OceanSide church of Christ
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WHAT WE’VE BECOME SERIES
Priests of God (1)
Victor M. Eskew
A. Priest: A priest is one who is duly authorizes to minister in sacred things, particularly to offer sacrifices at the altar, and who acts as mediator between men and God (ISBE, p. 2439).
B. The first priests in the Bible were the Patriarchs, the head of the family. They were the spiritual “go-between” for their family members (i.e., Job, Job 1:5).
C. Two specific priests are named prior to the establishment of the Aaronic priesthood.
1. Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18).
2. Jethro, priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law (Exo. 18:1-2).
D. When the Law of Moses was instituted, the tribe of Levi was selected as the priestly tribe (Num. 3:5-9). However, only the sons of Aaron ministered in the priestly office (Exo. 28:1; 40:15-16).
And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.
E. The Melchizedekian priesthood.
The Aaronic priesthood
prevailed until Jesus died on
2. At that time, Jesus became the High Priest of a new priesthood, a priesthood after the order of Melchisedek (Heb. 5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:1-8:5, esp. Heb. 7:12-17.
For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also in the law. For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave atten-dance at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisekec.
3. Within this new priesthood
a. Jesus is the High Priest (Heb. 3:1).
b. Every Christian is a priest of God.
1) I Peter 2:5.
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
2) I Peter 2:9.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, and holy nation, a peculiar people…
3) Revelation 1:6.
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
F. As priests of God, it is imperative that we understand and carry out our responsibilities.
1. In this lesson, we hope do assist us in this endeavor.
2. Since the Aaronic priesthood of the OT was a type of this spiritual priesthood, we will look at their duties and obligations and make application to us as priests of God.
A. ISBE: “Nothing is clearer in Scripture than this priestly function.”
B. The first five chapters of Leviticus discuss five primary offerings.
1. In each of these offerings, we see the presence of the priest. In fact, one of the key phrases found in these chapters is: “And he shall bring them unto the priest.”
2. See Hebrews 10:11.
And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
C. As priests of God, Christians are called upon to offer sacrifices unto God.
1. These are not the animal and grain sacrifices required in the Old Covenant.
2. These are spiritual sacrifices. They are four-fold in number:
The living sacrifice of our bodies (
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
1) Becoming a living sacrifice involves a complete surrender unto God.
2) We must first bow our will to God. Romans 6:16 refers to this as “yielding” ourselves to righteousness.
3) The submission of the will will come out into visibility and actually in the deeds of life, of which the body is the organ and arm.
4) Quote: Alexander Maclaren.
“…the body, the instrument of our activities, should be a living sacrifice to God. Link all its actions with Him; let there be conscious reference to Him in all that I do. Let foot and hand and eye and brain work for Him, and by Him, and in consciousness of His presence; suppress where necessary, direct always, appetites and passions, and make the body the instrument of the surrendered spirit. And then, in the measure in which we can do so, the greatest cleft and discord in human life will be filled, and body, soul, and spirit will harmonize and make one music of praise to God.
“Ah! Brethren, these bad principles have teeth to bite very close into
our daily lives. How many of us, young and old, have ‘fleshly lusts which war
against the soul’? How many of you younger men have no heart for higher,
purer, nobler things, because the animal in you is strong! How many of you find that the day’s activities blunt you to God! How many of us are weakened still under the great antagonism of the flesh lusting against the spirit, so that we cannot do the things that we would! Sensuality, indulgence in animal propensities, yielding to the clamant voices of the beast that is within us - these things wreck many a soul; and some of those that are listening to me now. Let the man govern and coerce the animal, and let God govern the man. ‘I beseech you that you yield your bodies a living sacrifice.’” (Expositions of Holy Scripture, Maclaren, Vol. 16, pp. 95-96).
b. The sacrifice of praise (Heb. 13:15).
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to him name.
1) This praise should be done stedfastly in the corporate assembly.
2) It should be done in our daily lives in the form of prayer (I Thess. 5:17) and songs to God (James 5:13).
3) Psalm 50:23a.
Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me…
c. The sacrifice of help to men (Heb. 13:16).
But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
1) True philanthropy has its roots in true religion. The service of man is the service of God (James 1:27).
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
2) “Do not talk about being the priests of the Most High God unless you are doing the priestly office of representing God to men, and carrying to them the blessings that they need. Your service to God is worthless unless it is followed by diligent, fraternal, wise, self-sacrificing service to men” (Ibid., p. 99).
d. The sacrifice of death.
1) Not all will be called upon to make this sacrifice, but if we must, we must.
2) Paul had to make it (II Tim. 4:6).
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
3) NOTE: This is not dying for doing something evil, but it involves dying for the name of Jesus Christ.
A. Priests of God have other responsibilities. We will cover these in another lesson.
B. This one obligation alone, that is, to offer spiritual sacrifices to God involves a broad range of Christian behavior.
1. Daily living.
C. Being faithful in these duties will bring us near to God and will keep us always with Him.