across and through us, for our benefit, with sighs and internal groanings which are unspeakable."
So what does all this have to do with the picture of the earth belonging to the Lord, but the earth being in the hands of the children of men? Just this: God does not retract what He gives. He doesn't change His mind and take back the earth. Sure He's the Creator, and He has a plan and purpose for the earth. Because He has given the earth into man's charge, He has made it so that for His Will to be enacted in the earth, He must come through us.
That's not because He isn't Supreme, it's because this is
a legal requirement He has created in order to get man
involved in the affairs that take place on earth. He simply will not act
without at least
When Jesus commanded us to decree, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done in earth as it is in Heaven," He was expecting our direct involvement in the process of ruling over the earth. After all, that's what God's people were designed for in the first place! As already noted, ruling over the earth was man's first command -- with blessing. The curse took that away. Jesus restored it to those who would live and operate through Him.
I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but these principles are critical to understand for the intercessor. God spoke to Ezekiel telling him that He longed for and looked for someone to stand in the gap so that He would not have to execute judgment upon the nation.
The apostle Paul, in I Timothy 2:1-5, writes, "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, 1supplications, 2prayers, 3intercessions, and 4giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."
Supplications, Prayers, Intercessions, Giving of thanks: these are four specific things Paul commands with purpose -- 1that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all Godliness and honesty, and 2so that the heart's desire of the Lord can be fulfilled in seeing all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth.
Let me do a quick outline and define these four specific things from the Greek text. Then we'll stop for the day and come back to this discussion later in the week.
1. Paul's first command is supplications. The word in the Greek text is: de.esis; and it means: petitions, requests.
2. The second is prayers. This is a distinctive word -- proseuchomai -- and it is a covenant word. It literally means: to worship [within the framework of God's Covenant with us, and our participation in that Covenant]. (We'll talk about this picture more in our next Coffee Break.)
3. The third is intercessions. This word frequently -- if not most of the time -- gets treated in our mental pictures as crying, long prayers, begging God, banging on Heaven's gates, and trying to convince God to do something He really doesn't want to do. Nothing could be further from the truth! The term in the Greek text is: enteuxis; and this is a legal term, frequently used within the old Greek justice system. Enteuxis is defined like this: to confer with, to entreat for, to deal with. It is the presenting of a legal document with arguments based in Covenant Law in order to have enforcement of the Covenant. (We'll get into this a lot more, later.)
4. The last thing Paul commands is the giving of thanks. Once again we have a word used within the framework of Covenant. That word is: eucharistia. (Traditional churches derive the "Eucharist" -- or partaking of the symbols of Communion -- from this word.) Eucharistia expresses concept of gratefulness or gratitude towards God, but it does so within the context of our Covenant of the Blessing of Abraham which God made, and Jesus enacted for all who receive Him and walk in His Covenant.
The entire picture of these four words Paul uses comes within the enactment of the Covenant of Blood which Jesus made and restored access to through His suffering, the merciless beatings and stripes He bore for our healing and wholeness, His death on the Cross, and -- most of all -- His resurrection from the dead.
In our next Coffee Break, we'll review the picture of Covenant, how it was originally enacted with Abraham, and why intercession is so integral to our Covenant with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Still more to come.
The purpose of Covenant is to place God's mark in your forehead, that is, to mark your mind. That Covenant is as valid today as it was in the Garden.
The Blessing of the Lord: it makes rich and He adds no painful toil and sorrow! (Proverbs 10:22) Be blessed!
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