OUR COVENANT, Part 8
November 22, 2019
We still have some territory to cover before we can get to the Covenant that our early forefathers made with the Lord for the founding of America. Without wasting any time….
We have a better covenant than Israel had. Israel's covenant required the constant shedding of blood, and the consequences of their failure to make sacrifice and re-enact the covenant of blood on a daily basis hung over them like the "sword of Damocles." Jesus fulfilled that once and for all on our behalf; and the only necessity we have is to believe His Word implicitly and act on it in faith.
Our covenant with the Lord enables "all the fullness of God" to be operational in every single one of us -- not just some special few like apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors or teachers. Every single one of us! Every single one of us! Every single one of us!
I repeat it over and over and over and over and over again everywhere the Lord sends me, to everyone that will hear the Word of the Lord. Because the concept of covenant is so missing in our society today, and teachers within the body of Christ have failed to both grasp it for themselves as well as teach covenant, an overwhelming majority of Christians live their lives as "believers" so far beneath their stations in Christ as to create a horrible and weak image of Him to the world today.
What Christians are fed today as "salvation" is a miserable image of what it means to "be saved." Preachers stand behind their pulpits and preach a "come to Jesus" message. That message includes "the Cross" and the "shed blood of Jesus" on the Cross on our behalf. Unfortunately, without the understanding of the covenant that sent Jesus to the Cross in the first place and the new covenant and testament He made available "to those who believe," folks are left with virtually no understanding or faith to believe that "all the fullness of God" is their rightful heritage under this new covenant.
"Salvation" becomes an emasculated experience, devoid of the power and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ working in them to conform them to the image and likeness of Christ, and minus any visual image within themselves of the "riches of His Glory." It is the New Covenant, the New Testament working in us with agape-kheseed that drives, that compels, that empowers us to heal the sick, to raise the dead, the cleanse the lepers, to cast out demons: to show the world that Jesus Christ IS our covenant partner.
It is the New Covenant that empowers, makes operational, and puts in place the life of Christ in a practical dimension in our lives. It is the New Covenant that changes our speech and enables the confession which enacts that covenant and places it legally in force.
Brother! Would I ever like to take off on that point alone! Trouble is, it would take me down a path I don't have time for in this particular discussion. That will have to wait for some other day and some other discussion.
Earlier, I made the statement that our covenant with the Lord enables "all the fullness of God" to be operational in every single one of us -- not just some special few like apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors or teachers.
This is a truth that is fundamental to our relationship with Jesus Christ. Once again, one of the primary concepts of covenant is the giving of all that we are, all that we have, and all that we ever expect to become to our covenant partner.
It is a sad and sorry truth that far too many Christians relegate their relationship with Jesus Christ to "being saved." They think that if they repent of their sins, ask Jesus Christ to "come into their hearts" (this is a religious cliché), and get water-baptized, they are "saved." OK. Saved from what? Hell?
Sure. But it goes so much farther than that! Being "saved" has become a trite religious phrase, devoid of its covenant roots. Being "saved" in today's terminology is scarcely anything more than getting one's "fire insurance." There is little evidence outwardly to support their claim to a relationship with Jesus Christ.
The apostle Paul lays a clear foundation for our covenant with the Lord as he opens his letter to the Ekklesia in Ephesus, Blessed, Honored and Highly Favored is the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who has spoken favor and prosperity over us from and through the multiple dimensions of the Holy Spirit in the Heavenlies;
Inasmuch as He has selected us to be in Him (and in His family) even before the founding, the conception, and the deposition of the world, that we should be pure, blameless, consecrated and without blemish in His sight through His immeasurable love;
Having predetermined and planned in advance our adoption and placement as mature and fully-grown sons by Jesus Christ to and for himself according to the satisfaction and delight of his purpose.
To the place where we would bring praise and laudation to the splendor, preeminence and brightness of his grace (that empowerment He provides to accomplish His will and desire) by which He positioned us to be honored by, through and with His immeasurable love.
In whom we have full deliverance, riddance (of the past) and healing through His shed blood , the total eradication (as though it had never happened) of our sins, our trespasses, our missing the mark, through the abounding wealth of His being gratified;
Wherein and by which He has super-abounded and excelled toward us in all wisdom and insight
Having declared and certified to us those previously hidden secrets and purposes of His will and desires according to the covenanted kindness and desires which he predetermined and exhibited in Himself;
That in the administration of the completion of the ages, He might sum up all in Jesus Christ, both of which are in Heaven and on earth and finish them in Him!
In whom also we have an assigned privilege and inheritance having been planned for and prepared in advance according to the proposal and intention of Him who energizes all after the volition and advice of His will and desire;
That we should become the means by which He receives praise and honor of His magnificence and splendor, those who saw and hoped in advance, trusting in the anointing of the Anointed One, Jesus Christ; (Ephesians 1:3-12, RAC Translation & Amplification)
Whewww!!! What a mouthful!
Do you see the framework of this covenant? Let's see if we can spell it out.
1. "He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world." Understand? He picked us before we ever responded to Him.
2. It was the motivating and driving force behind all of creation that the Lord Jesus Christ should have a people who would "be holy and without blame before Him in agape."
3. He "predestinated us (that's an English word that poorly translates the Greek, prooridzo, which means: to mark in advance, to set advance limits, to ordain) unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will."
4. His objective was to make "us accepted in the beloved (agapao)." That's a poetic phrase that describes our being incorporated into the agape relationship that preexisted between the Father and the Son as part of their unity and family.
5. It is through Jesus Christ that "we have redemption (a covenant phrase) through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." That redemption "through His blood" is that which comes through the giving us of His covering, His cloak -- so to speak.
A side note is in order here. When a covenant of blood was cut between two parties, and they exchanged their cloaks, any previous transgressions or offenses were blotted out between them. The two parties regarded each other as co-equal to themselves. From that moment forward, any transgression that might occur between them -- so long as it did not violate their covenant with each other -- was forgiven and disregarded. If the transgression, accidental or deliberate, took place between one of the covenant partners and some outside person or entity, the other covenant partner stood good for it, and defended his covenant partner -- if necessary, to the death.
Now, does that help you understand Paul's descriptive phrase, "we have redemption through His blood"?
6. Within this covenant, He makes available to us in abundance, "all wisdom and prudence" (that's an archaic English word that describes "insight") in order to reveal and explain His "will" (thelema: heart's desire) according to His great pleasure which "He hath purposed in Himself." His long-term goal and purpose in revealing His heart's desire is to show us His administration to come in "the fullness of times" (at the end of the ages) as He gathers together all in Heaven and all (of us) in Earth, displaying the handiwork of His purposes and the unfolding of His orchestration of events throughout time to bring a people to Himself.
Wow! That was a mouthful!
7. He has ordained us to participate in and share His inheritance -- to become heirs and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, along with all that Jesus has, receives, and will receive. Here again is another statement I'd sure like to take off with, but it would sidetrack us from this discussion. Guess this one will wait for another future date, too.
8. He (prooridzo) ordained us "according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will" so that
9. We would "be to the praise of His glory:" that is, those who beforehand have trusted, believed in, relied on, and exercised the faith of Jesus Christ.
10. Once we exercise the faith of Jesus Christ and implicitly trust, believe in and rely upon Him, we are marked with a seal, a stamp of His approval by the Holy Spirit, and given a pledge or security (this is akin to the mark in our flesh denoting the covenant) which sets us apart from non-covenant people for the final day of redemption. Redemption incorporates salvation. Salvation is a product of covenant and brings with it covenant responsibility.
By the same token, the seal in our spirit by the Holy Spirit brings an outer mark -- a visible manifestation -- by which the non-covenant world may know that we are covenanted partners and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. In the same way that Abraham received a mark in his flesh which could have been perceived as an embarrassment -- and one, I suspect, he was loathe to share with others because of its intimate nature -- we have a mark in our flesh that, for many, is regarded as an embarrassment.
That mark in our flesh is the mark that comes when we are filled with the Spirit. Luke described it in Acts 2 as, "they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance." This IS a distinguishing mark that sets us apart.
Do you remember what happened at the Tower of Babel? When Nimrod spurred a rebellion in which men attempted to build a tower that would raise them up to be on God's level?
Prior to this event, the whole earth was of one tongue and one language. Nimrod's rebellion against God and the arrogant idolatry he led people into caused the Lord to divide the people and scatter them abroad by changing their ability to speak one language. Whereas before this event took place, angelic beings (the KJV describes them as "the sons of God") came down and communicated with men and men communicated with angels, and men had the ability to speak "with tongues of angels" (I'm paraphrasing this from Paul's quotation in I Corinthians 13), the human race lost the ability to communicate back and forth easily and to make rebellious compacts among themselves.
The Day of Pentecost returned to those who were covenanted with Jesus Christ the ability to "speak with the tongues of men and of angels." It was witnessed on the Day of Pentecost by seventeen different nationalities and peoples who each heard those who were filled with the Holy Spirit speaking in their own languages.
Thus the New Covenant bridged the gap that had existed between men and God, and men and men, enabling those who were filled to declare the works of God in languages they did not learn naturally, and could not speak in except as the Holy Spirit took their tongues and spoke through them.
Never before in history, since the scattering at Babel, had men been able to communicate across languages and tongues without careful study of the new language(s) they wished to learn and speak. From the moment of being filled with the Holy Spirit onward, those so filled have borne this mark in their flesh. It was a singular mark, a distinguishing mark. It marked those who gave their cloaks (metaphorically speaking) to the Lord as they joined in His covenant.
Let me digress for a minute. I've heard people say, "If the Lord wants me to speak in tongues, He'll give them to me." That is a cheap, arrogant cop-out for people who are unwilling to yield their tongues to the control of the Holy Spirit. It signifies individuals and people who are unwilling to give up their cloaks within the framework of our covenant relationship with Jesus Christ. They elect to withhold that last vestige of control over their lives from the Lord, thereby refusing their full covenant responsibility.
It isn't the speaking in tongues that enacts the covenant: it is the complete yielding of every vestige of self-control to the Lord. Speaking in tongues is simply the evidence, the outward manifestation of that yielding of their cloak and expressing their complete willingness to fulfill their responsibility within the covenant. Minus that yielding, no "believer" in Christ EVER gets to participate in the full benefit of our covenant relationship in Jesus Christ.
If we withhold control of our tongues from the Lord, we deprive Him of the liberty to speak through us at His will. If we refuse to allow the Holy Spirit to speak through us as He wills, when He wills, and where He wills, we lose access to the stupendous covenant benefits available to us, in us, and through us by the Holy Spirit.
Wow! I didn't intend to go there today. It just sort of happened as a natural progression of sharing.
Covenant is not just a bunch of benefits. Covenant involves a "Katy, bar the door," pull out all the stops, full-speed-ahead responsibility in our responses to the Lord, who has likewise pulled out all the stops on our behalf.
I thought I was going to get to the full picture of being co-equal with Jesus Christ today, but it'll have to wait for next week. What I'm trying to do is to lay the foundations in your understanding so that you have a complete picture of just how great and how significant our covenant in and with the Lord is, and to help you see what lies ahead as the Lord brings us ever closer to the day of final redemption.
See you next week!
In case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:30AM Pacific. That conference number is (712) 770-4160, and the access code is 308640#. We are now making these gatherings available on video using ZOOM. If you wish to participate by video on ZOOM, our login ID is 835-926-513. If you miss the live voice-only call, you can dial (712) 770-4169, enter the same access code and listen in later. The video call, of course, is not recorded – not yet, anyway.
Blessings on you!
Regner A. Capener
RIVER WORSHIP CENTER
Temple, Texas 76504
Email Contact: CapenerMinistries@protonmail.com
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