Volume. XXXI, No. 25
Saturday, 24 December 2016


From the Pastors Heart: Christ our Priest


While our forefathers of faith have said that seeing Christ is the key to unlocking the message of Scripture, they did not refer only to the New Testament.  In fact, it is not possible to understand the Old Testament without reference to Christ.  To say this, is not a cliché but a fact.  Let me remind all of us of what Jesus said when He walked with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.  He was concerned that they were too slow to believe what the prophets had written before, concerning His suffering and glory (Luke 24:25-26).  Luke 24:27 says, “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”  Jesus expounded the Old Testament to talk about Himself.  We notice that He began with Moses who wrote the first five books of the Old Testament (Genesis – Deuteronomy).  Later He declared that, “all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me” and then “opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures” (Luke 24:44, 45).  His reference to Moses, the prophets, and the psalms was the Jewish designation for the entire Old Testament.  We considered that Jesus was the Prophet in my previous article.  It is not just my thought but the testimony of the first century Jews who met and heard Jesus.  They said in Luke 7:16, “And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.”  Now we come to the next office Jesus held. 

The Westminster Shorter Catechism Question 25, cogently describes how Christ carries out the priestly office: “Christ executeth the office of a priest, in his once offering up of himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, and reconcile us to God; and in making continual intercession for us.”  Contrary to the prophet’s office, a priest is man’s representative before God.  That is precisely the reason why the catechism states that Christ offers a sacrifice, reconciles us to God and makes intercession for us.  In order to do His priestly work, Christ came to save His people, and saving His people required the shedding of His blood in sacrifice.  The Lord Jesus performed those distinctively priestly duties, and it proves that He was the anticipated Savior of the Old Testament.

The book of Hebrews explains and elaborates the Lord’s priestly work for us.  This book was primarily to Jews within the Church who were for some reason (possibly persecutions without the church and false teachers within the church) being tempted to abandon the finished sacrifice of Christ and return to the ritualistic ceremonies of the Temple.  The whole book of Hebrews argues that the priesthood of Christ is far superior to the Aaronic priesthood, and that Christ is better than Moses.  Without abrogating the message of the Old Testament, it shows that everything (law, priesthood, and sacrifice included) in the Old Testament points to Him.  The intent of the Old Testament sacrifices and ceremonies was to point men to the only Savior of sinners.  The author of the book of Hebrews declares that Jesus Christ is the Apostle and High Priest (3:1).  Christ is better than Aaron, whom God called to officiate the ritual sacrifices (Hebrews 7).  He is better than all the bulls, goats, and lambs that were selected to be the sacrifices (Hebrews 9).  He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to God.  Declaring the superiority of Christ’s sacrifice over any animal, Hebrews says, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God . . . bear the sins of many” (9: 14, 28).  He became a reconciliation for the sins of His people: “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2: 17).  He offers continual intercession for His people on the authority of a continuing, unchangeable, untransferable priesthood. “But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.”  Every one of these quoted verses explains and expands what we have read from the Catechism. 

As our priest, Jesus did everything necessary for our salvation.  His priestly work did not end with His sacrifice on Calvary.  In fact, His priestly work is continuing in heaven through His intercessory ministry.  Hebrews 7:24-25 says, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”  Thus, we know something of the unique nature of His priesthood. (1) He is the Sacrifice.  The priest needs a sacrifice to offer.  Jesus did not take bulls and goats, because their blood could not take sins away (Hebrews 10:4).  Besides, such sacrifices must be repeated, which is a proof that they could not make the offerers perfect (10:1).  Thus, Jesus offered Himself for an eternally perfect sacrifice for us.  Hebrews 10:10 says, “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”  (2) He is the Priest.  He offered Himself as a sacrifice and sat down on the right hand of God.  The book of Hebrews makes a good contrast between the Aaronic priests and Jesus the Priest in 10:11-14, “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”  (3) He is the intercessor as we saw in 7:24-25.  It is His present ministry for us.  Michael Barrett says, “As our Savior intercedes for us, He does not just pray in general terms for ‘all those people down there.’ He bears our names over His heart in expression of His compassion; He bears our names upon His shoulders in demonstration of His ability to keep us from falling. Perhaps Hebrews 5 is the most explicit exposition of the link that God intended between the Old Testament priesthood and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Beginning at Moses, Kindle location, 860).  

There are five key elements of Aaron’s priesthood pointing directly to Christ that we may glean from Hebrews 5: (1) the priest represents man; (2) the priest mediates for men before God; (3) the priest officiates the sacrifices; (4) the priest sympathizes with the people because he experiences the same infirmities; (5) the priest is chosen (Kindle location, 860-869).  Christ is our perfect Priest because He is able to feel for His people as He functions mediatorially in their behalf. 

Now our spiritual life can be enriched even when we read the portions in the Bible talking about the priests’ work and ministry.  It is because we know that they are pointing to the One who we must look unto, our perfect Priest.  The examples shown by the earthly priests are deficient and imperfect.  The more we understand about the priestly ministry, even by looking at the imperfect illustrations, the more we appreciate the work of our perfect Priest.  If we know who our Priest is and what He is doing for us, only then shall we muster up our courage and boldness to come to the throne of grace (4: 12).  Jesus, the incarnate God, is our High Priest.

Lovingly,
Your Pastor

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements


*Kitchen Roster - Helpers this week: Bro Lucas Yiew; Sisters Natalie Cheng & Seong Yeng Chu. 
Helpers next week: Dn Sung Hyun Ma, Bros William Song & Phil Surman.
*Please note: Undesignated offerings on Christmas Day Worship Service will be given to the Ngoma family as they start a new life in Wagga Wagga, NSW.
*Special Christmas Potbless Lunch is being organised for Christmas Day. Please inform Elder Michael D Lee of your contributions.
*Volunteers needed to prepare the CLG Rectory for the Christmas gathering & lunch, & clean-up after. Please see Elder Michael D Lee if you are able to help.
*Watchnight Service will be held at the Bible College of South Australia. Please prepare to come and share what the Lord has done for you in 2016.
*Sunday School Movie Night at Rectory CLG: Parents to please bring a plate of food for dinner and leave your children for the evening.


Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies: Dn Boong Atijatuporn; Dn Wai Kin Wong; & others arriving safely at their destinations.
Visitors & new worshippers.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Church activities in the past week.
Healing: Sis Mary Fraser.


Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Pastor Ki; Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev Patrick Tan (S’pore); Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); & others in affliction.
God’s comfort for Dn Raphael Ng & family on the homegoing of his maternal grandfather.
iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim’s ministry in Melbourne.
Cambodia Missions & Pastor Ki preparing for missions trip.
New Life BPC (London) - Dr Carl Martin; God’s guidance & encouragement for Task Force & congregation.
Providence B-P Church, Mawson Lakes - Ps David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.
Rev Alfred Ngoma - Chaplain work; Mrs Ruth and Sis Thoko Ngoma as they prepare to move to Wagga Wagga.
God’s guidance for our theological students next year - Dn Sung Hyun Ma & Bro Kevin Low.
Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.
Journey mercies: Rev Alfred & Bro Timothy Ngoma; Dn Raphael & Sis Bernadette Ng & family (Adl); & others who are travelling.
Health & safety in pregnancy: Sis Tabitha Tan.
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
God’s guidance for settlement of new church on 20 Jan 2017.
Australia - Salvation of Australians & for our politicians to govern this nation with justice & equity.
God’s guidance for Covenant, Ebenezer, Hope & Providence BPCs to form an Australian B-P Presbytery.
Unity of doctrine & fellowship of Australian B-P churches.


 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063