Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 12/13/09
As a part of “the new things” that have come from 2 Co 5:17, we have been noting the ten unique asserts that believers in other dispensations did not possess which are in view.
We have seen the first four:
a. The baptism of the Spirit which results in the creation of a new spiritual species and the royal family of God.
b. The PPOG and a personal sense of destiny which is unique for the royal family of God only.
c. You also have a phenomenal portfolio of invisible assets which belongs to you as a member of the royal family of God.
d. The fourth is the principle of equality. For the first time in history, every believer, regardless of background or personal history has equality given by God.
We are now ready for the fifth principle of doctrine as a part of the “new things” which is the two unique royal commissions: The Royal Ambassadorship and the Royal Priesthood.
Among the many benefits of our spiritual royalty are these two divine commissions. In union with Christ, every Church-age believer belongs to the most exalted priestly order of all time. Every believer in the Church-age is under the High Priesthood of the resurrected Jesus Christ.
Throughout the Bible a priest is a human being who represents some segment of the human race before God. There are three categories of priesthood:
1. The family priesthood in which the patriarch of the family functioned as the priest for the family. This operated from Adam to Moses. This was known as the age of the Gentiles which had a family priesthood. The firstborn became a priest after the death of the father, as illustrated by Abraham, Job, and Melchizedek.
2. The Levitical priesthood of Israel. This priesthood is limited to the Jewish age and the Millennium. The age of Israel had a specialized priesthood of those who were born from the loins of Aaron and the tribe of Levi. Not all Levites were priests. The eldest son was appointed to be the High Priest. Their job was to teach doctrine and explain the rituals. Salvation was demonstrated in these rituals, but the rituals themselves did not save. Under this priesthood, the person could have no physical defect, (LEV 21:17-21). The spiritual function of this priesthood was related to ritual and to the teaching the Word of God.
For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never by the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect those who draw near. (HEB 10:1)
In other words, the old plan was only a hint of the good things in the new plan which was to come. Since the Law wasn’t complete in itself, it couldn’t complete those who followed it. No matter how many sacrifices were offered year after year, they never added up to a complete solution.
Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? (HEB 10:2)
If they had, the worshipers would have gone joyfully on their way, no longer dragged down by their sins.
But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year.
Instead of removing awareness of sin, when those animal sacrifices were repeated over and over they actually heightened awareness and guilt.
For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. (HEB 10:4)
3. The royal priesthood. During the Church-age, Jesus Christ is our High Priest. We are in union with Christ; therefore, we are royal priests.
You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture: “Behold I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, And he who believes in Him shall not be disappointed.” This precious value, then, is for you who believe. But for those who disbelieve, “The stone which the builders rejected, This became the very corner stone,” and, “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
As the High Priest, Jesus Christ is the minister of spiritual things.
For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; (HEB 5:1).
Our legacy is Bible doctrine, and as our High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ ministers to us through the Canon of scripture in things pertaining to God. In previous dispensations, membership in the priesthood was severely restricted. Priests were a small minority among believers. For example, in the Old Testament, under the Law, the priests all had to come from the tribe of Levi.
In EXO 28:4, they had to wear a breast piece, a robe, a turban and a sash.
In EXO 29:9, they had to wear headbands. It was quite an exclusive priesthood.
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Bring the tribe of Levi near and set them before Aaron the priest, that they may serve him. And they shall perform the duties for him and for the whole congregation before the tent of meeting, to do the service of the tabernacle. They shall also keep all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, along with the duties of the sons of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle. You shall thus give the Levites to Aaron and to his sons; they are wholly given to him from among the sons of Israel. So you shall appoint Aaron and his sons that they may keep their priesthood, but the layman who comes near shall be put to death.”
The Church-age is unique in that the priesthood has been extended to include every believer (1PE 2:5; REV 1:4-6; 5:10). As a royal priest, every Church-age believer represents himself before God.
I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. (ROM 12:1)
The royal priesthood is the basis for the believer’s spiritual privacy in which he lives his own life before the Lord.
Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand. (ROM 14:4)
But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God. (Rom14:10)
For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. (2TH 3:11-12)
Under the royal priesthood it is important to note that the faithful intake of Bible doctrine, which is the basis for spiritual growth, is a priestly function. Spiritual growth is a result of the believer-priest’s function before God. In the earlier priesthood’s the setting for the priest’s took place in material temples and physical altars. However, now the setting is in God’s pre-designed plan and the altar is the believer’s very own soul.
Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, (HEB 13:9).
However, although all believers are a fully ordained priest at the moment of salvation, his priesthood only becomes more effective as he attains spiritual growth. This in itself shows that God’s plan for us in the Church age, as royal family, is totally and completely unique, it is only for us in the Church-age. Since every believer is a priest in the Church-age, every believer represents himself before God, thus establishing a system of privacy.
Under the privacy of your priesthood, you are responsible for yourself before God. You are responsible for every thought you think, every motive you have, every good decision and action, good or bad. God is holding you responsible for your own decisions. This is because He made you a priest so that you now represent yourself before Him. As a royal priest, every believer has a direct line to God, which means he represents himself before God, he evaluates himself, he offers prayer for himself, and he gives offerings to God. Hence, the privacy of your priesthood is related to the importance of PMA of Bible doctrine. You have privacy so that you can learn Bible doctrine yourself.
This is why the local church should be an environment where believers can gather together and yet, have their privacy respected. Where you’ve been, where you are, or where you’re going is no one’s business! This is why the pastor-teacher, as the final authority in the local church, must protect the privacy of all priests in his congregation by disciplining or removing those who violate others privacy.
Under the privacy of your priesthood, you have the right of assembly with other believers to learn doctrine from whoever is your right pastor-teacher, where your privacy is respected. The privacy of your priesthood permits both your positive volition toward doctrine plus the right to metabolize and apply that doctrine to your own experience. This is why throughout the Gospels the Lord dealt with the disciples privately, since much of what occurred was family business.
And if your brother sins (against you) go and reprove him in private. (MAT 18:15)
When a person sins, his privacy is still to be respected. So the royal priesthood must have privacy to fulfill its function. There is a perfect illustration of this in JOH 21:21-22 where Peter was sticking his nose into John’s business and the Lord told him that what happens to John is none of Peter’s business. Peter was to pay attention to his own life before the Lord. Peter had his eyes on John instead of occupation with the Lord. Peter had his eyes on people! Peter’s job was to follow the Lord and not worry about John or any other apostle. Every time you stick your nose into someone else’s business or malign them, you have violated their priesthood and their privacy. You have made their private life public business. This is why murder, stealing and busybodies are put in the same verse.
By no means let any of you suffer as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler [which is a busybody or one who violates the privacy of others]. (1 Pe 4:15)
The only human dependence of the royal priesthood is the divine provision of your very own pastor-teacher, and consistent positive volition under his teaching ministry.
Major functions of the royal priesthood include:
- Rebound as the basic technique for the recovery of fellowship.
- A consistent prayer life.
- Perception, metabolization, and application of doctrine to your own experience.
- The sacrifices of life, e.g., praise, which is your doctrinal momentum resulting in spiritual adulthood and virtue love.
- Divine viewpoint mental attitude from metabolized doctrine. It isn't what the other person thinks that counts; it's what you think from metabolized doctrine that counts.)
- Self-motivation from metabolized doctrine. You have to motivate yourself; you can't depend on someone else's leadership. If you depend on them, then you are borrowing their inspiration.
Your priesthood demands that you live your own life as unto the Lord and take the responsibility for your own decisions.