Royal Priesthood: Conclusion
February 24, 2019
Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1377 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text
— Brother Phil Enlow:
The very thing to which we cling with such fierceness is the very thing from which you and I need to be delivered! And when we are, there’s going to be peace that God — that passes understanding. Praise God! That’s what salvation is all about.
And so, here’s, on the one hand, he’s presenting the inclinations of the old nature. This is how we tend to react with respect to each other. I’ll guarantee in a crowd this size, we’re not free from this — we’re not free from this. I’ll guarantee there’s people you can turn around and see, and you’d say — you’d feel that something rise up.
Folks, we need the Lord, just what we’ve been singing about this morning. We need Him. We need Him to transform our desires, everything! And where are we gonna get that? We’re gonna get it as we listen to His Word and as we agree with it.
As I say, it’s partly information. It’s partly where we see certain, we see a thing a certain way, and God says, no, this is the truth about that. You see the issue as “out there.” I see it as “in here.” You get this right, don’t worry about that. I can take care of all that stuff. But I want you to be free.
In every aspect of life, God has to reinterpret our thinking. Does He not say that we are to present ourselves and be transformed in our minds? Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed, how? In our minds. See, we’ve got to learn to think differently, but where am I gonna get that? God’s gonna have — I’m gonna have to let God talk to me.
Now, we could go to one extreme and say the only way God talks to you is from the pulpit. No, it’s not. God can speak when someone has the anointing and is speaking by the Spirit. Praise God! Don’t despise that. But I’ll tell you, God will meet you and me in every day life right in the face of the need.
Think about what David said how the Lord sets a table before me in, where? In the presence of my enemies! There’s a source of nourishment that God would give me right at the point of my need! Every one of us can open our hearts and have God quicken words that we’ve heard and suddenly, they become real, and they become relevant to the moment in which we live!
And as we drink that in, as we open our hearts and say, yes, Lord, instead of — doing this — as we open our hearts and eat that, drink that, there is strength that comes to that new man, and it grows. And it gets more and more of a — it just becomes more and more in charge. That’s what the Lord wants.
And this is a lifetime thing. You know, as I get older — I know one of these days, I’m gonna get old! But as I get older, I’m very conscious and looking around and seeing so many of our folks and the infirmities of age — and I know many times we would love to say, oh God, just put them on easy street. Let’s just take away every ache, every pain. Let them just float right down to the time when they breathe their last.
God never stops working. As long as we are in these bodies, this war is going to be going on, and God is going to be working in us to give us the victory over the old nature. And I’ll tell you, it goes right on until we breathe our last breath.
When the Lord takes us out of this world, I believe those who are on the other side, they’re being taught, too. They don’t have the conflict anymore, but they can grow in their wisdom and their understanding. You know, there is a work that God has promised to do. How long is that work for?
( congregational response ).
Well, it’s forever, yes, but I’m talking about the one in Philippians 1:6. “…He which hath begun a good work you will perform it…” (KJV). How long?
( congregational response ).
When is that? That’s when He comes. That’s when the work is complete in all of His children, those who are here and those who are there. Everything God has purposed to do is going to come together on one great day when all of a sudden, we will be transformed. Our bodies will be transformed. We won’t have the war anymore. Every part of our being will be completely set free, completely in harmony with the heart of God, the nature of God! Praise God!
Isn’t that going to be amazing? I can’t even imagine, ‘cause there’s so much in me that just fights against all of this. And boy, the devil is going to — he is pulling out all of the stops in this hour. If you’re not given to Christ, you are wide open for Him to come in and just get holds in your life. Unless they’re surrendered, he’s got you. You’re a slave. You’re a prisoner. But I’ll tell you, Christ can set people free if they’ll just come to Him with all their hearts.
So anyway, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation…” (NIV). Thank God! “…Now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” So, I mean, it sounds like such a simple thing. Oh, we need the Word of God!
Do you understand what he’s talking about? Do you understand how the Lord wants to walk with you and with me? Didn’t Jesus say come to Me. You know, take My yoke. Learn from Me. That’s an ongoing — that’s a lifestyle. That’s walking with Him. That’s expecting that we’re not just coming in here to meet Jesus then, going out there and just being apart from Him. He walks with us.
At every moment, we can say, Jesus, I’m in over my head here. How do I handle this in a way that pleases You? Lord, I need Your strength. I need an infusion of Your heart, because I’ve got two lives here that are warring against each other, and I know that Your grace is greater than this. Grace is greater than sin, is it not?
( congregational response ).
See, that’s the whole deal here. Grace is greater, but unless we avail ourselves of that, we could be in places where the devil wins that particular battle. He doesn’t have to. God has made a way. Thank God!
Interesting little thought that came to my heart here in this next part. “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him.” Now, who’s he talking about there? It’s the Lord, isn’t he? He is the Foundation Stone. He’s the Cornerstone of something that God is building, and it’s eternal. It’s forever. Thank God. Precious to God! Chosen! Rejected by men but chosen by God.
Now, he comes to us. “You also, like living stones, are being built…” Now, that sounds like a process to me, doesn’t it? “…Are being built into…” something, “…into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
So you see a picture of God’s purpose. Now, here he uses the analogy of a temple. I believe Peter was mostly writing to people that were Jews. And in their religious background, they knew all about a building called the Temple that was built out of stones. It was a literal building. You could see it, touch it.
Inside that building you had priests. And the major function of the priest was to offer animal sacrifices. Something died, they offer it to God, and there was a forgiveness. That was part of the old covenant that certainly looked forward. The animal sacrifice didn’t do it, Christ’s coming did. This certainly just looked forward to that.
But I’ll tell you, there was a literal building. These people were familiar with this. They were familiar with the idea of a priesthood in a building offering sacrifices. Peter’s saying, hey, God’s got something new going here. He’s building you into a spiritual house. Each one of you is a stone. You’re part of that. Why are you part of that? God wants to make you into a priest. Every believer is a priest who is able to offer sacrifices to God.
Now, what are those sacrifices? Think about that. What is a sacrifice? Something dies, doesn’t it? Something dies, and it’s offered to God. What do they — in the Old Testament, what does the death of the animal represent? It’s my death. It’s, I’m guilty of sin. The penalty of sin is death. I’m offering this as a substitute. There is something that dies.
But God has called every one of us to come to a place where we make choices in our lives to serve God! Every time that the old nature and the new nature come into conflict, and we by faith in His grace, we say, no, to this old nature, we are offering a sacrifice to God. There’s something that is dying.
Do you see this description of the Christian life? It is a priesthood where we — there is a continual offering of a sacrifice to God. And the sacrifice is us. And God is replacing us with Him. Man, you know, you could look at the obviously in a negative, oh, oh, oh, God. Or you could say, man, that’s what I need. That’s what I come for. I come broken to be mended. I come wounded to be healed. I come with all of these desperate needs! I see, in a measure at least, the depth of my need! I need to be transformed into Your image! You’re the only one that can do it.
But oh, you break that down into the little nitty gritty of every day life, it becomes today, I need to present myself as, “…a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service”. (KJV). And so, I come to a day when I might be in pain, or I might be feeling bad about something, anyway, there’s something that’s really adverse, and oh, my nature just wants to live in that, express itself, kick up its heels, be selfish, be all the things that we are all familiar with that rise out of that old nature.
So, what do we do? How about what the writer to the Hebrews talks about in the last chapter, I think it is, where we offer sacrifices of praise, of thanksgiving? What happens when we’re in that situation when we don’t feel like being happy or praising God, or you know, all we want to do is complain, and yet, we find, by the grace of God, that we can say, “Thank You, Lord. Lord, I know You love me. I know You’re allowing me to experience what I’m experiencing because it’s what’s necessary right now in my life. There’s something that You want me to let go of that needs to die. And so, Lord, I bring that thing to You. I will praise You, Lord, in the face of this.”
It’s in the moment! Do you see what’s happening right here? We are offering — we are priests offering a living sacrifice right then and there. Every one of us is a priest, and we do it every day! We look at the priests in the Old Testament, but God has called you and me to be priests every single day! There’s a sacrifice that we can offer Him every day in a thousand and one different ways where we’ve saying, yes, to God, and, no, to the old nature. And God receives glory and praise out of that. We receive a measure of freedom!
And I’ll tell you, when they really came to God in that temple, and they offered the sacrifices, and they — you know what happened on some of those special occasions when they really came, and they bowed before God and did everything He said. God’s presence came down in that temple.
God wants to be more real to every single one of us. He longs to share Himself. It’s not that He’s ever promised that we’re gonna go through the world with this sense of constant exhilaration, and that’s gonna be the measure of our relationship to Him. There are gonna be times we’ll be on the mountain. There will be times when we’re in the valley.
But you know, the real sacrifice, the real participation in this priesthood often comes in those difficult times. It comes when our nature is at its strongest wanting its way, and the battle is joined, and we’re having to say, “Oh God, I need You. I can’t beat this on my own. God, fill me. God, come and deliver me. God, come and just pour in Your grace, and give me the strength! Give me the will, Lord! You said, You promised me that You’re with me. You’re working in me to will and to do! I need both, Lord. I’ve been in this — I’ve experienced the strength of this old man, this old beast in me so much in this area that I don’t even — I don’t even know if I’ve got the will to want it to change, but I need You, Lord.”
( congregational amens ).
I’ll tell you, when God sees a heart that’s doing that, that’s a sacrifice in that moment that you as a priest of the most-high God are offering to Him. I tell you, that’s what it means to be a priest in this context. Isn’t that amazing?
“You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house…” (NIV). And it’s not just — this is not just an individual private little thing, either. We’re built into a house. We have relationships one with each other! We strengthen each other! The very grace that you and I need often comes through one another!
( congregational response ).
It’s one who’s able to, who’s is in a place where they can draw from God’s grace, God’s infinite storehouse and speak words, the very words that you and I need that will energize the spiritual man, often come through one another.
My God, how do we move, how do we use our lips? How do we use these mouths? God, help us to be a strength one to another. But I’ll tell you, as we do this, there’s going to be a growth, there’s going to be a freedom that God can use.
“For in Scripture it says: See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame. Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, the stone the builders rejected has become the capstone, and a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. But….” Oh, Praise God! Here’s Peter getting his ‘but’ in the right place.
( laughter ).
“But you are a chosen people….” I’ll guarantee we don’t always feel that way, do we? But at your lowest point, you are one of God’s chosen people if He’s reached out and touched your heart. Praise God! “…A royal priesthood….” See, there’s royalty and there’s priesthood all mixed in together. We’re kings and priests, he says in another place.
“…A royal priesthood, a holy nation…” one set apart for God, “…a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” There is a — God is raising up a body of people through whom He can express His life and His message to this generation, to the generation in which they live.
Where is light gonna come from in this dark world? Just out of the ether waves? I’ll tell you, God is gonna live in and through His people. What hinders Him in me, what hinders Him in you is the degree to which the old man is in charge! How can God fulfill His purpose if He doesn’t do something about that? The only way He does it is many times the way we don’t like it. But if we’ll learn to trust Him and to let go and to drink in the supply that He has for us, we have everything we need to stand. Praise God!
All right, “Once you were not a people but now you are the people of God….” Interesting side note here: he says to people who were Jews, now you’re the people of God. I thought they were? Now, you see who God’s people really are. They’re the ones who are Christ’s. If you’re Christ’s, “…then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise,” Paul said.
“…Now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” Thank God! That’s the only hope I have before God. If He gave me justice, I’d be in hell. But He’s chosen to show mercy to an unworthy sinner. Thank God!
“Dear Friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world….” Do you see yourself that way? I’ll tell you, we need to recognize, we’re passing through this world. This world is not our home like the song says. Oh, thank God. There’s a part of me that says, God, just burn it up. Get us out of here. And there’s another part that says, God, don’t do until You’ve finished everything You’re gonna do and reached everybody who can be reached.
And that’s the part that’s gonna win, because God’s not willing that any should perish. The only reason He’s holding off judgment in all the terrible things that we see is because there’s still a work, there’s still a people. I don’t know how long it’s gonna be. I pray for every one of them. But He’s faithful.
“…As aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which…” I’d forgotten this was in here. “…Which war against your soul.” You see about the war? It’s right there in the passage. “…Sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
I mean, you could go through the whole book, and there are many aspects of truth. Isn’t this interesting, the thoughts? And they really apply to every single one of us even though he uses the word milk. I understand that in other places, milk is for beginners and babies and that he wants — we’re supposed to graduate to stronger meat. I get that part. There’s a growth.
But I don’t care where you’re at in your spiritual walk. If you’re a baby, or if you’re way up here, we need God’s — we need an infusion of God’s life. Jesus said, “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” They’re simply not just information! They are a vehicle of God’s life that you and I need desperately!
We’ve got to have a nourishment just as surely as a baby needs physical nourishment to get that life going. We need something that’s coming into our heart and into our life. Talking to Him, spending time with Him, looking to Him, actively bringing the needs of every moment to Him and saying God, I need Your wisdom in this. I need Your provision. I want to act and react the way I’m supposed to. It’s just not in me, Lord. You’re gonna have to help me. But I’m willing—I’m willing, to trust You, Lord.
And I’ll tell you, we can live a life that God will be able to point to us and say, there’s somebody, you need what they have. I want to be somebody like that. I can’t do that apart from His grace. But that’s what God’s doing in every one of our lives.
And I want to be one that learns how to be a priest and understands what that means in the context of the New Covenant. The priesthood hasn’t gone away. It’s just takes a different form. And the sacrifice I offer is myself, so that I can do His will and His work. Now sometimes, that’s simply standing up and saying, no, to the flesh.
Other times, it may be getting up here, or it may be stepping out and doing something for the Lord that our flesh would rather not do. There’s a sacrifice involved in that. There’s offering something to God that means the death of this old nature in order to do His will and be the kind of person He wants us to be.
God has called every person that knows Him and belongs to Him to be a priest. And you and I can offer sacrifices that He will be pleased with every day.
We’re not offering sacrifices to get rid of our sins. Jesus already did that. There’s only one sacrifice. So, isn’t it interesting that even though we’re in a context of a covenant where there is one sacrifice for all, yet here we have priests offering sacrifices? See, it’s not to get rid of sins. This is to gain freedom from the old nature in a practical sense.
And I’ll tell you, we have a God who’s bringing us down a pathway, teaching us every single day and empowering us to be the kind of people He wants us to be, toward one another and toward people out in the world. To Him be the glory. Praise God!
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