Praise the Lord, Grace & Peace great people of our “Great God”…JESUS!
As I reflect upon experiencing the COVID-19 Virus (which was truly a painful and arduous situation that the Lord chose for me, to endure, go through, and come out of after 6 days of hospitalization.) I truly thank God for the prayers of the Saints that were fervent intercessors! Once I got home, all I could think about was the intercession of the prayer warriors who interceded for me when I did not have any strength left in me! I called on the name of JESUS continuously everyday with tears in my eyes! I have experienced the full essence of James 5:13-16 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
The experience caused the elements of prayer to become truly alive in me; i.e. Communion, Petition, and Intercession! It is because of this painful experience, that all I could think about when I got home was “THE PRIESTHOOD,” an office of servitude, which requires a fervent relationship with Jesus Christ; our Great High Priest! Hence for this Golden Nugget I would like to provoke the thought “Lord I Magnify My Office in YOU” The following scripture will be used to establish my premise to provoke further gospel provocation…
1Pe 2:1-10 “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 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. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that living for Jesus Christ is a living and divine reality! This life we live is not just a set of doctrines, but is a reality that we employ through the inherent power of my God Jesus Christ! This power has been proven, based on our circumstances and the various trials afforded us; many which have been formative and influential. The life that we now live in Jesus Christ, proves that He lives in us. Rom 14:7-9 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
My brothers and sisters, I feel led to emphasize the word; “living.” “To whom coming as to a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as living stones, are built up. The word of God tells us that when Jesus was come into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, He asked his disciples, saying, “Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am? And they said, Some say thou art John the Baptist; some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.”
There was endless speculation, simply because many of them really did not know Jesus as the blessed one. Some said this, some said that; and, as a result, no one really cared who or what He was; and hence He turns away from all their heartless speculation, and makes it personal, and hence renders a powerful question “But whom say ye that I am?” He desired to know what they thought about Him! “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Here we have the true confession. Here lies the solid foundation of the Church of God and the foundation of our faith “Christ the Son of the living God.” No more dim shadows, no more powerless forms, no more lifeless ordinances, all has be permeated by this new, divine, and heavenly life which has come into this world, and has been communicated to all who believe in the NAME of Jesus Christ.
Saints notice the response…”And Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood has not revealed it to thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also to thee, That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
My brothers and sisters, it is evident based on this powerful scripture, is what the apostle Peter is referring to in 1 Pet. 2, when he says, “To whom coming, as to a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as living stones [the same words], are built up.” All who believe in Jesus are partakers of His risen, victorious rock life. The life of Christ, the Son of the living God, flows through His body, and through each member individually. Hence, we have the living God, the living Stone, and living stones. It is all mutually inclusive! A life that flows down from a living source, through a living channel, and imparts itself to all believers, making them living stones. GOLDEN NUGGET!
Now the life that has been presented by Jesus Christ, which has been tried and tested, in every possible way, and came forth victorious, can never again be called to pass through any process of trial, testing, or judgment whatsoever. For He has passed through death and judgment. His life has gone down under all the waves and billows of divine wrath, and came forth on the other side; in resurrection, divine glory, and power! Beyond the reach of all the powers of darkness.
My brothers and sisters I am convinced there is no power on earth or hell, mankind or demons, that can possibly touch the life which is possessed by the smallest and most insignificant stone in Christ’s assembly. All the Saints are built upon the living Stone, Christ; and are therefore constituted living stones. He makes us like Himself, in every respect, saved of course, in His incommunicable Deity. If He is the living Stone, we are living stones. He is the precious Stone, hence we are precious stones. He is a rejected Stone, hence; we are rejected stones and disallowed of men. What an ineffable privilege!
Hence I reiterate my premise concerning the priesthood, a priesthood constituting all true believers. Before anyone or I can offer up a spiritual sacrifice, we must come to Christ, in simple faith, and be built upon Him, as the foundation of the whole spiritual building. For in Isa.28:16 “Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner-stone, elect, precious; and he that believes in him shall not be confounded.”
Yes my brothers and sisters, here is the foundation of our priesthood. Hence, God will not permit dishonor to be offered to His tried, elect, and precious chief corner Stone. The scriptures emphasizes “To whom coming as to a living stone . . . ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” As I studied Exodus, I notice in particular the Altar of incense that was in the Holy Place where the priest served. (if you study the Tabernacle, you will notice there was never a seat there to sit down on, because of the perpetual service rendered by the priests)
All converted believers become a part of the priesthood office. We are put in this office at the time of our spiritual birth, just as Aaron’s sons were priests in virtue of their natural birth. Please note my brothers and sisters that Apostle Peter does not say, Ye ought to be living stones, or, Ye ought to be holy priests. He says you are! And because we are now of the priesthood of Jesus Christ, we have been called upon to act accordingly. This is why it is so imperative that we be in a position prior to the duties being discharged to us, which comes with immense responsibility and accountability. We must be in relationship (Communion) with Jesus Christ, to be cognizant of how His affections flow. Please know that we do not just become priests by offering priestly sacrifices, because it is through Jesus Christ’s grace that made us priest to serve; hence we are to present holy sacrifices.
The Apostle Paul makes this very clear when he stated in Rom 12:1-2 “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. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
The moment we truly give Jesus our heart, we are born into a new position of the holy priesthood. How could any one, of old, have constituted himself a son of Aaron? It was impossible. It was by being born of bloodline of Aaron, which made him a member of the priestly house. Hence, I speak not of our capacity, but simply from the perspective of a positional one; because none of us today could have obtain this by any effort on our own. We had to be born again in Christ Jesus to obtain it! GOLDEN NUGGET!
Let’s take a moment to examine the nature of the sacrifice which, we being holy priests are privileged to offer. Note the word of God emphasizes that we are “to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” Hence; in Hebrews 13:15 we read, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name.”
Here, then, we have the true nature and character of that sacrifice, which as holy priests, are to offer. It is PRAISE, the requirement to “praise God continually.” What a blessed occupation to have! Please know my beloved brothers and sisters, that this is not just an occasional thing. It is not merely in the good times, when life seems to be overwhelmingly favorable. Nor is it when we come in public to worship, where it appears that it is flowing deep, wide, and rapid! No; the word is, “praise continually.” This means there is no room and time for complaining, murmuring, fretfulness, discontent, impatience, irritability, and lamenting about our surroundings. Whatever it may be, such as perpetually fault finding with those who are associated with us, whether in public or in private, whether in the church, in business, or in our family circle.
We who are of the royal priesthood should have no time for any of these things. We should be drawing nigh to God, in holy liberty, peace, and blessings. Our total objective should be to breathe and emit the fragrant incense into the atmosphere that we occupy, and walk in the sunlight of His divine presence, as new creations, who strive to dispel negativity and discontent from our minds. We who are of the royal priesthood should always strive to be happy and praising God. It is more than obvious that we are tried in a thousand ways; but please understand that these trials bring us into a better communion with Jesus Christ our Lord!
My brothers and sisters, when we observe how the priests ministered in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle that existed in the wilderness journey from Mt Sinai to Shiloh (a type of the church in the wilderness) we see that there was the inner court, i.e. the “The Holy Place.” As a student of God’s word I am always intrigue with the foreshadows this place and its furniture represented. In this place were three articles of furniture. On the north side there was the Table of Shewbread bearing 12 loaves of bread. (Jesus the bread of life) The table itself was wood overlaid with gold, having a double crown on it. Please know that the bread upon this table was food for the priest who served. This was known as “The Presence Bread” glory! Now opposite the Table was the Golden Candlestick on the south side of the Tabernacle. This was made of pure gold according to the Divine pattern rendered by God. It had 7 branches and 7 lamps on the branches. The lamps were filled with oil (a type of the Holy Spirit) and burned continually before the Lord. Please note that it was the only light that was in the Holy Place. Hence, the priest ministered in the light of the Candlestick!
My brothers and sisters I want to put emphasis on the third article of furniture in the Holy Place, it was called the Golden Altar of Incense. This furniture was made of acacia wood, which was grown in the dessert, and it was a very nonporous wood that was overlaid with gold. It also was made according to the Divine pattern rendered by God. This altar stood immediately in front of the curtain called “The Veil,” which divided the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. Now within this Altar of Incense were various chosen fragrant spices, chosen by God that were compounded together; these spices burned on the Altar of Incense before our Lord perpetually. The fragrant spices filled the Holy Place with an amazing fragrance ordained by God! My brothers and sisters, the fragrance which filled this area was a typology, which represented us that are of the royal priesthood; who render prayers, worship, and intercession for ourselves and the people of God, before the Lord. For this altar had a crown also! I reiterate that this fragrance represented prayer, hence it was imperative that Communion and Petition be performed by the priests, prior to Intercession! GOLDEN NUGGET!
So when we bring this into today’s worship, the apostle seems to emphasize the word “Royal” He says, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal . . . priesthood that ye should show forth the virtues of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”
This brings us a picture of consummation as Saints of God in the priesthood. As holy priests, we draw nigh to God, and present the sacrifice of praise. As royal priests we go forth among our fellow men, representing who we are in everyday life, so that we can continue to show forth the virtues of the graces provided by our Lord Jesus Christ. It is imperative that every movement of those who are of the royal priesthood, emit fragrance which represents the grace of Jesus Christ.
Saints please know that the apostle does not say, “Ye ought to be royal priests.” He says “ye are;” and as such we are to show forth the virtues of Christ. Please understand that as we all mature in this office, we cannot be overly occupied with ourselves; our own interest, and our own enjoyment! For these characteristics do not represent the office of the royal priesthood at all. Christ never represented selfishness in any wise, hence this brought forth virtue.
It is a fact, that we who are of the royal priesthood will give, and give liberally, because to limit our sacrifices, would rob us of the most precious functions of this office, which has been delegated to us by Jesus Christ. The very Apostle Peter, who penned the words on which we are dwelling on said on one occasion in Acts 3, “Silver and gold have I none;” and yet at that very moment, he was acting as a royal priest; by bringing the precious virtue of the Name of Jesus to heal the impotent man.
Our blessed Master, Jesus; and I can affirm, never possessed a penny, but He went about doing good, and so should we! Hence, therefore, let none of us try to think that we cannot act as a royal priests without earthly riches. In my limited experience of 40 years, I found that the riches which are required is to speak a kind word, and to render tears of sympathy in the intercession for others. This proves the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ, which has been laid open to the most obscure member in the priesthood. You and I may be in rags, without a penny in the world, and yet carry ourselves as blessed partakers of this royal priesthood, by diffusing the fragrance of the grace of Christ. GOLDEN NUGGET!
My brothers and sisters when we turn to Act 16:19-34, we see Paul and Silas were thrown into the innermost part of the prison at Philippi, their backs were covered with stripes, and their feet were fast in stocks, while dwelling in darkness during the midnight hour. What were they doing? Were they murmuring and complaining? I don’t think so! They had something more efficient and effective to do. They were two “living stones,” and nothing on earth or hell could hinder their life in expressing praise!
Again I ask, what were these living stones doing? These partakers of the rock life, who were victorious partakers in the resurrection of Christ Jesus; how did they employ themselves? It was as holy priests, because they offered the sacrifice of praise to God. Yes that’s right, “at midnight, Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises to God.” How amazing this was! How glorious! How refreshing! What are stripes or stocks, or prison walls, or gloomy nights, to living stones and holy priests? Talking about dire circumstances! Wow, how easy we get annoyed by the daily things in this life, which cause us to lose our mental balance in Christ! But Paul and Silas made the best of their situation, because they were living stones and holy priests!
Yes my brothers and sisters, they were there as royal priests, it was “the virtues of him who had called them out of darkness into his marvellous light.” And where did these virtues shine out? In the touching words addressed to the jailer in Acts 16:22-28 “And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.”
These were the accents of a royal priest, just as the song of praise was the voice of a holy priest. I thank God for both! The voices of the holy priests went directly up to the throne of God and did their work there; and the words of the royal priests that went directly to the jailers hard heart and did a great work there. God was glorified and the jailer was introduced to salvation by two men who rightly discharged the functions of “the royal priesthood.” It is because of these recorded and encouraging experiences, that you and I should be honored to suffer, and be used by God, Hence we should always embrace this office where the Lord has placed us; therefore we will perpetually say “Lord I Magnify My Office in YOU.” Please strive to have a “Jesus Day”