Presentation on theme: "Looking for Something More? Register now to hear Peter Barfoot World-travelled Australian minister Author “The Return of the Royal Priesthood” and “Faith:"— Presentation transcript:
Looking for Something More? Register now to hear Peter Barfoot World-travelled Australian minister Author “The Return of the Royal Priesthood” and “Faith: God’s Gift to the Human Heart” Managing Director The Morningside Trust (Est. 1972) Senior Pastor (32 years) Ormiston Christian Faith Church (Founded 1978)
"You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. So if you will truly obey my voice, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to me above all people: for all the earth is mine. And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.“ (Exodus 19:4-6)
_______________________ _________________ The offer was conditional on Israel keeping the covenant. Otherwise they would forfeit the special relationship that God promised them, and the privileges. God intended that the firstborn son of every family would be a priest and Israel “a kingdom of priests.” (Exodus 19:6) But Israel sinned at Mt Sinai, so the priesthood was given to the tribe of Levi instead. (Exodus 32:25-29)
The firstborn sons of Israel numbered 22,273 at the time. Every home would have had its own priest to pray on behalf of his own flesh and blood, as Job had done. (Job 1:4-5) An opportunity lost! (Numbers 3:44-45; 8:14-19; Deuteronomy 33:8-11) But God’s priests are now back where they belong—at home, in the family!
Every Believer is a Priest The Royal Priesthood is not a special group in the Church. It is a priesthood of all true believers, neither Jew nor Gentile, who form “the Israel of God.” (Romans 3:28-29; Galatians 6:16) The Royal Priesthood is not like the Priesthood that ministered Law. It is after the manner of Melchizedek, who portrayed the priestly ministry of Jesus Christ. (Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 7:11)
Who was Melchizedek? He was a king-priest who brought bread and wine and blessed Abram after he had rescued Lot from invaders, and recovered the goods stolen from the king of Sodom. The king of Sodom offered to give Abram the recovered goods but he refused them, having sworn an oath to “the LORD, the Most High, the possessor of heaven and earth” not to accept a thing, lest the king of Sodom claim he had made Abram rich. (Genesis 14:17-23)
The two offices were again joined when the LORD instructed Zechariah the prophet to enthrone and crown the priest Joshua. (Zechariah 6) “The man who is the BRANCH” was to “grow out of the stump of David.” Jesus the Son of David will restore the kingdom to Israel on his return.
Melchizedek portrayed Christ Jesus is “a high priest after the order of (manner of) Melchizedek.” (Heb. 7) He comes to bless us between victory and temptation. He provides the bread which is his body, and the wine which is his blood. This provision enables us to refuse the world’s offers and to rely instead only on “the Most High God, the Possessor of heaven and earth.”
“Royal Priesthood” is a contradiction: the offices of king and priest were separate in Israel. But they were joined prophetically when King David placed the Ark of the Covenant in a tent in Jerusalem and “offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.” (1 Sam. 6:17-18) The tent of Moses remained at Gibeon until the time of Solomon. The Church is the tent of David, not the tent of Moses. (Acts 15)
The Royal Priesthood ministers to God. (Acts 13:2) Jesus is the High Priest of our confession, repeating our confession to the Father. (Hebrews 3:1, 4:14, 10:23; 2 Corinthians 9:13; 1 Timothy 6:12-13; Mark 11:23; Matthew 8:9; 26-27; Matthew 5:33-37 ) Every true believer in Christ is a Royal Priest, not just those who think that God regards them with special favour.
The spiritual offerings of Royal priests include sacrifices of praise (Hebrews 13:16) and money to help believers in need. (Acts 11:28-30) The Macedonian churches excelled in sacrificial giving in times of suffering. (2 Cor. 8:1-5; Phil. 4:10-19) The church at Philippi supported Paul sacrificially, and received God’s blessing in return.
More to come! Session 3: The Role of a Royal Priest
The practical work of a Royal Priest is offering spiritual sacrifices to God. My definition of “spiritual sacrifices” is “the offering to God of a secular thing in a sacred act.”
Examples of spiritual sacrifice: A wife remains in a loveless marriage so that her husband will have every opportunity to be saved. (1 Cor. 7:13-16) A young teenager whose unbelieving parents refuse to let him attend a youth group offers “a sacrifice of praise” to God in his bedroom. (Eph. 6:1-2)
I ncense signified prayer. It was burnt on hot coals taken to the altar of incense from the altar of burnt offerings. The fire on the sacrificial altar burned continually. It was never permitted to go out. The acceptance of the incense was dependent on the virtue of the sacrifice offered on the altar of burnt offerings. (Acts 16)
Spiritual Sacrifices: Sacrifice of Christ’s offering of himself for us. (Ephesians 5:2) Sacrifice with Drink Offering (libation) poured out on it. (Philippians 2:17) Sacrifice of Giving (Philippians 4:18) Sacrifice of Praise (Hebrews 13:15) Sacrifices of Good Deeds, and Care for those in need. (Hebrews 13:16) Sacrifice of ministry achievements. (Romans 15:16)
Paul was a Royal Priest. (Romans 15:16) The temple priests offered incense to God while people prayed outside. (Luke 1:8-10) Royal Priests offer prayers in the temple of the Holy Spirit—their own bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) Royal Priests offer perpetual prayers on hot coals of continual sacrifice.
Paul sought the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings and conformity to his death. (Phil. 3:7-10) He “died daily” to life. (1 Corinthians 15:31) He rejoiced in his sufferings for the church. (Col. 1:24) He bore in his body the “marks” of his Lord. (Galatians 6:17) His desire was not a death-wish but a priest’s wish to sacrifice all for others. (Romans 9:1-3)
Welcome back! Session 4: The Heart of our High Priest
(1) A true friend must be as real as the rest of his brothers. Not someone who doesn’t know what it is like to be fully human. (Hebrews 2:14-18) Jesus Christ is no angel: he is better than that! He is our elder brother. Angels are curious about us but Jesus is one of us. Though tempted “in all points”—in every way possible—he did not sin. Jesus understands us!
(2) A true friend builds you up, never puts you down. Most friends want you to build them up. God has raised us with Jesus and seated us with him in heavenly places—no better position! Jesus builds us into his household, the Church. It is a house of love and unconditional acceptance, not one of rules and regulations. (Hebrews 3:6)
(3) A true friend is not critical of weak points, knowing we all have some. Most critics are blind to their own faults. Jesus had his Father’s perfect nature and was a flawless human. Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves, and offers his perfection to God, not our imperfections. He was declared by Pilate to be the spotless Lamb of God. (John 18:38; 19:4, 6)
(4) A true friend would have learned from hurtful experiences. Some who’ve been hurt seek to get close to another hurt person to feel better about themselves. (“I know what you are feeling—I’ve been through worse!”) Jesus learned obedience through suffering. He ministers out of maturity, not out of a need to feel good. He is a mature Son who is now the author of eternal salvation to all those who obey him. God has given him the title of High Priest. (Hebrews 5:8-10)
(5) A true friend would be a friend forever, through good and bad times. Eternity is timeless, and it’s all good! Meantime, Jesus is able to save to the uttermost (the farthest point) those who come to God by him, seeing that he lives forever to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:25) Jesus is our friend through Time and into Eternity!
It’s one thing to know that the Lord Jesus Christ, who is "the Paramount Prince of the kings of the earth” has made us “a kingdom of priests unto his God and Father." (Rev. 1:5-6) It's another thing for those who are "called into His kingdom and glory" (I Thess. 2:12) to "walk worthy" of their high calling. (Revelation 3:4)
What made them worthy? They kept themselves clean by choosing not to hang around with dirty people. None of us were worthy to be saved, but our choice of friends and other lifestyle choices make us worthy of the robes we were given when we were saved. The first Christians conquered their dirty world, and we can conquer ours!
We need to be clear on certain things if we are to see ourselves in the role of Royal Priests, as distinct from traditional priests who perform religious rites, or pastoral workers. These relate to why God called us, and to our responsibilities.
The truth is God doesn't need us—He chose us! If He needed us, then those sad memorial notices saying that God took someone home to heaven because He was lonely would be true. But God is complete in Himself and needs nothing at all from us—not even our love in return for His. (Acts 17:24-25) God deems us valuable, and loves us because he has created us for Himself. It’s that simple.
In the Greek of Acts 17:25 the word translated "worshipped" means "to minister" [as a servant]. Our ministry to God, whatever its form—praise, thanksgiving, worship—is not offered because God has needs. He hasn't! The need to be needed is very human, and is only wrong when we use it in an effort to gain God’s acceptance.
We are not loved because we fill a gap in the heart of God but because He has chosen to bestow His love upon us by adopting us as His beloved children. He has enough love for every one who is born of His Spirit. All of God’s children share equally in the abundant love of their heavenly Father.
It is not uncommon for an individual who has experienced sincere love during a mission abroad to want to go back and minister to the needs of the people, not realizing that the amount of love they received there had ministered to their own need. The love within an extended family in the Philippines is more than sufficient to encompass a few visitors! Who had been ministered to the most? More than likely the more prosperous but love-starved, team member!
The love and acceptance of villagers for a mission team member who has never known (or has been deprived of) family affection can be a little overwhelming.
If we are to minister effectively as Royal Priests, we need to be sure we are reaching out to heal others, not to heal our own hidden hurts. Knowing that "we love Him because He first loved us”—that our love for God is in fact a response to His love for us— we require no love in return for the love we show others. It is very important that all who serve are not just ministering to their own needs.
In the parable of the Evil Tenant-farmers Jesus accused the Jews of beating and killing the prophets—the “servants of the “householder.” The parable was a prophecy of his murder and the judgement that would follow (in AD 70). (Matthew 21:38-39) The leaders of the Jews correctly perceived that Jesus was referring to them. (Matthew 21:45 & 8:12)
The next parable told by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew—written for Jewish readers—is the parable of the Wedding Feast. The focus shifts from the killing of the prophets and the crucifixion of Jesus, to the judgement on Jerusalem, the exclusion of those who refuse the invitation to the Wedding Feast, and the open invitation to anyone who will accept the invitation. (Matthew 22)
The Householder of the first parable is portrayed in the second as a king. Instead of the “evil tenant-farmers" there are invited guests who prove themselves “unworthy” by refusing the king’s invitation. He burns their city and invites outsiders, instead. The "servants" sent forth with invitations to the marriage of the king's son are the twelve apostles.
Matthew 21:43 links Exodus 19:5-6 to 1 Peter 2:5-10. Without this verse, which states that the kingdom would be taken from the Jews and given to a people who would bring forth fruit, we might well accept the Dispensational Frontier Theory (still popular among some evangelical groups). This states that after the Jews rejected Jesus and the apostles, the kingdom was “held in suspension” until the return of Jesus Christ, when the Jews will receive it.
This theory robs the Church of the power of the Holy Spirit, experienced by believers throughout the Book of Acts. No power, no spiritual gifts (they were “withdrawn” when the kingdom was rejected by the Jews). The Dispensational Frontier Theory would have us believe that the kingdom is reserved for the Jews – Christians are blessed with “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places” but are not blessed with power to heal the sick on earth.
Where are you now, on your spiritual journey? Are you satisfied with where you are, or do you wish to go on? Will you accept your role as a Royal Priest by presenting your body to God as a Living Sacrifice? (Romans 9:1 and 12:1)