Series: The called according to His purpose-part 4

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.

In “The called” part 1  and part 2  as we looked at  Romans chapter 8, God says we are:

No  longer condemned
Walkers in the Spirit
Sons/Children of God
We are heirs/joint heirs
We suffer
The called according to His purpose
Predestinated
Justified
Glorified
Loved
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!

 

Love ,

 

BCU

Series: The called according to His purpose (part 1)

 

Hey there BCU Family!

Please enjoy the audio version of the study (by clicking on the icon) or read through the written version. Either way, we pray you’ll be blessed!

Before we get into our study, let’s get some foundational principals down. Romans 8:28 is a familiar passage of Scripture that reminds us “…that all things work together for good to them that love God and are the called according to His purpose”. When this is said in a church setting, while the Spirit of God is high, it usually evokes an heavy agreeance, sometimes emotional response and we leave feeling invincible!

In the days coming after that, the enemy will bring a temptation, trial, or situation where we forget the Word we were told and start going to God seeking asylum from the situation, fussing, murmuring or doubting He even cares.

It happens to the best of us, myself included, and in praying to God about that, we need to reinforce our foundation. In Luke 6:47-49, Jesus says that whoever comes to Him, hears His words and does them, he is like the man who build a house and DIGGED DEEP, AND laid the foundation on a rock. So when the flood came and the stream beat vehemently on the house it could not be shaken, because it was founded on a rock. Conversely, those that hear and do not follow the word, is like a man that built a house without a foundation—just on the soil or earth. Who the stream beat vehemently (the flood did not even get a chance to come) the house immediately fell and the run was great. Family, we have to DIG DEEP and make sure our foundation is on solid ROCK. That starts with Jesus on the inside—Acts 2:38-39 is the foundation to build on—all other ground is sinking sand!!!!

So with the Holy Ghost on the inside, in addition to attending a good Bible-believing, Spirit-filled house of prayer, we need a steady diet of prayer, the Word and application of the Word. The application is important–remember in Luke 6, Jesus said whoever… hears and does His word (James 1:22-23 says the same), that Word helps us to stand in the storms of life. This is why we need to know who God says we are and believe it. If you are ill-prepared or get caught out in a storm, the enemy presents situations where you doubt who God says you are— victorious, more than a conqueror—and are likely to make decisions based on emotions and immediate, temporary need, versus hearing what the Word of God says. If we are not careful, we get taken full advantage of! Think about how many decisions we regret because of not heeding the Word of God—not trusting on who He is, or in who He says we are?

This is where we need to dig deep—and get GROUNDED and ROOTED in who God says we are. Grounded is a builders term..meaning ATTACHED to the foundation—not propped up, securely attached forever. Rooted refers to stability—the deeper the roots the stronger the plant. This was we know who we are in the happy AND the trying times! Amen? Amen!

We really need to take the entire book of Romans into account, but for time’s sake, we’ll reference as much as we can here, and you all can read throughout the week.

Paul wrote this letter to the Christian Romans who started this church made up of a mix of Jews and Gentiles. This is important because many of the Jews still went by the law and in some of the New Testament, expected the Gentiles to do the same (eating certain foods, circumcision things like that). Chapters 1-3 speak on the facts of the gospel, chapters 3-5 on how we are justified in Christ, chapter 6 about how we are free from the power of sin. Chapter 7 speaks of being free from the law, and in chapter 8, reminds us of the love of Christ, how He frees us from sin and who we are in Him. Rather than just say we are the called, we have to see why and what else goes along with that calling. Let’s begin!

1) We are NO longer condemned

Verse 1 reminds us those who are in Christ Jesus, filled with His Spirit and walk in it– we are no longer condemned or penalized.

Let’s talk about walk—the Greek word is peri/peteo meaning conduct my life, to live, to be occupied with. Keep that in mind.

So Spirit-filled people, our penalty has been paid and we are not to feel guilty or ashamed, nor do we let people make us feel badly about who we used to be! A couple of years ago, I was reunited with old friends and one said “do you know what I remember about you? The Lord already dropped in my heart she would recall some unsavory detail about my B.C. (before Christ) days. Immediately I said something like, “oh, girl that was before I knew the Lord!” The crowd laughed and she never did tell me what it was. As far is the east is from the west, is how far my transgressions are removed from me (Psalm 103:12).

2) We walkers in the Spirit

Verses 2-4 reminds us if we are following after the Spirit, we are not practicing or sinning intentionally and over and over again. While we stumble or make mistakes, we do not use that as an excuse to continue willfully sinning. When we choose to continue to sin or walk in the flesh (lying, adultery, fornication, drunkeness, envy, idolatry, witchcraft, wrath, jealousy, lewdness Galatians 5:19-21), condemnation or punishment awaits. The condemnation is that you will NOT inherit or enter into the kingdom of God.

We are free from the law of sin, and the death it brings because of Jesus dying for us on the cross—He paid that penalty. So our mission with God’s help is to continue to walk in the Spirit so that we don’t walk in the flesh—acting out carnally rather than what Jesus would have us to do. For if we live after the flesh we will die (be eternally separated from God) but if through the Spirit we do mortify (make dead) the deeds of the body, we will live (eternally in Heaven with God).

2a) Our business is minding things after the Spirit—verse 5 is clear, there are only two sides, you either mind things of the flesh or of the Spirit. If you are Holy Ghost filled, we mind the things of the Spirit—what God says.

2b) And as a result we have life and peace (v6) rather than death. Think about the peace that comes with having Jesus on the inside and walking with Him. Mark 4:35-31 tells the story of Jesus being asleep in the back of the ship when a great storm of wind and waves beat on the ship full of disciples. After they panicked and woke Him, He just said Peace, be still. And the calm came about. That’s the God we serve—the one who wants us to lay down and sleeping peacefully, even in the midst of the storm. So while this doesn’t speak to who He says we are, because we have Him, we get these benefits. But wait, there’s more!

2c)We have power through the Spirit. In verses 7-13, Paul emphasizes that while walking/conducting your life in the flesh you cannot please God, do not have the Spirit and you are none of His. We that have the Spirit inside, so He gives us life through the Spirit and power over being dictated by the flesh. Paul repeats this several times, apparently as a warning to ensure we do not continue in sin—otherwise we die. Stay in the Spirit and live.

3) We are the sons of God

Verse 14 says we are the sons or children of God (those led by the Spirit).

We are not in bondage to fear—we’ve been grafted into the family—adopted by Christ. In the Roman culture, anyone adopted now identified with the new family, took on their ways, and had all rights, privileges, and shared in the inheritance. Similarly, we are no longer a part of the adversary’s family, and no longer practice His ways. We gave up the trick inheritance and shaky, temporary, deadly promises he offered, for the TRUE inheritance, promises, and privileges God promises. We can now say Abba Father! (translated meaning Daddy—what young children call their father). It marks a close intimate relationship where there is complete trust. As young children, we trusted our parents. That’s the way we should trust God. Also, the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. This is significant, BCU Family!

People claim to be children of God quite a bit, but you just cannot walk in any ol’ way and label yourself as a child of God. No siree, Bob! This is a privilege reserved for those who have Jesus down on the inside. The Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD! Let the redeemed say SO!!!!!! We KNOW who OUR FATHER is!!!!

Lift up your heads, O ye gates! We know who the King of Glory is!!!! Rejoice everyone!

4) We heirs of God and joint heirs of Christ

4a) While that is wonderful, that “heir-ship” comes with a cost. Still in the royal family, looking at verses 17 and 18–we can’t expect “royal” treatment in this present world—as joint-heirs in Christ, suffering is a part of our walk, but what we go through now, pales in comparison to the glory in us!  Don’t let that situation steal your joy—what’s coming is what’s better than what’s been, verse 18 says so!

Verses 19-23 talk about how we want to be with Jesus, we just have to wait and in the meantime, The Spirit makes intercession, according to the will of God for us during the suffering times. Paul through Christ is preparing us for the fact that trials will come. All the things we’ve learned before —no condemnation, walking in the Spirit, the power we have, being part of the royal family we’ve been adopted into and the heir-ship, NONE of that goes away when tough times come. Jesus is His Word and it is true no matter what season we are in!

That brings is to our 5th point–we are THE CALLED according to His purpose!

For we know that all things work together for the good—to them that LOVE God (we love Him, and we are a doer of that by walking in the Spirit, thereby keeping His commandments), and are the called—according to His purpose.

The word called comes from the Greek word, klesis meaning invited. Purpose means deliberate, intended result. So our God called/summoned/appointed YOU out to and chose this life, situation, issue, blessing, family, friends, job, neighborhood, church, co-workers, skin tone, personality, gifts, talents, everything for a deliberate result that pleases Him! For it is God what works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). So it’s in our best interest to embrace what God has for us with His grace. It is all for a deliberate result—sometimes we see and understand it right away, other times later on, and sometimes not on this side of Heaven. Our duty….is to trust our Abba Father!

Well Family, we’ve come to the end of our study for today! I know it was getting good to you–I know it was for me! The next time we’re together, let’s plan on finishing up Romans chapter 8.

Thank you all so much for the encouragement, love, likes, thumbs up, shares and comments–that truly blesses us here at BlenCouragesU.com and the Word is blessing  and encouraging others–that’s what it’s all about!

May God bless, make His face to shine upon you and until the next time we’re together, #StayOnTheWall!

 

Love,

 

BCU