Ephesians 4:3-6; One Lord – the function of our priesthood / Intro to the Mediatorial King.
length: 82:17 - taught on Mar, 14 2021
Sunday March 14,2021
In our look at the phrase “one Lord,” we have noted several titles pertaining to the Lord Jesus Christ’s unique authority as God and as Prince Ruler of Israel and the church.
Our last title to examine was Him as High Priest and subsequently the priesthood of all the members of the church.
Jesus Christ is the one and only true High Priest and the members of His body, the members of the true church are the first true priests.
Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father [end of old priesthood]. 22 "You worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
No rituals or cleansing needed. The royal priest is forever clean and justified. He can anytime and anywhere worship God in the ways he is told.
Present his body a living and holy sacrifice, ROM 12:1.
Continually offer up praise (thanksgiving), HEB 13:15.
Not neglect doing good and sharing, HEB 13:16.
Continually pray, 1TH 5:17.
Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. 16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
The truth set forth is that praise and thanksgiving is to be continual, or a constant running theme throughout our lives, and doing good and giving are going to come in opportunities that we’re not to forget or neglect.
“neglect” - epilanthanomai = intensive form (epi) of forget or neglect. It is used of God’s “remembrance” of sparrows.
“Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? And yet not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
The prefix “epi” on the verb lanthano, which alone means “to forget, or escape notice,” intensifies the action. It could be translated “be very sure not to neglect doing good and sharing.” This command is similar to another exhortation in the same book:
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.
This is us functioning as the true priests of God.
Before we leave the topic of priests, we should be sure to understand that our gracious sharing is a foundational part of it, and that God has much to say throughout the scriptures about material wealth. The giving of worldly goods by the believer priest is a part of his sacrifice to God. God required the Israelites under the Mosaic Law to give a specific portion of their worldly goods.
The royal priests of the church are also to offer our worldly substance regularly (1CO 16:2); proportionately (1CO 16:2); sacrificially (2CO 8:2); liberally (2CO 9:6, 13); cheerfully (2CO 9:7); trusting God to supply our needs (2CO 9:8).
There is more to giving than supplying for those in need. Giving is always associated in the scripture with a gracious heart. It is more blessed to give than to receive, said the Lord. The Lord loves a cheerful giver. The widow secretly seen by our Lord did not give enough to sustain anyone, but she gave more than all, said the Lord.
God has given man a rich world filled with many good things supplied graciously by God, and then He tells us to lend and not expect back; to give sacrificially. God also warns us of the deceitfulness of riches and their corruption.
On top of warning us, God reveals Himself as a gracious giver, and giving His best to a world that does not deserve it. The word God uses to describe this is grace.
Many of us have enjoyed the Bible Project videos embedded in our Bible readings. Disclaimer …
An example of a man who once understood something of God’s grace and goodness, but was then deceived by riches was king Solomon.
When God began His earthly kingdom of Israel at Sinai, its rulers were simple and unpretentious. Moses, Joshua, the Judges, Samuel ruled the people without a palace and without pomp. Then, over against this, consider the proud legions of Solomon with the horsemen and flashing chariots; his royal palace thirteen years in the building, his summer house in the forest of Lebanon, the house for Pharaoh’s daughter, and his great throne of ivory and gold; his stables with 40,000 stalls for the chariot horses alone; his enormous harem of a thousand women; and the groaning table of his court provided daily with all the delicacies of the then known world. Yes, the Lord provided for him, but it was certainly his responsibility to use these riches properly.
“When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, 'I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me,' 15 you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman. 16 Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the Lord has said to you, 'You shall never again return that way.' 17 Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.”
The fourth command regarding the conduct of the king, vv. 18-20, was that he was to write a copy of the law, which he shall read all the days of his life that he may learn to fear the Lord.
Solomon violated all four commands, and used the great wealth available to him for his own desires. It is interesting to look into these commands a bit further. For instance, the rule on multiplying horses.
The horses of the Bible are almost exclusively “war-horses,” and such horses were either ridden or drew chariots. Therefore the command forbids the building up of a costly type of military forces which might be used for offensive wars and will likely be thought of as a source of protection, which for America it is, but for Israel, it is not. Yavah was always to be their protection. And, a large standing army is very costly, as is war, and the subsequent history of Israel shows that they trusted in horses and wealth when confronted with enemies.
Sexual sins in the pursuit of the various phallic cult idolatrous religions in their midst had a grave impact on their power and freedom as a nation. Their rejection of God’s law, which law they forsook completely, was a natural result of their rejection of God. In all four of the commands given for the kings of Israel, we find the destruction of the king and the people as well, and therefore, as it so often seems, as goes the king so goes the nation. In all nations throughout history the leaders tend to be a true representation of the hearts of many of the people.
Will we in the church escape the misery of rejecting God? If a believer is disobedient to the word he will forsake his own happiness and the fruit of strength from the Spirit within him.
In addition to the four types of sacrifices outlined in the scripture (our bodies a living sacrifice, sacrifice of praise, good works, and giving), the believer priest is also to offer intercession to God. He prays to the Father in Christ’s name, which means more than only saying His name. Christ’s name is His person and reputation. Approaching the throne of the Father in the name of Christ is much like a courier of the ancient world approaching a foreign king with a letter or recommendation. From whom that letter came would matter very much, and if it was from someone of great reputation, the behavior of the courier would also greatly matter.
When we approach the Father, we are coming to Him in the name of Jesus Christ, which are those sent by Jesus Christ, on His authority and His reputation.
It is a very great privilege and a great honor and a matter of some weight.
We intercede for others as well as our own needs. Our prayer is to be continual, which is obviously not every moment, but regular. We ask, how often is regular? The answer must be, what is befitting a priest of Jesus Christ.
We can only be priests and approach so sacred a place as the mercy seat, the throne of God the Father, due to the blood of Jesus Christ our one Lord.
In offering his sacrifices and intercession, the believer priest is fulfilling in large measure his total effective ministry for God in this world. The fulfillment of his priestly responsibilities is integral in any vital Christian experience and effective witness for God.
The one Lord is the Mediatorial Ruler of the Kingdom of God.