Saturday, 10 April 2010

LUKE (Chapter 6) - The basic principals of God’s priest-kingdom


(Note: verses 1-16 have already been studied in Chapter 5 - see our Blog on March 10th).
As we have already shown: God is going to establish a kingdom of priests. Each one in this kingdom will be a priest for another person. A priest who hands out God's gracious blessings to another; who intercedes with God for that other person; and who lives before God's face in honor and praise and thanksgiving. Because of a greater devotion and a more faithful dedication to God, the one priest will receive, through grace, a place closer to God than another priest. Because of this he will receive more gracious blessings from God, and passes those on to others. One sees, that therefore in this wonderful Kingdom of God, the highest placed person – this is the one closest to God – will be everybody's servant.
"But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:42-45).
From high to low God's Kingdom therefore consists of priests. The one regards and prays for the other. Intercession for another is a priestly job. At the head of this Kingdom is the High Priest, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who forms the Source of all God's blessings and allocations (here: gifts, ministries, etc.). In intercession, the priests are to bring the needs of the people to the High Priest, to God. And in their turn they hand out the blessings they have received from the High Priest-God to others. Well then, everyone is doing priestly work, and thus is a priest; but he also is more or less a king, because he is a child of the great King. All are children of God, but there are princes (here: rulers) among God's children, who, because they are closer to God by their priestly function, are better "media", namely spiritual channels with a pure reception and passing-on of God's wonderful blessings and provisions.
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light" (1 Peter 2:9). It is a glorious Kingdom, that one day – for all eternity – will stand in the glory of God. It will bear within itself that divine glory, and out of that fullness we will give to others. This way God will dwell in the midst of His children; He will dwell in His priests eternally, and especially in His High Priest. Everyone will be filled, to a certain measure, with the glory of God, and share with others of His grace and His love. In God's Kingdom the motto will be giving; giving to others that those others may be full, just as they are. So love, purity and justice will reign in that Kingdom of God. Let us now look at the basic principles of this Kingdom. Before doing this, let us first read the introductory verses:
Luke 6 verse 17-19: "And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all."
Here one sees again Jesus' distributing power of grace. Virtue went out of Him. Sometimes He gave that power to the apostles and emissaries, and they in turn gave of it to the people. We see the same picture at the multiplication of the loaves. He handed out the bread and the fish, after having blessed and broken them, to His apostles, and they distributed them to the people.
In the texts of this Gospel a "level place" is mentioned. In the corresponding text of the Gospel after Matthew we know, that He then stood on a mountain. Hence it must have been a mountain plateau. There He addressed a large multitude. Let us dwell on this for a moment. At several occasions He addressed a crowd of thousands of people. At the first multiplication of the loaves He spoke to 5,000 men; not counting women and children. The second time the number of people was 4,000 (Matthew 14:13-21; 15:29-39). Yet everyone could hear Him clearly, although He had no microphone and amplifier at His disposal. Do not we see here the majesty of God, and His mastery over the laws of nature?
Here we see one of the Holy Spirit's gifts revealed; namely that of power. The same gift was revealed (and clearly seen) when He walked over the Sea of Tiberias; also when He calmed the storm there. This gift, which Jesus possessed in all fullness, He also wants to give to His children, anywhere the gift is needed for the increase of His Kingdom and for the glorification (and thus the proclamation) of His Name.

I. The attitude of the priest towards God.
Luke 6 verse 20-26: "And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their (fore)fathers unto the prophets. But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation (see also Luke 16:25). Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their (fore)fathers to the false prophets."
We learn here how the attitude of the priest and child of God must be towards his God and Father, in spite of the sinful people around him. In the verses 20-21 there is mention of a "Lazarus attitude". Surely you heard the parable of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19-31). Lazarus was poor; he begged and asked. Anyone would understand that this is meant spiritually, and not literally: not every poor beggar goes to heaven, and not every rich man goes to hell. On the face of it this seems to be expressed in this parable. But the Holy Spirit refers here to the "Lazarus attitude", and the "rich man's attitude" of our heart. I already stated that the first two texts of this part of the bible renders the "Lazarus attitude" of the heart of a good servant of God; while the verses 24-26 render the "rich man's attitude" of the heart of a bad servant of God. This last (inner) attitude is caused by that feeling of self-satisfaction, which is sinful in God's eyes; that feeling of being more righteous and holier than other sinners; a feeling that the Pharisee had towards the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14).
Spiritually seen the rich man brought a rich meal on the table. The ones that were invited admired his wealth and generosity; and the rich man felt flattered by that admiration which he was after. But Lazarus was conscious of the wounds of his soul, and his sins, and of his spiritual poverty. Someone with a "Lazarus attitude" soon will pray: "Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner!" And he begs God for food, for spiritual food. A person with such an inner attitude will be saved by God; he will receive grace. However, a servant with a "rich man's attitude", someone who pretends to be one rich inwardly, is doomed (condemned to hell) by God. Why? Because he is proud of his self-righteousness, which means that he never really had any part in God and Jesus Christ.
A true servant of God will always have a "Lazarus attitude"; his heart will always sincerely long for grace and for the full relationship with that great God. In his life there will be moments of great (spiritual) refreshment, but these will be followed by periods of great (spiritual) hunger and thirst for God! This great (spiritual) hunger and thirst will always mark the true child of God. These "poor in spirit" will have the Kingdom of God within themselves and will inherit it. One poor in spirit will always ask, and will always open his heart to receive grace. But in order to receive, he must be able to give himself to God from the heart; that the Lord God, through Jesus Christ, may completely change (renew) his carnal thinking and inner being by His Word and the Holy Spirit, to NEW LIFE, after His will. He must be able to do this after His will and not after ours. The prayer, deep in the heart of such a child of God is: "Break me, make me, mould me completely after Your will, O God!" In accordance with that inner hunger and thirst, God will satisfy His hungry and thirsty child with His justice, His love, and His blessings; and will use him for priestly labor for others by means of His anointing of Spiritual power.
If you have the right spiritual attitude that spiritual hunger should be present any moment of the day; then God will give His manna (spiritual food) also each day again; not once for all, but each day anew; a new portion for that day. And the next day the hunger will be there again, which must be satisfied by God. Seen in this light, our morning prayers therefore are so important. For we are to receive through these prayers: new manna; new strength to walk the way of victory that day; to go from grace to grace; to walk with Jesus!
In verses 22 and 23 we are shown the hatred satan has towards those with a "Lazarus attitude". Satan reveals this through worldly people, but also through the unconverted and partly converted Christian. They will reject you; will separate themselves from you; they will call you a "goody two shoes". They know you do not belong with them in your thinking and feelings. Your presence alone in their midst condemns their actions, walk and speech; therefore people in society, in your office or in the factory do not like you. They want nothing to do with you. But why should we fear? The Lord overcame the world! And He has the last word! He will keep you in His omnipotence as long as He can maintain you as His child. And if the Lord has not preserved us, then something might be wrong with our kinship, and we should examine ourselves in the light of His Word.
In verses 24-26 we read about that "rich man's attitude". Such people are praised by the world (read: satan). Between the lines of verses 25 and 26 we can hear satan laugh and praise such people, saying: "Good on you, boy, you are headed the right way!" The worldly men agree with this, and one hears them say: "You are a wonderful person, just and good and very praiseworthy!" Beloved, if this is happening to you, then mostly something is wrong with you!
We read in this Scripture part about the "Lazarus" and the "rich man's attitude"; about the attitude we are to have before God. I pray God that you may always have this "Lazarus attitude"; the attitude of the "poor in spirit", that God may give you His rich gracious blessings.

CLICK HERE if you want to read this study (Chapter 6) – that is to long for the Blog.

By E. van den Worm