“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) Priests of God (Kyle Pope)
2) When a Poor Man is Rich (Heath Rogers)
3) The Cross (Wayne Goff)
4) News & Notes
Priests of God
A priest is one who is set apart unto God for a special service to Him and His people. Priests carry out particular acts of worship and offer up sacrifices to honor and petition God. As long as men have worshipped God there have been those who have performed this service.
Under the Patriarchs
The earliest mention of men who served God in this capacity comes in the first book of the Bible. Genesis 14:18-20 tells of a man by the name of Melchizedek. Verse 18 states, “. . . he was the priest of God Most High” (NKJV). Abraham, the great man of faith, was not himself described as a priest, but he gave Melchizedek one tenth of all his spoils after the defeat of Chedorlaomer (Gen. 14:20; Heb. 7:4). Exodus 2:15-21 tells of a man named Reuel (or Jethro) who would later become Moses’s father-in-law. Verse 16 refers to him as the “Priest of Midian.” Even after Moses began to lead Israel, his advice to him removed a great burden from his shoulders (Exod. 18:1-27). During this period of time, the heads of families, even though not described as “priests” were permitted to offer their own sacrifices to God. Scripture, however, has not revealed to us how priests were chosen at this time or what was involved in their service before God. We simply know that there were those who were considered priests who served God.
Under Mosaic Law
When the Law of Moses was given, God set apart a special class of men to serve as priests. This priesthood involved a High Priest (Exod. 28:1) and those of the tribe of Levi who were descendants of Aaron (Num. 3:3). Not every Israelite could act as a priest. Tracing one’s ancestry to Aaron and Levi was required. These men attended to the tabernacle (and later to the temple). They offered sacrifices for the people which the people were not permitted to offer for themselves. Even a king was not allowed to assume the responsibility of a priest (2 Chron. 26:16-21). This was a special role they alone could fill. The lifestyle of the priests was held to a special standard of conduct. They could marry only virgins — no divorced women (Lev. 21). They could drink no wine or strong drink when they carried out their service (Lev. 10). This allowed them to have a clear mind in order to perform their service and offer a pure example before the people.
With the passing away of the Mosaic Law (2 Cor. 3:7-13), the Levitical and Aaronic priesthood passed away. We no longer have a way to know if someone is descended from Levi and Aaron. This has led some to affirm that now there is no priesthood in the age of Christ. That is not true. It is correct that there are no men who serve as “clergy” through whom a separate class of “laity” approach God. It is also true that under Christ there are no individuals who perform the functions of worship for others. Now worship is collective in nature and every individual Christian is expected to offer up “spiritual sacrifices” in worship to God (1 Pet. 2:4-5). However, the age of Christ, like Mosaic Law actually has both a High Priest and a priesthood.
Jesus Is the High Priest. Hebrews 4:14-15 teaches that Jesus Christ Himself serves in the role of High Priest on behalf of Christians. The nature of His work is that of intercession. Scripture says, “. . . He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25).
All Christians are Priests. The priesthood under Christ is now made up of all true believers (men, women, old, young, black, white, Jew, or Gentile). 1 Peter 2:4-5 teaches that believers are a “. . . holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Christians carry out this priestly service in the spiritual sacrifices we each offer up to God when we worship Him (1 Pet. 2:5; Heb. 13:15), and in daily obedience to Him, which is offered as a “living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1).
If we are Christians, the question each of us must ask ourselves is if we are living our lives as priests of God Most High? Christians should offer up spiritual sacrifices to God every day in the way we live our lives and in our worship to Him both individually and when we assemble as a church. Just as the people of the Old Testament were commanded to only offer the best they had to God, we too must make certain our sacrifices are the best we have! As priests of God we are called to a special standard of conduct. The world should see the life of Christ in us.
Let’s recognize that we have been set apart to God as Christians and live up to this honor. Peter challenges us to recognize, “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 Pet. 2:9).
— Via Faithful Sayings, Volume 22, Issue 30, July 26, 2020
When a Poor Man is Rich
The Proverb’s writer observed, “There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; and one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches” (Prov. 13:7). How can a poor man be rich?
1. When he learns to rejoice in God’s word. “I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches” (Ps. 119:14). One who has found the way of God has discovered the greatest treasure known to mankind.
2. When he obtains wisdom. “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge and discretion… Riches and honor are with me, enduring riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold, and my revenue than choice silver” (Prov. 8:12, 18-19). Wisdom will yield greater dividends in life than silver and gold.
3. When he has a good reputation. “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold” (Prov. 22:1). No amount of money can open the same doors and opportunities that a good reputation can open; and no amount of money can reclaim a ruined reputation.
4. When he lays up treasure in Heaven. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matt. 6:19-20). The material treasures of this world are subject to theft, depreciation, and decay. They will eventually be destroyed with fire (2 Pet. 3:10-12). The spiritual treasures we obtain in our efforts to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (developing our character, strengthening our brethren, saving lost souls, etc.) will last forever.
5. When he is rich in good works. “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Tim. 6:17-19). Those who are rich are commanded not to trust in their wealth, but to commit themselves to being rich in good works. One does not have to possess material wealth to be rich in good works towards others.
6. When he is rich in faith. “Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?” (James 2:5). Material wealth may get one noticed by the world, but those who are rich in faith stand out to God. They will be heirs of His kingdom; a kingdom that money cannot buy.
— Via bulletin of the Knollwood church of Christ, August 2020
William Barclay, in his commentary on The Gospel of John, observes the following about what it means to give your life, as Jesus gave His life:
“It is told that in the First World War there was a young French soldier who was seriously wounded. His arm was so badly smashed that it had to be amputated. He was a magnificent specimen of young manhood, and the surgeon was grieved that he must go through life maimed. So he waited beside his bedside to tell him the bad news when he recovered consciousness. When the lad’s eyes opened, the surgeon said to him: ‘I am sorry to tell you that you have lost your arm.’ ‘Sir,’ said the lad, ‘I did not lose it; I gave it — for France.’
“Jesus was not helplessly caught up in a mesh of circumstances from which he could not break free. Apart from any divine power he might have called in, it is quite clear that to the end he could have turned back and saved his life. He did not lose his life; he gave it. The Cross was not thrust upon him; he willingly accepted it — for us.”
If we would stop and think about the difference between “losing” something and “giving” it, our attitudes in service to God might be greatly improved. God gave His only begotten Son, John 3:16. Jesus freely gave His life for us, Matthew 20:28. The apostles gave their lives in martyrdom as a testimony of the truthfulness of their message, Galatians 2:20. What have you and I given to God?
“And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma,” Ephesians 5:2.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,” Ephesians 5:25.
— Via The Roanridge Reader, Volume 35, Issue 32, Page 1, August 2, 2020
News & Notes
Folks to be praying for:
Though still in ICU, Larry Hood’s surgery went well — and, actually, even “better than expected.” He will have to have radiation treatments, but now with a “much better outlook.”
Judy Daugherty (Jim Lively’s sister) fell Thursday and broke her shoulder. She will not have to have surgery; but is using a sling and has pain. Her doctor told her that this type of breakage will usually heal on its own 75% of the time without surgery.
Rex and Frankie Hadley are both doing somewhat better.
Mark Owen Mixon (Anita Young’s 1-year old great nephew) had been very sick in the hospital with salmonella. He is now back home, but had lost several pounds while dehydrated and “has a little ways to go to be 100%” better.
James Medlock was transferred from the hospital to the nursing home for his congestive heart failure.
Penny Medlock is still in St. Simons-By-The-Sea. A recent test showed that she does not have covid-19. So she might be going to the group home this week.
Deborah Medlock is doing “pretty good,” following her recent surgery.
Ronnie Davis is now over his walking pneumonia, but still has the lingering cough.
Joyce Rittenhouse’s brother is still waiting to hear when his next surgery will be, and they are continuing to keep his blood pressure low.
Doyle Rittenhouse had 12 shots last week — 6 to numb the area, and 6 to deaden the nerves. Unfortunately, it reduced the pain for only a few hours; and then left Doyle feeling worse than before. He will be having blood work on Monday and might be seeing his doctor this Wednesday about having a nerve ablation to eliminate his back pain. In the meanwhile, he is not to be moving around too much.
Rick Cuthbertson has been doing well with his new cancer treatment — of taking the 2 pills a day that are designed to target the needed area — though he has been having a weird feeling in his back. He will also be doing just 2 a day this week, before moving on to 3 a day.
Others to also be praying for: Jamie Cates (healing from a double lung transplant), A.J. & Pat Joyner, Pat Brigman, Elaine Abbott, Shirley Davis, Tim Kirkland, Janice Hood, and Ginger Ann Montero.
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
We are currently meeting for only our Sunday 10 a.m. worship service each week, due to the coronavirus situation.