Sunday, March 25, 2012

Do we really understand the meaning of the bread in communion?

"Bread" is referred to as our daily provision in Matthew 6:11, but could this provision be more than food?

Matthew 6:11
Give us today our daily bread.

In Matthew 15 below we are given a clue to what the bread further symbolises:

Matthew 15:21-28
The Faith of a Canaanite Woman

 21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
 23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
 25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
 26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
 27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
 28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

Divine healing is undoubtedly an integral part of the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  (Article by Dr. Charles S. Price)

Next time you meet around that sacred table with your brethren who form the body of your church--which is the Body of Christ--I want you to ask yourselves solemnly and sincerely a few very important questions. 

Question 1: Why did Jesus differentiate between the wine and the bread? 
Question 2: Why did He say, “This is My blood” and then again, “This is My body”? 
Question 3: If the blood was shed for the remission of sins was there any need for the body to be broken for the same cause?

It was a statement of Jesus that the blood was shed for them, and in addition to that, the body was broken for them.

The word that is in the very heart and core of the meaning of the atonement is the word substitutional

From Genesis to Revelation the Bible rings in type and anti-type with the declaration of this glorious truth. 

Question: Why is it that I shall live eternally?
Answer: Because Jesus died my death. 

Question: Why is it that I can walk in holiness before Him?
Answer: Because He took all of my sins. 

Question: Why is it that I am redeemed and saved from the guilt of iniquity?
Answer: Because Jesus not only bore my guilt and carried my sins in the judgment hall of Pontius Pilate, but He carried them before the tribunals of God.

Question: Why is it that we are instructed in the Word by the apostle Paul to rejoice in the Lord?
Answer: Because Jesus carried all of our grief. 

Question: Why is it that we are instructed not to be anxious about the things of the present?
Answer: Because He lifted our anxiety and gave us His promises for the future.

As He took my sin, He gave me His sinlessness. When He assumed my guilt He gave me His holiness. 
Beloved, the whole super-structure of the doctrine of the atonement would crumble if you took out of the foundation those two glorious words substitutional and vicarious

Meaning of substitutional: 
The act of substituting or putting one person or thing in the place of another; as, the substitution of an agent, attorney, or representative to act for one in his absense; the substitution of bank notes for gold and silver as a circulating medium. 

Meaning of vicarious: 
performed, exercised, received, or suffered in place of another: vicarious punishment.
taking the place of another person or thing; acting or serving as a substitute.
felt or enjoyed through imagined participation in the experience of others: a vicarious thrill.
Physiology noting or pertaining to a situation in which onorgan performs part of the functions normally performed by another.

It must of necessity follow then that if substitution is a cardinal doctrine of the atonement as regards deliverance from sin, it must also be an essential doctrine with regard to deliverance from disease. In other words--if it is true that Jesus carried our sins in atoning for them, then He must of necessity have carried our sicknesses too, if He was going to atone for them in the same way.

One thing is very sure--if healing is not in the atonement then the Christian can only pray for it as a privilege; but if it is in the atonement he can claim it as a heritage. If it is not in the atonement the question of healing becomes a matter of intercession. If it is in the atonement it becomes a matter of appropriation. 

Question: How can anybody appropriate without faith? 
Answer: By no stretch of the imagination would it be possible for anybody to become the recipient of the blessing except by faith. 

Paul in writing to the Corinthian Church very clearly and distinctly differentiates between the shed blood and the broken body of the Lord Jesus. 

The Corinthians were in grievous error regarding the celebration of the Lord's Supper. They were undoubtedly eating and drinking to excess. They were eating to satisfy their hunger and drinking to quench their thirst. Paul called them to shame when he declared, “What? have ye no houses to eat and drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not?” He also declared that they had missed the mark. He told them that they did not understand why the Lord's Supper was ever instituted. 

In First Corinthians 11:24 he declares that Jesus said, “Take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me.”

Up to this time there had been no mention whatever of the bread. He did not join these two together and say, “These things do in remembrance of Me,” but he segregated and separated them. He said “This do in remembrance of Me.” By all the rules of logic this could only mean one thing. The body meant one thing and the blood meant another.

In First Corinthians 11:29-30 we find Paul's position with regard to the meaning of the broken body. He declared that some of the Corinthians were weak and sick and others were asleep. That meant that they were dead before their time. 

He emphatically declares that the reason was that they did not discern the Lord's body. In plain twentieth-century language this is what is meant, “Many of you members in the church at Corinth are sick and weak in your bodies and many of your members have died because you have not believed or understood that Jesus Christ bore your sicknesses.”

What that church should have done was to have spent the same amount of energy in drawing near unto the Lord as they did in quarreling about the virtues of their various leaders and indulging in the sin of sectarianism that was dividing the Body of Christ. They could have been healed, but they discerned not the truth. Some who were dead could have been alive if they had only availed themselves of the privilege of the atonement. 

The prophet of the captivity, Isaiah, turned the telescope down the vista of the years and foretold with minute accuracy the physical events regarding the atoning work of Jesus. He foresaw and foretold the spiritual application regarding His suffering and death. He declared that He was bruised for our iniquities. 
What is that but substitution? He states that He was wounded for our transgression. It is the statement of the vicarious nature of His atoning work. When the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, that was substitutional. Then he declares with emphasis that with His stripes we are healed.

He did not use the future tense--he did not use adjectives that befog the clear and plain statement of fact. Could anything be shorter, plainer, more forceful, easier to understand-- than these words, “By His stripes we are healed”?
Matthew chapter 8 completely knocks the props out of the argument of the man who declares that means spiritual healing. It means nothing of the sort. It relates only to physical healing. It is undoubtedly tied up with the healing of the soul and the forgiveness of sins, because both are in the heart of the atonement. Matthew 8 records the healing of Peter's wife's mother, many who were possessed with devils, and all the sick that were brought to Jesus. Then it declares that these things occurred that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah when he said, “Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses” (Mt. 8:17).

Many opponents of divine healing have written to me and declared that Isaiah's prophecy was fulfilled then. What happened the next day and the next year, they inferred, could never be associated with the statement of the prophet. That argument is false because he was talking about one atoning work. There are not two atonements. There is only one. Half of the atonement cannot fall and the other half stand.

To me, friends, the glorious and eternal truth remains, in spite of everything that has been done and said against it, your healing has been paid for. Yes, paid for, by the Son of the living God Himself.

Why did they whip Him at the cruel post of scourging? Why did they bare His back and allow that Roman lash to descend upon Him? What stripes was it that Isaiah beheld through the lens of his telescope, and that make him declare under the power of the Spirit that with those stripes we are healed? Would a loving Father, beholding the culmination of the purpose for which He sent His Son into the world, permit Him to undergo agony and pain such as that if it were not for some purpose? The answer is obvious to every man and woman who will read the Scriptures with an open and unbiased mind.

Question: By what authority did the disciples heal subsequent to the ascension of Jesus? 
Question: Have you ever noticed the type of faith that they possessed when they came in contact with devils and with sickness? 

When they saw the man who was at the beautiful gate of the temple, they did not start to cry in sorrow and then lead him off to some place to intercede for God to have mercy upon him and bring healing to his body. To me they acted as if they knew the mind of the Lord in the matter. To me they acted like men who had come from direct contact with God in the power house of the upper room and they were sure that God Himself had power over sickness.

It was not intercession. It was faith. They did not claim that it was done by their power. They certainly acted like men who believed that Jesus had already done it. Using the name that is above every name they simply told him to get up and walk. That is just what the man did.

In plain words the thing that impresses me when I read the account--and the same truth is impressed upon me when I read every account of divine healing subsequent to the ascension of Jesus--is that they acted as if they believed and knew that healing was in the atonement. 

Question: Now what has all this to do with faith? 
It has a great deal to do with the subject of faith because it is upon this great truth that faith must stand when it operates in appropriating healing for the body.

There is a great deal of difference between the prayer of supplication and the victorious shout of faith. One leads to the other undoubtedly. Supplication might cry out of its need without being aware of any promises on which to stand, but faith knows its ground and reaches up to receive.

Are you sick in body, my friend? Do you need the deliverance that only God can give? Have faith in God. Have faith in His Word. Faith is the victory!

Remember that faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Walk hand in hand with the Spirit down the corridors of revealed truth as you turn over the pages of the inspired Word. There is no force under Heaven that can so quickly drive out the enemies of unbelief like the reading of the Word of God. Like Philip in the chariot of the eunuch helping the man to understand is the Holy Spirit who always accompanies the Word itself and unfolds it to the mind of the man who reads. As you read, the Word will grow on you-- the promises will stand out--and you will begin to cry, “It is mine.”

As the sinner appropriates salvation by faith, so the sick will appropriate their healing. God cannot lie. He must vindicate His own Word. He must abide by the thing He has promised to do. Heaven and earth may pass away, but the Word of the Lord will remain forever. When even the rocks and the mountains melt in fervent heat, the Rock of Ages that was cleft for me will still be seen in its manifested impregnability gracing and beautifying eternity. Could you ask for a more sure foundation than that?

When the prayer of intercession is over--when the tears of supplication have been shed-- stand upon the promises and hold God to His Word. Your weeping may endure for a night, but joy will come in the morning.
As Job traveled from the old burning house to the new one he did not make the journey with a hop, skip, and jump. Just what time elapsed we do not know. But we do know that it was faith that held him steady through every experience of the test.

As one who can say in humility that I have seen thousands of people restored in body by the miraculous and marvelous healing power of God, I beseech you who are suffering to turn your eyes from yourself and the beggarly things of time. Lift them toward the face of One who has not only the nail prints in His hands but with whose stripes you are healed.

If you are tested, if you are being tried--keep turning over the pages of the treasure book of the Bible and as you read the promises of God keep saying within your heart, “Jesus never fails.”

There is healing for you because Jesus purchased it. Remember the promise--yours-- yours--Jesus purchased it. Remember the promise is yours--your promise--yours--yours. Commence to rejoice in it, praise God for it, hold that Bible to your heart--and sing, and sing again, “Jesus never fails!” 

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