ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: THE TABLE OF THE LORD VI
Oct 13, '09 10:01 AM
By Regner Capener
With all of the hype and hoopla concerning the H1N1 "Swine Flu," you'd think the Black Plague had struck the nation and the world. What the fear-mongering media hasn't said or reported is the fact that the numbers of deaths from this flu are actually less than those one might expect in a "normal" flu season. What we have instead is more fear talk and less flu! (chuckle)
I have a personal issue to take with folks who promote this as some kind of thing to be afraid of. Sad to say, but a whole lot of Christians -- or at least folks who call themselves "Christian" -- put more faith in the flu than they do in the Lord Jesus Christ. They have more fear of the flu than they have faith in the healing that Jesus paid for them. We just can't live like that and call ourselves "believers."
Two weeks or so ago, our seven-year-old granddaughter Jessica (of whom I have written on numerous occasions) tested positive for the H1N1 virus. She called Della on the phone and said, "Grandma, I don't like feeling like this. I don't like being sick." Della promised she'd come and pray for her. Della had other business in the Tri-Cities area anyway, so she drove to Pasco to check on the rest of Rebekah's family. After talking and sharing with the rest of Becky's kids (they were all home from school sick) she was getting ready to leave when Jessica said, "Grandma, you promised to pray. You haven't prayed yet!"
Della immediately took Jessica's hands and rebuked the fever (103.9) and commanded the flu virus to depart. The rest of the kids joined hands in prayer as well and Della prayed for them all -- along with a neighbor boy who stopped by to check on Andrew. The fever lifted quickly from Jessica. Before the day ended, it was gone completely and Jessica had nothing but a few sniffles. Her mother kept her home from school the next day, "just in case," but within 48 hours Jessica was back in school -- along with her brothers and sisters, whom the Lord also healed.
See what I mean? We need to stop giving so much credit and power to sickness and disease and begin declaring and decreeing the blood of Jesus as our authority. Consider what Jesus said (see Matthew 10:8 and Luke 10:9, 19);
"Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give."
"Heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you..............Behold, I give unto you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you."
The power over all disease and sickness, along with all authority over the power of Satan, has been given to us. Why waste it? Let's use it, folks! The world needs to see that Christianity isn't simply just "another religion." Christianity is a real, living relationship with a real, living Jesus who has commissioned us to show and grow the Kingdom and demonstrate Heaven in the process.
OOPSS!! Almost forgot! Howdee!
Sorry I haven't been with you for the past three weeks or so. Between a harvest period that has run (for us, anyway) much longer than usual, and a ministry trip to Gaston, Oregon -- not to mention the normal daily ministry activities that surround River Worship Center -- our days have been busy, and that's putting it mildly! Della canned 39 quarts of pure grape juice from just one Concord grape vine, and she's preparing to tackle some more vines later this week. A number of apple growers here in the Yakima Valley chose not to harvest their apples because of the costs of harvesting and getting to market. They would have actually lost money on the harvest, so they let their apples remain on the trees. One of those growers also takes care of the orchard our oldest son, Chris, and his family own. All of a sudden we've had apples coming out of our ears.
Della has been cashing on on the surplus of apples, making applesauce, drying apples and making apple chips (I couldn't tell you how many she's done so far), along with making cinnamon apple pie filling and apple topping for Belgian waffles. We still have ten crates of apples to process, so this is something that will go on yet for another couple of weeks before this process ends for this year. We've given away hundreds of pounds of Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Fuji and Granny Smiths to people in our fellowship, as well as visitors who have stopped by. In case you've never picked apples before, let me warn you. You'll discover muscles you didn't know you had, and they will complain loudly for a few days. (Hehehehehe........................)
In our last two Coffee Breaks, we've talked about a statement that Jesus made (See John 6:50-51, 53) and it is one that many folks have struggled with.
"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 for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world ......... 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."
Hopefully you've been able to at least grasp some of what I've shared thus far of the revelation the Lord has given concerning this statement. I'll try to wrap up this portion of our discussion on the Lord's Table today.
It was my intention to talk about the 53rd chapter of Isaiah today, and the revelation of the Table of the Lord associated with it -- and maybe we'll get there -- but I need to take a different track today than I'd originally planned.
Revisiting God's command to the Jews in Leviticus 17:11, we are told, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul."
Paul, writing to the Christians in Corinth, reminded them of what Jesus said (I Corinthians 11:24-25), "Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me." Jesus also said, "This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me."
"As oft as ye drink it?" Drink what? The Cup -- not blood! Jesus wasn't asking them to drink blood. In fact, drinking blood was forbidden under the Law of Moses, and that's not what Jesus was making a point of. The Cup was illustrative of the fact that His blood was going to be shed. In fact, there wasn't going to be enough blood left in Him to sustain life.
I was reading a medical doctor's analysis recently of the wounds that Jesus suffered from the scourge of 39 lashes with the cat-o-nine-tails (Greek: phragello = Latin: flagellum), coupled with the secondary beatings and the crown of thorns. The Scripture tells in (the Hebrew text of) Isaiah 52:14 that His appearance was so disfigured and marred that he was barely recognizable as a man with only his form or outline to say that He was. There was virtually no place on Jesus' body that wasn't a bloody mass of pulp. The loss of blood and the weakened condition resulting made the hardship of having to carry the Cross more than He could physically tolerate; and the Roman soldiers had to compel Simon of Cyrene to carry it for Him.
The medical doctor's report and analysis of Jesus' physical condition was such that He was bleeding to death. By the time the soldier pierced Jesus' side and blood and water exited the wound, there wasn't enough blood in Him to have kept Him alive.
So why was that important? What does that have to do with Jesus' command?
Let's go back to the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve sinned and ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the entire DNA of the human race was contaminated with the curse of death. Every generation born to the human race following Adam and Eve's eviction from the Garden had death in the blood. God had warned Adam "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." (Genesis 2:17)
I've shared before that Adam and Eve were never designed to die. They were created in the image and likeness of God -- and God is eternal. There is a rather obscure reference in Ecclesiastes 6:6 to a man living "a thousand years twice told" (2,000 years) which I believe is a reference to Adam's having lived in the Garden for 2,000 years (the sixth and seventh days) prior to his sin on the eighth day. (See also II Peter 3:8) There are folks who will disagree with me on this, but can I help it if I'm right! (Grin)
Considering the fact that Genesis 5:5 tells us that Adam lived to 930 years (following his eviction from the Garden, and after time began to be measured as we determine it today), he died "in the (thousand-year) day that [he] ate thereof." One little side note to this picture: Adam died on the third day, having eaten of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Jesus died on "the Tree" and rose again on the third day.
[That's a little something for you to consider in your spare time.] Jesus effectively reversed the curse of death, undoing in exact reverse order and sequence curse of death.
What's the point of all this? Just this: blood -- all human blood -- was contaminated with death and the dying process from the moment Adam ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. As a part of reversing the curse of death, Jesus poured out His human blood. He literally poured out death as He died. That may sound strange worded that way, but in dying on the Cross, Jesus also poured out the death that had contaminated human DNA.
When God the Father raised Him from the dead, He didn't raise Jesus by restoring human blood: He replaced human blood with His eternal Spirit. When we drink of the Cup at the Table of the Lord, therefore, we are drinking of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. When Jesus said, "as oft as ye drink it [this do ye] in remembrance of me," He was letting us know that our act of drinking the Cup was done in remembrance of the fact that His blood was poured out, along with death itself, and that we are drinking of His life!
There's one more aspect of this that we can consider. Take a look at Paul's discourse on this in his first letter to the Ekklesia in Corinth.
"So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption."
Next Paul writes, "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Corinthians 15:42-50, 53-57)
Are you seeing it? OK, let me describe it like this.
Every time we eat of the Bread and drink of the Cup, "corruption" is putting on "incorruption" and "mortality" is putting on "immortality." I know lots of folks will think for sure that I've gone off the deep end into La-La Land, but let's revisit the two verses that I left out in the above quotation.
"Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
Take the first half of those statements: "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed." Change takes place each time we partake of the Table of the Lord. Hmmmm ....... Maybe I'd better qualify that. Change takes place for those do not "eat and drink unworthily [Greek: anaxios: to treat as commonplace]" -- for those who eat and drink at the Table of the Lord in faith, understanding that they are partaking of something absolutely supernatural!
There is nothing commonplace about this. This is not some kind of symbolic act. There's nothing "spookey-pookey" about this. My Roman Catholic brethren have a doctrine they call "transubstantiation" in which the bread and the wine become the literal body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ as we eat and drink. Although that's not quite true, they're a lot closer to the truth than most folks give them credit for. There is something absolutely supernatural that takes place -- but the change that is taking place is in us! It is a change, however, that only works where and when faith drives our eating at the Table of the Lord.
When Paul was writing to the Corinthians about this he made the statement, "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 11:29-30)
Let me phrase this for you in some amplified terminology. "He that eats and drinks [at the Table of the Lord] treating it as just another commemorative act and "one more religious thing to do," eats and drinks of the same judgment and decree God made [when He said to Adam, "In the day you eat thereof, you shall surely die"], not differentiating between this Table and any other table. Because they treat the Table of the Lord as commonplace, many people are weak and infirm and suffer the various sicknesses and diseases that afflict human flesh; and many die -- most prematurely."
There is no reason for folks to be sick, weak or infirm! There is no reason for people to die prematurely. There's no reason for people to die, PERIOD! But this realm of faith is exactly the same realm of faith that is activated when we first believe and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation, for deliverance, for healing, or for any other thing. It takes faith to believe for your healing if you suffer from some sickness or disease. But it takes no more faith to believe "preventatively" to walk and live in perfect health! It likewise takes no more faith to believe that you can live and be around to see the physical return of the Lord Jesus Christ instead of dying.
Why die in the first place?
Death has only one appointment with us, and if Jesus kept that appointment on our behalf, will you please tell me why His keeping of our appointment wasn't good enough? Will you please tell me why we have to still keep an appointment that isn't there anymore?
Chew on that for awhile. I'll be back.
"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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