Your Priestly Calling

July 1, 2015

1 Peter 2:4-5
As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Your Priestly Calling

In today’s culture we often relate priest or priesthood to Catholicism or some of the denominations that still use this title to distinguish their spiritual leaders, bishop or pastor. What Peter is revealing to us as true believers here is that each of us, in Christ, have a calling and an appointing from God to be His spiritual house of holy priests. Many of us may have never thought of ourselves in the light of being a priest, but in Christ, that is who you are.
The Word speaks about two priesthood orders that are established by God. The first one and one we are probably most familiar with is the Levitical priesthood instituted during Moses’ time. The second is the Melchizedek order spoken of first during Abraham’s time when Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, this priest-king of Salem who had no genealogy, no beginning or end. In light of this let’s look at the priestly calling upon Jesus in Hebrews 5. “Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. 3This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.
4No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was. 5So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him,
“You are my Son; today I have become your Father.”
6And he says in another place, “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”
7During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.”
Now Jesus is declared by the Father to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek. In reality Jesus was also the fulfillment of the Levitcal priesthood as well, which was the type and shadow or the figure of what was to come. The Levitial priesthood typified the spiritual role that we have as priests, but no longer after the Levitical order, but after the order of Melchizedek, an everlasting priesthood.
What does that look like for us as the spiritual priests of God under the high priest and king, Jesus? This could become quite extensive, but I believe God wants to really introduce many of us to the concept that we are His priests. For instance, Thayer’s Lexicon gives these qualifications for priests: Implies divine choice, implies representation, implies offering sacrifice, implies intercession.
We have seen that clearly, God has chosen us as His royal priesthood from our introductory scripture and Peter goes on to expound this in 1 Peter 2:9-10. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” Revelation 5:6 also declares, “He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.”
Now that we know who we are it is important that we realize that this constitutes that we are God’s representatives on the earth. We carry and represent His holiness. We host His holy presence in our mortal beings. This is that representation that is another aspect of the qualification of a priest.
A priest is an agent that reconciles God and man. In 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 Paul tells us, ” Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” A priest is an ambassador that brings two opposing parties together. We take man’s hand in our one hand and God’s hand in our other and we join the two together. That is our reconciling priestly ministry.
This office implies sacrifice. We no longer offer the blood of bulls and goats, because Jesus is now that fulfillment of sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. Even as Jesus gave himself, we commit as Romans 12 says, to ‘offer ourselves a living a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable to God which is our reasonable service’. We are as Isaiah in Isaiah 6:8, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
We are the priestly agents of His service.
Lastly I will touch on the final qualification that Thayer gave for a priest. It was intercession. As priests we stand in the gap for others just as the example our high priest and king sets for us in Hebrews 7:25, “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” Because we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and the prayers of a righteous man availeth much we enter into intercession for others as a part of that priestly office and anointing that we carry.
Only the priests were able to wear the garments of beauty and glory that were typified by their office. They minister before the Most High and carry that ministry out to the people. In Christ, as His priest, we make up that bridge that joins heaven and earth and we bring the kingdom of heaven into the earth. Never take for granted the great and holy calling that you have and carry upon your life. You are His royal priests.

Blessings,
#kent

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The Death that Defiles Us


Haggai 2: 10-19

10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Haggai: 11 “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Ask the priests what the law says: 12 If a person carries consecrated meat in the fold of his garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, oil or other food, does it become consecrated?’ ”

The priests answered, “No.”

13 Then Haggai said, “If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?” “Yes,” the priests replied, “it becomes defiled.”

14 Then Haggai said, ” ‘So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,’ declares the LORD. ‘Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled.

15 ” ‘Now give careful thought to this from this day on —consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the LORD’s temple. 16 When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. 17 I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not turn to me,’ declares the LORD. 18 ‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid. Give careful thought: 19 Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit.

” ‘From this day on I will bless you.’ ”


The Book of Haggai is written during a time when a remnant of Israel has returned from their Babylonian captivity.  They have returned to a devastated Jerusalem and a former glorious temple of Solomon that now lies in ruin.  The Spirit of the Lord is stirring up the people through the prophet Haggai to come together and rebuild the temple.  Up till this time every one has pretty much been to themselves and only concerned with their own welfare and building back their own houses.

Our scripture today may not make a lot of sense to a lot of us, but I felt compelled to share a few spiritual truths from it.  This analogy that the Lord is giving is about those things which sanctify and those things which defile.  First He is saying that just because a priest has sanctified meat or meat that had been offered on the altar and it touches some other food or drink does that mean this other substance becomes sanctified.  For instance, spiritually speaking, you carry around in you the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.  For He has said, “ except you eat of my flesh and drink of my blood you have not life in you.”  Therefore by faith we are partakers of God’s holy sacrifice, Jesus, and as such carry Him in our spiritual garments.  Does that mean that every life that we touch becomes sanctified and redeemed because we have touched them?  No, they have to come into a personal relationship with Christ by faith and partake of the Christ for themselves. It doesn’t just rub off of us onto someone else.

The same is not true concerning the contact with a dead body.  Anyone touching a dead body became defiled by it.  Then Haggai reminds the people that before one stone was laid on another in the Lord’s temple when anyone came to a heap of twenty measures there were only ten and whenever they went to the wine vat to draw fifty measures there was only twenty.  How many times have we came to lay hold of the life and substance of Christ and His Spirit and we have come up short?  We haven’t found the fullness and the substance that we needed.  How many times have we experienced want, or need or adversity instead of blessing?  “You did not turn to Me, declares the Lord.”  The law of sin and death around us has defiled us.  So many of us are still trying to live out of that life or else we are allowing it to touch and contaminate us.  We are in Christ, but Christ has not been fully formed in us.  This is why we must come together in the unity of the body of Christ to rebuild the true temple and tabernacle of God whom we are.  Too long we have been contented to abide in our “ceiled houses” our own denominations, doctrines and religious houses, ideologies and thinking.  God is calling us to come out of the defilement of flesh and spirit and come together to build His house.  What we see in the world today has little to do with His true house.  What we see is a fragmented bunch of religious people, many of whom are into it for their own profit and gain.  The world is seeing people that call themselves by the name of Christ and yet they are dishonest, unreliable, backbiting, slanderous and many other things that shouldn’t even be named among us. We have become a mockery of His holiness.  We are a defiled people.  We are defiled by the world and defiled by a dead religion still operating under the principles of sin and death, rather than life and peace in Christ Jesus.  Where is Christ really seen and glorified in all of this?  His true temple lies in ruin, but He is calling forth a people to build it again.  He tells us that when we put His house first there will be blessing.  Where you haven’t seen fruit before you will begin to see fruit as the Lord is lifted up and His house is built.  How is the house of God built?  Christ has to be formed in us.  He has to be not only our habitation, but also our expression in this life.  It is not just about believing in Jesus; the faith has to become substance and Christ wants to be the substance of your life and of His entire house.  The Spirit of God will build the house as we come together in the unity of the Spirit and the love of Christ to join hands and hearts and be ONE in Him.  Christ is not divided; He is ONE Man, ONE Lord, ONE Spirit and ONE Baptism.   If we will separate ourselves from the defilement of this world, from religion and dead works, if we will consecrate ourselves to His work, we will see blessings in areas that we have never seen them before.  He has called us to build HIS HOUSE!

7But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” 9(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”  (Ephesians 4:7-13)

 

Blessings,

kent

I Shall Not Be Moved

October 16, 2013

I Shall Not Be Moved

Psalms 62:2&6

He only [is] my rock and my salvation: [he is] my defence; I shall not be moved.

When any of us go to build a house or a structure the fundamental issue is to build it on a solid foundation. We not only have to consider the foundation itself, but also the soil conditions of where that foundation is setting. If the soil is expansive it could swell and crack our foundation and our structure. If it is unstable and not solid, it could settle and do the same thing. If the soil is to sandy or shifting, again our house is at risk, so the foundation has as much to do with the soil conditions as it does the footing our structure is built upon.

Spiritually we must use much of the same logic when we make the decision about how to build our lives. We want our lives to be secure and stable. We want our belief system to be solid and basically unchanging. We know that as we mature in Christ and in our understanding that many things will change in the way we think and view things, but there are certain principles and fundamental truths that should not change. They are our foundation. The stability of our whole house rest upon our foundation. We are not moved, because our foundation is not moved. When our house was built that foundation became the fundamental part of our house. It is not separate, but is a key component of the house.

The Word teaches us that Christ is the Rock, the spiritual cornerstone of his temple, which we are. The reason we will not be moved is because of who He is, an unmovable, unchanging Lord and God who is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). When our lives are rooted and grounded in Christ then we become a very stable people because we know whom we are, where come from and where we are going. We have purpose and direction in our lives. We know we have resources that the world does not have, because our strength comes from the Lord. David, in Psalms 62 in verses 7 and 8, goes on to say, “In God [is] my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, [and] my refuge, [is] in God. Trust in him at all times; [ye] people, pour out your heart before him: God [is] a refuge for us. Selah.” David had come to know, as we must, that life can be very unstable and undependable, but God is not. Our stability and security is in Him who is our strength and our refuge.

Many of us are prone to compromise concerning our faith and the values we get from God’s Word. If we continue down this path without correcting our course and getting back on spiritual track then our house starts to lean and deteriorate. It is not because our foundation is bad, but because we have left it and started building on unstable ground that is sure to bring us to a disastrous and destructive end. Where are you building your house and your life today? Is it built on the uncertainty and instability of the world or have you made the stand that, “I shall not be moved”. Is your confidence, faith and reliance solely upon the Lord and His strength, life and faithfulness as your foundation? We know there is not a problem with Christ the foundation, so if something is moving, shifting, settling, falling, check what your foundation is. Jesus gave us the parable in Matthew 7:24-27, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” It is not what we hear and know that makes for a sure foundation, it is what we “do with what we hear and know” that determines if we stand or if we fall.

Blessings,

kent

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