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Why We Need a Priest - 17

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
January 21, 2024 7:00 am

Why We Need a Priest - 17

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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January 21, 2024 7:00 am

Continuing in the exposition of Hebrews, Pastor Greg Barkman explains the need for a mediator to represent us before God.

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Well, last week we took the final three verses of Hebrews chapter four, and there we were introduced to Jesus Christ as our great high priest. And that theme continues on into chapter five.

In fact, it's going to be revisited with various additional details all the way from chapter five through chapter 10. A major theme in the book of Hebrews, Jesus Christ, our high priest, Jesus Christ, a priest to God's people, though an unfamiliar theme to many of God's people because the book of Hebrews is sometimes overlooked. And that's one of the reasons why we need to study it very carefully because it alone gives this rich teaching about the priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ. And so today, as we move into chapter five, we're going to consider the question why we need a priest.

And in fact, we do. But also, we're going to see why we do not need a priest. And is that a contradiction?

And it does sound like one. But to answer that question, that paradox, that seeming conundrum, let us plunge into our passage today in Hebrews chapter five. We shall see, first of all, the role of a priest in verse one. Second, the attitude of a priest in verse two. And third, the qualifications for a priest in verses one, three and four. The author, guided by the Holy Spirit, describes for us the role of a priest in verse one. He says, for every priest taken from among men is appointed for men and things pertaining to God that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. Why are we in a discussion about the priesthood of Jesus Christ?

Well, the verse begins by that little word for it is a connecting particle, a conjunction that links it back to the previous chapter and particularly the verses we looked at last Sunday. And so the discussion is here to tell us more about the great high priest that was introduced in chapter four. There we were told that Jesus Christ is a superior high priest, superior to Aaron in every way, but also a sympathetic high priest, one who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses and trials more than any other man. And he is indeed a gracious high priest, for he has purchased for us, he has, we might say, constructed for us a throne of grace where we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need, where we may lay hold of mercy that has already been supplied and is just there for the taking and where we may seek grace, that enabling power of God that comes to those areas of our life where we are unable to do what is necessary. But there we can find all the grace that we need if we will seek it from the Lord who sits upon the throne of grace.

And so that introduction to the great high priest in chapter four leads us into this more extended section in chapter five. So the role of a priest and why is this important? And I remind you because this is the book of Hebrews, that is, it was written particularly to Jewish Christians, Jewish people who had embraced Jesus as their Messiah, but were struggling with various elements of their Christian profession, some even apparently tempted to turn back to the old covenant instead of moving forward into the new. And for them, it was vitally important that they have a representative before God, it was built into the very fabric of their old covenant worship. The old covenant reinforced continually the truth that men, sinners, and all of us of course are sinners, that sinful men need, indeed must have a representative before God. I couldn't begin to name all the ways that that truth is enforced and reinforced in the Old Testament. I suppose it goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned and what happened? They were banished from the garden and an angel was set there to guard the way. You cannot come into the place where formerly you met with God without any barriers. You can't now.

Why? Because you've sinned. Thus throughout the Old Testament when you come into the book of Exodus and the giving of the law and the setting up of the priesthood and the tabernacle and later the temple and so forth, think of how all of that construction symbolized the difficulty of men and women as sinners coming into the presence of God.

In fact, I said that wrong. Men and women as sinners cannot come into the presence of God. Something must precede our coming. Something must prepare the way.

We need a representative who can bring us into the presence of God in the way that God requires. And so the tabernacle was constructed. It was the place of worship. But ordinary Jewish people could not come inside the tabernacle, could they?

They were left outside. Perhaps could step, the men perhaps could step into the courtyard far enough to bring their animals for sacrifices where the priest would sacrifice them upon the brazen altar. But nobody went into the main structure of the tabernacle except the priests. And only they could go into the first section, the holy place where there was a table of shewbread and the candelabra, the menorah as we know it today and the altar of incense. And only priests could go in there. No regular Jewish man or woman could go into that place.

Why? Because you don't have unhindered access to God. You don't have easy access to God. God, who particularly dwelled in the Holy of Holies, there's where his Shekinah glory was and was seen shining out from that place. There was the Ark of the Covenant with the mercy seat upon it. And so, in a sense, God localized his presence there, though all the time making it clear that he could not be localized in one place. But nevertheless, to accommodate the needs of people to be able to think of God in a particular place, well here's where he is, but you can't go there. Only the high priest once a year could go into the Holy of Holies and there only with blood to sprinkle upon the mercy seat. And on the Day of Atonement to obtain covering for the sins of the people for one more year. And on and on we could go.

I think that's enough to make the point. But the old covenant established and reinforced again and again and again that sinners do not have immediate and direct access to God. Well, how are we going to get to God? We need a mediator.

We need a representative. And so, the Hebrews understood that and they saw that representative in the priesthood, which was still going on at the days that this book was written. It wasn't until 70 AD when the city of Jerusalem was destroyed, that the temple was destroyed and the priesthood was banished.

But at the time this book was being written, all of these things were still going on. The temple stood. The brazen altar was there. The priests were operating. They were offering sacrifices. They were going into the holy place to utilize a showbread according to the directions of God. And the high priest was going once a year into the Holy of Holies.

All of this was going on. And all of these Hebrews saw representatives who were, as it were, representing them before Almighty God with a sacrifice that God had appointed to bring men into his presence. And then they looked at the Christian religion, which they had embraced, and they listened to the taunts of their Jewish friends and neighbors who had not embraced Jesus Christ. And the question was, for you Christians, where's your high priest? Where's your representative that can bring you into the presence of God? And the answer to that, of course, is Jesus is our great high priest.

That's what was introduced in chapter 4. And what does he do? Well, he does what the Old Testament priests did. Back to verse 1. For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sin. What did the Old Covenant priests do? Well, he represented men in things pertaining to God, according to the words of our text. Someone loosely translated that, in matters for which men are responsible to God.

And another said, he managed the religious interests of men before God. That's what the priests did, and particularly the high priest on the Day of Atonement. And what did the Old Covenant priests offer to God? Our text in verse 1 tells us that he offered both gifts and sacrifices for sins. He offered gifts, which apparently is a reference to the optional sacrifices of the Old Testament, that fit into the category of thanksgiving or thank offerings, as they are called. When people have received a special benefit or blessing or just wanted in some way to give special thanks to God, they would bring to the priest a thank offering. It was optional. It was not required. But there were prescriptions for how you bring something to express your thanks to God.

This is the way you do it. But again, through a priest, through a mediator, they offered their gifts and even more importantly, sacrifices for sins, because that was required. Apart from that, you remained guilty before Holy God. And so how important it was that you had sacrifices that were offered by one or ones appointed by God to take care of your sins, because you are a sinner and you need that. And so both of these types of offerings, the optional thanks offerings, or in some cases, the vows that were made, vows of dedication, special dedication to God, such as a Nazarite vow, that wasn't required.

That was optional. But if a person wanted to dedicate themselves especially to God, they had to come through a priest. They had to bring the right sacrifice and make the right vows and so forth. So all of these ways of worshiping God, all of these ways of serving God, depended upon a God appointed mediator in order to be able to do any of these things. And the priest took the offerings as prescribed by God, and he sacrificed them in the way prescribed by God, according to the details given by God in his word. And therefore, he had a particular way to carry out the sacrifice of whatever type and category of sacrifice was brought.

He had to sacrifice that to God, according to the details that God had given. That, dear friends, is the role of a priest. But in verse two, we find the attitude of a priest, and I must confess this rather surprised me.

I had to think about this a great deal because there are aspects of this that I really hadn't thought about much before. But it goes on to say of this high priest, verse two, he can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness. And so verse two describes the attitude with which the high priest and the other priest, by extension, went about their tasks. He wasn't just enough to perform the ritual according to the prescribed way, but they needed to do so with a particular attitude described here as having compassion. He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weaknesses. And so the attitude of a high priest should be the attitude of compassion. And I say that's an unexpected characteristic because I hadn't really thought about it much before.

Here it is, but I hadn't really thought about it much before. And I think in my mind, I assumed that as long as the priest carried out the ceremonial rituals according to God's prescription, everything was fine. He did it the way that God required, but this tells us he had to do it or he should do it with the attitude that God prescribed as well. And though it doesn't say this exactly, it implies, therefore, that the performance of rituals in themselves were insufficient. They needed to be performed by one who had the right heart attitude.

They prescribed actions in doing things the way God said to do them in the very detail as well as with the right attitude, compassion. He must have compassion. Or another translation says he must deal gently, and similar words that are used to translate what is actually a rather meaty Greek phrase that is very difficult to translate. But this word have compassion actually indicates he should have the middle ground between indifference on the one hand and sentimentality on the other hand. He must be, in other words, understanding of the needs and nature of the people that he's making sacrifices for, but he must not be indulgent. The implication is that he must not perform his duties either with indignation or exasperation toward those that are bringing the sacrifices. Well, you did it again. Well, you did it again.

Come on, dummy, what are you ever going to learn? Indignation or exasperation, but no, he needs to offer these sacrifices with compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, who have sinned, as we all do and as all of the old covenant Jews did. And so the attitude of a priest should be that of compassion. And then that implies, in my mind, at least two more things in order for him to have the proper compassion. He needs to secondly have honesty and thirdly needs to have humility.

And what do I mean by that? Well, if he's going to have the necessary compassion, then he's got to be honest with his own sins. That said here that he himself is also subject to weakness. And that's why, as we learn in verse three, he must offer a sacrifice for himself first before he offers it for the people because he's a sinner, too. But the implication is that for a man to serve in this office in a God honoring way, he's got to be honest about his own sins.

That is, neither to deny them nor to minimize them, as many people do. He needed to feel the weight of his own sins and make sure that he was dealing with them according to the God prescribed way, recognizing his sinfulness, recognizing his unworthiness, recognizing that even though he was a priest and wore the priestly garments and been instituted into that role, that office, and had performed these tasks before, he did not have automatic access to God any more than the people he was representing. He had to deal with his own sins first. That's what made him acceptable before God.

And he needed to feel the weight of his own sins and he needed to be honest in his own evaluation of his own heart and life in order to have the right attitude of compassion to deal with others. And that then thirdly suggests to me, also implied, that he needs a good level of humility to have the attitude that I'm no better than the people that I represent. If you have a special position, it's easy to get proud. I am a priest. You're not.

You can't be, but I am. I'm the high priest, the greatest of all the priests. It would be easy to be puffed up with an attitude like that, but an attitude like that would mean that God is not pleased with the sacrifices that are being made, though they be carried out in every single detail as God prescribed. Now, really, this shouldn't surprise us because we see something similar in the New Testament, where the Pharisees were so proud of their meticulous keeping of every little detail of the law, why they even tithed the herbs out of their garden.

And they not only kept the law as far as they were concerned perfectly, but even went beyond the requirements of the law. And what did Jesus call them? Hypocrites, whitewashed sepulchers full of dead men's bones. In other words, you're doing all the right things outwardly, but your heart's not right inwardly.

Well, that's what's being indicated here. Priests, in order to serve effectively in a God-honoring way, needed to have the right heart attitude as well as doing the prescribed things as they represented others. Sympathy indicated by compassion and honesty and humility. No superiority born out of self-righteousness.

I'm better than others, not at all. But the priest must allow his own sinfulness to humble him in order that he might truly be sympathetic to others, not looking down upon them, not self-righteous on them, in which case he will have the right attitude. It's interesting that this text says he can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray since he himself is also subject to weakness. The circumstances of his nature, of his life, of his performance, all should point him to having compassion. It should enable him to have compassion. He can have compassion, but he may not automatically have it if he has pride instead of humility, if he is dishonest about his own sins rather than honest in recognizing them before God. If he, like many people, puts his sins in a category of not so bad sins, whereas he puts other people's sins in the category of very bad sins. Be honest. We tend to do that, don't we?

Oh yeah, I'm a sinner, but mine aren't so bad. But look at that guy. Look what he's done.

Look what he's doing. Wrong attitude. We must have compassion on sinners like Jesus did, who was the friend of sinners. Yes, those sins are terrible, and if you haven't fallen into those particular sins, thank God, because it's only by the grace of God you haven't. Your sinful heart would plunge you right into them as well. Be honest with the truth about your own nature.

Be honest with the truth about your own sinfulness. And so we need a sympathetic mediator to represent us before God, one who has the proper attitude as well as who performs the proper rituals. The attitude of a priest, verse 2. But then thirdly, the qualifications of a priest, and that's in verses 1, 3, and 4. And what are they?

They are three. Number one, he must be a man. Number two, he must be appointed. And number three, he must be righteous.

He must be a man. That is, he must have a human nature. For every high priest, verse 1 tells us, taken from among men. Since we need a mediator who will be obedient to God in the performance of tasks and do so with the right heart attitude, God, why don't you appoint angels to that task?

Righteous angels, unfallen angels, they'll qualify, they won't mess up, they'll have the right attitude, yes, but they don't have a human nature. And God says a priest must have the nature of those that he represents. He must be a man taken from among men. The Old Testament priests were not only human beings with a human nature, but were taken from the same nation, taken from the same culture, taken from the same language, those who had the same experiences of life as those they represented.

They had the same nature and many of the same experiences, nearly all of the same experiences of the ones that they were representing, and that made them good representatives of these people before God. So qualification number one, he must be a man. That is, he must have a human nature. Qualification number two, he must be appointed by God. Again, verse one, for every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God. In verse four, no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was. He must be appointed, verse one.

He must be called by God, verse four. Just like Aaron was, we are also told in verse four. And the Old Testament makes it clear that God said, I choose Aaron of the tribe of Levi, but I choose Aaron out of the tribe of Levi to be my high priest, and descendants of Aaron will be the priests. And a descendant of Aaron will be the high priest, the successor to Aaron in the high priestly office. Exodus 28, one, God said to Moses, Now take Aaron your brother and his sons with him from among the children of Israel, that he may minister to me as priest, Aaron and Aaron's sons. God said, these are the ones I appoint, these and no others. He must be appointed. God appointed Aaron and God preserved Aaron.

There were a few occasions where others who were not appointed to this office rose up to challenge him. What makes Aaron think that he's a special one here? What makes Aaron think that he's the one who represents us before God? On one occasion, Moses, directed by God, said, Now the leaders of all the twelve tribes, give me a staff, your staff, and Aaron you give me your staff and we'll put them all in the Ark of the Covenant, and then tomorrow we'll take a look at them and see what happened. And they looked in there and eleven staffs were just like they had been when they were put in. But Aaron's staff did what? It was budding almonds, leaves and almonds. It had come alive in that Ark of the Covenant.

We call it Aaron's rod that budded. And what was that? God's saying, this is the one that I've appointed. He and no others don't challenge my appointment. He's appointed by God. Down through the history of Israel there are various times when different ones, sometimes kings high upon the throne, you know, filled with pride and thinking they could do anything. They were the king, they could do what they wanted to do. So they went into the temple to offer sacrifices to God. And one came out leprous, struck with leprosy just like that because he dared to encroach into the priesthood that God had reserved for Aaron and his sons. A priest had to be appointed by God. So it was not enough to desire to do the work of a priest or to desire the honor of the priesthood and to volunteer. I'll do that.

No, sorry. God does that. He makes the appointment. He makes the choice.

He decides who will serve him in this way. And so the priest must, number one, be a man with a human nature. Number two, he must be appointed by God. And number three, he must be righteous.

You say, uh-oh, nobody's righteous. But God has a provision for that, verse three. Because of this, going back to verse two, he himself is subject to weaknesses, that is, sins. Because of this, he is required, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer sacrifices for sins.

He must be righteous, but since there is none righteous, no, not one, since he's like a sinner like everybody else, including those that he represents, he must be made right before God, before he's qualified to make others right with God. He must take the sinner's place and deal with his own sins first. And on the Day of Atonement, before the high priest could go into the Holy of Holies, entered only once a year by the high priest, to sprinkle blood upon the mercy seat, to atone for the sins of the people he represented for another year. But before he dared to go in that, he had to offer a bird offering for his own sins.

Leviticus 16 is all about the Day of Atonement, and it says in verse six, Aaron shall offer the bull as a sinner offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself. And then it describes what he will do when he goes into the Holy of Holies to represent the people. He must be righteous. He must take the sinner's place and deal with his own sins first. He must acknowledge that he's a sinner, just like everybody else, and that he must deal with his sins, according to God's prescribed way, before he can help anyone else with their sins. He must bring a sacrifice for sin. Now, I finished my exposition of this text early, on purpose, because there are a lot of lessons that go out of this text.

I'm sure I won't be able to deal with all of them that have come to my mind, but let's start with some of them. And I think the most important one is what this teaches us about Jesus Christ, because that's the whole point here, that Jesus Christ is our High Priest, and we can see what he does for us, mirrored in the way the old covenant priest operated, and yet there are similarities and there are differences. But what about Jesus Christ? Well, he too, like Aaron, was appointed to his priesthood by God.

That goes on beyond the text for today, but we read about it. Verse 5, so also Christ did not glorify himself to become High Priest, but it was he, God Almighty, who said to him, you are my son and you are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek. So Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, had to be appointed by God to the office of priest before he could represent sinners before the judgment bar of a holy God. But he was appointed by God for this task.

What else about Jesus Christ? Well, he like Aaron and the other high priest had to first be made righteous. Well, in his case, he didn't need to be made righteous, he was righteous. He didn't have to offer a sacrifice for himself.

That's the difference. He had no sins of his own to deal with first before he could deal with the sins of those that he represented. He lived a sinless life, perfect life. He was like us in every way except for sin. He took upon him the human nature that was necessary to be a priest, but in his case, a sinless human nature. He was not born in sin like we all are. He did not commit sin like all of us do. And so he didn't have to be made righteous by some other means. He was already righteous.

But what else about Jesus Christ? We've learned that a priest, in order to do his work well, has to have compassion upon those that he represents. And we've already learned in chapter 4 that this describes Jesus Christ amazingly. He was perfectly compassionate.

Remember? Verse 15 of chapter 4, For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin, let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. So Jesus Christ, appointed by God, perfectly righteous to go into the presence of God, perfectly compassionate in order to feel the needs of those that he represents, which explains, in part, the Incarnation. How did Jesus qualify to be compassionate, to truly be able to feel our temptations, our needs, our weaknesses? After all, he was Almighty God. How could he feel that?

By becoming a man and experiencing those things like we do. Jesus had to become a man in order to represent us before God. He had to take on our nature. Now this would have been a stumbling block for the Hebrews, because it was very difficult for Jewish people to come to terms with the idea that their Messiah could be a sinful man. In fact, the cross itself was a great stumbling block to them.

Why? Because crucifixion upon the cross was the most shameful form of crucifixion that was carried out on their day, and it was reserved for the most sinful, the most degrading criminals. And you say this one, Jesus of Nazareth, who died in such a humiliating, shameful way, is our Messiah?

No way. Yes, he is. And he, who is the eternal Son of God, took upon him human nature and offered the things that we suffer in order to experience them as a human being, even unto death, the death of the cross. And that was necessary for him to become our Messiah, for him to become our Savior, for him to be able to represent us before Almighty God. And so he was perfectly compassionate, not because he was a sinner like ourselves, but as chapter 4 tells us, because he was tempted as we are, but to the very limit of temptation like we are not because we couldn't bear the strongest force of temptation. We crumble before we get there, but he never crumbled, and finally temptation crumbled before him.

That's the difference. But he certainly felt the temptation. He certainly understands the temptation. He certainly understands our weaknesses and our sins. And therefore he's not like a Jewish priest who has, hopefully, a measure of sympathy for those that he represents, if his attitude is right. But he is the perfect high priest who has infinite compassion, infinite mercy, infinite understanding of our weaknesses and sins. He has the greatest compassion of all. And he offered the final and perfect sacrifice for sins, namely himself. And that's another reason for the Incarnation, maybe the greatest reason, in order to become a human sacrifice, to die in the place as a substitute for sinners who deserved the wrath of God, as we all do, because of our sins. He took our sins upon him and then took our judgment for sin upon him and satisfied that judgment fully so there's no more judgment left.

He took it all for those who trust in him. And so Jesus Christ is a better priest than Aaron. Jesus Christ is the only priest we need.

What was the title of my sermon? Why we need a priest? We need a priest because we're sinners. We need a priest because we need someone who can mediate between us and God. We need a priest because we need someone who can take sinners into the holy of holies of God and allow us to be there, bring us there without God's righteous judgment falling upon us. Jesus Christ is our priest. He's the only priest we need. But we do need a priest.

We do need a mediator. But Jesus Christ is not only the priest we need, he's the only priest we can have. There are no more earthly priests. That was an old covenant provision that actually didn't really take away sin. It just pointed to the need of someone who could take away sin.

And when Jesus Christ came and fulfilled that requirement, bang, it's done. No more priests are needed. He is our great high priest.

He is the one and only mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. And so, do we need a priest? Yes. Do we need a priest?

No. Do we need a priest? Yes, one like Jesus. And if we have him, we don't need an earthly priest. The priesthood is gone. There is no such thing, biblically speaking, as a priest anymore.

Because Jesus is the only priest that God recognizes now. So that's a lesson about Jesus Christ and it flows right into, therefore, an important lesson about salvation, namely, you and I are sinners, right? All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. And sinners have no immediate access to God. That's a part of the gospel that often gets left out in our day. In our wishy-washy, squishy-squashy, indefinite, unclear, theologically ambivalent forms of Christianity. The idea is, well, anybody can just tripsy-trapsy into the presence of God any way they want to, any time they want to, anyhow they want to.

Wrong. We have to go the one way that God prescribed. It's not with the Old Testament animal sacrifices, but it is through Jesus Christ. If you don't go through him, you don't have access to God. We are sinners and sinners have no immediate access to God. Then what can we do? We're doomed.

We're done. Ah, but God has provided the qualified representative and that's what we need. And Jesus Christ is the one, the only one who is appointed for that purpose. We need an atoning sacrifice in order to come into the presence of God. And Jesus Christ is that atoning sacrifice. And if we have him, he who is acquired by faith and faith alone, then we have acceptance with God. And therefore, how important it is that we embrace Christ with a childlike faith. No reservations, no reluctance.

These keepers, some of them, were tempted to go back. Well, I'm having second thoughts about this Jesus being the Messiah thing. I think I'll go back to the old covenant, friend.

If you do that, you are forever damned. You say, well, I don't understand everything about Jesus Christ. I don't understand how he can be both God and man, nor does anyone else.

But dear friend, you know it's true. The Bible says so. Well, I don't understand how he could be a human being and yet without sin.

Well, according to our experience, that would be impossible, right? But the Bible tells us in his case, that's exactly what happened. He was tempted like we are, and even more strongly than we are, and yet never, never, never, never, never yielded to temptation. He is without sin.

You say, I have trouble with that. You better lay your questions and difficulties aside and with a childlike faith just say, I don't understand it all, but I embrace Jesus. I take Jesus. I need Jesus.

I must have Jesus. Oh Lord God, give me Jesus as my representative into your presence. And whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. We might take some lessons from this about God's servants, all of them. Sometimes we think of ministers, preachers as being God's primary servants, but actually all Christians are God's servants. And God assigns different places of service to different ones. To some he assigns the work of proclaiming the gospel, a public preacher of God's word. To some he assigns the role of a parent, which is a very important role of service in his plan. Parents have a very vital role to bring up their children, the nurture and admonition of the Lord, to teach their own children the truths of God's word. God calls some of God's people to serve him as teachers in other ways, such as in children's classrooms or Christian schools, or all of us to witness to our friends and neighbors.

We are all ministers in one way or another. And we learn from this passage that we will be effective ministers only as we recognize our own sinful weakness and are humble before God and are honest about our own sins. We can't be effective in going to others and saying, you sinful wretch, you need to be righteous like I am.

Wrong. I who am a sinful wretch found an alien righteousness which is not my own in Jesus Christ. And though I am a sinner, I am now a sinner saved by grace and I am made righteous before Almighty God. And I want to tell you that you can embrace the same Christ and have the same righteousness. And I tell you this not because I'm goody goody, not because I'm better than you or think myself better than you, not because I am righteous and you are sinful.

No, I tell you this because I'm a sinner who found righteousness in Christ and I want you as a sinner, but you've got to come to terms with your sinfulness, but I want you as a sinner to find righteousness the same place I did. Somebody said that a Christian is like one beggar going to another beggar and both begging bread because we have none of our own. And so all of God's servants must understand their own weakness and be sympathetic to those that they are ministering to. Preachers need to keep that in mind.

Parents need to keep that in mind. Some come to their parenting with a braggadocious, I'm in charge, you do what I say haughty attitude that is the opposite of what is necessary to be able to carry out this role in a God honoring way. I come to you, dear child, as a sinner saved by grace.

I want to see you come to faith in Jesus Christ so that you too, like I am, become a sinner saved by grace. We deal with our spouses that way. We must. A lot of marriage problems are because of pride and self-righteousness. Well if you did it like I did it, we wouldn't have these problems. I do it right, you do it wrong.

I'm better than you. Shape up. This goes both ways. Sometimes that's the wife talking to the husband, sometimes that's the husband talking to the wife.

You're both wrong. Have compassion. Be honest about your own sinfulness. Be humble before God.

And then you'll be able to fill, what are we talking about? How to be an effective servant of Christ. Then you'll be able to fill the role that God has assigned you to. And we must understand God's appointments. Ministers don't become ministers of God's word because they decide that's something they want to do. They want to do that work.

They want to have that honor. They've got to be God appointed. And though the appointment isn't the same as the Old Testament, is there any son of Aaron in here today?

I don't think so. But there's more to becoming a minister of the gospel than just saying, I feel in my heart that God has called me. And everybody else is supposed to say, well glory, hallelujah, amen.

No, others are supposed to say, let's observe you for a while. Do you evidence that you've got gifts that would indicate God has called you? Do you demonstrate the right attitude that shows that you can serve in the way that God has appointed? Let's observe you for a while before we jump on the bandwagon and conclude that you've been called of God to preach. Because there are a lot of men that have said they were called of God to preach, and it turned out that they evidently weren't. And God has a prescribed way for this to be ratified and made clear by the whole body of Christ, not just by one person deciding that for himself. This gets overlooked a lot of times. And, by the way, I'll wait for this one for a minute.

I'm almost there. But ministers are not self-appointed, no matter how noble that calling is and desirable it may be. But we are called by God, and that call is affirmed both by our inward sense of God's calling, which we are humble enough to allow to be tested by the body of Christ so that others may affirm, or say, I'm sorry, but I love you, but I think God has other ways for you to serve him than in this office because you just don't seem to qualify according to what we read in the Bible. But I do say, when it comes to ministers, please keep in mind, no more priests, no more sacrifices to offer. Now ministers of God don't offer sacrifices on behalf of others. Ministers of God proclaim the one final full and forever sacrifice that has been made. The sacrifice has been made. There are no more sacrifices. Come to the one who laid down his life that you might have eternal life.

One final lesson before I'm done. This passage tells us some things about the way to worship God. And how do we worship God?

We worship God according to the way that God appoints in no other. Anything not appointed by God should not be included in our corporate worship, or our private worship either, for that matter. Anyone not appointed by God should not find a place of leadership in corporate worship in the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Because anything or anyone not appointed by God incurs divine judgment.

It's not just a minor matter. And here's what I started to go to a moment ago, and I waited till now, but I'm still going to tread on thin ice to many people in our culture, but I'm confident it's not thin ice according to the Word of God. Dear Lady, no matter how gifted you may be, no matter how much you desire to teach God's Word to others, God has not appointed you to become a pastor. Women pastors are an abomination to God. That is not what God has appointed. And that only brings God's judgment upon the churches of the Lord Jesus Christ. But I've been called to preach. How can you be called to preach when the Bible says that women are not to exercise the office of a pastor?

But I feel that way. Too much feeling-oriented Christianity today. There is a place for feelings, a place for compassion, a place for sympathy and other feelings, but always, always, always, always in conformity with the written Word of God. There is no higher authority. You can't turn that over and still honor, please, and serve God. You're only serving the devil even though you think you may be serving God.

But I hate to end on that note. Look to Christ, shall we pray. Father, thank you for your Word. Help us to understand it. Help us to believe it. Help us to apply it. Help us to submit to it. Help us to honor you with it. Help us to help others with it. We ask in Jesus' name, amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-22 19:59:15 / 2024-01-22 20:16:11 / 17

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