OUR COVENANT, Part 9
November 29, 2019
Our unity with the Lord Jesus Christ is something that Jesus determined from before the foundations of the earth. Stop and think about it! We are told that Jesus “was the Lamb slain before the foundations of the earth.”
Because He, Father and Holy Spirit knew the end from the beginning. Adam’s fall did not take them by surprise. A plan had been set in motion before time began. That plan was to have a family that would be the exact counterparts of the Lord – the Godhead, if you will. That plan was to have a species of being who would be able to fellowship with the Lord on His level.
In order for that to take place, there had to be an unfolding and a preparation of this species of being that would prepare them to be One with Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Hence my statements in the past that the earth was created as a kind of laboratory in which to grow up a people with whom the Lord could be joined – a people who would be His Counterpart, His Other Self.
Thus, all the adventures that we experience in the Lord are designed to develop the character and nature – the very essence – of Who Jesus Christ is. In other words, we are being changed, transformed, renewed in such a way that His onoma is our onoma!
Picking up where we left off last week and repeating one of the statements I've been making, 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.
Once again, 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.
If Jesus Christ is going to get His benefits from the covenant, He has made with us and on our behalf, we MUST become His co-equal partners. I keep saying this, and it is at the center of all covenants: those who enter into covenant regard each other as co-equal. Covenant shores up our weaknesses. I know some folks have a struggle with the idea that Jesus has any weaknesses -- and from our perspective, He absolutely does not. From Jesus' viewpoint, however, until we have been transformed and conformed to His image and likeness, He is incomplete, lacking, and minus His counterpart, His other self.
This is where I want to take today's discussion and show you the concept -- from Jesus' perspective -- of His being made complete in us. That, my friends, is what being co-equal is all about. That is what THIS covenant was ordained for.
Take a look a something that Paul writes in his epistle to the Romans.
"For those whom He [the Father] could foresee and know [their choices and decisions] beforehand, He also did ordain and determine to become jointly formed and fashioned into the image and likeness of His Son, so that He might be first begotten son among a multitude of brothers and sisters.
“Furthermore, those whom He ordained and determined [by virtue of knowing in advance their choices and decisions] He also called, beckoning them in their inner beings; and those whom He called, He also determined and declared to be innocent [rendering judgment of them beforehand]; and those whom He determined and declared to be innocent, He made glorious [magnifying them as He magnified His Son].
“What shall we say, then, regarding these facts? If God the Father be for us, having made these determinations on our behalf, who can possibly succeed in opposing and withstanding us?" (Romans 8:29-31, RAC Translation & Amplification)
Now are you beginning to get the picture? Do you see where we stand with the Father? Do you see where we stand with Jesus Christ?
God the Father has determined to have for Himself a family. He -- in concert with Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit -- made this determination before Creation ever unfolded. If you take the concept of family, you understand that you WILL have an older brother who is the firstborn. But that older brother is going to have younger brothers and sisters; and those brothers and sisters have all the same rights of inheritance and access to the resources and assets of the family that the older brother has access to.
The older brother's position gives him some rights of determination and delegative authority on behalf of the younger family members, but positionally he is treated as co-equal with his brothers and sisters. All of the siblings have equal access to, and use of the family resources, along with the family's authority and power by virtue of their extreme wealth.
Put that in context, now, to Jesus Christ as our older brother. Consider His statement to the disciples as He prepared to leave them: "All (exousia) privilege, force, authority, power and jurisdiction is given unto me in Heaven and in earth.
You go, therefore, [by virtue of your relationship to and with me] and disciple, instruct and teach all nations, tribes and ethnic groups and peoples, immersing them in the (onoma) character, the makeup, the power and authority -- the very essence -- of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe, guard and protect all that I have charged you with [in every respect, without compromise or redaction];
And take notice of the fact that (eimi) [all that] I am [have been, and ever will be -- the totality of my existence] with you, even unto the final and total completion of this age. So be it!" (Matthew 28:18-20, RAC Translation & Amplification)
Jesus, therefore, was commissioning His disciples to go forth in, with, and through ALL of the power and authority that He had -- and Brother, was that ever SOME power and authority!
Look at what Mark records concerning this same event.
"[All of] you go into every area and segment of the world and proclaim, herald, declare and preach the good news [that I have given you] to every single creature.
He that believes, implicitly trusts in, exercises faith, and is immersed [in the character, makeup and essence of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit]] shall be saved, healed, delivered, preserved, caused to prosper, and made completely whole; but he who disbelieves [refusing to trust in and exercise faith] shall receive sentence and judgment [according to the Law].
"And these (semeion) distinguishing signs, evidences, wonders and proofs [of my commission to you, and your relationship to and with me] shall accompany and closely follow you: In my (onoma) character, makeup, power and authority -- the very essence of who I am -- they shall cast out demons (evil spirits); they shall speak with fresh new [and previously unlearned] languages and tongues;
They shall take on (serpents) artful, cunning and malicious persons whose arguments cannot and will not dissuade; should they drink or partake of any deadly, poisonous thing, it shall not hurt or injure them in any way; they shall lay hands on the sick, the infirm, those who are weak and without strength; and they shall recover, mend, and see their infirmities cease." (Mark 16:15-18, RAC Translation & Amplification)
No promise or prophecy of the Lord could better describe our co-equal status. These are the distinguishing signs and evidences that followed and accompanied Jesus. Fully one-third of all the miracles that Jesus performed as recorded in the Gospels incorporate the casting out of demons, as Jesus exercised the authority that was His to exercise.
The remaining two-thirds of His recorded miracles include the raising of the dead, healing of the sick and infirm, cleansing the lepers, commanding the weather, commanding plant-life such as trees, walking through walls, disappearing in the midst of crowds, taking on the Serpent following his 40-day fast, along with other (serpents) artful, cunning and malicious Scribes and Pharisees whose legalistic and twisted demonic arguments from Scripture could not and would not dissuade Him, and -- surprise, surprise! -- remitting the sins of people even before He had gone to the Cross.
I've always been a bit amused at folks who think that Jesus was advocating the handling of snakes. EVERYTHING He prophesied of and to "them that believe" was a demonstration of exactly what He had accomplished and fulfilled during His three-and-a-half years. Jesus never handled snakes, but He DID take on serpents -- regularly! He referred to the Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees on more than one occasion as a "generation of vipers," meaning of course that their lives, their motivations and their speech were artfully crafted to manipulate people and lead them into further legalistic bondage, away from the relationship with God purposed from the beginning.
Everything, therefore, that Jesus promised to and prophesied of His followers was something they had a proof text for in His life and ministry.
I know that some folks have tried to become so technically picky (legalistically artful and manipulative) with the Scripture as to suggest that these "signs" and evidentiary proofs of the "Lord working with them and confirming the Word with signs following" (Mark 16:20) applied ONLY to the apostles and disappeared shortly after the turn of the century.
These same doubters and unbelievers promote the idea that apostles and prophets died out in that same time frame, and that Paul's statements in I Corinthians and Ephesians are to be ignored because the body of Christ has already "come to the unity of the faith," having been perfected at the Cross.
It really is one of the looniest doctrines I've ever heard. It defies any rationale concerning Paul's preaching on apostles and prophets roughly 30 years after Jesus ascended, and forces one to dismiss whole portions of God's Word if they are to believe such nonsense. Those who "artfully craft" and "maliciously use" God's Word so as to seduce believers and keep them from their full covenant benefits are nothing more than a modern "generation of vipers."
If we are seated with Christ in heavenly places -- as Paul writes in Ephesians 1:20-23, "Far above all principality, and power, and might and dominion, and every name (onoma) that is named, not only in this world but that which is to come: and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the Ekklesia (not church) -- that called out and betrothed company of people by the Bridegroom -- which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all," then we most certainly ARE co-equal with Jesus Christ!
When have you ever seen a body-less head accomplish anything? When have you ever seen a headless body accomplish anything?
NOW do you understand covenant.
We've been fitted together and joined together with Jesus Christ as a living, breathing extension of Him. If you'll pardon the rather oversimplification, He is us, and we are Him. Whatever He does, He does through us. Things don't happen without our participation. Jesus Christ does not randomly, mystically, perform miracles in the earth, or work some kind of sign and wonder in the earth without the direct participation of His covenant people.
We have and live a covenant that requires our all. Jesus has made a covenant with us that requires His all -- and the last time I checked, He hadn't left anything out or stopped His covenant partners from living in and operating in all that He is and has.
Folks, His covenant is as alive and breathing today as it was when He said, "All (exousia) privilege, force, authority, power and jurisdiction is given unto me in Heaven and in earth. You go, therefore…." (RAC Translation & Amplification)
That's OUR responsibility. Our covenant responsibility to the Lord is to do the works that He did, to preach the Word that He preached, and -- moreover -- to fulfill His prophetic Word, "Verily, verily I say unto you. He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do because I go unto my Father." (John 14:12)
Complete and direct obedience to the Word
of the Lord always produces tangible and life-giving results.
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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