PRIESTS

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priest..

 

"To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins

 by his blood and made us a kingdom,

 priests to his God and Father....."

All of us who are called to follow Jesus are called to the office of the priest. It doesnít matter whether we are male or female, young or old, we are called to the priesthood.

 

Every error in the history of the Body of Christ has somehow been related to our pushing our priesthood off on someone else or to our willingness to let another man take our priesthood from us.

 

Priesthood? Who wants to be a priest? We picture sissified men in funny skirts tiptoeing around in some gloomy cathedral fussing over some religious dishes and pans.

But when the Spirit says of the Messiah in Psalm 110,

"The Lord hath sworn and will not repent,

  thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek",

Or when the Spirit tells us

that we are a royal priesthood,

that Jesus has made us priests to His God and Father,

Heís not talking about little men in funny robes, but about the most awesome responsibility that can ever be placed in human hands.

 

The first glimpse we have of this priesthood comes long before Aaron was ever born. Abraham is coming back from the Battle of the Kings and is met by a mysterious man who seems to walk out of nowhere. His name is Melchizedek, "King of Righteousness", and he is king over the city of Salem, (Shalom, Peace). He has neither beginning of days nor end of life. Melchizedek blesses Abraham and serves him bread and wine. Without being asked, Abraham gives Melchizedek one-tenth of all he has.

 

Two thousand years later, in the same city over which Melchizedek was king, (Salem, now called Jerusalem), Jeshua gathers His disciples in an upper room, blesses them, gives them bread and wine. Jesus then goes out and offers His own body and blood to atone for their sins, and as He dies, His departing Spirit tears the veil of the Temple from top to bottom, opening the way back to God.

Neither Melchizedek nor Jesus, (if you can separate them at all), was ever an official priest in the Aaronic line, but as we look at them we can see what a priest really is:

A priest is two things:

1. A person who has been brought into the blazing presence of God, and who brings his fellow men in with him by prayer.

 

2. A person who goes out from the presence of God and brings Godís Spirit with him wherever he (or she) goes to bless those around him.

Granted, those who claim to be priests have not always attended to these functions and have at times allowed their priesthood to degenerate into a thing of the flesh.

The best contrast between the death-dealing priesthood of flesh and the life-giving priesthood of Spirit can be seen in a certain episode in the lives of two brothers who were called of God, and we shall see them both in the Kingdom. But there was a day when Aaron descended into the kind of priesthood we all need to avoid like the plague...and when Moses rose into a burning expression of the priesthood to which every disciple has been called.

Moses was up on Sinai with the Lord. Aaron was down below observing that the people were becoming restless. "Where has Moses gone? How long do we have to wait?" If Aaron had been standing before the Lord, as the priest he was called to be, he would have known what to do. Since Aaron was not standing before the Lord, he was exposed to the pressure of the people.

 

The people and the priest began to manipulate each other:

"Make us gods !"

"Give me your gold!"

Aaron produces the golden calf with announcement, "Here are your gods!"

One can almost hear the "Hurrah!" as Aaron tells them to prepare the burnt offerings to this ridiculous idol.

 

Aaron doubtless experiences a thrill as he sees the people responding to his commands in a new way. But the power he has tasted is the power of Satan.

Meanwhile, on Sinai, Moses has been absorbed in waiting on the Lord, consumed with awe and worship. Then God tells Moses about the apostasy going on below and says, "Out of my way! I will consume them and make of you, Moses, a great nation."

And Moses, to Godís extreme delight, you can be sure, begins his work as a priest.....

"No, Lord! Have mercy on your people,

Lord! Remember your promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!"

And God yields to Moses and sends him down to the people with power to cut the cancer from the body of Israel.

Notice that Aaron had all the outward trappings of a priest. He was considered a priest by men. But Aaron was not coming in before God on behalf of men. Nor was he going out before men on behalf of God. In this instance he was a priest of flesh, and he ministered death.

Moses, on the other hand, did not have the outward trappings of a priest, but he was a priest. He was going in before God on behalf of the people....he took his time and did it right, and when he came out to the people, God was with him, shining in his very face.

It is essential for us to keep in mind that we have been brought together as we are now only for a season. Soon many of us, if not all of us, will be scattered to other parts of the city, the land, the earth. And those of us who fail to make the most of the opportunity we now have will regret it.

The opportunity we have,

The reason for our being brought together,

is to learn to function as priests of Messiahís God.

"To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us

a kingdom, priests to his God the Father.... ."

We are here to learn two things:

(And to learn, not just by reading books, but by doing,

doing day after day until these two things have become our life.)

First, we are to learn to come into the presence of God daily....

until Godís presence literally becomes our home

our dwelling place

our rock and our fortress

so much so that we are able to bring our

brothers, sisters, friends, enemies into that presence too by prayer.

It might seem that Mosesí finest hour was when he led the people of Israel through the Red Sea. But for all the miracles that were wrought by Mosesí hand, all the fearful and wonderful things that happened at his command before the eyes of Israel,

By far the most awesome thing Moses ever did, the most crucial victory he ever won,

was done, not before the eyes of Israel

but hidden beneath the cloud, where no eye saw Moses at all but the eye of God....

 

when Moses prayed for the people,

  •          wept for the people,

  •          threw his life down at

  • Godís feet for the people.

    No ministry that you and I will ever perform among men will be one whit better than the ministry we first perform alone before the eye of the living God.

    We want to be able to speak with power.

    We want to be able to touch people with healing.

    We want to be able to call men to repentance.

    We want to bring cleansing to the Body.

    Beautiful.

    But we wonít begin to scratch the surface of these things until we first learn to come before God and worship Him and lift men, women, and children into His presence by our prayers.

    That son or daughter youíre worried about. You pray some and fret much. Now come before God like a priest after the order of Melchizedek....in the line of Jeshua the slain and risen Lamb. Minister to that loved one...or that enemy before God. Are you a priest before God to your child

                                                        your mate your friend your enemy?

     

    Second, we need to learn to go out from the Holy of Holies and bring God with us wherever we go.

     

    We donít leave God behind in our prayer room. He goes with us into the supermarket, the school,

    the shop, foundry, office, store, and when we engage in the routine relationships of daily life,

    we are there as priests. We are there to bless

  • to touch them somehow with Godís mercy.

  • NOT TO MANIPULATE BUT TO BLESS.

    Every human being your eye sees is to be illumined by the God light

    the Christ light

    the Mercy light that now burns in your own soul.

  • You are the extension of Jesus into the presence of that man or woman.

  • You are a fountainhead of forgiveness.

  • Your life is the window through which those who hunger and thirst for the living God will see Calvary.

    Some of us seem to be looking forward to the day when we can "really begin to minister." As if a change in our circumstances will make it possible.  A different job.

                                                          A different place.

    If you are coming in and going out before God, if you are seeking His face, if God is in you as you go forth into your daily life,

    you are ministering,

    you are a priest in the order of Melchizedek.

    Week by week our Melchizedek gives us bread and wine, blesses us, saturates us with divine mercy, sends us forth.

    May we remember that he never sends us forth as anything less than priests in His priesthood,

                                                                                                         priests to His God and Father,

    that the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, the hungry and thirsty for righteousness may be blessed in His name,

    through us.

    To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,

    and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be

    Glory and dominion for ever and ever.

    Amen.