Hey BCU family!
As usual, you are welcome to listen to the podcast (by clicking on the icon), read the written transcript, or both, either way, be blessed through listening and obeying the Word of God!
Before we get started, I was thinking, with the things going on today—the foolishness in the news, unholy alliances, calling the wrong right/right wrong, and our own personal trials, we NEED to know the Word of God and to purpose in our hearts to get and stay grounded (attached to the Foundation, who is Jesus) and rooted (like a tree planted by the water—nourished and strong) by knowing who God says we are so we can STAY upright when the storms of life come and the winds of adversity blow.
No longer condemned
Walkers in the Spirit
Sons/Children of God
We are heirs/joint heirs
The called according to His purpose
More than conquerors
Not separated by the Love of God
Last time, we looked at I Peter 2:9 and covered “a chosen generation”. God calls us CHOSEN! Chosen for the rendering of special service to God. And that special service included a look at Naomi, who God CHOSE and used to lead Ruth to Him, her new husband, Boaz who subsequently became the great-great-grandparents of King David (Ruth 4:22) and were named in the lineage of Christ in Matthew 1.
God also calls up EQUIPPED. We looked at Moses, a palace kid, who killed someone and was a fugitive (Exodus 2)—yet God called him to lead the Israelites out of bondage.
For those who are more background people, God CHOSE you, too! Exodus chapter 1 tells of two midwives Shiprah and Puah, who were instructed by the king to KILL male Israelite babies after they were delivered. The women disobeyed the king’s ordered and were duly rewarded by God. They were the CHOSEN and CALLED according to His purpose. No matter what God calls you to do—in front or behind the scenes, it all IMPORTANT. Not always easy, pleasant, without tears or hurt sometimes, but nonetheless you are a VITAL role in the Body of Christ!
Referring to our Scripture text from I Peter 2:9, but you are a chosen generation, a royal; priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people who should show forth the praises of Him who brought you out of darkness into His marvelous light, let’s concentrate on the second phrase—because God calls us–a royal priesthood.
This stems back to Exodus 19, after the Israelites left Egypt and were camped in the wilderness. After talking with God, Moses was to tell the people, “you’ve seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I brought you out on eagle’s wings, and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will obey my voice, in truth and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure into me above ALL people for the earth is mine. And you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation (Exodus 19:4-5).
Let’s pause here. This should resonate with us, because did not God bring us out of our bondage to sin? Did we groan with the heavy burden the hard taskmaster of what our former sinful lives were like? Were we not SLAVES to sin? Entangled? When we were tired of the party, being broken, feeling empty and burdened, we came to the altar, were saved according to Acts 2:38, and God brought us out on eagle’s wings to Himself. Eagles can carry quite the load, protect their young and have powerful wings that glide swiftly. This demonstrates God strength and power, y’all. He DELIVERED us. He REDEEMED us. He CHOSE us. HE CALLED us! Let the REDEEMED of the Lord say so! You are CALLED! YOU ARE CHOSEN!
So this kingdom of priests/royal priesthood…now in Exodus 19 and I Peter 2. Ofttimes when we use this statement, there is a sense of “entitlement” in a natural sense ( for example, this prosperity mentality/we should be sitting on a pile of money, not having to wait in a line, talking to servers at the restaurant—“no, take that food back, I’m the King’s kid!” etcetera).
While God does take GOOD care of His children, we are not entitled to look down anyone, getting everything discounted/free treating the non-royalty (non-believers) wrongly or to a earthly mansion and a yacht! This royalty we are called to and chosen for by God comes with responsibility!
One definition we found for royal to a realm in which a king sovereignly rules, which ties into where Christ rules in our hearts. The word priests are now associated with Christians because we have access to God and offer not external but ‘spiritual’ sacrifices. More to come on that.
Let’s look at the function of a priest.
A priest was an official who was set apart from the rest of the community in order to carry out certain duties associated with sacrifice and worship. While priests were mentioned throughout the Old Testament, the first organization and ordination of priests is laid out in Exodus 28 & 29 where Aaron and his 4 sons were appointed by God to minister to Him in the office of the priesthood.
Exodus 28 also outlines the exact garments the priests should wear, right down to the precious metals, stones, colors, lettering, the measurements and the material—along with how to wear the breastplate and how a bell should be on the hem when Aaron went out and came in so he would not die. Everything was exact.
Application to us:
1) God’s priests were not just anyone who decided they wanted to be one after studying up on it, or coveting the position. They were CHOSEN by God for a reason—Aaron wore the turban with the engraved plate that bared any iniquity of Israel so their offerings were ACCEPTED by God. THAT is NOT to be taken lightly.
The priests wore specific garments outlined by God down to the tiniest detail even underclothes (Exodus 28). My thought is everyone knew who the priests were by what they wore. As a royal priesthood, we should be dressed a certain way— yes, so we are distinct. Now, I’m NOT here to regulate wardrobes back to cotton hosiery and 3 piece suits for the men to an outdoor sporting event in July–we distinguish ourselves with our modesty. Men and women alike.
I saw a video clip where a “Christian” celebrity was rebuked by an audience member for baring her chest area on a magazine cover. The audience member in turn was rebuked by the celebrity’s husband, saying she can wear what she wants in Jesus name. [insert blank stare]. I’m not here to regulate what folks wear, with the grace of God guiding me, I don’t want people having to “guess” if I’m saved or not based on my lack of/apparel. Remember man looks on the outside, but God looks at the heart. Man looks at the outside, because they can’t see your heart.
In addition to that, we can’t just dress up the outside, cause that can look any way we want, but what do the insides look like? The Pharisees were dressed well, but Jesus said they were like white-washed seplechurs or coffins that APPEARED beautiful OUTWARD but inward were full of DEAD MEN’S BONES AND full of all UNCLEANNESS! (Matthew 23:27). Anything dead on the inside stinks and no one is drawn to that expect flies and vultures who pick off carcasses. YUCK!
Bottom line: Just like the priests, people should know who we are without us saying a word—We have Jesus down on the inside that shows up on the outside. Are we dressed in the Word of God? Is Jesus an inside job?
God calls us DISTINCT!
2)Priests were also called to facilitate the different offerings (sacrifice or gift/Corban, see Mark 7:11) for the people as a mediator between them and God. You just did not approach God and give Him your offering. There are five main offerings spelled out in Leviticus (chapters 1-5), that came with very specific instructions that had to be followed a particular way.
The offerer was NOT forced to give an offering, it was something they wanted to do. (Leviticus 1:4 says he shall offer it of his OWN voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle). The offerer gave a perfect animal, prepared the animal or grain offering a particular way AND the priest had to offer up a specified way. For example, once a bull was killed, the blood had to be sprinkled round about the alter by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation and the animal had to be laid in order on the wood for the fire. (Leviticus 1:11-12).
The priest were even had to offer up sacrifices for themselves for any accidental sin—if the priest sinned, everyone was guilty.
In Leviticus chapter 9, it outlines how the priests needed to offer up sin and burnt offerings to make atonement for themselves and for the people, as the Lord prepared His people to see His glory (Lev. 9:6), and because they did exactly what God said, verses 22-23 records that the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people—where the fire consumed the burnt offering and fat and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces. HOW AWESOME!
How this applies to us:
First, we no longer need to offer up any animals for our sins. Jesus said in Hebrews 10:4 that it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins..every priest offering up the same sacrifices daily could never take away sins. Can you imagine how many animals were offered up?! So Jesus Christ offered His body ONCE to sanctify ALL(Hebrews 10:10). Christ offered ONE sacrifice for sins FOREVER (Hebrew 4:12).
Also, we no longer need a priest as a mediator. Remember the priest was the go between for the people and God offering wise. Jesus did away with that by sacrificing His life as well. Ephesians 2:13 says “but now in Christ Jesus, you who were sometimes far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Also, Ephesians 2:18 says, for through Him, we have access by one Spirit into the Father. Further, we can come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain grace and mercy to help in the time of need! (Hebrews 4:16).
God CALLS US to DIRECTLY to Him.
We have to stop here, BCU family. I am prayerful that this Word empowers, encourages and challenges us all to change to be more like Christ. Stay tuned for “The called” part 5, as we finish up a royal priesthood. Thanks and God bless you for stopping by! Until next time, #StayOnTheWall!