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The Altar and the Cross

Jesus said unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake, shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16 verse 24 thru 26.)

The first commandment of understanding is: I AM the Lord thy God, there are no gods before Me.  Neither shall you setup or build any image of worship that is in heaven or earth.  From the time of the fall of Adam and Eve, the whole of mankind's life has been centered in self love, and not in the life and love of their Creator God. However, in His grace, Jesus Christ the Word of the Father, has called all who shall hear, to be His followers into His Life, centered in the Eternal's Love, for He says, I AM the Way and the Truth and the Life, no man can come to the Father except by Me.  All of the Words of Jesus Christ are for the tearing down of the old, and the enabling of the new man birthed in Him. The Lord has called His people into His holy Life by the taking up the cross, which is the spiritual signature of our ongoing fleshly death, where through the denial of our self centered desires, we begin to put to death the idolatrous nature of myself first, as we set out to follow the Lord Jesus on a daily basis.  The ultimate paradox is that for a man to save his life he shall lose it for the sake of Jesus Christ.

But let's face it. On a day-to-day basis, we are not very good at the denial of self and the bearing of the cross of affliction and death to the old nature.  Our questionable absolute love of God, will eventually give way to our flesh, which expects a reward even for our devotion to God. From our very beginnings, we are all partakers of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the root of self determination and judgment remains ingrained within our flesh.  Mankind changed in the garden, and the roots of evil and the good came from that Tree of Knowledge, and is rooted in the substance of our minds of selfish interest. Paul's understanding is the same as this, as he says; "I find then a law, that when I would do good, evil is present with me".  (Romans 7 verse 21).  In the course of untimely and catastrophic events, we inevitably find ourselves lost in ourselves, with the perplexities of seemingly inward failing grace. Then depending on the circumstances, we don't understand how this could have happened to us, or how we could have made such a mess of things. Darkness surrounds us, and we sink into the mire of self, loosing sight of God. Perhaps at this time of failure, we might again remember Paul's lament; "O wretched man that I am!  Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (In context Romans 7 verse 24 thru 25.)

Thankfully our God, through Jesus Christ, Who is faithful and just to the hearer and doer of His Word, declares through John's first epistle; "If we acknowledge our sin, then He will cleanse us from any unrighteousness, through the Blood of His Son Jesus Christ".  And so in the Provisions of the Word of God, when we thankfully come to the Covenant Communion table to worship in Truth and Spirit, and to drink of the Communion Blood of Jesus, we do mortify through the Spirit the unrighteous self interest deeds of the body.  Therefore, we are enabled to be, in complete agreement with the Lord's Covenant in His Blood, and the old man of selfish idolatry is put to death, for the Lord God says: Whosoever drinks of that Blood shall be put to death. The old man of sin is being put to death so that the new man in Christ Jesus would live.

The Blood of Jesus Christ remains for all time the absolute answer to sin and its spiritual infection, leading to eternal death in mankind.  For the collective faithful, who only follow after the Word of God, we know that our carnal man of sin, which is an alien enemy of God, has been put to death and buried in the death, and burial of the Son of Man Jesus Christ.  Nevertheless, while we remain in these earthly vessels, we each will have our own personal struggles with the flesh of the old man, which strives against the holiness of the Spirit within our new Life in Christ Jesus.  For the Scriptures says: "If you live after the flesh, you shall die, but if you through the Spirit do mortify (put to death) the deeds of the body, you shall live". (Romans 8 verse 13.) Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience: (See Colossians 3 verse 1 thru 8.)  and again the scriptures reminds us through its rebuke; "If you say you have not sinned, then you are in self deception, and the truth is not in you".

The Lord’s Memorial cup to our death.

Holy God, in His LOVE, has given to us on the altar of sacrifice, the supreme gift of the Holy Life of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  In Holy Communion, it is absolutely essential for God’s people to remember and identify with the Holy Life that is in the Blood of Jesus Christ. With His Body hanging on a cross His Blood came pouring out on to the dust of the earth for sin; and mankind from the beginning is made of the dust of the earth.  Jesus holy Life was given as a sacrifice for our earthly nature of sinfulness: The death of the just One, freely given for the life of the unjust.  Now the rectified sinner through active faith in God's Covenant, would be justified in the Lord's righteousness, and His holiness would be imputed to us, through that same faith in His redemptive sacrifice and resurrection power.  Holy Communion is a blessed spiritual gift of the power of God's love, and the renewal of Life in the mind of sinful man. Through the power of His Word, He enables each faithful member of His Body to become an over comer to sin's desires, and its former possession of the soul.

Until the Lord Jesus comes again in His glory, the Church, through Holy Communion, continues to testify and identify with the Lord’s sacrificial LifeBlood given on the cross for mankind's sin; and seeing His resurrection, we are able to rejoice with praise in our Champion's final and total victory, over our sin, and our death. For (as far as this world is concerned) you have died, and your new life is hid with Christ in God. When Jesus Christ, Who is our Life appears, then you also will appear with Him in the splendor of His Glory. (Colossians 3 verse 3 thru 4 Amplified Bible). In the great Memorial of Remembrance, which Yeshua has inaugurated for us at His Passover Supper, we as members of the Body of Jesus Christ, victoriously participate in Jesus Christ's sacrificial death for our sin and His resurrection for our justification over sin and death. Clearly, the baptized Saints, when eating of the sanctified unleavened Bread of God, should totally identify with the Savior Jesus Christ, the sinless Bread of Life that came down from heaven, to die unselfishly for the sin of all of mankind.  The New Covenant of God, given to men, is written in the earth, with the now unseen Blood of Jesus Christ.  For a surety, it is this same sanctified Blood, which we drink to maintain within our hearts, a more perfect love of God.

As individual members in the church that is centered in Jesus Christ, and His Father's Doctrine, we are to remember that in Jesus Christ's death, we have died to the sin of our flesh, and the idolatrous nature of Adam, through the Blood of our Redeemer Yeshua; for the second Adam, Jesus' is a quickening Spirit. (See 1st Corinthians 15 verse 44 thru 46)So kill, (deaden, deprive of power) the evil desire lurking in your members, those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you, which is employed in sin: sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry (the deifying of self and other created things instead of God).  It is on account of these (very sins) that the Holy anger of God is ever coming upon (those who are obstinately opposed to the divine will) the sons of disobedience, among whom you also once walked, when you lived in addiction to such practices. (Colossians 3 verse 5 thru 6 Amplified). For the Word through Paul says: “If you live after the flesh, you shall die: But if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live". (Romans 8 verse 13).  The Universal Church needs to be in agreement with the Spirit of God in this Holy Matter of Communion, for it is a matter of death, so as to give life. For each one of us sinners, who are in covenant with God, it is renewed life brought back from the dead as the result of our deeds of sin.  The testimony of Jesus Christ, Who is the Word of God, has not changed, for the Spirit continues to speak of the constancy of the Blood of the Covenant, poured out liberally upon the earth for the sin's of mankind. And again the Holy Spirit testifies of His oneness with the Blood and the Word. So Jesus said to them: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you have no life in you.  It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the Words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and Life (In order John 6 verse 53, and verse 63).

Such a wonderful, perfect gift of the Spirit of God, that in participating in His remembrance, we can receive His righteousness, for our unrighteousness, His holiness, for our unholy thoughts and actions, His forgiveness for our self-righteous judgments, His love, which provokes us to give of ourselves, beyond what we thought, was possible.  Communion is the new Holy Covenant Life of the Body of Jesus Christ on earth, represented by His Church, and distinguished by His living members, who individually occupy earthen flesh, but have died to sin, because in faith:

Whosoever drinks of that blood shall be put to death.

Oh such holy irony.  We drink the gift of the precious Blood of Jesus Christ, so that with God's Covenant help, we die to carnal self, so that again, we may live through that same resurrected Life by the Eternal Spirit --- in Him.  Having entered into God's Covenant, the old man of selfish desires is being put to death with the active Sword of the Spirit of God, so that the new man of God may flourish in the Love of God, and that for his fellow man.  Without the Lord's holiness within our hearts, no man shall see God. (See Hebrews 12 verse 14.)

How can the lord of the flies contend with the Wisdom of God, when the hearts of His redeemed people are open and truly begin to understand our Lord's Communion Covenant in the Blood of His Son Jesus Christ?

This is the believer's testimony.

And they, the brethren overcame Satan and sin by the Blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their life unto the death: (Revelation 12 verse 11.) Because, by faith, our testimony becomes; "It is no longer I that lives, but Christ Jesus Who lives within me."

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that, which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory for ever and ever. (Hebrews 13 verse 20 thru 21).

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

The following chapters will look at the visionary dreams on Communion within God's Covenant, to see if they conform to the Word of God that speaks of the unity of the people of God in the Body of Jesus Christ.  In our minds of flesh we have difficulties seeing ourselves as members of one another in the Holy Body of Jesus Christ our Savior.

 To proceed to the next chapter, please click on  Arise, Shine for thy Light has come

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Robert Glenn Pratten