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 Perfect Storm

March 18, 2015

The Perfect Storm

Nahum 1:3
The LORD [is] slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit [the wicked]: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds [are] the dust of his feet.

Most all of us are familiar with storms in our lives. They often come at the most inopportune time and places. In the natural, over the course of the last few years we have seen numerous and devastating storms strike places all over the earth. When our perfect storm comes, that storm of storms or even the smaller ones that we face, how are we prepared to face our storm? Obviously if you see a tornado is approaching your home, you are not going to go out and shake your fist or beat it back or turn its course with any natural means. You know that in your natural self you are no match for such forces of nature. In the natural you would be a fool to try. You know that your greatest chance for survival is to seek shelter in a safe place. When the storms of life come we are going to seek our refuge and fortress from the storm not in natural places, but in the God we know and trust.
Psalms 91 is such a place of refuge for the believer. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. 9 If you make the Most High your dwelling— even the LORD, who is my refuge- 10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. 14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Unfortunately, for many the Lord is like that lifeboat on a ship, the only time it gets used is when the ship is sinking. We don’t want our God to be our lifeboat; we want Him to be our life ship, the place where we continually abide. We have seen great storms come upon the earth, but they are but a shadow of what the last days hold and what will be unleashed upon the earth. The Lord tells us that earth is in travail and the natural is just a precursor to the spiritual. Our storms up to this time have been to prepare us and to teach us who our refuge and shelter is, but when that perfect storm comes who will abide the day of His wrath? Our peace, our refuge, our safety and our assurance is in knowing our God intimately and personally.
What did Jesus tell His disciples in the storm of Mark 4:37-41? “And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God”, but faith is also developed through exercise and experience. These same disciples that feared for their lives in the storm with Jesus in the boat are the same ones that bore testimony of Him resulting in their martyrdom and death. The preservation of our natural lives is not always our greatest concern. What we want to protect and preserve at all cost is our relationship and trust in Christ. Eventually, the natural man will perish in most every man, but the man of the Spirit, is the one that must be preserved. Our faith must stay in tact at all cost!
What is important is that when the perfect storm comes we know, not just with our head, but with our heart and every fiber of our being, who our Redeemer and Refuge is. No matter what happens outwardly, on Jesus Christ, the solid rock we stand!

Blessings,
#kent

The River of God

February 6, 2014

 

The River of God


Revelations 22:1-2

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, [was there] the tree of life, which bare twelve [manner of] fruits, [and] yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree [were] for the healing of the nations. 

 

I believe that through the ages of time there runs a river of life from the throne of God and of the Lamb.  It is a river of Truth and Revelation that God is unfolding to mankind as it flows to the consummation of the ages.  Christ, the Lamb of God, is the greatest truth this river has brought to mankind.  We know that He indeed is the Tree of Life that was there even in the Garden of Eden.  This river has ever been a source of blessing and spiritual fruitfulness.  Psalms 46:2-5 says, “Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; [Though] the waters thereof roar [and] be troubled, [though] the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. [There is] a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy [place] of the tabernacles of the most High. God [is] in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, [and that] right early.”  It is my prayer that you have been baptized and immersed in that river today, that you are, in fact, the wellspring of the life that is in that river.  That river is not a natural one, but that of the Spirit of God that flows through humanity in the lives of those who are yielded to Him.  When we are in the center of His Life we are in that river.  Jesus says in John 7:38, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers ofliving water.”   

It is producing the fruitfulness of the Spirit in your life.  There is a divine dispensation of that tree of Life in the midst of the river.  It yielded its fruit every month.  Through the Word of God and over time we have seen God revealing Himself more and more to man.  The greatest revelation has been in the revelation of Himself through the incarnate man Christ Jesus.  In Christ we see what God looks like in the flesh, how He acts and the fruit of His life.  We caught the vision and experienced the revelation of His grace and salvation through His blood.  When all around is shaken and moved we still have a river that makes glad the city of God.  

Through the church age we have seen different marked times when God would raise up and an individual or individuals through whom He would reveal a greater truth about Himself.  The greatest tragedy we see in this is not that the truths were not real and precious, but men built a doctrine and a religion around that truth, it became a source of exclusiveness where they saw themselves a little more right and perhaps a little more godly than others.  So they established churches, denominations and schools around that particular doctrine of truth.  Today we see all these denominations and we wonder can they all be right or which one is right?  God is not “a” doctrine or “a” truth, He is “the” Truth. The River of Truth that is never stagnant or still, but continues to flow and reveal itself in greater truth. The denominations have become the product of man’s work that have served to often splinter and divide the body of Christ rather that which causes it to function in unity and oneness as God purposed it too. If this is where you see your life today 1 John 2:27 says, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye neednot that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”  It is not to say that churches aren’t good and that we can’t learn from other men, but don’t relinquish the teacher you have within you, the anointing that is leading you into truth as you abide in Him.  This is your River.  We don’t want to find ourselves in the little eddy by the side of the river that just flows round and round but never goes anywhere new.  We want to be out in the depths of the river moving and continually growing in the swell of its Truth.  As part of that mainstream of the River of God we carry the fruit and fruitfulness of the Tree of Life for the healing of the nations.  You are the leaves and the fruit of the Vine.  It is through you and me that God is manifesting His Life and Truth to the world today through the Life giving and revealing Spirit of Truth within us.  We are not to be a stagnant pond of ‘has beens” who once experienced God and know about God, but are not experiencing Him in power and fullness.  If this sounds too much like you then it is time to wade back out into the River and experience the baptism of renewal and refreshing that the Holy Spirit brings.  Come alive and be a part of the pure crystal waters and a part of the tree of Life for the healing of the nations.  Our God is a dynamic force.  He is never stale, stagnant or complacent, but is always moving.  Get in His current and let it carry you to the places of Life in Him He wants to take you.

 
blessings,
kent
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