The City of our God

October 9, 2015

The City of our God

Psalms 48:1-3
Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain. 2 It is beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth. Like the utmost heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King. 3 God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress.

Most of us understand the concept that when we talk about the church we are not just speaking of physical locations made up of sticks and stones and building material. We know that when God speaks of His church He is speaking of the organism and a body that functions under the headship and authority of Christ. The city of God and Zion are the same way. Yes there is a natural Jerusalem and Mount Zion, but it is much more than a physical location; it is a spiritual location. Many of us have become so earthly minded that we only see Jerusalem in a natural context. We fail to fully comprehend that this city is comprised of His people and that King Jesus is upon its throne, ruling out of mount Zion. Mount Zion was in the older part of the natural city of Jerusalem. It was a citadel, a high place and a fortress. It included Mount Moriah where the temple was built. God has used Jerusalem and Zion as a metaphor throughout His word to speak of the spiritual city of His holy habitation.
Hebrews 11:8-10 says, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as [in] a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker [is] God.” God founded this city of salvation in Abraham. It was there that God sent Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Genesis 22:2 says, “And he said, Take now thy son, thine only [son] Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” It was Mount Moriah where Solomon built the temple. “Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in Mount Moriah, where [the LORD] appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. (2 Chronicles 3:1)” It was in Jerusalem that God fulfilled His promise of salvation because it became again the place of the sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son when Jesus gave His life for our sins. And finally we see Jerusalem, not the old natural city, but the New Jerusalem which is from above, as being the completion of God’s salvation at Christ’s return. Revelations 21:2 tells us, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” This is Lord’s church, His Bride, His holy habitation and dwelling. You and I are a part of that now as Christ indwells us. The Word speaks to this heavenly Jerusalem in Hebrews 12:22-24, “But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” This Jerusalem is a spiritual city and assembly whose builder and maker is God. The natural has been the type and shadow to reveal the real.
Finally we come to a scripture that we have shared many times that so describes the part we play in this city. 1 Peter 2:4-9 says, “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. 6For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 7Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone, 8and, “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. 9But 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.” We, the body of Christ are what constitutes and comprises this New Jerusalem. Out of this New Jerusalem the Lord will reign and govern the earth. Truly, “great is the Lord and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion on the sides of the north, the city of the Great King!” (Psalms 48:1)

blessings,
#kent

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 Joshua Ministry

March 4, 2015

Zechariah 3
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. 2 The LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”
3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4 The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”
Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.”
5 Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the LORD stood by.
6 The angel of the LORD gave this charge to Joshua: 7 “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.
8 ” ‘Listen, O high priest Joshua and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. 9 See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.
10 ” ‘In that day each of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and fig tree,’ declares the LORD Almighty.”

The Joshua Ministry

Zechariah is plainly a book of symbolism, type and shadow. Here we see Joshua, which is the Hebrew word for Jesus. We see in him the anti-type of fallen Adam. We see in him the redemption, salvation and the transformation of the Lord. He represents the priesthood of God, God’s holy nation. In this vision and revelation showed to Joshua we see his state the same as our own as he is standing before the angel of the Lord. We also see the accuser, satan, right next to him telling and declaring how unworthy he is. We, like Joshua, are those burning sticks snatched from the fire by God’s infinite grace and mercy. We, like Joshua, have stood before the Lord dressed in the filthy garments of our flesh and own unrighteousness. What we see next is what the Lord is declaring and doing in His in-Christed ones; those He has set apart unto Himself. Our filthy garments have been removed. Our sins and sinfulness have been taken away and in their place we are now dressed in the rich garments of Christ’s righteousness, honor and glory. Upon our head is put on us a clean turban, which is the renewed and regenerated mind of Christ, thinking always upon those things above.
Next the Lord has given Joshua, and if you can receive it, you as well, this charge: “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.” The Lord has given to Joshua and to us the garments of royalty and righteousness. But our charge is to walk in God’s integrity and hold fast the ways of the Lord, for He has called us to be governors and rulers over His house and His courts.
In verse eight, the Lord tells Joshua that he is symbolic of the things to come. He then speaks of bringing His servant the branch which we know to be Christ Jesus, that came as a shoot out of the root of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1). He is the chief cornerstone. We see this passage brought to light by what Peter shares in 1 Peter 2:4-10, “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. 6For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 7Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,” 8and, “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
9But 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.” Through Christ we see all sin removed from our land in a single day. We will invite our neighbors to come sit under our vine and fig tree. We invite them to sit under the anointing and ministry the Lord has brought into our lives. There, men are brought into the light of God’s truth and filled with the knowledge of Him.
We have a holy calling upon us. With the eyes of the Spirit we must see it and with God’s heart we must embrace it. The mandate that was upon Joshua, now rest upon us who will hear and receive it by faith. We must realize and receive in our inner most being that it is not the outward that we live for and are destined too; it is the high calling that we have in Christ Jesus. This is that Joshua ministry. Who among us will hear that call and respond to it today?

Blessings,
#kent

His Temple

February 24, 2015

2 Chronicles 6:18-21
“But will God really dwell on earth with men? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! 19 Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, O LORD my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence. 20 May your eyes be open toward this temple day and night, this place of which you said you would put your Name there. May you hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 21 Hear the supplications of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive.”

His Temple

Solomon referred to the temple, which he had built and dedicated to the Lord. We know that in time that temple was destroyed, but it was but the shadow of the temple that God was building for His habitation and dwelling. 1 Corinthians 6:17-18 says, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” We so often take for granted who we are in Christ and loose spiritual sight of what God has created us to be. The church is no longer about buildings and glorious edifices built to the glory of God. God is not interested in inhabiting wood and stone. He is interested in inhabiting human spirits and souls. When He does come within our hearts and makes His abode with us, He wants us to realize that our body is no longer our own, but His habitation. Holiness and righteousness has entered in. No longer is this body for our glory, but for His. All of these bodies, now sanctified unto Christ are built and joined together in Him. 1 Peter 2:4-5 says, “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you 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.” We are the building blocks of God spiritual temple and His life. We are living stones that are an organism formed of God, living and breathing in the earth to express Him and be His habitation.
1 Peter 1: 15-17 says, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” Holiness has come and taken up residence within us. The Father is reminding us that we are no longer common or unclean, but the blood of the Lamb has sanctified us. As God’s sanctified and redeemed ones we have the responsibility to recognize that we are His holy vessels and live accordingly unto His glory. God warns us about what we do with our bodies and what we join them with. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
17″Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” 18″I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
This is what the Lord is speaking unto us in this hour, to come apart and be separated unto Him. We are not of this world. Our values and purpose do not coincide with the values and purpose of this world. He is telling us to take note, we are not our own, but we have been bought with a price. We have been purchased and set apart unto God for His purposes and for His glory. That is our destiny and calling. We must be careful that we do not dishonor Him by not fully respecting and living according to His holy life that indwells us. Our God is a jealous God and He has set us apart for Himself. Our body is His temple and we must honor Him in it in all of our ways and living. He is the Lord God and He will not share His glory with another. Honor yourselves as His holy temple and live your lives accordingly.

Blessings,
#kent

Precious Stones

October 3, 2014

Precious Stones

Zechariah 9:6
And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they [shall be as] the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land.

Stones are used throughout the Word of God to represent a natural occurring element as opposed to one that are fashioned by the work of men’s hands. Precious stones have always been a sign of wealth and most often associated with kings or used in the Lord’s service, such as in the ephod of the priests.
What kind of stones do we suppose the Lord would use to build His house? Would they be common or ordinary rocks or would they be smooth, polished and precious stones? 1 Peter 2:5 says, “you 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.” Understand that if God has chosen you out and is using you to build His house, then obviously you must be pretty precious. We often don’t see ourselves and how precious we are in the sight of God, because we see only the raw materials, but God sees the finished work. With God there is a process of us being built into a spiritual house and becoming His spiritual priest hood. God is removing the temporal in us and replacing it with the eternal. What is being developed and formed in us will stand the test of time and more importantly it will stand the test of the fire of God, because we have been fashioned and formed through the fire. Stones are elements created under pressure and it is the pressure that God allows in our lives that proves us, that deals with the temporal and causes us to lay hold upon the eternal. In place of our natural mind we put on the mind of Christ. That mind is revealed to us as we lay hold of the Word of God by faith and walk it into our reality. Our vision is not fixed on the earth and that which is quickly passing away, it is fixed upon the eternal that can only be realized and appropriated as we walk by the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 3: 11-16 tells us this, “11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
16Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” While God desires to fashion us for His purpose and His temple, how are we working together with Him concerning the material we provide to fashion our spiritual lives. Are we providing and using corruptible and perishable materials or are we using eternal principles and materials to build our lives in Christ. The Day will reveal the stones as they are put through the fire. All that has been formed of perishable and natural things will be consumed in us and only that which of the imperishable precious things of God’s redemption, nature, and the wisdom and knowledge of His life in us will stand the test.
God is building a house with precious lively stones. Let us do all to make sure that we are the stones fashioned in His image; building our individual temples and lives upon the firm foundation of Jesus Christ.

Blessings,
#kent

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