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The kingdom of God: the kingdom of light, the kingdom of Satan: the kingdom of darkness. And I explained that in this present phase of God’s dealings with us, his people, the kingdom of God is within us. It’s an inner kingdom. And that it’s nature is summed up in Romans 14:17 which is really a key verse.
“The kingdom of God is not food and drink but [three things] righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
Apart from the Holy Spirit all you have is theory, theology, doctrine and religion. But in the Holy Spirit you have the kingdom. I really believe that the kingdom for us is coextensive with the Holy Spirit. Where we do not have the Holy Spirit we do not have the kingdom. Somebody has said that one of the great sins of the church over past centuries has been snubbing the Holy Spirit, dishonoring him, disregarding him. My own summation of church history, in which I am by no means an expert, is that it’s nineteen centuries of trying to discover such a safe system we wouldn’t have to rely on the Holy Spirit. The truth of the matter is there is no such system, we do have to rely.
The primary aspect of the kingdom is righteousness. Peace and joy flow from righteousness. There’s a scripture which came to my mind last night which I just want to share with you that really brings this out. In Isaiah 32:17, just the one verse.
“The work [or the outworking] of righteousness will be peace and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever.”
You see, peace and the other blessings all flow out of righteousness. As I’ve explained but I cannot emphasize it too strongly, there is no righteousness for any person except under the kingship of Jesus. Anyone who is not under the kingship of Jesus is a rebel. And the Bible says three times in different words in the closing chapters of Isaiah there is no peace to the wicked. The wicked and the rebellious cannot know peace.
In this present session I want to deal with another aspect of the kingdom as we experience it. Not just what we have within us, not just what we have among us but our responsibilities as people of the kingdom. What is God expecting of us. And I’d like to share a series of scriptures with you on this theme beginning in Exodus 19:4–6. God is explaining the purpose for which he redeemed his people Israel out of Egypt. We could say that to a large extent Israel never entered into the purpose of God. Through unbelief and rebelliousness they missed God’s purpose. I have a conviction however that both sin and Satan together can delay the outworking of God’s purposes but they can never ultimately frustrate the purpose of God. Ultimately, what God has intended will happen. So although in some sense Israel failed as a nation though individuals did not all fail, this is still God’s purpose for his people. Listen now, beginning in verse 4:
“You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I bore you on eagle’s wings and brought you to myself.”
I do not want to dwell on this point because it will take me out of the line of my theme but bear in mind that the primary purpose of redemption is to bring us to God himself. Everything else is secondary. And I believe that’s really where Israel failed. They were interested in the covenant, they were interested in the law, they were interested in the land but most of them really were not truly interested in God. And I have to say I think the same is true of many sections of the Christian church today. People are interested in what they can get from God; healing, blessing, prosperity, spiritual gifts, but not many realize that the thing that God wants most is our personal relationship with him. To me there’s a kind of pass off in the Lord’s statement I brought you to myself. You read on in history, it’s almost as if they bypassed God for the benefits that they felt they could get from him. I don’t think the human heart has changed very much since them.
However, now God goes on to explain his purpose.
“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice [or listen to my voice] and keep my covenant.”
Those are the two conditions that God lays down. They are unvarying. They are the same in every age. In every phase of God’s dealings with humanity there are two things he requires of his people. First of all, to listen carefully to his voice. Secondly, to keep his covenant. That is just as true for us as Christians in the church of Jesus Christ as it was for Israel. Jesus said of those who were truly his disciples, “My sheep hear my voice and they follow me.” That’s the mark of true Christians. It’s not a denominational label, it’s not Catholics, it’s not Protestants, it’s not Pentecostals, it’s those who hear his voice. That’s the primary condition for being in the people of God.
And secondly, keeping his covenant. God never entertains a permanent relationship except on the basis of a covenant. You’ll find everywhere that God intended a permanent relationship he established it on a covenant. I believe also that permanent relationships horizontally between one man and another are based in scripture on a covenant. One clear example is marriage. Marriage is clearly defined as a covenant. I don’t think God envisages the possibility of a stable permanent relationship unless it’s based on a covenant. Whether that relationship be with God or horizontally among human beings.
Those are the two requirements that never vary. Hearing God’s voice, keeping his covenant. Then he said:
“If you will do this [this is my plan for you] you shall be a special treasure to me above all people, for all the earth is mine.”
We will be God’s special treasure, the focus of all his concern, the center of all his plans. What a glorious promise. If only God’s people would realize how much he’s concerned with us. And:
“You shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
Those are the three offers of God. A special treasure, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Now they go together. We cannot be one without the others. But the one that I want to focus on is the kingdom of priests. I believe that this is an unvarying purpose of God which was not set aside in the New Covenant but simply restated. And if you turn to 1Peter 2:9 you’ll find that Peter actually quotes these words from Exodus 19 to believers in Jesus Christ.
“But you [believers in Jesus Christ] are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, his own special people.”
His own special people corresponds to a special treasure. Holy nation is simply restated and a royal priesthood, what does the word royal mean? What does it always direct us to? A king. So it’s a kingly priesthood. Or a kingdom of priests. That’s God’s purpose for us. That’s our function as his kingdom. Within us the kingdom is righteousness, peace and joy. But in our ministry we are a kingdom of priests.
Let’s look at one other passage in Revelation 1:5–6. The latter part of verse 5 which is divided in a strange way and then verse 6.
“To him who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood...”
You’ll find the modern translations say to him who loves us and loosed us from our sins in his own blood. There are two different texts, the difference is not significant.
“...and has made us kings and priests to his God and Father. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever, amen.”
Notice that through the application of the blood of Jesus in our lives, God has made us kings and priests. Or a kingdom of priests. Or a kingdom, priest to his God and Father. I give those three translations because you’ll find them all but the difference is not significant. It is a restatement of Exodus 19, God’s purpose is for us to be a kingdom of priests. That is absolutely basic and central to the whole purpose of God.
And I want to spend a little while analyzing what that implies for you and me. If we are a kingdom of priests, then there’s only one kind of person that belongs in the kingdom which is what? Priests, that’s right. You’re all theologians. I give these two examples. First we talk about a race of giants, then the only people that belong in that race are giants. Or we talk about a society of botanists, the only people who belong in the society are botanists. So if we talk about a kingdom of priests, the only people who belong in the kingdom are priests.
Now this is crucial. A lot of God’s people are not living in the kingdom experientially. They haven’t met the conditions. Now, almost everybody knows what the job of a king is. It is in one word to rule. Or if you want to be more technically accurate, what’s the word that actually describes a king ruling? Reigning, that’s right. Let’s remember it’s got a G and an N in it. All right. Now here’s an opportunity to go to the top of the class. Those who have heard my teaching before on this aren’t allowed to answer, there may be some. What is the specific unique function of a priest which no one but a priest is authorized to carry out? There are two possible words, you don’t need to give me more than one of two words. Sacrifice. That’s right. You belong to the top of the class. Sacrifice is either a verb or a noun, let’s treat it as a noun. There’s a verb that goes with it. What do you do with a sacrifice? You offer it. So these are the functions of a priest or the function, whichever you like.
They also in addition to sacrifice, they offer one other thing. I’ll put it up because you wouldn’t usually think of it. Gifts. Now, we’re talking about all priests. Old Testament priests, New Testament priests, this principle doesn’t change. See, a lot of people don’t realize that you can’t offer God anything unless you have a priest to offer it for you. You can’t just walk up to God and say, “God, I feel like giving you $1000.” Protocol doesn’t permit that. No one can offer anything to God without a priest. We are totally dependent on priests. A priest. Having a priest, being a priest. Whatever it is, apart from a priest, no one can approach God with either an offering or a gift. That’s a basic scriptural truth which by and large has escaped the attention of almost all Christians.
Now there is one book in the New Testament which uniquely presents the high priesthood of Jesus. And no other book contains that revelation. That’s amazing. What book is that? Hebrews. Hebrews is called the Leviticus of the New Testament. The book of Leviticus in the Old Testament deals with priesthood and offerings. In the New Testament it’s Hebrews. And I want to trace there just very briefly in outline the ministry of Jesus as a priest.
Now the book of Hebrews reveals that Jesus has been made by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek for ever. Not after the order of Levi, you understand? Which was under the law of Moses. But after the order of Melchizedek. Now the original priesthood in the Bible is not the priesthood of Levi but the priesthood of Melchizedek. Genesis 14:18, the first use of the word priest in the Bible is in terms of Melchizedek.
Now Melchizedek is a Hebrew name which has a meaning. We might as well go into it now because it makes more sense for the rest of it. I prefer to say Zedek, you understand? It’s usually spelled with a Z. But, the Hebrew Z like the German Z is pronounced TS. How many of you know German? So it’s MelchiZedek. So the word Melchiis the word for king. Zedekis what? How many of you know that. Righteousness. There’s a very large new hospital in Jerusalem called ?sharehzedek? which means the gates of righteousness. It’s a Hebrew phrase.
Jesus is a high priest after the order of Melchizedek but being in the order of Melchizedek he’s not only a priest, what is he? He’s a king. You see, the order of Melchizedek combines kingship and priesthood. When the law was given which was an inferior ordinance, these two were separated. Priesthood went to which tribe? Levi. Kingship went to which tribe. Judah. And a king was not permitted to offer sacrifice. And there were two kings that did it. Who were they? Saul and ?Buzia?. Saul lost his kingdom, Buzia was smitten with leprosy. Because they transgressed. You see, there was this barrier that could not be cast between kingship which belonged to Judah, priesthood which belonged to Levi.
Now when Melchizedek met Abraham in Genesis 14:18, he gave Abraham two things. Can you remember what they were? Two very basic, simple—that’s right, bread and wine. That’s the distinctive mark of the priestly ministry of Melchizedek. At the last supper after they had eaten, Jesus gave to his disciples what? Bread and wine. What was he telling them? The priesthood of Melchizedek is restored in me. We have passed out of the order of Moses and back into the order of Melchizedek which is the original, eternal order of priesthood where kingship and priesthood are combined. Now since we are to be a kingdom of priests or kings and priests, which order do we belong in? Levi or Melchizedek? Melchizedek. Okay.
Now let’s look at the high priestly ministry of Jesus. Understand to be a priest he had to do one thing which was what? Offer sacrifice. If he didn’t offer sacrifice he wasn’t a priest. But he was not from the tribe of Levi so he could not offer the Levitical sacrifices which were the bodies and animals and so on. What kind of sacrifice did he offer? Don’t answer yet because we’ll look in the text. I want you thinking on that question because he is our high priest. His pattern is what we have to follow. We do not have to follow the pattern of the Levitical priesthood, that is set aside. We are in the priesthood of Melchizedek. Now if you turn to Hebrews you’ll find a number of interesting statements. Start in chapter 5, verse 1 which is a general statement concerning what I’ve been teaching.
“For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God that he may [what’s the next word?] offer [what?] both gifts and sacrifices for sin.”
That’s the ministry of a priest. I prefer to put it the other order because sacrifice comes before gifts. If you haven’t come with a sacrifice you have no right to offer a gift. Sacrifice is the primary requirement representing our reconciliation with God. Now going on to verse 5:
“So also Christ did not glorify himself to become high priest, but it was he [God the Father] who said to him, You are my Son, today I’ve begotten you.”
That’s a quotation from Psalm 2. That refers to the resurrection. By the resurrection God begat Jesus from the dead. As he also says in another place, Psalm 110:
“You are a priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
These are Old Testament scriptures confirming the eternal purpose of God that Jesus should be a high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
Now, verse 7, speaking about Jesus in his earthly life:
“Who in the days of his flesh, when he had [what did he do?] offered.”
Being a priest he had to offer. What did he offer up? Prayers and supplications. What is the one central word for all that kind of thing? The word prayer. So what was the sacrifice of Jesus in his ministry as a priest after the order of Melchizedek? What was his sacrifice? Prayer. If you want to say intercession you’re perfectly right.
Now, there was one other sacrifice that Jesus offered besides prayer which was what? Himself. Turn to Hebrews 9:14. It’s in the middle of a sentence but let’s not bother about that.
“How much more shall the blood of Christ who through the eternal Spirit...”
Who is the eternal Spirit? The Holy Spirit. What does eternal mean? It means out of time. You see, what happened at Calvary was out of time, it was an eternal transaction. It comprehended the sin of all men, past present and future because it was through the eternal Spirit. Through the eternal Spirit he offered what?
“Himself without spot to God.”
In that transaction Jesus was both the priest and the sacrifice. He offered himself.
Then turning back in Hebrews but going on in the logical unfolding of truth, to Hebrews 6:19 which talks about our eternal hope through the death and resurrection of Jesus. We have a picture of Jesus as our high priest after the order of Melchizedek. We’re going to read on into chapter 7, the first three verses. Remember, the chapter divisions were put in centuries later by translators and sometimes they obscure connections.
“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the presence behind the veil [that’s the second veil into the Holy of Holies] where the forerunner [who’s the forerunner?] even Jesus...”
He’s gone there ahead of us but he’s gone as a forerunner to do what? To prepare the way for us to follow.
“...having become high priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
So after his resurrection and ascension Jesus entered into the immediate presence of God to represent us, to be our forerunner, to open the way for us to come there, having been made a high priest in this order of Melchizedek.
And then the writer of Hebrews points out what I’ve put up rather briefly on the board. The meaning of the name Melchizedek. Going on into chapter 7:
“For this Melchizedek, king of Salem...”
That was the city of which he was king. He went out from Salem to meet Abraham. What contemporary city corresponds to Salem? Jerusalem. What does the word salemmean? Peace. It’s the same as the modern Hebrew word shalom. Jeruis probably the word for city which in modern Hebrew is ?eer?. So Jerusalem is ?eershalom?, the city of peace. The Arab still call it ?urshaleem?. They are closer to the original actually than the present Hebrew name. He was king of Salem which is shalom,which is peace. Going on:
“...priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all...”
Notice there was an exchange. A very interesting one. Melchizedek gave Abraham bread and wine. Abraham gave him his tithe. People talk about the traditional church and they’re pretty proud if their tradition goes back fifteen centuries. Here’s a tradition that goes back 4000 years. Receiving the bread and wine and giving what? Our tithes, that’s right. Now going on in the middle of verse 2:
“...first being translated King of righteousness, and then also King of Salem which is, King of Peace, without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.”
I suppose some of you find this a little difficult to follow. The truth of the matter is you’ve got to get your mind into a special gear to read Hebrews. But when you get into that gear you get tremendous riches and blessings out of it. I have a verse by verse study of Hebrews which covers I think 26 cassettes or 24 or something like that.
Just one more quotation from Hebrews 7, verse 25:
“Therefore he is also able to save to the uttermost [or save forever or save completely] those who come to God through him since he ever lives to [do what?] make intercession for them.”
What’s the continuing expression of his high priestly ministry? Making intercession. Can you see then we have a picture of the high priestly ministry of Jesus as a pattern. He offered up prayers and supplications. He offered himself, he gave his own body as the final sacrifice for sin. And he now lives as our high priest in heaven continually making intercession for us. That’s the picture.
Now I want to show you that the New Testament indicates we are to follow the pattern of that ministry exactly. It is the perfect pattern of the priestly ministry. And until we have learned the priestly ministry we cannot function as priests. Until we function as priests we cannot rule as kings because the kingdom is for priests. It’s a marvelous thought. There’s only one way we can rule which is by prayer. When we learn to pray we are qualified to rule.
Let’s look now at the corresponding features in our own experience. It’s very simple and short. We only need two passages. Romans 12:1. Romans 12 begins with a therefore. I’m sure some of you have heard me say when you find a therefore in the Bible you want to find out what it’s there for. The therefore in Romans 12 is there because of Romans 1 through 11. At the end of this tremendous unfolding of God’s sovereign grace and mercy Paul starts chapter 12 with therefore. What is our appropriate response to all that God has done for us? And verse 1 tells us.
“I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God which is your reasonable service.”
Other translations say your spiritual service. I think the NASV says your spiritual service of worship. What’s the response required from us? That we present what? Our bodies. How many of you have ever done that? Don’t answer me. That’s the first requirement in response to God’s mercies. How practical God is. It’s not up in the air, it’s not superspiritual, it’s not mystical. God says I want your body. I want you to present your body to me. Put your body on the altar of my service. Only one difference from the Old Testament sacrifices which was what? The Old Testament sacrifices, what did they do to the bodies of the animals? They killed them. Paul says do just the same but don’t kill it, that’s all. It’s a living sacrifice. Just as totally as a bullock or a lamb or a ram was given by the sacrificer to God, placed on his altars and passed out of his control and ownership. So Paul says we should present our bodies as living holy sacrifices to God. You understand that corresponds exactly to Jesus. He offered himself, what do we have to offer? Ourselves.
If you do What verse 2 tells you, you will be renewed in your mind. And with your renewed mind you will be able to find out God’s will for your life. But if you’ve never presented your body you will not be renewed in your mind and you will never find God’s will for your life. That may be a problem with quite a number of you here. You are uncertain of God’s will because you’ve never presented the sacrifice of your body. When you have given your body to God he owns it, not you. He makes the decision what it will eat, what it will wear, where it will go, what kind of job it will do. It’s not your decision because your body doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to God. You may be a romantic missionary in who knows where, New Guinea. Or you may be a housewife washing diapers. But that’s God’s decision, not yours.
Now going back to Hebrews 13 we come to the other aspect of our ministry as priests. Hebrews 13:15–16. Here’s another therefore. We won’t go into the reasons for the therefore but there’s a reason for it.
“Therefore, by him [who is him? Jesus] let us continually offer...”
Notice what we are doing. We are offering. What does that mean we are if we offer? Priests.
“Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God.”
That is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. There are two spiritual sacrifices spoken of there which are? Praise and thanks. But they’re not the only ones. Because in verse 16 it continues:
“But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
There are altogether four sacrifices there. What are they? Praise, thanksgiving, doing good and sharing. How many of you know that doing good is a sacrifice? Do you know what I’ve discovered? God always blesses me most when I’m doing something that costs me. When it goes against my own natural convenience and desires, then it’s a sacrifice. Doing good is a sacrifice. Sharing is obviously a sacrifice. You give of what you have to others. Those are the four central sacrifices we offer as priests to God once we have done what? Given him our body, that’s right. No bargaining because God says first your body. After that, I’ll acknowledge you as a priest and I’ll accept your sacrifices.
Turn for a moment to 1Peter again, chapter 2, verses 4–5.
“Coming to him as to a living stone rejected indeed by men but chosen by God and precious. You also as living stones are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood...”
Now if we are a holy priesthood what’s going to be the next word? To offer, you notice that?
“To offer up [what?] spiritual sacrifices.”
Not animal sacrifices but spiritual sacrifices. To be priests we have to learn the priestly ministry of sacrifice. Praise, thanksgiving, doing good, sharing and then what’s the ultimate ministry of Jesus which he’s continuing? Let’s get the right word. Prayer is perfectly right but it’s intercession.
And you see, as I see it this is within the Holy of Holies. There are five body building ministries on earth which we’ve spoken about earlier which I believe are being restored. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, teachers. Jesus was the perfect one of every one of those. He was the perfect apostle, the perfect prophet, the perfect evangelist, the perfect shepherd and the perfect teacher. He’s our pattern.
Those, to use my terminology if you’re familiar with the tabernacle, are in the holy place. You see, if I get into this I’ll never get out, Lord help me. The first curtain, or veil, takes you out of the visible sense realm into the realm of faith and the first curtain is resurrection. But the second curtain is ascension. Not merely are we resurrected with him but Ephesians tells us we are enthroned with him. So there is another set of ministries beyond the second veil. I just hope you can understand. Because if you can it’s exciting. If you’re not excited I doubt whether you’re understanding me. I’ll just have to trust the Holy Spirit to help us all, me to make it more clear and you to grasp.
What are the ministries beyond the second veil in the Holy of Holies? Beyond resurrection and through ascension, what are they? King and priest. He sits as a priest upon is throne. Let’s look in Zechariah just a brief moment. This is such an exciting theme I could jump up and down. I’m just holding on. I’ve fastened my seat belt. Chapter 6, verse 12–14 is a glorious complete preview of Jesus the Messiah. It’s one of the clearest Messianic prophecies of all the Old Testament. And it says [we won’t go into the background]:
“Thus says the Lord of Hosts saying, Behold the man whose name is the branch [one of the great titles of Messiah in the Old Testament] from his place he shall branch out and he shall build a temple of the Lord, yes, he shall build the temple of the Lord. He shall bear the glory, he shall sit and rule on his throne, [What kind of person rules on a throne? King.] and he shall be a priest on his throne. [What is that order? Melchizedek.] And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”
I’m just going to take a few moments, I shouldn’t do this because I’m getting behind. But I just want to put that up. You’ll notice there are seven successive statements about the Messiah. Number one, his name is branch. You’ll find that in Isaiah 11, a rod out of the stem of Jesse and in Jeremiah 23, a branch of righteousness.
Number two, he will branch out of his place. He will grow up. You know nobody ever grows up if they’re not in their place. You know that? It’s a very simple statement. But if you’re not in your place you’ll never grow up. Somebody said blossom where you’re planted. If you’re never planted you’ll never blossom. You know what planting is? Commitment.
Number three, he will build a temple. Isn’t that right? I’m just going to put build the temple. What is the temple? Who is the temple? We are.
Number four, bear the glory. That should make you jump. Because the Hebrew word for glory is ?cavode?. And the Hebrew word for weight is ?cavat?, it’s the same root. Did you know that glory is a weight? If God put all that glory on us, what do you think would happen to us? We would crumple. There’s only one person that can bear the glory.
Number five, rule on his throne as what? As what kind of a person? A king.
And number six, he will be a priest.
Number seven, the counsel of peace will be between them both. Now the NASV translates that between the two offices. What two offices? King and priest. You’re coming alive at last! But notice that the word office is put in, it’s not there in the Hebrew. I’m inclined to think it’s the counsel of peace between God the Father and God the Son sharing the throne and in perfect harmony with one another.
So that’s the picture of Melchizedek. Now, let me just apply this and we’ll have to move on. I am far behind where I thought I ought to be. I do believe God led us this morning, I’ve felt a special anointing which always comes on me when I talk about Melchizedek. It’s something like new wine to my soul. It just makes me intoxicated. I feel sorry for people that can’t get excited about it. I’ve got nothing against you but you’re missing something. This is an area of glorious revelation because it’s our destiny. He’s our high priest. We’re in the same order. But you understand, talking about the kingdom of God, if we are a kingdom of priests we cannot function as kings until we’ve learned to do what? To minister as priests. Until we make the appropriate sacrifices, we’re just kings in name but not in reality. It’s a kingdom of priests. The people who really rule this earth for God are the people who have learned to minister as priests. And that’s a sacred ministry. In the immediate presence of God in the Holy of Holies. Jesus spent three and a half years in earthly ministry. He spent nearly 2000 years in intercession. That tells you something about the relative importance, doesn’t it? The intercessors are the people that rule the earth today. And we need a lot more.
Now, I must go on. I want to make two further statements which I think I can do in the time remaining. We have the kingdom within us which is what, let’s all say it together, what is the kingdom within us? Righteousness, peace and joy. Say it again. Righteousness, peace and joy. Do you have it? That’s up to you. But we are also ministering as a kingdom of priests. So we cannot fulfill our function until we’ve learned to minister as priests. Somebody asked me last night, we had a little kind of impromptu session, whether there was any evidence that the Jews wanted to rebuild the temple. That’s the kind of point I don’t want to get involved in. But one thing they are doing, seriously on an academic level, they are studying and practicing the Levitical priestly ministry. Because if they got the temple they wouldn’t be ready for it. You consider all that’s involved in the Levitical ministry, it takes years of study. You understand, if ever they should get the temple they want to be ready with the priests. Now I say that because it’s the same with us. You have to study to be a priest. If you’re lazy and indifferent, carnal, you can bow out of the kingdom because you’ll never have any function in it.
Having said that my last point in this session is that in all this we are being trained for the next phase of the kingdom and faithfulness in this phase will pay off with promotion in the next. Some people say I don’t want to be rewarded. I think that’s insincere. Everybody honestly wants a reward. The Bible promises them in abundance. It’s not sometime we have to extort from God, it’s something that is God’s purpose to give us. To reward faithful service. Let’s look quickly at a whole series of scriptures. Matthew 24:45–47. I don’t know whether I’m going to get through all these. If I had the faith of Joshua I’d ask the sun to stand still for a moment! It’s not the sun but it’s that clock there. Matthew 24:45–47.
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his master when he comes will find so doing. Assuredly I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.”
The one who is faithful in his task in this phase will be made a ruler in the next phase. If you’re faithful to the end, if he finds you faithful when he comes, then you will be made a ruler.
And Matthew 25:20–23, the parable of the talents.
“And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou delivered to me five talents; look, I’ve gained five more talents beside them. His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant, you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things, enter into the joy of your lord.”
And likewise with the man that made two talents from two talents. You understand. Faithful in exercise of your talents now raises you to a place of rulership in the next phase of the kingdom. But bear in mind the man who had one talent and did nothing with it was excluded from the kingdom. And let me say to one talent people, if there are any here, you are the ones in the greatest danger. Five talent people and two talent people will get going. One talent people may have the idea I don’t have much, what can I do? And you can lose everything with that attitude. The Lord said you should have given it to the banker and got money back with interest. What’s giving it to the banker? I suggest it’s investing in another ministry that’s producing results. If you don’t have your own, invest in another. But don’t bury your talent and come up with no increase because you’ll be exiled from the kingdom.
Let’s go on quickly. 2 Timothy, we won’t do that one. Oh, wait a minute. Luke 19, the parable of the pound. Do you remember the parable of the pound? Each servant was given one pound, there were ten servants. Luke 19:12 and following. We won’t read the whole parable because time is running out. We’ll just begin at verse 15:
“It was so when the lord returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded those servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first saying, Master, your pound has earned ten pounds. And he said to him, Well done good servant because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities. The second came saying, Master, your pound has gained five pounds. Likewise he said to him, You be over five cities.”
Can you see? There’s an exact correspondence. In what you produce in this phase that will determine the measure of your authority and your promotion in the next. It’s not a matter of guessing, it’s a matter of producing. Then in Luke 22:28 and following Jesus said to his own disciples:
“But you are those who have continued with me in my trials and I bestow upon you a kingdom...”
The Greek word is I covenant with you a kingdom. I promise you by covenant a kingdom...
“...that my Father bestowed upon me that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom...”
Doesn’t that excite you? Or are you too spiritual? I’m looking forward to that banquet. I tell you. And I believe we’re really going to eat and really drink. We’ll eat incorruptible food with incorruptible bodies but it will be a real banquet. And there will be no rationing. And wait a minute, listen.
“...you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
One apostle to each tribe. Faithfulness in hardship, in persecution, in humility will earn you promotion to glory, honor and authority. Now don’t tell me you don’t want that. Because God wants you to want it. God motivates us with that.
One final scripture, Revelation 2:26–28. Revelation 2, which is a message to one of the churches. I think it’s the church of Thyatira.
“And he who overcomes and keeps my words until the end.”
Notice that phrase, until the end.
“To him I will give authority over the nations. He shall rule them with a rod of iron as the potter’s vessel shall be broken to pieces. As I also have received from my Father and I will give him the morning star.”
The one who is faithful will be given what? Authority over the nations to rule them on behalf of Jesus Christ. Tremendous authority to break them in pieces as the vessels of a potter are broken. Jesus said I will give him the morning star. What’s that? The morning star I believe is the sun. To me that means the certain assurance in your heart that Jesus is coming back.
All right. We have to stop there, we’ll continue with that same theme in our next session.
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