For the proclamation of the Gospel and the edification of the Body of Christ
A call to the ministry of intercession.
"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion…" (Gen. 1:26).
From the first moment of creation, man was made to reign. Then, when the Lord speaks to Israel on Mount Sinai, He says: “And you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation” (Ex 19:6). He called his people with this purpose. And later, when the purpose of the Lord is described in the New Testament, it no longer says: “you shall be…”, but the Holy Spirit says clearly through the apostle Peter: “you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation…” (1 Pet. 2:9).
In Revelation everything is confirmed when it says: “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us kings and priests unto God and his Father” (“He made us a kingdom of kings and priests”). Then in the heavens there is a loud proclamation, before the throne of the Lord, in Revelation chapter 5: “You are worthy to take the book, and to open its seals: for you were slain, and you have redeemed us to God… And you have made us kings and priests unto our God: and we shall reign on the earth”.
It is said in the scriptures that the Lord is King of kings (Rev 19:16). He is the King, and He wants us to reign with him too. “Blessed and holy is he that has a part in the first resurrection… they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Rev 20:6). And even more: “…they shall reign for ever and ever” (22:5).
The circumstances, weaknesses and even the failures of this present time are not the end of our life. The sufferings, pain and difficulties, are just a small parenthesis, because when the purpose of our God is fulfilled in us at the end of our course, we will be with Him, reigning for ever and ever! His word fills us with hope, so that we can endure the trials of this present time, so that we can be encouraged in the Lord, and leave every weakness behind.
Sometimes, we take weakness as a virtue. And in some senses it is, because all of us need to be broken. Paul says: “For when I am weak, then I am strong”. What we must live out is a weakness in terms of natural strength. We will always look for the glory to be the Lord’s; therefore, all human energy and intelligence must pass through the cross. But in the Lord’s purpose, He needs servants who are filled with the Holy Spirit, He needs kings and priests.
A weak king or priest is inconceivable. A king has spiritual authority and spiritual power. On many occasions we settle for little, and only look to the Lord when we are faced with some problems that we wish to solve. We fail to see things from the Lord’s perspective that He should get what He wants of us. If that is the case we risk being a people that say: “Well, I look for God because I have this or that need, because I want to get something from Him”.
Health and material blessings are merely additions of the Kingdom. The most important thing is the Lord reigning, that He be the center of our lives, and that He governs in us.
Therefore, let us not be like Adam, who went astray from the path. He was called to rule; but he came to be a slave. Nor let us be like Israel, who were called by God to be a kingdom of priests and holy people, and instead they ran towards idolatry, religious traditions, and when the Messiah came, their Savior, they were not capable of recognizing Him, and ended up losing the kingdom (Mat 21:43).
As the Church, as those redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, we have a very deep honor: we are invoking the Name above all names. We have a huge privilege, because we have come to the real Living God. We have come to be intimate companions, beloved by God, and our honor is to be available for His service.
God wants to get you for Himself. The Lord wants to have, in each one of us, a king and a priest: a king priest. We live in the middle of a desperate world. During these days, our country has been touched by the violence that ended the life of a cop. The entire world is being touched. The world is desperate and it is good that we as the church, become aware of our responsibility. The church will have a leading role during the end time.
You and I have been called to a battle line, we were called to take up the weapons of light, to fight the battles of the Lord in the last time. Not to form an ecological movement to protect the earth, nor to lift up banners demanding social changes. We are called to dress ourselves in our priestly garments. Because the purpose of the Lord is not only to have saved sinners. He needs priests! He washed away our sins to make us priests. That’s what’s written.
A priest is a man that has a high spiritual responsibility. A priest is a man or a woman that can change the course of history; it is somebody that can stop God’s anger and bring salvation to others. A priest is somebody that can open a gate to the one that is lost, to the ones that are out of the way, to the ignorant. He cannot afford the luxury of watching on with arms folded as the world dies.
This reminds us of a dramatic passage from the Old Testament. Because of the sin that was among the people of Israel, a plague began. Moses stops his prayers and orders his brother: Aaron, take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar…and go quickly to the congregation! The plague has begun! I can imagine the scene. Aaron runs with the censer, and he puts himself between the dead and the living. And the plague was stopped! There was haste, because if he as priest had acted with negligence, many more would have died. “And he stood between the dead and the living” (Num 16:45-50). It is supposed that we are the living, the ones that have eternal life, Christ’s Life.
We have received the Lord in our hearts; you have a treasure that those who are perishing do not have. You have the Life! You have Christ, you have the censer with the fire of the altar and the incense of the Spirit. We are the ones that have to run! Where will we run to? Unto the throne of grace, were mercy is obtained and grace is found to help us in time of need. (Heb 4:16).
The function of the priest
“For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way … And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as Aaron was” (Heb 5:1-4).
You and I have been ordained for men (to act on behalf of men) in things pertaining to God. Therefore, we have responsibility within this city, within our country and the world. Those priests presented their offerings and sacrifices in favor of the people. What do we present? The perfect sacrifice of our Lord Jesus. We are priests, and we come unto the Father in the name and merits of our blessed Savior, who at the same time is our High Priest.
“…who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way”. A characteristic of a priest is that he shows himself patient with the misguided. Humanly, we are experts in disqualifying others. We are not patient; patience is not man’s virtue. But “Christ in us” is. Then there will have to be a repeated crying out for the ones that are in darkness. Our work is not to condemn, but to intercede.
“And no man taketh this honour”. Aaron was called to exert the priesthood. We were called to fellowship with the Son of God, with somebody greater than Aaron: Jesus is our great High Priest. See how greatly the Lord honors you, making you a priest.
How many times Satan the devil, has looked to hinder our priesthood. The whisper of the liar is: “God does not hear you”. He tries to make us believe that our praying goes nowhere. One of his greatest triumphs consists of making our prayer life weak, because he knows the power that is unleashed by this life. Let us rise up today to proclaim that our Lord Jesus “ having disarmed the principalities and powers, he made a display of them, triumphing over them through Him” (Col. 2.15).
Let every lie be crushed in the name of the Lord Jesus. He has said “no man cometh unto the Father but by me”. And when you say: “Father, I come to you in the name of the Lord Jesus”, the doors of heaven open, and God hears our prayers. He that made the ear, will he not also hear? An ancient prophet, from a place of deep weakness says: “my God will hear me” (Micah 7.7).
A permanent intercession
“And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life for it is attested of him ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek’” (Heb 7:15-16).
The only one who has an endless life because death was incapable of retaining him is our Lord Jesus, and He lives in our hearts. The indestructible and powerful life of the Lord is in you and in me, sustaining us so that we can exert our priesthood.
“Therefore he is able also to save forever those that come unto God through him, seeing that he ever lives to make intercession for them”(v.25). The priest has no other reason to live: He ever lives to make intercession. Heaven is waiting for prayers of its priests on behalf of men, for the ones that shall believe on the Lord, and so that He may obtain His glorious church (Eph. 5:27).
May we pray for the young people, for their hearts to be set free from the world, and made to be captives for the Lord. The world is designed to lure us away and it neutralizes us. Everything seems good and pleasant (Gen 3:6), but its end is death. May the Lord help us all!
Our first priority must be to have intimate fellowship with the Lord. May the Lord help us as the church. The Lord needs His king priests in action.
Many Christians live complaining or being distracted, living without any objective. Let’s go back to the straight path drawn by the Lord, because there lies our fulfilment and our glory! Being a priest is an honor, a privilege. There are few that manage to enter in, and you are among them! And many people can find grace before God as a result of our intercession!
The prophet said: “God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you” (1 Sam 12:23) Not praying is a sin for a priest. His function is going before the throne. You will go in and you will be heard. The Lord entered the most Holy place once and for all, and obtained eternal redemption. When you go in, you obtain something. The Lord obtained eternal redemption; therefore you and I will get answers on behalf of others.
“For Christ has not entered into the holy place made with hands, which is the figure of the true one; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Heb 9:24).
If we take this word only in the meaning that it has for our benefit and give thanks to the Lord for presenting Himself for us before the Father, that attitude would reveal our spiritual childhood, and then we would relax in a state of passivity. Thanks be to the Lord because He has accomplished his service in our favor, but He also wants you to enter in, so that you can present yourself on behalf of others!
Are we inactive? Have we been stopped? This happens when the knees have become paralyzed. May the Lord reprimand us for it, and may He promote us, and may we seek each other out to pray. We will always find support in the body of Christ.
Let us ask the Lord to help us powerfully. We should be true lightbearers. Let’s use this privilege of being priests. Let’s be the trembling people of God, the wise people that look to their God and who want answers on behalf of men from before His throne.
We are the ones that are going to intercede for this world. What will the Lord do? We do not know. The Lord is interested in man’s souls! And God will allow affliction and torment on the earth so that man will humble himself before Him. (Rev 16:8-11)
He came to save men from the contamination of sin. Even though this earth should burn with the fire of hell, our concern is for the salvation of men and that they should go to be with the Lord, and that His name may be glorified, because we have been ordained for (on behalf of) men in things pertaining to God. You and I have been established as priests, because of the power of an endless life, (Life of Christ) on behalf of men in things pertaining to God.
To conclude, may we remember that our priestly service is permanent and it is forever. Since the High priest Aaron was anointed as such, he served in the sanctuary until the last day of his life, and only died when Moses, because of a Divine order, took his priests’ garments off him. His life was sustained by service; without it, there would be no reason for him to live. (Num 20.22-29). May it be so for the rest of our lives on earth, and then, when we go to take our place joined to our Lord, we will still be His servants for the whole of eternity. Blessed be His holy Name!
Synthesis of a message preached in Temuco, October in 2007.