21.5 Live Out the Life of a Priest

Series 21

Episode 5

Prologue

Brothers and sisters, today’s topic of Treasures for the Soul is “Live out the life of a priest.” Priestly service is not only outward work. Romans chapter 12 talks about spiritual worship (or rational service), which also includes presenting our ourselves. In Acts chapter 13, ministering to the Lord and fasting are related to prayers. Hebrews chapter 13 writes about offering up a sacrifice of praise to God, and to do good as sacrifices pleasing to God. First, it is to be close to God and to know Him. In Hosea chapter 4, priests were destroyed if they lacked knowledge. Therefore, we need to read God’s word diligently, listen to messages often, and help brothers and sisters to know God deeply. The Lord is coming soon. I hope that all of us live out the life of the firstborn in this generation, including drawing close to God and leading the life of a priest.

Message

All of you are very familiar with Romans chapter 12. In this chapter, Paul exhorted us and said in v1-2, “to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”

Priests ought to minister to God. When it comes to ministering to God, take note of what is written in Acts chapter 13. We should also look at how Paul and church leaders ministered to God: they were worshiping and praying. So, ministering to God does not only refer to outward work.

Preaching the gospel is a type of ministry, and so is helping brothers and sisters. But please remember, the first and foremost is to minister to God. Acts 13:1-3 reads, “Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.” (NKJV) Please note in verse 2 what they were doing when they “ministered” to the Lord. They were not preaching the gospel or doing some work that people can see with their eyes. They were praying. I believe that you know this event was an important beginning in building the church during that time. I also remember our experience in prayers. On June 8, 1992, while we were praying in groups in the East Kowloon meeting place, the Holy Spirit poured down upon us. This brought forth a revival that had a huge impact.

Hebrews tells us many things about priests. Hebrews 13: 15-16 reads, “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

It talks about two kinds of sacrifices here. Don’t think that ministry only applies to work we do outwardly. “Offer[ing] up a sacrifice of praise to God” is also a sacrifice. And I think this is the most important. For example, when we sing every day to worship Abba and the Lord, this is ministering to God, and this is very important. Drawing near to God every day is the most important.

It is very important that we first offer ourselves before we offer any sacrifice. Without leading a life of drawing near to God and experiencing Him, our desire to offer to Him will diminish as time passes. Then we will not be able to lead a life of offering.

Only when we enjoy Him can we then love Him. 1 John 4:19 reads, “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) Therefore, priests should first draw near to God and worship Him. After we experience Him, we’ll have the spiritual condition necessary to help brothers and sisters and non-believers.

Leviticus chapter 7 and the previous chapters talk about offerings. Priests ate the offerings and the bread of the Presence. Offerings symbolize the Lord. Therefore, we ought to eat and drink of the Lord—to enjoy Him, in other words. The Lord said,“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35) In John chapter 6, it is written that He is the bread of life. Priests should eat the offerings frequently, which means enjoying the Lord Himself.

Brothers and sisters, you know that in this movement, we greatly emphasize drawing near to God, and helping brothers and sisters to draw near to God. I can only be thankful that I have shared a lot regarding drawing near to God. I’m thankful I have reminded you of the importance of this, and shown you how to draw near to Him. I have also shared with you a lot about knowing God.

In Hosea 4:6-7 God says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. The more they increased, the more they sinned against me…” Israel was destroyed because they lacked knowledge. Therefore, we must help brothers and sisters to know God, things pertaining to God and other spiritual things. We should grow in grace and knowledge. I’m not referring to mere knowledge in the head, or knowledge of unimportant matters. Moses also mentioned that the Levites used God’s word to teach others. We should take heart when we read God’s word, and adopt the attitude of drawing near to God as we do so. Moreover, we should listen to messages. All these things can help us to know God–His glory, His love, and how to experience Him. Such knowledge is the most important, because without it, the world would be destroyed. For this passage, other translations may use another word instead of the word “destroyed”, and they may include other meanings. But all in all, without true knowledge, it would be miserable! Many Christians misinterpret the Bible due to lack of knowledge.

It is so sad that the devil has used wrong teachings to harm the world: religions, wrong beliefs and misinformation. They are not beneficial, but harmful. We need to know God’s word and be filled with important knowledge. The knowledge of God will fill the earth in the future. If we lack the knowledge of God, we cannot love Him. If our knowledge of Him is not deep, we would not love Him dearly.

Let us pray together because the Lord is coming soon. This is the last journey before His coming. We need to deeply experience God and be taught by Him. The Lord made known to us the name of the Father, and He will continue to make it known. The Lord and the Holy Spirit are doing just that every day. We are priests. This world greatly needs us, but we need to deeply experience Him first; otherwise, we won’t be able to help others.

In eternity, the whole city of New Jerusalem will be the Holy of Holies. We will enjoy God the most. The presence of God will fill the city. Today, the church should be as much like New Jerusalem as possible. We don’t have a lot of time left. The Lord is coming soon. I also feel that I have a great need. I need to experience God more deeply. I hope that we become the most glorious priesthood in history, a group of people who most deeply experience God. This is what God desires the most, and it is also the greatest need in our spirit. God Himself is the most precious thing we can share with both believers and non-believers in the world.

Jesus, which means Saviour, is not the Lord’s only name. He is also called Immanuel, which means God with us. This is what God desires the most. It’s so precious that God’s ultimate purpose is also ours. What He desires most is also what I need the most. When our hearts meet, we deeply experience each other in this love.

The Father swore to make the Lord our priest. He saw the Lord’s heart. He wants us to gain the greatest blessing brought by the High Priest, which is to be the closest to Abba and the Lord. Both of Them paid a very high price, went through the impossible, and made the impossible possible. We are not only priests, the closest to God in the whole universe, but we are also the firstborn and kings. We have gained more than double the portion of inheritance– we will inherit everything. We are the closest to Him in the whole universe. We are also the most compatible darlings of the Lord, and Abba’s dearest children. We can only enjoy the essence of these relationships when we are close to Him. We enjoy the deepest affection and love. We can enjoy the blessings of the Lord as our priest, who has brought us to God so that God can also enjoy us. 

Series 21

Live Out the Life of the Firstborn: Be A Priest

Message Date: 2020-05-10

A priest is closest to God, and his duties are extremely honourable. Such honour cannot be obtained by oneself, but was given by God. The Father swore and did not change His mind, that the Lord was to be our high priest. Being a priest meant that the Lord must first become a man. He also offered Himself as a sin offering, aiming to bring us perfectly before God. Since we received the Lord, we’ve been given the blessing of the firstborn–to be a royal priest. In the Old Testament time, a king could not be a priest at the same time; so he could not offer any sacrifice. Many Bible passages mention priests, who would offer sacrifices, because God wanted man to be close to Him. When man sinned and strayed away from God, God had already prepared salvation for man. Before the law, there had been offerings of sacrifices. This illustrated that the Lord was to come to die for us, save us from the punishment of sins and reconcile us with God. The heads of the household such as Noah, Job, Abraham, Issac, Jacob, etc all built altars and offered sacrifices. Today, all believers have become royal priests. We who were once far from God are now closest to Him. We should live out the life of a priest: offer ourselves as living sacrifices to serve God. First and foremost, we should draw near to God and offer Him praises. In the Old Testament time, the priests should first eat of the sacrifices and the showbread; these illustrate that today we should enjoy the Lord Himself. As priests, we should also pass on knowledge, teaching others to know God, draw near to Him, experience Him and understand His will. Before the Lord comes back, may there be the most glorious groups of priests who deeply experience God. May these priests bring to the world the most precious–God Himself. Episode 1 The Father Made the Lord the High Priest Episode 2 Priesthood: One of the Blessings of the Firstborn Episode 3 The Precedents of Priests in the Bible (1) Episode 4 The Precedents of Priests in the Bible (2) Episode 5 Live out the Life of a Priest
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21.1 The Father made the Lord the High Priest

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21.2 Priesthood: One of the Blessings of the Firstborn

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21.3 The Precedents of Priests in the Bible (1)

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21.4 The Precedents of Priests in the Bible (2)

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21.5 Live Out the Life of a Priest