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

The Corner of God and Man

October 12, 2012

The Corner of God and Man

Mark 12:10
And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner:

A corner is a point where two lines meet usually at about a ninety-degree angle. There is an intersection in our lives where we have to make a choice about which way to turn and the direction we want our lives to go. A few of us will make the corner and head up through the straight gate up a steep and narrow incline called the “way of Life”. Most will turn the other way and head down the wide and popular road which leads to destruction, as Matthew 7:13 tells us, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.” It is at this intersection of God and Man that life and death choices are made. That intersection is also known as the cross of Calvary where one man, the Son of man and the Son of God, was nailed to become that intersection for mankind. His arms were stretched out to all of mankind to say, “I love you this much and I’ll pay the price for sin and I’ll shed the blood required that you might enter in.” The way up through the straight gate that leads to life is through this man Jesus who became the open gate to heaven and eternal life.
When a building is built, again the corner is the key to the building’s strength, integrity and longevity to stand and weather the storms that will come against it. The corner stone is that key foundational stone upon which the rest of the building is supported and stands. Jesus was the Messiah, the corner stone that Israel needed to complete a spiritual temple built unto the Lord. They were content and set upon the former things: the law, the traditions, the ceremony, and the hierarchy of the religious system. So when Jesus came, the fulfillment of what they had hoped for and waited upon, promised by the prophets, they missed it. They rejected the cornerstone of their salvation. The natural mind can become so set in it’s tradition and order of doing things, that it doesn’t want to accept that God might have a new order of doing things. We, as Christians can fall into this same mindset of our religious traditions, because it is comfortable and familiar. Be careful that we don’t also reject the moving of the Holy Spirit as He moves on to greater dimensions of truth and revelation for the Church. The Spirit of God is not stationary and stagnant. He is a dynamic moving force. If we want to reject God’s way and build our own building with the works of our hands, the sweat of our brow, then we can do that. Israel, as a whole, is still doing that. 1 Peter 2: 4 says of this rejection, “And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, [even to them] which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” When we enter into the building that God is building we enter into a temple not made with hands. It is being fashioned and built by the Spirit of God upon the chief cornerstone of Christ Jesus. We are the lively stones that make up its walls. “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ (1Peter 2:5).” He is the cornerstone, which the world, secular religion and His own people rejected. 1 Peter 2:6-10 goes on to tell us, “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe [he is] precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, [even to them] which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past [were] not a people, but [are] now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”
That corner we turned back at God and Man was a right turn that is taking us not up the easiest road, but it is the high road that leads to life and godliness. When we made that decision and as we continue on in that decision we are becoming a part of God’s house and His household. It was and still is the best corner we ever turned.

Blessings,
kent

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