How’s 2024 going for you? I’m trusting we’re going to answer that with the substance of faith, and the evidence of things not yet seen, Amen! As we deal with the number 24 today, I was made aware that Avocados, Rice and Grasshoppers all have 24 pairs of chromosomes...... There are 24 elements that make up the human body....the symbol of the 24th wedding anniversary is pots and pans....(but let’s get on to 25 which is silver or the 30thwhich is pearls, right ladies?)..... 24 is the age of the oldest cat ever recorded..... 24 is the number of carats found in pure gold....and the bible records 24 healings that Jesus performed.....
My message is titled.. “2024 The Year Of The Priesthood Of Believers”
Well, here we are in the second week of 2024 and on New Year’s, I told you that in the bible, 24 is the number of the priesthood. (I have that word for 2024 on my Facebook page) So today I want to unwrap with you, what the Priesthood covenant actually means for us....and I feel we just need to take some time todevelop that whole concept of the Priesthood because there’s something significant here for us.
How many Priests do we have in the house today?
The fact that not all of you raised your hand is all the evidence that you need to see how hard Satan, to this day, is trying to keep this truth hidden - even from the Spirit filled church.
Here is what the bible says about each of us as Christians:
1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light”.
You don’t need a priest, Each Christan is supposed to be a priest.
Under the old covenant, God’s people had a priesthood; but in the new covenant, God’s people are a priesthood.
“The priesthood of the believer” is a precious ingredient of the Christian faith, the defense of this powerful truth has cost manytheir lives during the crusades and the erroneous political structure of the church.
All Christians are part of the Priesthood, in Christ....It means that all believers have the same acceptance before God and enjoy equal access to God through Jesus Christ, the Great High Priest.
“Therefore all Christians are priests,” said Martin Luther, “and accursed be the statement that a priest is something different from a Christian.”
His point is simply that all believers are priests, and no Christian should allow anyone, Christian or non Christian, to come between them and their Divinely given position in their Lord.
I’m reminded of the Catholic Priest who retired and moved to the Vatican to spend the rest of his life going through the archives of the Vatican library. Year after year, he went deeper and deeper and found ancient documents that went all the way back to the founding of the church. One day, from down in the lower parts of the archives came a howling sound and groanings, and piercing screams and cries.... People rushed down to see what was causing the ungodly sounds. The old man was leaping up and down on the floor, doing a wild dance, saying over and over.... It doesn’t say Celebate, it says celebrate... it doesn’t say celibate, it says celebrate!!!!
All Christians are invited to come boldly into God’s presence to worship him and present their petitions and declarations.
Jesus Christ today is our High Priest in heaven, and there he represents us and intercedes for us before the Father.
As amazing as this is, we have only scratched the surface of this blessing.
Because God says, not only are we a priesthood, but notice it says that we are a Royal Priesthood.
1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession,”.
The priest had to go through a purification process, so that theymight stand in the presence of Almighty God....
That’s something we have lost, the need for purification.... You see, it is true that Jesus’ Holiness, is given unto us as we choose to receive Him. But the purification is about the choices we make every day.... If there’s deadly mold in the house, and you just paint over it, it can still kill you. The mold must be removed first, then the paint can be applied....
You can’t see your true image reflected in troubled water, it can only be seen in the calm peaceful water of a surrendered life and a repentant heart... Folks get saved, but the water is still in a state of turbulence, because they are still struggling, and they have not entered into His rest, and His finished work, where they have crucified the flesh and it’s desires.... Jesus can’t do your job, of crucifixion...He can only do His, which He has already done....
Get rid of the umbrella of doing it your way, holding on to the way you think it should be, leaving God out till you need Him, and never checking what His will, His way, and His best is for your life. Let Him wash you, and purify your soul and cleanse you with His living water....Let it pour upon your soul and bring it’s purifying flow....
Thats why scripture says.... Galatians 5:24 “And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with it’s affections and lusts.” Too many Christians want power and authority without the purification....
Tell someone....”Let it pour”.....
A devout Christian woman was reading in Malachi chapter 3 about the story which describes the refining of silver, She got to the part that says the silver smith will sit by the molten silver until it is ready.... Malachi 3:3: "And He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver” She wondered to herself, at what point does the silver smith know the silver is ready.... So she went to a silver smith to ask him. It just so happened that he had a container of molten silver being purified. So she asked him as he was sitting by the silver, keeping a close eye on it.... “How do you know when it is finished” The silver smith, without looking away, said, “I know it’s finished when I can see my image reflected clearly in it”.....
Oh, yes, Jesus is looking for His image to be reflected upon us and out of us, and then He knows, we’re ready!
We like to Quote Gal. 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ” because that’s a force acting outside of ourselves upon ourselves..... But we need to also say “I am continually crucifying my flesh” because that’s an ongoing action on our part and a choice that we are making continually.
It’s another word for delayed gratification, and acknowledging that our flesh is never saved, it is being crucified.... Our flesh cannot enter heaven, that’s why we’re going to have to lay it aside in order to get into heaven... 1 Corinthians 15:50tells us clearly that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God"
But Jesus didn’t leave us alone to operate this process.. He made sure we had all the help we needed.
Look at Jesus’ words in John 16:7 “ Unless I go away, the Advocate (Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8 When He comes, He will convict of sin and convince of righteousness.” ...
So Holy Spirit is here to purify the Priesthood, and get it ready to minister unto the Lord, by convicting of sin and convincingrighteousness...that’s the process of purification.... Whatever it takes, it’s worth it....
Revelation 1:6 “and He has made us a kingdom of priests to His God and Father—(that’s a royal Priest) to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen”. This royal priesthood, moves in the glory and dominion, of Christ
And each and every Christian is a King and a Priest unto God almighty.
Not knowing this, not believing this, not living this way, is like having the world’s fastest race car and just driving slowly down the lane and around town, for the entire life of this powerful vehicle, and never putting the pedal to the metal. (Look at someone and say “Go ahead, put the pedal to the metal”)
There is all this incredible potential, but its never being used. What does it mean that YOU are both a king and a priest unto God?
Lets look further at the Priesthood
In the Old Testament, the Priests were only chosen from the tribe of Levi. They were chosen by God to stand as the mediator between a Holy God and a sinful people.
In the Old covenant, the people could not go straight to God because of their sin, so they took their troubles to the priests, and then the priests went before God on their behalf.
At the same time, God could not go straight to the sinful people as his glory would simply annihilate them all, so God went through the priests, and then the priests relayed the message to the people.
A single word can define the OT Priest that made him different from everyone else.
The Priest, simply by submitting to his calling, had access to God.
To call on Him, to request of Him, to offer unto Him, to commune with Him.
But when Jesus came, He put the capstone on the Old Covenant by fulfilling it, and He ushered in the New Covenant, and this radically changed everything. He called fishermen, carpenters, a prostitute, tax collectors, a doctor, 120 in the upper room, and just ordinary people.
The Levitical priesthood ended and a new kind of priesthood was introduced.
Hebrews 7:11 “Now if perfection came through the Levitical priesthood by,what further need was there for another priest to appear, said to be according to the order of Melchizedek and not according to the order of Aaron”
This new priesthood was not of the Levitical order, but of the Melchisedec order. And Arron, the high priest of the Levitical order, was replaced with Jesus Christ of the royal or heavenly order...
Hebrews 6:19 “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. This hope has entered the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus our forerunner has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek”. One of the most mysterious and intriguing figures in the Bible is Melchizedek. Who is Melchizedek and why does the author to the Hebrews say that Jesus is a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek?
Melchizedek, is called a king and a priest of the Most High God, in Genesis 14:17. After Abraham returned from a great victory, we are told that he offered his tithe to Melchizedek.... Melchizedek’s priesthood differed from the Aaronic priesthood in a number of ways.
First, he had no genealogy. and as a result his priesthood was understood to be eternal. His was a personal priesthood rather than an inherited priesthood, and it is eternal since it has no beginning or end. He was known as the king of righteousness. The inspired scripture calls him “the priest of the most high God”....
When Jesus made the final and ultimate sin sacrifice by dying for us on the cross. His sacrifice was so sufficient, so perfect that:
It says in Mark 15:38 “Then the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom”. ..... That was all about access for the new testamentpriesthood...
That veil was the access point. Behind the veil was what only the high priest had access to.....but now, since the veil has been torn, each of us have the same access. (When the curtain of the Holy of Holies was torn in half, the Aaronic priesthood ended, and the Melchizedek priest hood began.
Hebrews 10:19 “Therefore, we (who are being purified) have boldness to enter the Holy of Holies through the blood of Jesus”....
Now, look carefully at:
Ephesians 3:12 “In him we have boldness and confident access through faith in Christ”.
What is it the priest had as a priest? ACCESS.... What is it we have as the priesthood of believers? we have ACCESS!.
Not just ACCESS - Equal ACCESS to the Father that Jesus passed on to us by coming in the flesh.
What a shame to neglect our audience with the king of kings, inprayer and worship.... We have access to the throne room.. take a look around, marvel at his presence.... know that He hears you, sees you, knows you.
How would you feel if Elon Musk, the billionaire, walked in here and went over to you, called your name, called you friend, and said, let’s go fishing, or to dinner today. I’d like to just enjoy being with you.... (I’m sure he would pay for everything and not leave you with the bill) I’m amazed at how folks pull back from Jesus because their afraid He’ll ask something of them.....
You might say, Elon, I’ve got a problem with my mortgage, and he would say what do you need....(he’s a billionaire) He could easily write out a check and say “don’t mention it”... I’ve read of some of the things he has done...
Oh my friends, we have access to the King of the universe.... but it comes with obedience, surrender, and accountability.....
Let me put this as plainly as possible:
Each and every born again Christian is now a priest who has full and equal access to the Father as the Old Testament high priest did, and now it is through Jesus Christ....
Jeremiah 33:2 “This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name: 3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and unsearchable things you cannot know except through Me.”
As amazing as this is, its not the end. For we are not only a priesthood but scripture tells us we are a Royal Priesthood.
This alone is a miracle.
Priests in the OT could only be priest by being born of the lineage of Levi
Numbers 3:10 “You are to appoint Aaron and his sons to carry out their priestly responsibilities, but any unauthorized person who comes near the sanctuary is not qualified.”
Only Levi’s lineage could be priests. And according to Scripture:Only those of lineage of Judah could be kings:
Genesis 49:10 “The scepter will not depart from Judah or the staff from between his feet until he whose right it is comes, and the obedience of the peoples belongs to him”.
This way, no priest could ever be king and no king could ever be priest.
But under the new covenant we are BOTH KINGS and PRIESTS in the service of God.
Our priesthood grants us ACCESS, but what does our Royalty grant us?
Well what is it that the Old Testament kings had?
Well look here... IN Revelation 3:7 “Write to the angel of the church in Philadelphia: Thus says the Holy One, the true one, the one who has the key of David, who opens and no one will close, and who closes and no one opens”
But what is the key of king David?
The answer is in:
Isaiah 22:22 “I will place the key of the house of David on His (Jesus’) shoulder; what He opens, no one can close; what He closes, no one can open”.
A king has the authority to open and to shut any and every door Which He wants opened or closed in the kingdom where he rules.
This is exactly what Jesus said we have authority to do in His name:
Matthew 18:18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you deny on earth will be deniedin heaven, and whatever you release on earth will be released in heaven.”
Priests have ACCESS
Kings have POWER AND AUTHORITY.
Therefore, what authority do we have as ROYAL or Kingly PRIESTS? What is it we can release and what it is we can deny?
When it comes to releasing....
We have authority to speak as God’s representatives, to release the power of the gospel in the earth, to exhort and bring the church into it’s rightful place and position, and to reconcile sinners and backsliders back to Christ and their inheritance.
It says we are to deny and refuse.....We have authority to deny and refuse Satanic attacks, as well as his schemes against the saints, and his attempts at disrupting our lives.
Luke 9:1 “Summoning the Twelve, He gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases”.
Ephesians 4:27 “and do not give the devil an opportunity”.
James 4:7 “Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he must flee from you”.
As His Priest, you have Access and Authority.
Matthew 16:18 “I will build My church, and the gates of Hell (Satan’s kingdom) will not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys (power and authority) of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you release on earth will be released in heaven.”
We have Access, by the blood of Jesus, for each us to enter into the holy of holies, and come before the Almighty, with our praise, prayers, petitions and declarations.
We have Authority, by the resurrection of Jesus, to speak the word in season and out of season, to resist the Devil and deny him access into our lives and families.
With access and authority, you don’t just rush into the presence of the king with your request, you first enjoy His presence with worship that gives Him honor, and value in your life. With praise that acknowledges how important and priceless He is in your life, and the special place He has in all you do..
When you come into His glory, don’t rush right out, but linger and stay there a while. Let it stick to you and wrap around you, and breathe into you.... I believe that amount of time you spend in His presence will determine the level of power and authority you will have in your life....
Are you living as a royal priest or just a regular, average person? Jesus is praying for you to be His priest hood....
I want to close with the prayer Jesus prayed for the priesthood of believers who would minister in the earth after He went to heaven to ever live and make intercession for us.....
John 17:5 “He lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; 6 “I have manifested your name to the those whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. 20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
WOW, WOW, WOW.... Jesus is praying for you, that you might come into the priesthood which He prepared for you and ordained you for! And God always answers the prayers of Jesus.....Can you just take a moment and honor Him and receive the priesthood He has ordained you for.....