Be a Priestly Christian
Hebrews 5:11-14 (Pastor Heo)
5:11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teah you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Do you have a desire to grow? Do you practice faith in your daily lives? God wants us to grow continually.
Hebrews offers warning and challenge.
God wants us to grow in mission, character, personality. Even babies want to learn something more. They try to do something new to grow. If we have no desire to grow, and no practice in our faith to grow, then, I’m sorry, but you (we) are less than baby Christians.
Still today, some Christians almost never grow for 10, 20, 30, 40 years. This is a serious question: Are you growing?
Among us, there are some young parents. They are so excited to see the growth of their children – walking, speaking, learning. Imagine what a terrible thing it is if the child ALWAYS remains as a child: milk, no speaking, etc – until he becomes 20 years old.
Like this, God is our father, and we are his children. He loves to see us grow. And he is very unhappy if we do not grow.
Genesis: God appeared to Abraham at age 99. He did not say, “Wow, you are too old to grow.” No, at 99, he said, “Continue to grow! (Do you best to be blameless before me).”
Yes, in the secular world, there is an age of retirement. But in spiritual ministry and mission, there is no time for retirement – until our departure from this world.
This passage is very challenging.
“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn.”
One of the first, earliest signs of backsliding is disinterest in the Word of God.
“In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
You should serve others. How long have you been a Christian? As we know, milk is pre-digestive food – especially for babies. Only those with teeth can eat kalbi (meat).
There are two kinds of food here:
- Milk (yes, good, essential, but…)
- Meat (solid food)
What do these mean?
- Milk = What Jesus did ON EARTH – birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection
- Meat – What he is doing NOW in HEAVEN and in US – as our Savior and Lord
We begin life as a Christian based on his FINISHED work on the cross: “It is finished.” But we GROW in Christ on the basis of his UNfinished work in heaven, on earth, in us – in our daily lives.
This is a parable about milk and solid food. To grow, we need time, Bible reading, Scripture memory, Bible study, prayer, devotional time, quiet time – this is MILK – we need every day.
But to grow, this is not enough.
At this moment, let’s have a clear spiritual medical check.
Without sharing the gospel for the lost outside the church, and without ministry to serve those INSIDE the church, there is no growth.
Timothy “Be diligent so that everyone may see your growth.”
- What are you doing for the lost OUTSIDE the church? (Mission)
- What are you doing for the members INSIDE the church? (Ministry)
Mission + Ministry must go together. This is the SECRET to growth.
Yes, Jesus is our eternal, Great High Priest. He came to earth to save us by his grace, mercy, blood. If we accept this, he is calling us to be priests in this world as well.
1 Peter 2:9
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
But you are
- a chosen people,
- a royal priesthood,
- a holy nation,
- God’s special possession,
- that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Remember: If you are a born-again Christian, you are a priest. You are ordained. You are anointed. Say to yourself, “I’m a priestly Christian.” (x3)
In your whole life, not only today, until you stand before God face-to-face, please remember this: “I’m a priestly Christian.” (Really? Congratulations.)
Are you a priestly Christian?
Greet your neighbor, “I honor you, you’re a priestly Christian.”
My dear, honorable, priestly, Christian friends,… what does this title mean?
This title includes many meanings and abundant blessings, but let me share just 4 things:
“I’m a priestly Christian”:
1. Human priests carry honor before men (blessed and honorable).
No one can become a priest by his own choice. A priest is called, selected, appointed:
- (a) by God,
- (b) from Mankind,
- (c) for Mankind
1 Peter 2:9
You are a chosen people…
John “You didn’t choose me, but I chose you to go and bear much fruit.”
Eph 1:4 “God chose us before the Creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight…”
So, we must be sure of the calling of Jesus Christ (소명).
- “Jesus is calling me.”
- “Jesus is sending me into this world.”
2. Ordinary people could not approach God directly – they needed the help of the High Priest to approach God.
We are priestly Christians = we CAN approach the throne of Grace directly, at anytime and anywhere. We do not need any human priest, nor Pope. You don’t need a pastor, nor bishop in approaching the presence of God directly anytime, anywhere, everywhere, in the name of Jesus Christ. That’s why Jesus says, “I’m the Way the Truth and the Life.”
Romans 5 “Therefore, since you have been justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, you have access to the throne of Grace…”
From Sunday – Saturday, our lives should be worship.
Romans 11:1 “Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual (acceptable) act of worship.”
“My lifestyle is worship.”
For worship to be considered worship, 4 elements are needed:
- Object of worship (OT = God Almighty; Now = Jesus)
- Worshiper (OT = the people through the High Priest; Now = us directly)
- Sacrifice (OT = lamb; Now = our bodies, ourselves)
- Temple (OT = Tabernacle/temple building; Now = our bodies, ourselves)
Object = always the same: Father God + Jesus Christ
Worshiper + Sacrifice + Temple = US
3. The High Priest is a a) representative of Man before God b) representative of God before Man
He is the LINK between Mankind and God.
Jesus came when we were enemies with God – and he reconciled us with God through his blood. Then, he gave us the ministry of reconciliation as well. So, we are mediators for the lost, between Jesus and the lost.
If you are a priestly Christian, the lost cannot meet Jesus except through your service and mission. Our first job is to bring the lost to Christ as a living offering.
Romans 15:16 “To the ministry of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles with a priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God so the Gentiles might become an offering to God that is acceptable to God.”
When we win the lost to Christ, this is a living, eternal offering – because he/she will live eternally.
4. We should be holy
The High Priest Aaron in the OT put on a special, honorable garment – like a uniform, and a turbin with a pure gold plate and 4 words: “Holy to the Lord” (여호와께 성결).
A baby will put anything into his mouth – he cannot distinguish the edible from unedible. But as priestly Christians, we need discernment.
“But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
Discernment is not judgment. We have no right to judge others, but we need to have the ability to distinguish what God wants from what God hates. This is discernment. This is holiness. Clear?
To do what God wants us to do and reject what God hates us to do = holiness.
1 Peter 2:9 “… a holy nation…”
1 Peter 2:9
” But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
God bless you, my dear, priestly, Christian friends, so that we may grow and grow and grow until we stand before our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.