Joseph Prince - Discerning the Lord's Body for Greater Health
Hallelujah, what a blessed day to be alive, to see God moving by his miracle power, amen? God is a good God. He loves you and he wants the best for you. God's first will for you is that your mind become positive, poised, your emotions be finely tuned, your heart burning with a passion, your body's full of energy, strength, and divine life and health, amen? That's God's will for you, amen? So besides salvation, I think health is the greatest blessing you and I can have. Can I have a good "Amen"?
It behooves us then to study the Scriptures to find, all right, God's method of health and healing, amen. Because God wants you to be in health. His desire for you above all things, that's why he made you. He made you to live forever. He made you to remain young. God didn't want men to age and decay and die. That's not God's plan. So we'll go back to God's plan and look at the Scriptures and see for ourselves the provisions of our God.
Do you know that it's no surprise for us when the world is weak, the world is sick, and the world die before their time? Because the whole world is under the sentence of sin, all right? Which results in what? Death in its body which is the earliest form of death is chronic fatigue and then disease and then die before your time. So it's no surprise for us that fallen humanity, all the way from Adam, all right, in the world today there's sickness, there is decay, there is even premature aging and then people die. Die prematurely, all right?
It's no surprise because the world is under condemnation as such, amen? Until you receive the way out, his name is Jesus Christ. Can I have a good "Amen"? Praise the Lord. God sent him to be the last Adam. God sent him to be the final head of the human race. If you accept Jesus Christ, you come out from the first head, the first Adam, and all that came through him, because you have received another Adam. His name is Jesus Christ. Can I have a good "Amen"?
So God says that he does not want us in 1 Corinthians 11, he does not want us to be condemned with the world. Now the whole context of 1 Corinthians 11 is talking about the Holy Communion, the bread and the wine, and how we partake of it so that we will not be condemned with the world. Now, don't misunderstand this phrase. Some people think of condemn as going to hell, always going to hell. That context is not saying if you partake of the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner, all right, you will go to hell. No, it's talking about health in the whole context and saying God wants you to take advantage of the Communion so that you will not suffer the condemnation of the world.
What is the condemnation of the world in the context? Weakness, sickness, and dying prematurely, okay? You understand that? Now we understand that the world is under this condemnation ever since Adam's sin, all right? Jesus came to remove it for all those who believe. For all those who take but you must take. But listen carefully. It is very surprising then for the apostle Paul to pen these words by the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 11. He was really surprised and shocked to see that the church, many are weak and sick and falling asleep of dying before their time, dying prematurely. And he gives the reason why, amen.
Let's follow 1 Corinthians 11: "For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep". All right, first and foremost, let's be very accurate. What is Paul saying about eating and drinking of the Communion? All right, don't have this idea, listen carefully, that if you have sinned, you cannot partake of the Lord's Supper, if you are unworthy, you cannot be with fellowship of the Lord's table. That is not what God is saying. Jesus died for unworthy people.
In fact, there is no creature called worthy when Jesus died. How many know that all of us received Jesus and he qualified us, c'mon, amen? So it is not talking about the person, "he who eats and drinks in unworthy manner". It is the manner, not the man. It is the manner, not the man. It is the action, not the actor. How many understand that? All right, and he's saying because of the way you're taking, you're not taking advantage of what it is supposed to supply you with, that you are dying before your time like flies. You are weak and you are sickly, amen? Which it's not God's plan.
Now don't have this idea also, like many churches, and one of the church was the church I came from, you know, they say that if you have... actually, they give me this impression, I'm doing fine. I'm all right. I'm cool, man. Until I take the Lord's Supper with sin. Then I become sick. In other words, I'm actually okay, all right, until I take the Lord's Supper. And if I have sin, and I'm not worthy, I'll be sick. That is not the right picture either. The right picture is this. Everybody in this world is sick. Your cells are dying, your face is drooping, your mind is losing, your hair is graying, everything in the natural, in the world, is going southwards.
How many understand that? And God has provided the Communion to offset, to be the way of escape. It is not as if we are doing fine until we take the Communion and if we have sin, bad things will happen to us. This is one of the most erroneous pictures painted by preachers and teaching in the church that has caused people to shun the Lord's table which is a blessing, amen? So you know what happened last time in my previous church when the time for Communion? I don't take. Why? Better not to take than to take and then die. My mama didn't raise no fool, all right? Let it pass, let it pass, let it pass.
So I had the impression that I was healthy until I take it with sin. But actually, if I knew the truth, all our bodies are decaying, amen, and aging. But God has provided something for us to offset all that, amen. So let's find the secrets that God has for us, amen? Because, you know, it is a wonderful thing for God to say this: "Not discerning the Lord's body," that's the main problem they had. Not to take or not to take the Communion worthily means not to discern the Lord's body. We'll come back to that, okay? "For this reason," it's not plural; it is singular. "For this," T-H-I-S, not T-H-E-S-E, "reason," not reasons.
How many are glad God could give only one reason for the church being weak and sick and dying prematurely? Only one reason, only one thing, man, only one. Only one thing. You would have thought, you know, people would rush and find out, "Only one? Let's remove that one, isn't it"? He did not say, "For these reasons," plural. He said, "It's for this reason". What is the reason? We go backwards: "Not discerning the Lord's body". That is partaking unworthily. In other words, when they take the bread, it is not the blood either. It is not the blood. It is when they take the bread, they are not discerning what the bread has been given for, amen.
Do you see the problem there? What is partaking unworthily? Not discerning the Lord's body. "For this reason", of not discerning the Lord's body, "many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep". In other words, this should not be for the church. So what is not discerning the Lord's body? Let's study that. Your New Testament, by the way, is written in Greek. Your Old Testament is in Hebrew. Greek is the most expressive of all languages and still is, all right? In the Greek, the word "discerning the Lord's body" is the word "diakrinos" or "diakrinon," "making a difference".
Say, "making a difference". The Greek word is diakrinon. So not discerning means what? Not making a difference in the Lord's body. So most places when they take the bread and the wine, you know what they do? They take it as forgiveness of their sins, as a symbol of forgiveness. They are not making a difference in why the body was broken and why the blood was shed, amen. They are not making a difference. You see, the problem is not discerning the Lord's body, not his blood. Now, first and foremost, we need to establish that Jesus take our diseases when he hung on the cross. We know that he took our sins. That's well established. But did he also cover healing in the atonement?
Let's look up here at Isaiah 53, verse 4: "Surely He has borne our," Old Testament, right? The Hebrew says, "kholee". Kholee, even you ask your Jewish or Israeli friend today who speak Hebrew, "What is kholee"? They'll tell you, "Diseases, sicknesses". Unfortunately, the King James translates as "griefs," amen? "And carried our sorrows," makob in Hebrew. What is makob? Pains, amen. Young's of Young's Concordance, a great Hebrew and Greek scholar, he wrote in the Young's Literal Translation of the Bible: "Surely our sicknesses He has borne, and our pains Jesus carried them". You see that?
Now, if that is not enough, how many will agree with the Bible, if Bible interpret Bible, how many think that's really cool, if the Bible gives own definition? You know that in Matthew, the Holy Spirit quotes Isaiah and this how Matthew by the Holy Spirit puts it. Matthew 8:16 and 17: "When evening had come, they brought to Jesus many who were demon-possessed. And Jesus cast out the demons with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying," the same voice we quoted just now in Isaiah: "Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses". The whole context is about Jesus healing physical diseases, amen? Hallelujah.
We can also say in 1 Corinthians 11, back to 1 Corinthians 11, we can actually reverse it without doing violence to God's Word, okay? "If we discern the Lord's body, if we make a difference between the blood being shed and the body broken, now we see that the body was broken to make our bodies whole. His body was torn apart to put our bodies back together.
Now, we see, "If we discern the Lord's body, we can say, 'For this reason many are strong and healthy and many live long,'" amen, amen? We can say that without doing violence to Holy Scripture. Because that's what it means. That's what it implies, hallelujah, amen. Unfortunately, in many churches today, they don't see the value of the Communion, neither do they discern the difference between the body, the bread, and the cup. You know, if you think about it, one time the Lord spoke to me and showed me this and it's amazing. I never saw it before. We say things like, "How can a small piece of bread and a cup make all the difference in the world? The simple act of eating"?
And the Lord say that all the tragedies known to men, all the cancer, the diabetes, the heart disease, the high blood pressure, depression, all, even poverty, even death itself, all came about because of Adam's simple act of eating, from the wrong tree. If that is so, doesn't it stand to holy reason then that God would through the last Adam, Jesus Christ, cause us to receive everything back from the simple act of eating? You know, in John 6, Jesus just finished the night before or the evening before, he multiplied five loaves and two fish to feed more than 5,000 hungry people, not counting women and children. Five thousand men; women and children, about 15,000, with 12 basketful left over.
Then the Bible says they came to make him king. They came to him and they said, "Give us this bread". And Jesus says, "I am the bread of life". And this is what he says. Jesus said, "Your fathers ate manna in the wilderness, and are dead". This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh," the bread that I shall give is My flesh, "which I shall give for the life of the world".
The word "life" here is Zoe, in Greek. If your friend is called Zoe, that means it's the Greek word for life, amen. "The bread that I shall give is my flesh which I shall give for the zoe of the world". Now look up here. I know some of you are thinking the same way. You see, your thoughts are revealed in the words of the Jews, the last line: "How can this Man give us His flesh to eat"? Ahh, did I get you there? All right, before we go to that. Now, Jesus says, "The bread that I give is my flesh which I will give to mankind," cosmos, the world, mankind, "for their zoe. For the zoe of mankind".
Now, question: what is zoe? Is it referring to eternal life? Now, whenever the Bible uses "eternal life," it is zoe aionios in Greek. Aionios means eternal, zoe means life. But it's zoe by itself, it means physical life. So zoe is not always eternal life, unless it comes the word "zoe aionios," then it's eternal life. But zoe by itself is physical life. Read again, all right, the last line: "'The bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the zoe of the world.' The people quarreled and said, 'How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?'" Next. "Then Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.'"
Now I tell you in most churches, most places, most evangelical Christianity, you know how they teach this? You ask them, "How do you interpret eating the flesh and drinking the blood"? "Oh, that's paramount to saying, 'Believing on Jesus.'" And as a result, they miss what Jesus said. Now, Jesus knew this argument would come in the future and that's the reason why Greek scholars are quite stunned to find Jesus changing the words. For example, he say, "He who feeds on me, he who feeds on me," he used the normal word for feeding, for eating, "feed on me, feed on me," but all of a sudden, he changed the word. "Unless you chew the flesh of the son of man". Halfway through he changed the word from normal feeding to chewing.
How many know you can interpret feeding as spiritual feeding but you cannot interpret chewing. That's nothing more than what? Physical. This is eating the Communion. And Jesus knew that people will throw aside Communion, say, "Oh, eating his flesh and drinking his blood means believing in him". So Jesus purposely used the word in the Greek, "trogo," for chewing, instead of "phago". The first part he used "phago". All of a sudden he changed to "trogo".
Let me show you where he uses it, all right? Here it says: "Whoever eats," in verse 54. "Whoever chews My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, I'll raise him up at the last day". This is like saying only those who are saved are the ones chewing his flesh and drinking his blood, amen? Is that true? Only those who are saved are having Communion, amen? "And I'll raise him up at the last day. My flesh is food indeed, My blood is drink indeed. He who chews My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him". And when you abide in Christ, that's the secret of John 15, you will bear fruit. Same Greek word. Hey, listen, once you are in him, you are in the protected zone. You are in the zone called "blessed," amen. And he is in you.
Now, the million-dollar question. "Well, Pastor Prince, I have taken Communion a few times and the condition is still there". Boy, you persevered, didn't you? Let me give you a little revelation on what Jesus said, all right? I wanna back off here. Here it says, "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood". Do you know that in the Greek, "He who eats My flesh," all right, again, "He who eats My flesh," verse 56, next, next, "He who feeds on Me," all right? Next, "He who eats this bread".
Now, this is very interesting: "This is the bread which came down from heaven. Not as your fathers ate manna, and are dead. He who eats," or chews, "this bread will live forever". People say, "Well, Pastor Prince, here it's talking about eternal life". Now, don't push everything to eternal life. Read again, carefully. "Jesus said to the Jews: "This is the bread which came down from heaven. Not as your fathers ate manna, and are dead". Let me ask you a question. Their fathers ate manna, right? After they ate manna, they died spiritually or physically? Physically.
Keep it in context. He's talking about physical death. Now, watch this. "Not as your fathers ate manna, and are dead. He who chews this bread will live forever". "So what are you saying, Pastor Prince"? Let me just leave it there. I don't open a Pandora box. Let me just suffice to say that to say enough of what Jesus said. Because there is a generation, the Bible says, when Jesus comes again, all right? They know how to put death at bay. We who are alive and remain. Are you listening? And I think one of the biggest keys is that they continuously partake of the Lord's Supper. Let me show you why that, final question and then we close.
"Why is it, Pastor Prince, I partake and nothing seems to happen"? All right, how many times you partake? "Oh, I took two or three times for the past two weeks I've been in church, I took few times". Let me show you all these phrases I showed you just now, "He who eats this bread," "He who feeds on Me," the verses before. "He who chews the", verses before please, yes. All this in yellow, "Whoever eats My flesh," "eats my flesh".
Look up here. In the Greek, it's very interesting. Like I told you, the Greek is a very expressive language. In the Greek, all these phrases are in the present active participle. What does that mean? That means present active participle is to denote continuous action. It is not a one-time thing. It's a habit. Those who constantly chew the flesh and drink his blood. Are you listening? I think once a week is not continuous still. And some of you think, "Wow".
You know, I think if you've been diagnosed with a condition, the doctors mention a certain condition, whatever, my advice, take it every day. "But, Pastor Prince, I thought you must have a pastor to give the Communion". Who told you that? Show me the Bible. This is a pastor telling you, you can. Once you are forgiven by the blood of Jesus, you're a child of God, you are righteous before God, you have the same standing as me, amen. C'mon, now, you can partake. Something powerful happens in the simple act of that piece of bread that denotes his body and Jesus said, "Take, eat, this is my body".
Now he didn't say, "Take, eat, it's a symbol". No wonder there's no power in the church. Then he says, "Take, drink, it's juice". No, Jesus took the bread on the night he was betrayed. He says, "Take, eat, this is my body. Drink now. This is the cup of the new covenant in my blood". If we take it the way he says it, there'll be power. He wants to be your best friend, your Savior. He didn't come to be your judge. You know, when they put him on the scourging post, you ask yourself the question, "Why is it that instead of going straight to the cross and die for our sins, he has to go to the scourging post"?
You all saw the movie, "The Passion"? And they hit him and they hit him, and he fell. And you feel like saying, "Stay down". But he got up again to be hit, all right, with different types of scourging. That's very accurate, by the way, all right? Why did he get up and receive more scourging? Because he wanted to pay the full price for your healing and your wholeness. It was his flesh being torn apart that gave you the right to having your body put back together. Are you listening? All right, make a difference between the blood and the body. Discern the Lord's body and you'll be strong. Discern the Lord's body and you'll be healthy, amen?