“A Royal Priesthood”

June 7, 2017

WW2 air show in Reading PA 6/3/17Last Saturday I went with a friend to the WW2 Air Show in Reading Pennsylvania.

“A Royal Priesthood”

Message summary: Today as we live out our earthly lives let us keep these truths in focus and show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. In so doing the light of Christ can be seen in us.

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“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

Yesterday I was visiting a company and conversed with some employees loading a truck. The truck driver was waiting for them to load so I greeted him and introduced myself as the “Company Chaplain”. The driver rather surprised me when he responded by telling me he was a priest. When I asked him what kind he answered, “I’m a priest in the order of Melchizedek.” (It turns out his priestly role had something to do with the Mormon religion but due to a falling out with his bishop some twenty years earlier he was inactive in his priestly role). I gave him one of our cards and perhaps he will come across this message!

But the conversation also spurred further consideration on the topic of Melchizedek and the priesthood.

Melchizedek is a rather mysterious Old testament character first revealed in Genesis 14:18, “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High.”

In a Psalm of David considered Messianic we read, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Psalm 110:4). This is quoted in Hebrews 5:6 as applying to Christ. Jesus was not a descendant of Aaron (a Levite), and thus would not qualify for the Jewish priesthood under the Law of Moses. But he is a “priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

When the truck driver identified himself as a priest I initially thought of the Roman Catholic and Anglican faiths that designate their clergy as “priests”.

But today let us consider a sense that all the redeemed are priests using the two word phrase from our daily text, “royal priesthood”. Peter is writing to ordinary believers at his time and he informs them what they are as a result of redemption. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Since this passage is from the Bible we can also use these words to identify our position in Christ.

In 1 Peter 2:5 Peter wrote that “You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

What an incredible privilege New Testament believers possess in Christ. Bible teacher David Guzik writes, “The offices of royalty and priesthood were jealously separated in Israel, but Jesus, who is our King and Priest, has brought them together for His people.” In the Old Testament, even the kings of Israel did not serve as priests, and the one who tried was judged by God. No so for New Testament believers who are of royal lineage in Christ the King of kings.

C.H. Spurgeon wrote, “Ye” are to be like Melchizedek, in whom the two offices of priest and king were combined in one person. More than that, “ye” are to be like your Lord, in respect to His royal priesthood. That He should have “loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and made us kings and priests unto God and His Father,” seems to be an honor which is far too high for us. It appears to bring us almost too near our Lord, yet it is not so, for Peter wrote, under divine inspiration, “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood…”

Today as we live out our earthly lives let us keep these truths in focus and show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. In so doing the light of Christ can be seen in us.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:  Father, in this world of darkness, we are tremendously blessed that You have called us out of darkness into Your marvelous light. And because of that we can walk blameless and pure as Your children without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which we shine like stars in the universe while holding out the word of life. As priests of the Most High we are Your chosen people and citizens of a holy nation. Conform us to Your likeness during our pilgrimage here as we make it our ambition to please You and walk in a manner worthy of You. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.


Today’s photos are taken from Saturday’s Air Show and reenactments from WW2 in Reading, PA.

Chaplain John Uhler 6/3/17
Chaplain John Uhler is a friend who served as a WW2 reenactment chaplain (presenting as a WW2 chaplain to guests) as well as a chaplain to other reenactors. I visited with him awhile as he explained the duties of a WW2 chaplain and managed to witness for Christ in doing so.

Chaplain John Uhler's WW2 field demo 6/3/17
Chaplain John Uhler’s WW2 field demo. John has really worked hard to acquire the necessary materials to present an authentic demonstration.

WW2 government issued NT with presidential inscription
WW2 government issued New Testament with a presidential inscription. This note “commending the reading of the Bible” was signed by the president. In our age he would be sued by godless groups like the ACLU and Freedom from Religion Foundation. In addition the New testaments were printed by the government printing office.

WW2 air show in Reading PA 6/3/17

WW2 air show in Reading PA 6/3/17

WW2 air show in Reading PA 6/3/17
Pursuit plane demos.

P-51
My most memorable flight was when I was in high school and had the opportunity to fly in a P-51 Mustang, the premier fighter of WW2. I could have taken a demo flight at the air show in a P-51 for 20 minutes at $1,595.00 but I think I’ll settle for my 45 year old memory! Bob Walker, my cousin’s husband, was an avid pilot and as a high schooler I was visiting my cousins in Tulsa (a year before I met Brooksyne) when he offered to take me for a ride in his P-51 (photo of that plane above). I excitedly agreed. The P-51 was the last of the prop fighters prior to the jet age and is a very powerful plane powered by a V-12 engine (sound here).

Bob WalkerBob (photo to right) handed me a helmet and a barf bag, sternly informing me if I messed up I cleaned up. (I didn’t need the bag!) What an experience it was including sharp turns and a low roll over Tulsa. I peered down and spotted my family waving up to me, and most thrilling was a high speed pass over the airfield in which he piloted the plane at full throttle buzzing the airfield just over the runway before shooting practically straight up. At that point I experienced the most G’s ever in my life. Afterwards he told me he could have done more such as flying upside down but didn’t want to scare me. Video of P-51 flying.

WW2 air show in Reading PA 6/3/17
This is a B-25 bomber.
The show had many, many historic planes since it’s the largest WW2 air show.

"FDR" at Reading Air Show 6/3/17
“FDR” kept riding around in this car!

WW2 veteran at Reading Air Show 6/3/17
What a blessing to engage in a conversation with this 90 year old WW2 vet. He was in remarkable physical shape for his age and walked all over the sprawling show area. His grandson had brought him to the show and it was wonderful to see the esteem this man had for his grandpa. This has been designated “The Greatest Generation” and we esteem so many who lived through the Great Depression and WW2. Those who returned had terrible memories of the War. (The vet in the photo above didn’t want to speak of his two years in Europe). But those who returned had a lot of babies (known as baby boomers of which I am one). My dad and several uncles served in the war.

Now let me muse a bit more for any who may still be reading. In a message in the church we attended this last Sunday Evangelist Steve Wingfield shared that in the current wars there are now an average of 22 vets committing suicide every day. It is a crisis. We often hear of PTSD and indeed we have dealt with this in our chaplaincy with vets. Of course many vets from WW2 or any war would deal with this affliction as well.

I have been musing and discussing with others why so many were able to move along with their lives returning from WW2. (I would suppose at a much higher percentage than those returning from current wars.)

1) The WW2 veterans returned as heroes with great appreciation by our country. Contrast that with Vietnam vets, so many who have struggled through life. I just spoke to one at the airshow who recalls getting off the plane and the flight attendants (stewardesses at that time) turned their backs to him. I could see it still hurt. Thankfully vets returning from current wars are seeing demonstrations of appreciation.

2) Most of the WW2 vets married and established families taking responsibility for being faithful husbands and fathers and working hard since there was not nearly as much government aid available and there was a stigma about being a free loafer. I really saw this sense of personal and family responsibility in my dad.

3) The support of family, church, pastors, chaplains in an era when America was considered a Christian nation (not in the sense that every single American was or had to be a Christian which is a personal decision each individual must make). But in our society and schools there was an underlying framework of what is known as Judeo-Christian value system demonstrated by the presidential inscription in the NT given to soldiers. They actually still read the Bible and prayed in schools!!! Now entire generations have no knowledge of God and His ways. And sadly many military chaplains now face restrictions on presenting biblical truth unimaginable in the past.

4) Although abuse of alcohol and drugs has always been around, including following WW2, now we see such a growing acceptance of using these poisons. In fact I wonder how many vet suicides also have an alcohol/drug component.

5) Finally, in discussing this with my chaplain friend Mark he wonders to what degree demonic activity is involved especially for those returning from the Mideast.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Shine”  Video  Matt Redman

“You Are a Chosen Generation”  Video  Steve Green

“Chosen Generation”  Video  Hosanna! Music

Yesterday’s message concerned FOMO and so many focus on their devices. On the way to our first company early yesterday morning Brooksyne read the message aloud from “Our Daily Bread” and coincidentally it had a very similar theme. Read here.

Our friend David Penley, who often shares insight, wrote: “Sabra and I walk several times a week. We walk in our city parks on sidewalks. We have talked many times about how sad that so many people miss God’s beauty around them because their face is looking down at their hands – the smart phones in them of course. As we pass them we always say “good morning,” but they rarely raise their heads to respond.

Often there are two walking side by side coming toward us, each on their phones. They don’t talk to each other, they don’t acknowledge us, and we have to step off the sidewalk so they don’t walk into us.

One of the saddest things I have seen happened just recently. A mom and dad were walking, both looking down at their phones, and he was pushing their child in a stroller. Neither of them were paying attention to each other, their surroundings, or even their child. Made me think of that Harry Chapin song, “Cat’s in the Cradle.” Video

I don’t have a smart phone, only a stupid one. I’m not condemning those folks who do. They can be used for much good. I only know if I had one I’d be doing just what they’re doing. I’m trying to follow Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:29-30 and keep out of my life things I know would lead me to stumble. Anyway, thank you for this teaching. I know I needed it. I’m sure God will use it in others’ lives also. Blessings. David

David is a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and blogs here. We highly recommend his teaching.

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