Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Mallards on a pond in the village of Raspordin

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

On Being The People of God


Messenger FellowshipA message delivered by Jeff Ling at the One Voice Leadership Summit presented by Messenger Fellowship
March 13, 2012
Nashville, Tenn. 
Being the People of God
1Jo 4:14-17
14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be  the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.
“As He is”
He is not bound by the constraints of time. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Has always been, is now and forever will be our Prophet, Priest and King.
PROPHET
He is our Prophet – He is the eternal Word – in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God – and the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us (John 1:1,14) and never a man spoke like this man (John 7:46) – authority flowed from his lips – he took the scroll of Isaiah and began to read – “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim – to announce – to preach – to prophecy the year of the Lord’s favor.”
(Luke 4:18-19 )
And He is still speaking – he warns from heaven.  (Hebrews 10:25) He calls the elect from every nation. (Romans 8:30)  He is the eternal Word.
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. (Revelation 19:11-13 ESV)
The grass withers, the flower fades but the word of our God stands forever. (Is. 40:7) He is our prophet!
PRIEST
He is our priest. He is an eternal priest – the Lamb slain from the foundations of the world. (Rev. 13:8) He steps into the waters of baptism and identifies with sinners (Matthew 3:13-17), being made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:17-18)
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death (Heb. 5:7) – he knows our frame – He sees with clear compassion, he weeps over brokenness,  he prays… he prays… “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32 ESV)
“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me… Father, I desire that they also, 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.” (John 17)
He prays for us - He bears our names on the breastplate of His heart – he wears a thorny crown called holiness unto the Lord and he carries the offering of himself into the holy of holies, securing by His blood an eternal pardon and perfecting for all time those who have put their hope in him. (Hebrews 10:14)
He is a priest forever – long after the new heavens and new earth are in place he will continue in His priestly office.  The only glorified body with scars.
And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain (Rev. 5:6)…  and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
(Revelation 7:9-10)
“Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:15-17)
He is a priest forever!
KING
He is King! – He is King by right of the creation that flowed forth from the eternal glory of the Trinity (Col.1:16) – He is the King Messiah,– the anointed Christ of God – commanding the elements, multiplying the very molecules of bread and fish – dismantling storms – disarming principalities and powers on his way to the cross – healing disease, dismissing demons – over turning death – proclaiming the Kingdom of God.
He is a reigning King – all of his enemies are being made his footstool (Heb. 10:13) – He commissions His ambassadors. (I Cor. 5)  He deploys his royal people – He declares all authority to be His and sends His subjects into all the world to announce to all people – from the humblest beggar to  every proud contender for the throne– The King of kings requires you to bow the knee and confess His Rule! (Matt. 28)
Be advised – he comes again as a King who will destroy His enemies.  Resistance is futile.
 He is King forever!
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
Whatever else may be part of the new heaven and new earth, at the very least it must be an ever expanding arena of His glorious reign – for there will be no end to the increase of His peaceful government.          

IMPLICATIONS
… because as he is so also are we in this world.
The implications of all this are massive.
The people of God:Carry the Word as prophets,
They walk as priests, and war as kings.
A Prophetic People
The people of God are a prophetic people – we are a speaking people – it is a God-like thing to speak.
We speak to one another, teach and admonish one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Col. 3:16), letting no unwholesome word proceed from our lips, but instead only those that build up – speaking the truth to one another in love we grow up into maturity – encourage one another (Eph. 4:25-32) – gifts of tongues, words of wisdom, words of knowledge, gifts of prophecy (I Cor. 12) … we are at war with a sullen, sarcastic, blasphemous, death loving culture ruled by the father of lies and words are our weapons – we take up the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of GOD. (Eph. 6) I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation! (Rom. 1:16) Faith teachers to often turned speaking on its head – a mechanism to obtain for our own desires – the people of God understand that they prophetically speak to nations to save, transform, heal, comfort, build up, tear down, plant and uproot, deliver and proclaim that Our God Reigns. We are a people of one message – not our own – the Spirit of Prophecy is the testimony of Jesus (Rev. 19:10)  and so we glory in the cross (Gal. 6:14) – we defend gospel truth – the word of the atoning work of Christ for sinners – from the wolves that tragically roam our own camps – (Gal.1:8-9)
Because we are ambassadors who speak on behalf of our King – we must be politically engaged – but NOT in a moral majority sort of way – redeemed people have no claim to such a title – our dual citizenship (Phil. 3:20) requires us to not only participate in earthly electing processes but to stand apart and proclaim the rule, authority and reign of King Jesus. He is not a moral relativist. He is not a deconstructing philosophy – He is the eternal, ruling, sovereign monarch before whom every knee will bow.  Do you know why the world dismisses us and mocks us rather than hates us as it should? Because we refuse to tell the truth and speak like who we are.
The people of God will be a prophetic people

A Priestly People
The people of God are a priestly people – we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that we may proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1:4-6)
The people of God are a people who love the presence of God, who chase the presence of God, who pursue holiness that flows from the transforming presence of God – we often speak of the “presence” – but it’s not an abstract – it is God Himself – we worship the Lord in the beauty of His holiness (Ps. 29:2) – we function as priests and priests never appear before God empty handed (Heb. 8:3) and so we offer our bodies as living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1) and we continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God – the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. (Hebrews 13:15) – But the people of God are not sequestered monks! We stand before nations – identifying with their pain, feeding the hungry, helping the helpless – it is priestly thing to seek justice and to not neglect to doing good and to share what we have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:16) – and all the while we plead, we appeal, we beg –“be reconciled to God” – (I Cor. 5) priestly people write the names of nations, communities, people on the breastplates of their hearts and carry them before the presence of God.
A Royal People
The people of God are a royal people.
And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10)
We know that what is true in position is not always true experientially – as far as reigning goes, it would not be unfair to describe us as developmentally slow – but the princes and princess are always declared to be so by birth – before they learn to reign in practice. The earth is groaning for the revelation of these Sons and Daughters of the Kingdom.  (Rom. 8)
The people of God understand themselves as agents of the Kingdom of God – ambassadors – royalty in rags to be sure – but ambassadors none the less. We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
(1 John 5:19) – we see the darkness that covers mankind and we steadily seek to bring Kingdom light, and freedom and rule to every inch of it. And we proclaim as we go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing lepers, casting out demons… (Matthew 10:7-8)
The people of God understand their commission as not beginning with the words of Jesus to go into the entire world but with God’s covenantal word to Abraham – And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:2-3)
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:27-29)
Kings invade, they gain territory, they colonize – they export culture not import culture – the people of God – are going into all the world to preach the gospel, to obtain territory –to liberate those behind enemy lines – to establish outposts of kingdom colonies – treasuring the distinctive glories of God given cultures, we do not seek to obliterate them as some might suggest, but infuse them and enhance them with heaven’s presence. The earth is the Lord’s and royalty makes no apology for it. (Ps. 24:1) The nations are his creation and the eternal song of the Lamb will be made up of those the King calls from every tribe and tongue as He maintains the nations in God exalting splendor.
May Messenger Fellowship always remember its roots as Messenger International!
The Seed of Abraham says to us “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)
I love the word of J.C. Ryle:
“Nothing can altogether overthrow and destroy the church. Its members may be persecuted, oppressed, imprisoned, beaten, beheaded and burned; but the true Church is never altogether extinguished; it rises again from its afflictions; it lives on through fire and water. When crushed in one land it springs up in another. The Pharaohs, the Herods, the Neros, have labored in vain to put down this Church; they slay their thousands, and then pass away and go to their own place. The true Church outlives them all, and sees them buried each in his turn. It is an anvil that has broken many a hammer in this world, and will break many a hammer still; it is a bush which is often burning, and yet it’s not consumed.”
“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29)

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