ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: THE TABLE OF THE LORD IX
Dec 12, '09 5:42 PM
By Regner Capener
Comments that I made in the previous Coffee Break obviously were misunderstood and taken to mean something I wasn't saying so let me do some clarifying to being with.
And before I get too far along, Good Morning! Have the most blessed day of your life thus far! (There are even better ones in store.)
The past Coffee Break began with my sharing the fact that I have walked with the Lord for virtually every day of my life, and that I cannot think back to a day or time when I haven't known the Lord. When I stated, "I can say with full assurance and conviction, and yet in deep humility, that I have not walked a sinful life," some folks didn't read the following addition. "That's not to say that I have not committed sin." I went on to say that I have indeed failed the Lord miserably at different times. In fact, I have committed sins. That's not the same as walking or living a sinful life.
The apostle Paul wrote, "For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
Yup. Absolutely. Me included. What many folks fail to understand is that they've been erased. Those sins don't exist any longer. When I repented and asked the Lord to forgive me of my shortcomings and failures, He did just that. What's more, He erased them completely from existence by the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. You can't find them anywhere.
The fundamental difference between committing sins and walking a sinful life is one's personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If out of 67+ years of walking with the Lord, a sum total of three months of that time (and I'm just picking an arbitrary number) have been engaged in some kind of missing the mark, that's a far cry from "a sinful life." Let's see..... how was it that John put it?
"Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him .......... Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." (I John 3:6, 9)
What is missing from many of our English translations is the tense that occurs here in the Greek text. It should be translated like this: "Whosoever abides in Him does not willfully and repeatedly sin. Whosoever is born of God does not willfully and habitually commit sin because God's seed remains in him: and he cannot willfully and repeatedly commit sin, because he is born of God."
Do you see the difference? Good. Now you understand the context of my statements. Let's move on.
One more thing that needs clarification is my statement in The Table of the Lord VII concerning what happens when we eat of the Bread and drink of the Cup. There is a doctrine known as "transubstantiation" which teaches that the Bread actually becomes the body of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that the Cup actually becomes His blood. That is not what I am saying, nor should it be inferred in any way, shape or form. There is a supernatural thing that occurs when we eat and drink at the Table of the Lord, but the supernatural change and transformation is that which occurs in us -- NOT the Bread or the Cup!
Again, let me clarify: change -- transformation -- in us and of us takes place at the Table of the Lord ONLY when we believe the Word that Jesus spoke, and ONLY when faith is exercised as we eat. Jesus commanded us to eat of His Table (and there is a commemorative aspect to this act) for the same reason that He commanded water baptism: there is an act of submission on our part to Him, to His Word, and to the cleansing, redeeming and restorative nature and character He seeks to accomplish in us.
Now, was that clearer?
OK! Let's talk about the Bread of Life.
Seems like I've mentioned this before, but let's go there anyway. Take a look at Matthew 26. Jesus and His disciples have gathered for the Passover -- the Feast of Unleavened Bread. They all eat and drink together of the Passover supper, after which Jesus takes whole bread (Greek: artos: raised or whole bread) instead of the unleavened bread (Greek: azumos: flat bread -- no leaven added) of which they've just been eating, and says, "Take, eat; this is my body (Greek: soma < sozo: whole, sound, healthy, complete body)." Luke adds the phrase (see Luke 22), "which is given for you."
And what was Jesus giving? He was instructing them to eat of all that He is -- wholeness, soundness, perfect health, completeness in every sense of the Word. Consider what Jesus said when He was preaching to the multitudes (see Matthew 6:25, 30-33).
"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
You're seeing it, I'm sure. This is what Jesus was distributing at the Table: Himself: "All these things."
The apostle Paul put it like this: "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)
Let's get to some basics concerning what Jesus said (and is still saying today). "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." (John 6:32-33, 35)
Question! Why would Jesus make such a point of "life" in His teaching? It's simple really. When Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they brought death upon the human race. Because man was never designed to die in the first place, the imposition of death in our genetic structure created an opening for the spirit we know as "the Fear of Death."
In his general epistle to the Hebrews, Paul says, "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." (Hebrews 2:13-14)
It may seem like I'm getting off-track here, but there is a point to this. Jesus gave us Himself at the Table. Because death is so ingrained into human thought processes and into the expectations of nearly every person, it is necessary that we receive deliverance from a "death mindset." I'll come back to this momentarily.
Returning to Jesus' discourse with the disciples in John 6, He continues: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
Sounds a whole lot like our discussion on death cancellation, doesn't it? And Jesus made statements like this often in His teaching and sharing. Watch what He says next! (John 6:53-58)
"Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live forever."
Wow! How do you like that doctrine? If you struggle with it, you're not alone. This was intolerable when viewed through the words (not the Spirit) of the Levitical Law.
"Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father."
The next thing we see among Jesus' disciples is the same thing we see among religious people today. "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him."
Why is that? It's because they heard what He said through carnal, death-oriented thinking -- the same thinking molded and shaped by the Serpent in the Garden when he deceived Eve.
Remember how John began his gospel? "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. ....... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1:1-3, 14)
Let's see if I can rephrase this so that it becomes clearer.
"In the beginning was The Word, and The Word was with God, and The Word was God. The Word was in the beginning with God. All things were made by The Word; and without The Word was not anything made that was made. In The Word was life; and the life was the light of men."
To this we add Paul's revelation in Hebrews 1:2-3: "[God] hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son [The Word], whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He [The Word] made the worlds; Who [The Word] 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."
That's the same Word that was made flesh. That's the same Word that was Jesus! That's the same Word that Jesus invited us to eat of at His Table. That's the Bread of Life. That's the Bread of Heaven.
This is that whole bread -- artos -- that Jesus gave us at His Last Supper. Jesus finished Passover. He brought to us the leaven of the Kingdom of God. (See Matthew 13:33 and Luke 13:20-21) He was the "Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world." (See Revelation 13:8)
Jesus came to do more than simply cancel our appointment with death and remove the curse of death hanging over the human race. He came to bring life, health, wholeness, deliverance, salvation, safety, prosperity, success, ruling and reigning in life -- and one of the primary ways He has made it available to those who will receive it by faith is by our eating of Him. We see Him demonstrating this in two separate miracles, and I'll come to those momentarily.
I just referenced this Scripture, but take a look at Matthew 13 where Jesus is speaking of the multiplication that takes place with leaven. "Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened."
This parable should have been clear to all -- especially in the light of Jesus' previous parable where He says, "The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof."
His parable of the leaven was intended to demonstrate the multiplication that takes place when we eat of Him. There is multiplication in every aspect of the Kingdom of God -- and that takes place when we eat at the Table of the Lord.
Remember Jesus statement to the disciples as they sat at the Last Supper? "Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you." Jesus wanted His disciples -- and all of us who eat of Him -- to understand that He was multiplying all that He was to all who would partake. This is fundamental to the whole principle of the Table of the Lord.
Jesus had already demonstrated this multiplication twice. In Matthew 15:29-39 Jesus is ministering continually for three days to the lame, the blind, the dumb, the maimed -- not to mention a host of other diseases and infirmities -- healing them all. There were some four thousand men, not counting women and children. We can readily estimate a crowd conservatively at 15,000 - 20,000.
Healing and restoring virtue is flowing out of His being, and He is suffering no depletion as a result. Seeing that the multitudes were beginning to faint for lack of food, Jesus asks His disciples how much food they have on hand. They tell him that they have seven loaves of whole bread and a few small fishes. He instructs the disciples to seat the multitude in an orderly fashion and proceeds to break apart the bread and the fishes.
There's an interesting word that occurs in the Greek text of verse 38 describing how the people ate. The word is chortazo, which literally means: to gorge oneself, to satiate to the full. Folks, these people who ate from the broken bread and fish weren't just hungry; they were famished, and they gorged themselves on the food to the point where they had no more room to eat another bite. THAT's the kind of multiplication Jesus was demonstrating.
The event repeats itself not long thereafter just prior to Passover when Jesus is ministering to a crowd of 5,000 men -- not counting women and children -- a crowd easily numbering 25,000 - 30,000. This time the only food available is five loaves of barley bread and two small fishes belonging to a young boy in the crowd, who gladly offers it to Jesus. Again Jesus breaks the bread and divides the fishes, and the disciples distribute to the people. John 6:11 tells us that the people took as much food to eat as they wanted -- without reservation or concern for there being enough food. Matthew (14:20) tells us once again that the people gorged themselves -- like young calves going after fodder -- until they were totally satisfied.
That's precisely what Jesus wants to give us at His Table: utter, complete and total satisfaction. This kind of satisfaction (the kind that nourishes completely) doesn't come by any other means than by eating of the Lord Jesus Christ -- the Word made flesh, the Word made digestible, ready for assimilation into our beings, spirit, soul and body.
This kind of satisfaction is the kind that lasts and lasts and lasts -- through eternity! There's no such thing as too much of Jesus in us. By the same token, He can never run out of distributing Himself, His character, His likeness and image into our beings. The more we eat of Him, the more change takes place. The more we eat of Him, the more we are transformed into the very essence of who He is!
If you aren't already, begin eating of the Lord Jesus Christ daily at His Table. Eat of His Word. Receive the life-changing and metamorphosing rhema!
Next: Power in the Blood.
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)
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