Good afternoon everybody. I’m thankful that we’re at a church where we can tell the little children to come. We’re not shooing them off to a corner of the church, but they are welcome in this place. It’s good to see Deshaun in the back there. It’s good to have the Oh’s, James, Elaine, Micah, Liliana, and Jayden joining us.
We’d like to welcome them in the Lord. We’d like to welcome those who are joining online or who can’t join right now, but will join later. Brother Abraham and Sister Sarah are in London, and so they’ll be back soon. So keep praying for them to have a great time there. Pray for the Fernandez family joining online, and we have the Sumulais who will join at a later time. Anybody I’ve missed? If not, is there a praise or a thanksgiving to the Lord, specifically to the Lord that today.
Okay, if there’s no specific thanksgiving, I will read from 1 Peter 2, so please turn there with me. 1 Peter 2. Is the volume okay in the back? 1 Peter 2:4-5, “4 As you come to Him, a living stone rejected by men, but in the sight of God, chosen and 5 You yourselves, like living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5)
Okay, let’s pray.
Father, we just pray that You continue to give us more understanding of who You are and what You did, Jesus, when You came 2,000 years ago as our great High Priest, and You opened the door for us to have access to the Father. Lord, we want to understand this new covenant, we want to understand our position, how we can stay in fellowship with You, how we can worship You in spirit and in truth. So Lord, we give You this time, we pray that You would speak to Your people, pray that You would edify us and receive all the glory. We give You all the glory in advance for what You’re going to do in this place. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen
So last week we covered the Samaritan woman and Jesus’ encounter with her, and it says in John 4:23, “The Father is looking for true worshippers who will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23) And last week we discussed our identity as children of God.
Is there another identity or title or like vocation that you think applies to all believers? Because children applies to all believers. Is there another one that you can think of? And the hint is it’s covered in 1 Peter 2, the section I read, and it’s also covered in the book of Hebrews, if you’re familiar with Hebrews.
So what’s another identity slash calling slash assignment other than children of God? Any ideas? Saints, okay. Believers? Believers, yes, these are all correct. Yes, it does mention it here. Which one? “Worshipers, okay, yes, these are all correct. Not the one I’m looking for for today. Priests, thank you, thank you priests. Did you know they were all priests? Did you know that? Here’s the point for today. The blood of Jesus cleanses our evil consciences so that you and I can approach God, our Father, as a priest, offering Him praise and thanksgiving and blessing those around us through our speech. And so let’s use our lips to praise, thank, and bless. Praise, thank, and bless.
The identity as children of God we talked about last week, and it mentions it in 1 Peter 2:1-3, “1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” (1 Peter 2:1-3) And so if you’re at prayer meeting, we did talk briefly about we should move beyond the milk to solid food by now.
There’s a frustration a little bit from the author of the book of Hebrews. He says, by now you should be teachers in this word of righteousness, but I have to still teach you baby milk formula kind of teaching. And I think here Peter is talking to spiritual newborns. And for a newborn it’s fine to drink milk. And here’s the understanding that if you are a child of God, the one thing that you know of the Lord is that He’s gracious.
And so we have confidence to approach our heavenly Father through Jesus. He’s gracious. And so there’s no sense of condemnation or I’m still struggling with this sin, this addiction. You’re just a newborn. And so you have this kind of incredible access and you can be confident because He is gracious to you and me.
And so how do we approach God Our Father as children? It mentions it. We’ll be jumping to some verses in Hebrews. It says in Hebrews 4:14-16, “14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16) That’s what Jesus did. He’s our High Priest and now we can approach our Father boldly.
And it all started with what happened at the cross in Matthew 27:50-51, “50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split” (Matthew 27:50-51). The key thing that happened when Jesus says it is finished and He gave up His spirit to the Heavenly Father, the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom.
And Hebrews 9 describes the tabernacle. It had two parts. The first part was called the sanctuary.” And the sanctuary had veils and behind the second veil was the part of the sanctuary that we’ve heard of. It’s the Holy of Holies or the Holiest of All. In the first section, all the priests could come in and out and perform their priestly duties. They could offer sacrifices and do what priests do. But only the high priest could enter the holiest of all in only one time of year and this was to offer a sacrifice for his sins and the sins of the people. It’s all in Hebrews 9:1-10.
And it says in that chapter that this structure of the tabernacle was a symbol of the old covenant and it’s notable that the blood sacrifice in those times, it says, “it was not sufficient to cleanse one’s conscience” (Hebrews 9:9). Which is why they had to impose rules and ordinances until the time of Christ. But Jesus, our High Priest, became the perfect sacrifice and by His blood our consciences were finally cleansed and it says “you are cleansed from dead works to finally serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:14) in the new covenant.
Hebrews 10 says it more definitively. It says human high priests offered the same sacrifices over and over and over year after year (Hebrews 10:11). The reason why they did this is because you really can’t take away sins through these animal sacrifices which is why you have to keep applying it. It’s only acceptable for the moment. You have to keep applying it over and over again (Hebrews 10:11). But Jesus, our great High Priest, He offered Himself as the one and only sacrifice that is perfect and sins now are forever dealt with and now He has perfected forever those, all of us, who are being sanctified (Hebrews 10:14). Jesus’ flesh was torn and that is symbolized in the gospel accounts when the veil was torn and this Holiest of All, Holiest of Holies, which had access blocked except for the high priest, now the door is open, the veil has been torn and all believers as priests we have access to the Holiest of Holies, the throne room of God, our Heavenly Father.
So it’s true. Our identity is we are children of God. But also I want to talk about today we are priests of God. I was talking with a brother this week and based on that conversation I did a little digging based on what he said and it was about the Catholic Church and they have this thing called the Magisterium which I didn’t know about until I researched it this week and the Magisterium says that the task of interpretation of authoritative parts of scripture, this task of interpretation is uniquely vested in the pope and the bishops, nobody else. So they have a clear line of delineation. You have the Catholic pope and bishops under them, the priests and then a sharp line and then you have the rest of humanity and they say only, only, not even the priests really, people above the priests, the bishops and the pope, they can speak and interpret scripture on behalf of all the laity and this flies in the face of what we just read.
It says clearly, clearly in God’s Word that we are all priests, that Jesus is our great High Priest, that “you don’t have to go through a mediator, you don’t have to go through a you don’t have to go through Mother Mary, you don’t have to go through any human office. You have direct access because of what Jesus did to the Holiest of All because He is our High Priest and all of us at the same, we’re all on the same level, we’re all priests of God”. Amen? Praise God, Praise God, Praise God.
What an amazing truth and the Bible confirms this in many number, in so many ways. Like in 1 Corinthians 12, when it talks about the body of Christ, it says we are many members, many functions, but we’re one (1 Corinthians 12:12-26). And if you think of Your Body, maybe the head is the most significant because if your head is damaged, then you’re out of commission. But if any other part of Your Body is damaged, you can still function. Maybe you can’t move the same way, maybe you’re going to be lying down in a bed but all. I would say everything from the head, the neck on down is all Your Body. It’s all equal. You don’t say, well, my hand is more significant because I write with it or I type with it. We wouldn’t say our hand is any more significant than our foot because if your foot’s damaged and you can’t move, you can’t do anything. And so that’s what Jesus is saying when He says we’re all priests of God. We’re all members of the body of Christ. We’re all equal in God’s standing. Whether there’s offices and things that God may call us to do, in terms of status, we’re all one. We’re all members of one body.
And this idea of priest is all over the place and it’s there in Revelations 5 when the 24 falling before the Lamb who was slain and they have a harp and this golden bowl is collecting the prayers of the saints, this incense, which is a fragrant aroma in the throne of God, in the throne room of God. And they’re singing a song about the worthiness of Jesus, our Savior. And it says in verse 10, “10 And through this have made us kings and priests to our God.” (Revelations 5:10)
So we’re all kings. We’re all in a priestly family. God is our King. Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords. And we are also priests, all of us, whether you are formally recognized as such or not. All of us, you, me, all of us, we’re all priests of God.
And that’s why it says in 1 Peter 2, but verse 9, “9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (1 Peter 2:9) who once were not a people but are now people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” And then going up a few verses, the verses we read at the outset, verses 4 and 5, “4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5)
What do priests do? What do priests do? Do you guys have an answer from the text right here? What do priests do? Verse 5. Making sure you’re staying with me. Priests offer up spiritual sacrifices. And you might think, well, this is serving the church. This is singing, preaching, setting up equipment, leading a small group, doing a soup kitchen. We may think this is what primarily it means, and it can mean these things, yes, as a secondary thing.
But as priests, you have to go back to what the original priest did. They were ministering at the tabernacle in God’s presence before the Lord. You’re offering things before the Lord. And Romans 12 says, verses 1 and 2, “1 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. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2) Our whole body, so everything we offer to God, we offer our whole body, so everything we do in our body is an acceptable act of worship, and we are living sacrifices, so it does involve what we do.
But I think there’s something much more fundamental as priests. It says in Hebrews 13, verse 15, “15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” (Hebrews 13:15) And verse 16, “16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16) So, verse 16 is there. We do things with our hands. We offer hospitality, sacrifices, finances, meals, time. We do things, yes. But even more fundamental is the verse before that. “We offer the sacrifice of praise to God. The fruit of lips, giving thanks to His name.” (Hebrews 13:15)
So I appreciate Matthew. He must have read all my notes and known what I was about to preach. All the praise. It was a sacrifice of praise to God. The fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His holy name. So as priests we offer a praise and thanksgiving to God. And as we’ll cover shortly, we also offer up blessing of our lips to others.
When we have a testimony time and when we, at our prayer meeting when we start with, does anyone have a praise or thanksgiving? I wonder if we have a misconstrued mindset about this time. And so I think the Lord wants to just do a reset. Like what are we doing in this testimony time? What are we doing when we give praise or thanksgiving? I think often God does things for us. So He heals us, so we give thanks. He provides for us, so we give thanks. Something happens to our family members, we give thanks.
We praise Him because of things He does. And we should continue to do that. But even more fundamental than that, shouldn’t we praise Him for who He is? That means even if He doesn’t do anything for us, does that mean we’re silent? That means nobody comes forward because you’re not thankful for what you’re doing.
Because you’re not thankful to the Lord this week because He didn’t answer your hundred prayer requests that you gave to Him. And it’s this need-based mentality of, Lord, what have You done for me lately? And all these people, God is doing things for them and they have things to share. But I have my list, You haven’t answered me, I’m silent because You haven’t done it for me. Does God owe us anything? I mean, the fact that we’re saved, does He owe us anything more? What if He doesn’t answer any more prayer requests for the rest of our lives when it comes to healing or deliverance or provision and we’re just struggling to make it day by day, to make ends meet? What if that’s the lot for your life or my life? Does it mean that the testimony time, the praise time, that will never come forward because we have nothing to share? It’s a very self-centered approach to the Lord.
Shouldn’t we as priests offer up praise for who He is? Shouldn’t we thank Him for His holy name? Shouldn’t we just celebrate what we see in His word, that we have come to believe more and more? And it’s just, we just read a verse and say, I praise the Lord, I believe this verse. And then you step down. That’s all you pray. It’s not anything physical that happened to you that week, but it’s just, I read this, I believe it, it’s mine. I praise the Lord for who He is. I didn’t see it last week. I see it this week. I praise Him for who He is.
Shouldn’t that be the bulk of our testimony time? As priests, we offer those, we offer praise and thanksgiving to the Lord for who He is and what He has already done. And the most important thing He’s done is He saved you. And for the rest of eternity, you will praise Him. And you will join the 24 elders and the four living creatures. And for all eternity, we’re going to celebrate the risen Jesus and God the Father. And we don’t have to do anything. He doesn’t have to do anything more. And we should never have any, we should never run out of things to say. And you just read His word, you believe it, and you praise Him.
As priests, we also offer a blessing to other people through our lips. 1 Peter 2:18-25, it says, 18 “Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh, 19 for this is commendable. If because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully, 20 for what credit is it, if when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God, 21 for to this you are called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving us an example that you should follow His steps, 22 who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth, 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return. When He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him, who judges righteously, 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body, on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness, by whose stripes you were healed, 25 for you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:18-25)
And the word conscience again is mentioned in verse 19, and it’s a hard word to understand, but I think the Lord finally, finally gave me understanding this week. And it’s broken down to two root words, one is together with, and the other is knowing. And it seems to join together moral knowledge and spiritual knowledge. And even, and this conscience is a gift to all people. And you wonder sometimes, you have non-Christians, and they seem the most moral person you’ve ever met. They’re more moral than most Christians that you know, including yourself. And you wonder how is this possible? It’s because of a gift of a good conscience. And their conscience tells them to live morally. It’s a gift of God. Nobody has to tell you in school it’s wrong to abuse a child, to kill a child. Nobody has to tell you this, you just know it. It’s a conscience which tells you what is true.
But a non-Christian versus a Christian, the big difference is there is a spiritual knowing. And I think even among the Christians, there is a distinction between a religious minded Christian and a spiritual minded Christian. A religious minded Christian can struggle with sins and say, well, I shouldn’t do it. And so half the time they do well and they don’t sin. The other time they’re just bearing it and just barely get over the temptation and they are able to withstand and stand firm. But it’s this constant battle. Because they are partially right.
They have the conscience, it’s functioning morally, but they don’t get the spiritual side of the conscience right. And so they’re struggling on their own. And they have good days and bad days. The key difference for a spiritual Christian is not only are you made aware and conscious of God’s morality and His standards and you are aware of His commandments.
You’re also spiritually aware of His presence. That’s the main difference. And it sounds so basic, but it was like a light bulb going off in my spirit this week. It’s somebody who is conscious of God. That is a good conscience. When you are conscious of God, you’re living in the presence of God, like Brother Lawrence. He’s washing dishes. He does it joyfully because he’s not doing it for himself. He’s not doing it for a man. He’s not doing it looking around and as it says in Ephesians 6, as people pleasing eyes.
He’s not doing it that way. He is conscious of God. This is what a good conscience does. It takes care of the morality. But even more than that, because you’re aware of God’s presence and you love Him, that’s the motivation. That’s why you do not sin, because you love Him. Like, if Jesus is here, would I be like lifting myself up and puffing myself up and just rebuking people left and right? If Jesus is literally right here, would I do that? No, I wouldn’t because out of just fear of, okay, He’s here. How dare I lord over His sheep? Yet why do pastors do this and abuse the flock? It’s because they are not aware of Jesus’ presence.
It says in Matthew 18, when two or three are gathered, Jesus is there. (Matthew 18:20) And so are there more than me, at least one other brother or sister who believes that Jesus is here? Then He’s here.
And if He’s here, then the way we speak to one another and treat one another will change. And the way you are when you’re by yourself will be changed. Because it’s not you by yourself gritting your teeth and trying to be moral. It’s you’re aware of His presence. You’re a temple of the Holy Spirit. I’m a child of God.
I’m in fellowship in the throne room of heaven. And I’m abiding with Christ. Of course I won’t sin. Of course I’m not going to sin. I’m conscious of His presence. He’s there with me. I’m not going to do that thing. I’m not going to look at that thing. I’m not going to think that way. I’m not going to say that thing. He’s there.
It’s all, it’s the gift of a good conscience. It’s morality. But for the believer, it’s much more than morality. It’s spiritual consciousness and awareness of His presence. What a gift. What a gift.
And that’s why the chapter three is all about how we treat one another. In 1 Peter 3:1-6 it says, 1 “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they without a word may be won by the conduct of their wives,” 2 “when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear, do not let your adornment be merely outward, arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel.”
3 “Rather let it be the hidden person of the heart with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” “For in this manner in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves being submissive to their own husbands,” 5 “as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord, whose daughters you are, if you do good, and are not afraid with any terror.” (1 Peter 3:1-6)
And so this is a challenge to the sisters in our midst. This is the call of God for you. And it’s different. But it’s slightly different, but basically the same as I’ll get to in a second for the husband. But imagine a wife married to a non-believing husband, and this husband is a jerk.
And you are annoyed, and you just nag him, you just say all these things. God says that’s not how you win that person over. You win them over by a gentle and a quiet spirit within that comes out with respectful tone and conversation. And it’s mainly your conduct, your behavior, your heart that’s coming out through your speech. That is the call of Christian sisters who are married.
And you cannot force this. You can only live this way if Jesus, you literally picture Jesus, He’s here. I’m in the throne room of Heaven. My Father is watching. That is the only way that you’re going to be able to speak tenderly to a non-believing jerk of a husband.
Likewise for husbands, verse 7, husbands likewise dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife as to the weaker vessel as being heirs together of the grace of life that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)
Husband, Christian brothers who are married, we are called to interact with our wives with understanding, meaning if they are loose with their lips and emotions, and they are immature, maybe they’re even a non-believing wife. How are we supposed to interact with them? We’re supposed to honor them with understanding, with patience, giving honor to them as a weaker vessel.
And it doesn’t say anything about the wives’ prayers being hindered, but husbands notice if we don’t do this, our prayers don’t reach the throne room of Heaven. They are hindered somewhat. Maybe they stop at the ceiling. If you keep talking this way to your wife, then your prayers won’t be heard, it says in God’s word.
So we must praise God with our lips, praise and thanksgiving, and then start adjusting the speech to those around us. For married people, it starts with a marriage. And then it continues in verse 6, 1 Peter 3.
Finally, 6 all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another, love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous, 7 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you are called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.
8 For he who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit. 9 Let him turn away from evil and do good. Let him seek peace and pursue it, 10 for the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are open to their prayers, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. (1 Peter 3:8-12)
And who are the people who do evil? It’s people who do not check their speech. That is what the Lord says is evil. Of course, the world is evil. And because you love Jesus and you’re a follower of Jesus, they’re going to revile us. They’re going to persecute us. They’re going to speak down to us. What the Lord says, don’t participate in evil. His eyes are upon us. He’s looking at how we respond. And if you are struggling, and some days you suppress it, some days it comes out, I’m saying maybe you’re still in a religious mindset, you’re struggling on your own.
But if you believe, My Father is looking from Heaven. His eyes are upon me. I’m His child. And on top of that, I’m a priest of God. And He’s looking to see how do you respond, child, priest? And He says, look to Jesus. Do you think Jesus was struggling to suppress anger? Or do you think just the forgiveness flowed from a heart that was changed? That is where we want to be.
We don’t want to be struggling to suppress. That’s religious. We want to be so changed because our conscience brings us God consciousness and awareness. He’s looking upon me. I want to be a righteous son or daughter, a priest who is pleasing in His sight, not suppressing and having self-control about this thing. But there’s no thing in you.
And it just, forgiveness comes out. And blessing comes out. And blessing comes out. And it says, if you bless people, then you will be blessed. It says, that’s your inheritance. That means if you do not bless people, then your inheritance is shrinking. That’s one of the best ways to get rewarded in Heaven is through what you do with your mouth when you are, when this world just does what the world does and lashes out at you and dreads you and disrespects you because of Christ.
How can we get a massive reward is when you bless that person. And that person sees you. Why are you blessing me? I just, I just trashed you. And they start asking you, why do you, why do you do this? And then maybe you can win that person over through your conduct. This is not forcing it. It’s just coming out. And so we have to practice in our home. So siblings, practice with your siblings. Don’t trash them. Please, don’t trash them. Bless them.
I know it’s hard. I know as a man, as fellow brothers, I know what it’s like to be a sibling and have brothers. And we trash each other. We trash talk. And we think that’s how we interact. That’s how we joke. This is how we toughen people up. And there’s a place for it. We don’t want to be soft.
But at the same time, can you balance it a little? Can you bless your brother? Can you bless your sibling? Can you say, oh, you’re good at that? And it’s not a slight against yourself. You just bless them. Say, you’re really good at that. You just bless them. Just bless them.
I need to bless my boys more. I need to, instead of joking, trashing, trash talking, I need to bless them. Because they are very good at many things. And they might not be aware of it. And maybe they’re mimicking Dad amongst themselves and trashing one another. So it’s my fault.
We got to practice in our home. Siblings practice it. Spouses practice it. Because if it doesn’t become second nature in your home, how are we going to do it before a world that trashes us? If you bless people, it says, we receive an inheritance of blessing. We will be blessed with a large inheritance as we bless people. “13 And who is He who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?” (1 Peter 3:13) “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. ‘And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled,’ 14 but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts” (1 Peter 3:13-15a).
“And always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” (1 Peter 3:15b-17).
Again, the key word “conscience.” If you are God conscious, if you believe Jesus is watching you, He is there right beside you. The Holy Spirit lives in you. The Father is watching. His eyes are upon you as a righteous child and priest. That is the only way that we can change our heart so that it is second nature, that our speech changes. It is not religious. It is totally different than a religious mindset. It is a spiritual awakening of our conscience. It makes all the difference.
“There is also an anti-type which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.” (1 Peter 3:21-22).
And I think Noah as a righteous man, think about for decades, who knows, maybe hundreds of years, building an ark to large enough for every creature on earth to be there. And then seven other people, eight including himself, only those were saved. And think of all that time, the mockery he must have received.
And I bet Noah was a righteous man. How did he respond to the mockery as everyone passed him by and says, I don’t, what’s this thing called rain? I haven’t seen any rain. When’s the last time a drop fell from heaven? Well, you’re such a fool. How must have Noah, a righteous man, responded every time he got criticized? He must have blessed. He must have said, God bless you. Please, please believe, believe that the rain is coming. Please turn to the Lord. He will save you.
He must have blessed all the people for all those years, decades, even a century. And now, baptism, the main gift is you’re gifted with a conscience. Before that moment, you just went to church. It was just rules. You didn’t really believe God existed. And certainly, even if you believed in Him, you didn’t live day by day as if He’s there. But now, after you got baptized and you understand what Jesus did, our high priest, His body was torn, the veil was torn. Now, as priests of God, we have access to the holiest of all.
And we all forgot praise and thanksgiving. We minister before the Lord. And we’re so changed in His presence that now our speech changes in our households, to our spouses, to our children, and now to the world. That is what the baptism symbolizes. And we’re gifted with this new conscience sprinkled by the blood of Jesus. It was once evil, and now it’s good. We’re aware of God’s presence.
Okay, let’s pray.
Father, thank you for teaching us fundamental issues of identity and calling. We know that our fundamental identity is a child of God, son or daughter. Thank You for expanding the definition a little bit beyond being a child now as a child of God. We have access to the throne room of heaven.
And we come before our Heavenly Father because of what Christ did, our great High Priest. And we praise You for who You are. We thank You for who You are. We thank You for what You’ve done. We thank You for saving us. Even if You don’t do a single thing, even if You don’t answer another prayer for the rest of our lives, we will offer the sacrifice of praise with our lips.
We know when we see You, as it says in 1 Corinthians 15:52, 52 we will be changed in the twinkling of an eye when we see the fullness of Christ. But even now as we catch glimpses of Christ, even now as we have spiritual access to heaven, You’re changing us one degree at a time. Bit by bit You’re changing us. May we see it most clearly through our speech. Not just praising, not just thanking to You, but also blessing those around us.
That is how we can measure how well we’re connecting and worshipping our Heavenly Father in spirit and in truth. How well we’re abiding with Jesus. Does our speech change? We thank You Lord for allowing Your Body to be broken. The veil was torn from top to bottom. You’re the High Priest and we are the priesthood of believers. We have direct access to the Father. (1 Corinthians 15:52) We celebrate You. We praise You. We thank You. Thank You Jesus for doing this for us. Thank You for Your Blood that was shed, that sprinkled upon evil consciences and cleanses.
The last thing that needed cleansing was our conscience. And now we are God conscious. We’re aware of Your Presence. We’re in Your Presence all day long. Lord we may start a day on our knees in worship, but now we have unbroken fellowship with You.
And so Lord this answers a question of a Samaritan woman. She asked, what mountain do I go to worship? And Your answer is everywhere is the mountain of worship. Everywhere is a chance to connect. Everywhere is a chance to praise and thank You.
And then after that prayer time we bless people. That is what You want us to do 24-7. Use our lips to praise, to thank and to bless. Thank You, Lord.
We pray that You minister to us as we come before You and partake in the Lord’s Supper. In Jesus’ Name, Amen