This Week in Chapel

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Fall 2016 Chapel Message

Priests to Our God
Dr. Jim Allman on September 2, 2016

Dr. Allman tackles the subject of our service to God as Christians in the world today and how that ought to be shaped by our studies and our Time at Dallas Theological Seminary.

Priests to Our God

The central theme of Dr. Allman's message is based on the question, "How do we avoid the problem of becoming puffed up with knowledge?".  We are not studying at the seminary to simply become more intelligent.  We are here to learn how to be priests to the Most High God.  We are to be servants to the servants of the Lord and we need to remember that we are servants with priestly duties.  We are, after all, a priestly people.  To ground our understanding of this, Dr. Allman cites the following passage in Malachi.

(NASB) Malachi 2:1-9
1 “And now this commandment is for you, O priests. 2 If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name,” says the Lord of hosts, “then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart. 3 Behold, I am going to rebuke your offspring, and I will spread refuse on your faces, the refuse of your feasts; and you will be taken away with it. 4 Then you will know that I have sent this commandment to you, that My covenant may continue with Levi,” says the Lord of hosts. 5 “My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him as an object of reverence; so he revered Me and stood in awe of My name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth and unrighteousness was not found on his lips; he walked with Me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many back from iniquity. 7 For the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. 8 But as for you, you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by the instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi,” says the Lord of hosts. 9 “So I also have made you despised and abased before all the people, just as you are not keeping My ways but are showing partiality in the instruction.

Heart of the Message

There are two priestly peoples mentioned in the bible; the Levites and the church.  One group has failed as we read in Malichi.  How can we learn from this and what is our responsibility as Christians?  What are our priestly duties?

The immediately preceding context involves God's charge that the priests have despised and defiled the table of the Lord by bringing blemished sacrifices before Him.  Verse 2 of chapter 2 then immediately brings the problem into focus for us.  "If we do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name", says the Lord.  When we serve the King, he deserves the best we have to offer.  We need to take our service to God to heart - to pay attention.  We aren't working for our own honor, we are working for God's honor and glory.  We, therefore, can't give God our leftovers.

So how do we avoid the same pattern of behavior?  Well, we can reflect on the messages contained in verses 6 and 7 regarding the one who reveres God's name.

  1. True Instruction was in His Mouth - the priests in focus were causing the people to stumble because they lost their focus on true instruction.  We, therefore, need to be diligent that we deliver instruction that is true, based on the very Word of God itself, exactly as He commanded.
  2. He Turned People from Sin - we need to first purge ourselves of our own sin so that we can work to turn others from their sin.  As servants to the servants of God, we can not set an inconsistent example.
  3. A Priest is Charged to Preserve Knowledge - we need to have a clear understanding of what is Holy and what is common; what is clean and what is unclean.  Everything in the Christian life is Holy and we ought to live with that in constant focus.
  4. Seek Instruction from His Mouth - we need to be prepared to help others when they seek our council.  This requires us to understand how to live before God and to use the blessing of knowledge that God has given us and continues to give us through our studies.

In Summary

We need to take our duty as priests and servants seriously.  We have a responsibility as Christians to deliver true instruction, turn people from their sin, preserve knowledge, and give good instruction.  We need to constantly live with this understanding.  Just as it is written:

(NASB) I Peter 2:9
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

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