Tag Archives: oath

The Church and its Priesthood (Part 5)

A message summary of September 10, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

If you are saved, you are a priest of Jesus Christ.  You function in exactly that way.  A priest is one who stands ready to serve God.

We left off last week in Ezekiel discussing where there may be shortcomings or failures of the priest.  For our purposes, sin does not prevent a person to serve Him.  God may ask one to do something, and the person responds.

It is important to note that, depending upon the sin, there are certain things that cannot be undone.  Some of us will fall, and there will be a scar or a mark, and it can’t be repaired.  A believer should always be cautious about the sin that is allowed into one’s life.  Satan can render a believer useless if sin takes over.

Ezekiel 44:10-14

Surely the Levites who wandered away from Me when Israel went astray, and who strayed from Me after their idols, will bear the consequences of their sin. Yet they will occupy My sanctuary, serving as guards at the temple gates and ministering at the temple. They will slaughter the burnt offerings and other sacrifices for the people and will stand before them to serve them. Because they ministered to the house of Israel before their idols and became a sinful stumbling block to them, therefore I swore an oath against them”–this is the declaration of the Lord God–“that they would bear the consequences of their sin. They must not approach Me to serve Me as priests or come near any of My holy things or the most holy things. They will bear their disgrace and the consequences of the detestable acts they committed. Yet I will make them responsible for the duties of the temple–for all its work and everything done in it.

The prayer of a believer should be the desire to be used as a vessel for the Lord in service, but there are rights and privileges that are forfeited as a consequence or consequences of the sin.  It doesn’t mean that the person is not forgiven of their sin, but it does mean that there should be a reckoning of any detestable practice before God.

Christians are to be the salt of the earth.  In order to be this salt, it requires action, and in some cases, correction of those who need it.  A priest of God has to be trained to be an effective priest–an ambassador for Jesus Christ.  We need to understand that we are consecrated and being made holy before Him and before others.  The priests, who are also teachers, are charged to give instruction of God’s Word and encourage others to follow His teaching.

Those who are prepared to serve God with the desire to remain faithful and obedient will be affirmed with God’s presence in their service.

Ezekiel 44:15-16

“But the Levitical priests descended from Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the Israelites went astray from Me, will approach Me to serve Me. They will stand before Me fat and blood.” This is the declaration of the Lord God. “They are the ones who may enter My sanctuary and draw near to My table to serve Me. They will keep My mandate.”

Remember that the pastor of a church is nothing more than a priest and a servant.  Pastors are human, as well, and also are to continue to render their service to Jesus Christ as they grow in Him.  The priest is to live in reverence of Jesus Christ.

Being a priest, a teacher, is not a small thing.  It’s a very important thing.

James 3:1-2

Not many should become teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive a stricter judgment, for we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a mature man who is able to control his whole body.

Romans 2:21a

…you then, who teach another, don’t you teach yourself?

The bible doesn’t say, for example, that you can’t drink alcohol. (That is a choice for the individual.)  The bible does, however, discourage drunkenness.

If you are teaching others about the truth, are you implementing that same way of living for yourself?

People need good, sound teaching in order to seek God in the proper way and to keep them from going astray.

The priest will be receiving instruction from none other than the Holy Spirit.

2 Chronicles 15:3-7

For many years Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without instruction, but when they turned to the Lord God of Israel in their distress and sought Him, He was found by them. In those times there was no peace for those who went about their daily activities because the residents of the lands had many conflicts. Nation was crushed by nation and city by city, for God troubled them with every possible distress. But as for you, be strong; don’t be discouraged, for your work has a reward.

Malachi 2:1-2, 7-9

“Therefore, this decree is for you priests: If you don’t listen, and if you don’t take it to heart to honor My name,” says Yahweh of Hosts, “I will send a curse among you, and I will curse your blessings. In fact, I have already begun to curse them because you are not taking it to heart.

For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, because he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts. You, on the other hand, have turned from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have violated the covenant of Levi,” says the Lord of Hosts. So I in turn have made you despised and humiliated before all the people because you are not keeping My ways but are showing partiality in your instruction.”

The Word of God has a positive effect and changes the lives of those who believe.  A priest must be willing to hear God and follow His direction.  Those who do this will be able to demonstrate how to “fight the good fight.”

1 Timothy 6:12

Fight the good fight of faith, take hold of eternal life that you were called to and have made a good confession about in the presence of many witnesses.

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Grace and Truth

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

When you begin to accept God’s truth in your life, it heals us emotionally and mentally. God’s Word is able to provide the healing when we simply trust in Him.

Father, we pray that we will discover how wonderful you are in what you do, and we pray that you show your power, love and grace, and we give you the praise in Jesus’ name–Amen.

Grace is for the believer to be able to live the life that Christ has purchased for you. We will not, however, understand this grace that He gives us unless we understand God’s truth. Grace, by itself, will not help us to develop the growth that we need. His truth is what helps us to understand who He is and what it means to be obedient to Him. His grace and His truth must work hand-in-hand in order for us to grow in Him. We need grace and truth. It takes both for us to grow in Christian development.

It is the same as using fertilizer and water in a garden. It takes both to make plants grow and grow heartily. Grace and truth must work together in the same way.

The truth about God, as we learn more about Him, helps us with greater understanding about Him. Note the standard that He has in comparison to man:

Numbers 23:19
God is not a man who lies,
or a son of man who changes His mind.
Does He speak and not act,
or promise and not fulfill?

God does not need to change His ways, accordingly, in order to satisfy us. He is not like a man, and He will not compromise His standards for our sake. He will not change according to our likes, dislikes or behavior. In order for us to have fellowship with God, we have to change our ways to conform to Him.

Romans 3:2-4
2 Considerable in every way. First, they were entrusted with the spoken words of God. 3 What then? If some did not believe, will their unbelief cancel God’s faithfulness? 4 Absolutely not! God must be true, even if everyone is a liar, as it is written:

That You may be justified in Your words
and triumph when You judge.

For some people, God’s Word can either be a blessing or a curse. How we respond to God and His Word does not change the truth behind God’s Word. He is and always remains faithful to His Word. God will honor those that have faith and trust in Him (so that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge – Romans 2:4 NIV), and those who fail to trust Him will determine and earn their own reward. Your faith and belief in God that He will honor His Word will prove you to be correct in all matters and dealings with others.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.

2 Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.

God’s grace allows you to be successful in all that you do, and He even will empower you when you believe you are unable to go forward.

Titus 2:11-12
11 For the grace of God has appeared with salvation for all people, 12 instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age.

As we have been living in Satan’s domain, we have been taught things that are of the world and that are often filled with ungodliness. God has taught us, through His Word, that we need to renew our minds:

Romans 12:2
Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

God says that He will teach us about these things in order for us to learn complete truth. His truth is the teaching that is delivered to us by the Holy Spirit and gives us the ability to recognize God’s grace and His love for us.

Grace and truth are tied together to develop in you a Christ-like lifestyle.

We need to know truth. Pontius Pilate asked the question, “What is truth?” (John 18:38)

A dictionary definition of truth is loyalty and trustworthiness–the quality or state of being true; an agreement with a standard, a rule, correctness and accuracy.

As a people, it is virtually impossible to meet this standard; in fact, only God truly meets this standard according to the definition.

God and the biblical use of truth is not the conformity to some external standard but, instead, faithfulness and reliability. God’s faithfulness and reliability is the standard that we are to follow, and He always keeps His Word.

John 16:13
When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come.

Deuteronomy 7:8-11
8 But because the Lord loved you and kept the oath He swore to your fathers, He brought you out with a strong hand and redeemed you from the place of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know that Yahweh your God is God, the faithful God who keeps His gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commands. 10 But He directly pays back and destroys those who hate Him. He will not hesitate to directly pay back the one who hates Him. 11 So keep the command—the statutes and ordinances—that I am giving you to follow today.

Isaiah 65:16
Whoever is blessed in the land
will be blessed by the God of truth,
and whoever swears in the land
will swear by the God of truth.
For the former troubles will be forgotten
and hidden from My sight.

Psalm 146:5-6
5 Happy is the one whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
6 the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea and everything in them.
He remains faithful forever.

God’s truth that He provides is a reflection of God Himself–He is truth.

John 1:14-17
14 The Word became flesh
and took up residence among us.
We observed His glory,
the glory as the One and Only Son
from the Father,
full of grace and truth.
15 (John testified concerning Him and exclaimed,
“This was the One of whom I said,
‘The One coming after me has surpassed me,
because He existed before me.’”)
16 Indeed, we have all received grace after grace
from His fullness,
17 for the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Why is important, in this verse sequence, is grace noted first before truth? It is because God gives us the grace to learn and apply God’s truth. Without grace, the truth may be present but we do not have the ability to apply it to our lives. He did all of this–give us grace and truth–out of love for each of us. We are all in need to this grace and truth because of who we are.

Romans 3:23
23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Our standard is in Jesus Christ, the only one who lived on earth who was without sin. Note that our ministry to others should also reflect the same grace and truth that God has given to each of us:

Colossians 4:6
Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.

God, through the Holy Spirit, will give you the ability to provide every answer. It is because of His grace and His truth that we can move forward with confidence in Jesus Christ. It is as simple as believing God in what He has proclaimed and trusting in Him.

Lord, may you minister to us with the Word, your grace, and the teaching of your truth in the coming weeks, and we give you the praise in all of these matters in Jesus’ name–Amen.