Monday, June 21, 2010
The Mystery and Power of Communion: Part 1
If there are two mysteries that the Church doesn’t fully understand, I think they must be prayer and communion. Both hold the very keys to the mighty power of God being released into our lives individually and into the life of the Church. A number of years ago, the Lord began to pursue me at time of seeking Him and His understanding in both of these critical areas of life as a Christian. It was about this time the Lord directed me to the work of a Southern Church of God evangelist by the name of Perry Stone. Largely through research done by Perry Stone, but others as well – in confirmation of the Holy Scriptures themselves, a whole new understanding of communion began to emerge. I heartily recommend Bishop Perry Stone’s book, The Meal that Heals (www.voe.org) to those who wait upon the Lord for healing of any kind . . . Physical, Emotional, or Spiritual.
Communion is more than a simple remembrance – there is life in the Lord's cup! The result of my own search to understand of this blessed sacrament will be written over a four-week period. My prayer is always that anything you read will have solid Biblical backing, which is why I feel that scripture reference is essential. This is a repeat series that is worth repeating. I pray it blesses you.
The Lord would have us clearly understand why and how we should partake of the Communion of the Saints, even as He desires that we understand His purpose from the beginning for the Sacrament and in the power and life contained therein. In We begin by examining the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 26: And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
While it has often been said that the Old Testament was a covenant under law, and the new Testament a covenant under grace; such a statement is at best misinterpreted and one that can be considered only partially correct. Yes, it is true that the death of Jesus on the cross fulfilled the law. It is true that through the cross, Jesus accomplished victory over death. It is true that, by the shedding of His precious blood, He became our atonement – our eternal ‘sacrificial lamb’. The Scriptures neither release us from the teachings of the Old Testament, nor from the law; however, Christ honored the law and celebrated the Holy convocations. Consider . . .
Psalm 19:7-9 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Psalm 119:1-4 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart! They also do no iniquity; they walk in His ways. You have commanded us to keep Your precepts diligently.
Matthew 5:17-20 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
God designed a way of redemption for man from the very beginning of creation, knowing our sinful nature full well and loving us beyond our comprehension in spite of it. From the very beginning of time itself, the shedding of innocent blood was required for redemption of sin. Our first glimpse of this truth appears in the garden, where for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21) God cursed the serpent for allowing Satan to speak and beguile Eve into eating of the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil”. He cursed the ground and declared that mankind would toil from that day forward.
But God did not curse Adam and Eve . . . for them, God covered their sin by the first innocent blood shed for the redemption of sin. The animals used to supply the skins for the tunics God made were the first sacrificial offerings to restore man to right standing with God. Life was in the blood . . . Abel’s sacrifice to God was pleasing to Him. Abel was the first shepherd of men: his sacrifice to God a spotless lamb. Cain assumed his sacrifice would please God: the tiller of the soil brought before God the fruits of the ground. Cain’s anger and jealousy over God’s rejection of his sacrifice resulted in the first murder in scripture; and the Bible teaches us that Abel’s blood cried out to God from the ground!! It is clear in these scriptures that Adam taught his sons of God’s plan for redemption of sin as God himself had no doubt taught Adam. Life was in the blood . . .
In spite of God’s favor and promise to Abraham, Abraham sinned before God. Yet, Abraham went before God willing to sacrifice Isaac, His beloved son of promise. God in His mercy supplied Abraham instead with the ram.
The Feast of Passover ordained by God and presented by Moses to God’s people celebrated the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt. The final breaking of Pharaoh’s willful refusal to let God’s people go came after the first born sons of Egypt were destroyed. Innocent lambs were sacrificed to mark the door posts of God’s people and redeem the first born sons of Israel from the curse of death. God preordained that flight from Egypt.
Bread played a crucial role in sustaining God’s people. In the Bible, leaven is used to represent sin. The Feast of Unleavened Bread marked the annual week of cleansing to celebrate the separation of God’s people from Egypt. God desires that we too separate ourselves from sin. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Cor 5:8)
For almost 2,000 years a lamb had been slain on Passover as Jesus prepared to celebrate this Feast of Moses with his disciples. Jesus would become the ultimate lamb slain that Passover day: God’s eternal sacrifice for man through His design and purpose. The significance of the bread and of the cup had been established since the beginning of time itself.