pt.1 A Table of Grace (Intro)
In this message we will bring forth many analogies from scripture that show the Word of God to be the nourishment and enjoyable food for the Christian. We will start by showing bite sized understandings of the words we are nourished with as essential ingredients of our spiritual life.
In this introductory message we are going to set the table of the meal of Grace, we’ll look at how it is served to us by means of Faith, and what the essential servings are and what ingredients they are comprised of.
We will also consider the preparing servants of this table and what job they have in waiting upon the table of Grace as do the service appointed to them by the LORD as His minister.
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Delivered on 6-15-2022 / grego. 10-10-2022
Compiled by JS LOWTHER
pt.1 A Table of Grace (Intro)
Heb_5:11 (Christ) Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
Heb 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
Heb 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
Heb 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Heb 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
Heb 6:2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
Heb 6:3 And this will we do, if God permit.
Heb 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
Heb 6:5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
Heb 6:6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
In the Word of God, we are often given a comparison between the Word, the Law and Gospel as being a form of food and a form of nourishment, consider:
Job_34:3 For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.
Psa_119:103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
So it is plain that the word of God is meat, it is a meal or food and that the ingredients and produce are provided by God for our nourishment, and if we be exercised then we might also enjoy the flavor of that word.
Notice in the context of this text, which next week we shall add to, that the Word of God is specificly called “the word of Righteousness”
Heb_5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
And today it is this part of the meal of grace which we eat by Faith that I hope to share with you in a bite sized way where you can see and taste that it is good.
The Meal we are speaking of today is offered to us by Grace, what do I mean by that?
Here are two bite sized scriptures I’d like you to chew on:
Rom_4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
Here the meal is shown to be a reward, yet it is one freely offered, there is no payment on our part, god even says if you attempt to pay as if it were not free it is as if you are saying there is a debt, and if there is a debt then you are saying another did not pay that debt, in this case Christ Jesus work is being said to be not a sufficiant payment for the meal.
The meal as a reward then which is given to you freely is on account of another’s payment.
and what is the purpose of the meal of Grace, what is it to do?
Eph_2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Eph 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
Eph 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Simply this, we are dead by sin, and unable to sit up at the table, and so to sit up God by his kindness links our life to Christ’s life, and as the 1 chapter says, he did so before the world was and he did so in love, and by Christ’s rising from the dead we are helped up to the table of Grace and given that milk that we need, then that soft meat, we are saved by Grace and given of the reward of Christ to eat at His table, made alive by the food he has given us to nourish us while we were yet dead because of sin.
And he says this
Eph_2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
You are saved by the free meal supplied to us by the reward given to Christ, given to us because of what he has done in preparing the ages for us to come unto us and pick us up by His resurrection from the dead, and by the word of his power to promise to do so, and God sends us this Faith by the holy spirit that like breath fills our lungs giving us life to sit at the table with Christ in heavenly places.
Faith is the way we know we have been raised, this is why there is no doubt we are alive to Christ because we are seated at his table having been given breath to get there, having been given a raise by Christ’s resurrection and having been given nourishment simply by the promise of His Word, the hope of his calling and the power of his lifting touch.
Nothing done here can be said to be of our self in any capacity that we sit now in heavenly places with Christ to dine at the table of Grace to eat the meal of Grace supplied to us by the grace of God the reward of Christ which he bought and paid for with his blood…. “not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
And here even seated and given right to eat the bread of the Word from the table and meal of Grace and to do so through the substance and hope of faith we acknowledge this truth
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
That is saying this in my analogy, everything that made you alive, sat you at the table, and put bread in your hand and food in your mouth in the work of God, you your self are his workmanship, and the purpose for you to sit at this table is to do Good Works, and not works which you dream up, not works which are mysterious and unknown in origin of their ingredients, or of ingredient of any other source than that source ordained by God, that in rising up from the table of Grace we might have the power of body and nourishment to walk in those good ways which God before ordained since eternity through nourishment of His Word prepared for us.
In this way we are what we eat, as the old saying goes.
The Lord has prepared means for our spiritual nourishment and has given us names for the ingredients that make up the prepared meal of Grace, the meal we share as the Reward of Christ which he by faith raised us up to eat by the confidence we have in His resurrection, and it is to our enjoyment and benefit that the Lord has given us the ability taste of His grace: that meal provided even starting out as it were:
1Pe_2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
1Pe 2:3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
Have you ever wondered by a preacher or pastor is called a Minister?
Act_6:2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
Act 6:3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
Act 6:4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
Listen to Adam Clark on this Matter:
“deacon…the word implies to minister or serve, it was variously applied, and pointed out all those who were employed in helping the bodies or souls of men; whether apostles, bishops, or those whom we call deacons. Some remark that there were two orders of deacons:
Διακονοι της τραπιζης, deacons of the Table, whose business it was to take care of the alms collected in the Church, and distribute them among the poor, widows, etc.
Διακονοι του λογου, deacons of the Word, whose business it was to preach, and variously instruct the people.
A Deacon is a minister, and a minister is a servant.
In the LXX here the only time it is employed in the Old Testament:
Est_6:1 But the king removed sleep from the king that night: and he told his servant /ministers to bring in the books, the registers of daily events, to read to him.
Est 6:3 And the king said, What honour or favour have we done to Mardochaeus? And the king’s servants said, Thou hast not done anything to him.
Est 6:5 And the king’s servants said, Behold, Aman stands in the court. And the king said, Call him.
Here is my point in bring this together.
Christians need to eat, true Christians enjoy the eating of the word of righteousness, and God has set his people at the table with Christ and God has appointed servants to wait upon the table of Grace to prepare the Word he has before ordained and to serve it for the nourishment of the church seated together.
A Minister that faithfully teaches bible doctrine are serving as it were at the table of Grace, he serves Christ and His brethren.
Therefore, at church or holy convocation we come together to partake of that sustenance. I have for you prepared this meal in times prior, and today on the Holy Sabbath appointed by God for us to walk in, I serve, as it were, a fellowship meal of God’s word to you, and it is my job to serve it decently and in order.
And this is my attempt in what I have done is attempting to offer you the ingredients and source of Grace and Faith and good works, all elements of the meal and yet they are the substance of the meal.
Those who have not a servant or minister entrusted by God with this duty often time spend much more time in searching for food to eat, and that not knowing what is edible,and those with pretense who do not have this knowledge and servants hart are often fed what is not healthy or what is inedible. And while in the best case one may certainly recieve nourishment from any bite of the pure ingredients those who forsake the assembly of likeminded fellowship at the times and by the means they believe are true will always lack the refined elements of the table prepared and served, and because of this they will chew and choke more often.
Yet I will never say they will not be nourished unto everlasting life, God knows this, but I will say many dangers of ill preparation and rough texture can certainly hinder the meal of Grace eaten by Faith. And then there are certainly servants who unable to rightly divide the word of truth also do danger to the eaters.
And yet also there is the part of us as eaters, the requirement to chew and become skillful that we might “taste and see that the LORD is gracious: and be blessed by trusting in him.”
There is nothing more hard for me than to serve and have the table set and to hear after words, that was good but what was it that we ate?
Some time to enjoy and be properly nourished by what we are given to eat we must take the time to chew the food and we are blessed enough to have the ability to consider the flavor while gaining the nutrition provided.
Sometime this cause is beyond us,
Having had the last great cold that takes away taste and smell, we know what it is to be nourished and to not enjoy the flavor.
This is very much what I believe happens in the great doctrines of our faith, we know that the meal of Grace consists of various items & ingredients offered upon the table of the Lord to his church, but we do not often consider what they are and how they have been paired by the Lord for us and why He offers what He does to us, it is not that we are not partakers of the meal of Grace, and it is not that he is not willing to grind it up for us and feed us as babies or cut it up and feet us like small children, but as we mature and become skillful in eating the Lord expects us to appreciate His Grace by the time we take chewing on it seeing and tasting, the graciousness of the LORD by blessed faith.
The purpose of this message today is to introduce the reason why I want to take the time and tell you about those 2 sources for the ingredients to be served at every meal of Grace eaten in by faith and served on the table in heavenly places where we sit with Christ in fellowship, and that is this:
Justification & Sanctification.
It is of these 2 sources that the Christian receives all his nourishment at the table of Grace as he eats by Faith.
Justification being the main course or focal point of the meal that includes Grace and Faith, and that which we call the Gospel or the New Testament / Covenant, this is where we are nourished by the Word of God that teaches us about Christ and his oath to save by his promised blood, the condescension of Christ , the incarnation of Christ in the flesh as a man, the perfect life of Christ as the son of man born of a virgin, the death of Christ at the hand’s of sinful men by the determined concil and foreknowledge of God, the resurrection and ascention of Christ from the dead where in we eat this and are nourished to know this is why we sit here eating.
And secondarily we have the side dishes of the meal that are comprised of Sanctification, that is holiness of the Spirit and holiness of the body, sanctification speaks to the purpose of the knowledge of sin and of the law in our life, both to convict us of sin and to lead us as the workmanship in the paths of holiness which God prepared in the Holy Law of His word for us to walk in. So sanctification is the condemnation power of the law for our good, the lesson of sin unto death and life unto righteousness, sanctification is the definitive cleansing of Faith in our heart and mind in accenting to the Law as Holy, Just and Good, and sanctification is the declaration of the justified life to live holy as the lord God is holy, to live a life of good work by the Law as best we might in flesh.
So sanctification nourishes us in holiness by showing us our fallen nature and total depravity, our deadness in sin, our inability to be set apart unto God’s Law in perfect obedience to it, it lays the case for our need to be saved, and once we are know not be saved we use this same knowledge to clean our risen life in Christ, and walk in the direction of goodness rather than depravity and death.
This is why we feed on sanctification and yet eat it by faith through means of sanctification, this is why we feed on justification and yet eat it by means of faith offered on the table of Grace because we are justified by Christ.
Justification teaches us God, that we might Know him and know his grace
Sanctification teach us the difference between man and God that man might desire to be more like God because of His Grace.
Sanctification nourishes the part of us that is being set apart from the world not at the table, it starts with the purification or cleansing that is given by the holy spirit that happens when we are washed and seated at the table of Grace, clean enough to sit in heavenly places with Christ, but the element of this meal and the work exhorted to handle the word, divide the word, chew the word and taste the word, and use the word digestively is part of our sanctification as well, simply without the first spiritual does of sanctification given to us because of our justification in Jesus we cannot efficiently digest the meal of Grace, we are in need of the enzyme of Justification, the enzyme of Grace through Faith.