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Revelation 1:5-6 provides that needed understanding of the purpose of the world, Christ and the church. The clearer this picture, the easier it will be for us to find fulfillment as we serve the Lord.
Having said the end reason for all the activity on the earth is to bring glory to our Lord, let us see the chief means God accomplishes His glorious plan.
"To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood, and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father" (Rev 1:5-6).
Without understanding the first point about the honor of what happens here on earth among His people, then we will certainly get a wrong image about what happens among us here on earth. We will think it is all because of us. The cell group is great because of me. I am great because of me. We air such arrogance.
The second part has to do with how God accomplishes His great and glorious plan. In a simple way this is what missions is. As we look more carefully how God is accomplishing His grand purpose, we will see what that grand plan is.
Actually, we see His grand redemptive plan unfolded in three parts in Revelation 1:5-6:
This love speaks of His desire and eternal plan to bring us close to Him in His love. This love is constant. It is pure. Paul says it was in love that He predestined us to adoption as sons – before the foundation of the earth far before the time that we were born.
“Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved” (Eph 1:4-6).
We should see this pattern here. We were conceived in God’s eternal love. That love is impossible to stop. Creation and redemption are places to see that love worked out. And this is exactly what we find here next mentioned.
Many people will not honestly consider whether God would have them go to the mission field. Do you know one of the biggest reasons? They don’t trust God. They think God’s plan for them would be less than perfect. Reflect on this question and God’s great love for us. If we really understand God’s love, then we will not question God’s purpose for our lives. We will pursue it with all our heart! We don’t want to miss it!
God’s plan didn’t start with us. It started before us. Because of this, we should never think that the end of the plan is us. I am so great that Christ died for me. This is an accursed version of religion.
Let me simply ask you this question, “What did we need to be released or rescued?” The answer is right there in the text. We were released because of our sins. We deserved nothing but judgment. We were unlovable. And apart from being in Christ, we are unlovable. God’s attraction to us happened before time began brothers and sisters. The plan for Christ dying on the cross is as Peter said in Acts predestined. Christ’s blood had to be shed on the ground that our sins might be forgiven.
If we say that the only purpose for Christ dying was to save us, then we do understand God’s plan. God could have kept us from the effects of the fall. His plan was as Romans 9:22-23 says to display the love and wrath of God which otherwise would not have been manifested.
We dare not humanize the cross. We must refuse to think we are so great so Christ died for us. This is a distortion of the gospel which brings honor to us rather than to God. This is more clearly revealed in this later point in which we will spend the rest of our time.
The more one understand the scriptures, both Old and New, the more one will be able to grasp what these words truly mean. The nation of Israel rejected the Lord’s ways. That nation was chosen, formed and equipped to bear the torch of God’s love and light to the world.
She compromised the mission from early on. She had to be restrained here and there like a little child always running to trouble. This was the kingdom by which all the nations would come to know the glory of God for all would know Israel was blessed from God. They in turn would seek God. Because they rejected their call, God rejected them, at least for a time. What God does with Israel is hard to discern. It seems that in the very end many Jews will come to know the Jesus as the Messiah and take a leading role in making disciples of the nations.
God was not and never will be frustrated with man’s sin. God could use another way. He chose to work through Abraham’s ‘faith’ seed and create a whole new kingdom which would fulfill the Old Testament prophecies. This came about in Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ was the second Adam. The first Adam failed to rightly rule the world. He gave his authority to the devil. Jesus says you worship whom you serve. Jesus when tempted could have received this authority over the earth back if he bowed to the devil. Jesus refused.
Jesus knew of a greater way although it would cost Him His life, that was of course through the cross. We already read how that death of Christ released those who believe in Him. Without this faith, you are destined to perish with this world in the selfishness of the evil one and your desires.
So can we dismiss that Jesus didn’t just save us to go to heaven. God has a greater purpose. This is what 1:6 is here saying. Christ made us a kingdom, priests to God His Father. Notice that this word ‘made’ is in the past tense. We already are so designated as God’s children. The church, you must understand, has a glorious role in the earth right now. We cannot think that this is for heaven.
This is what makes missions so urgent. God has called us now to participate. God is now commanding us to put away our sins and
get serious about what He is doing.
Israel rejected the Lord’s purpose for them. They treasured the gifts rather than the Gift-giver. The loved the design but not the Designer. God doesn’t need you to finish His plan. His plan is on the high priority track and is almost finished. The questions is whether you will be with Him or not. The foolish virgins got caught up with the world.
Let me show you the difference between God’s plan and Satan’s plan. There are only two ways though we act as if there are three. There is, though, no neutral ground. The neutral ground is all living for self. There are two ways of living:
Selfish: I live to get the most out of my life.
Loving: I live to serve others according to God’s design for my life.
Either we are living for self or for God and others. Where do you spend your money? Your time? Your dreams? Where? Trace these answers and you will see your destiny written down.
It seems that Adam was only a king. He did not need to be a priest. If so, it was in a very different sense than we now know it. A king made decisions to accomplish things God’s ways. Adam forfeited his kingdom when he bowed to the evil one and gave it to him. Jesus lived righteously and regained this kingdom. However, He would alone be the one that would be in it. What a kingdom! You would have a lonely but peaceful kingdom.
13 “Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the LORD, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices.”’ (Zechariah 6:11-13)
But man was guilty. God through Christ’s death released man to be again part of this kingdom. If we look carefully, we will see that Christ actually calls us His kingdom. This is what the apostle means when he writes in Ephesians, “and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus in order that in the ages to come he might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6-7).
“For thus says the LORD, ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man before Me to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to prepare sacrifices continually.’ “ (Jeremiah 33:17-22)
We are seated with Him in the heavenly places. We live and work with the King of King. Our desires for the earthly things has faded away. There is a greater glory now. We therefore are now making decisions that go along with Christ’s own righteous rule.
Are you carrying out God’s righteous ways? Or have you been following your own selfish ways? To whom are you loyal: self or God. Does selfishness or love motivate your service?
God’s people also are priests. I am not sure Adam was a priest. This seemed to be a new and necessary role because of the fall of man. The Levites became impure and did not fulfill this role. They were rejected, but God was not without method. Jesus, a descendant of David and the Melchizedek priestly order could carry out the needed services for others.
"Where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek" (Hebrews 6:20).
Christ of course offered up Himself as both priest and offering. But the scriptures call us priests too. We are not priests in the Roman Catholic way where only a few leaders can intercede or pray. They have missed the point. And so have many Protestants. When a Christian begins to understand his priesthood in God’s kingdom, his life changes. His dark room has all of a sudden become light.
God has chosen to reveal His light and love through the Christians to the world. No church, no light. God has chosen to do it this way. You are a Christian, then you are the light of the world. You want something to happen, then pray and God will do it through you for others. Our prayers are not to be focused on ourselves. That would be unworthy of a priest. Of course one can pray for himself but it is not primarily for that.
Like Christ, we all are to see that God has wonderfully equipped and called us to participate in His kingdom building business. Isaiah 53:12 says of the Messiah, “Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great and He will divide the booty with the strong.” Come and serve God. Be great. Be like Daniel. Be strong! Be like David. You will have no regrets Let me review this.
God doesn’t want an empty kingdom. He seeks others to join in God’s delightful presence. Others can’t get there because of sin. People need to hear of Jesus and believe in Him to be part of the kingdom. So we have priests like us to serve as the mediatory role by which others can know and love God.
There is one more important point. Why use us when Jesus and the twelve could have done a great job sharing the gospel? God does not only want to help us be in the kingdom dressed in white but be richly adorned. The Lord wants to richly reward us. We have many hints to the way that a little good work will reap great eternal rewards in the future.
God’s plan will be fulfilled.
The point of the gifts is to serve.
Once a Christian, you are both part of His kingdom and His priesthood. We are commissioned to usher in many people into His kingdom.
If God would take you now, would you find any rewards on the other side? Or will you find yourself to be empty handed before the Lord? There will be a judgment for Christians as to how we handle this stewardship. Now is the time to get involved in missions. We need to pray, give, evangelize, and go.
Remember those logs? Some logs were bragging about being big or long. Far too often Christians are comparing themselves while sinners perish. We have been saved not for ourselves but like Christ to display God’s love and light to the world. I fear for those who toy with the world thinking their hands will not be singed.
Come now and forsake your worldly ways. Take your life and seek cleansing by His blood and newly rededicate yourself to God’s great world purposes. You have been living for self. Now it is time to repent and live for God and others. You are striking out self and instead living for love. Take your log and put it on the fire. Don’t wish that the fire wouldn’t come near you. Christ offered Himself up for you. Will you not now offer yourself for Him? What is holding you back? Let it go.
First of all there is Christ’s command to make disciples throughout the nations. Each nation must be penetrated. This is the reason we have missions like Wycliffe that does Bible translations for tribes that don’t even have written languages yet.
We are extending God’s kingdom through love.
We make disciples so that they in turn know of their special privileges as well as responsibilities to join in on this world-wide task. Mission agencies specialize helping individuals to reach some area more effectively. The extent of God’s rule of love stops wherever God’s people forget this vision and live for themselves.
The greater the concentration and depth of faithfulness in the believers, the more glorious place those area will be.
Individual churches are working along with Christ in carrying out this mission.
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