(乐龄事工Elderly Ministry 9 July 2010 posted on 18 July 2010)
** 开始的话 **
神的话、神的灵 = 绝对、永远、不变、无可抗拒 -> 最固执的
God’s Word, God’s Spirit = Absolute, eternal, unchanging, irresistible -> the most stubborn
心灵的状态如何 -> 活出来的生命生活就如何
Whichever is the state of our spirit, -> we will then live out the kind of life and living
Emotions and sorrows can waver and change every time, but only the word of God can tell one to be absolutely unmovable and strong always. Unreal things always move us, and we will always be shaken, but the word of God brings absoluteness and the irrevocable grace; and because it is the most stubborn in the world, it will definitely fulfill. If we are half-hearted, then difficulties will surely come along in our life. Therefore, be wise and do not hold on to the changing, temporary, which is of the flesh, but hold on to the absolute, the eternal that lasts because these are things of the Spirit.
It is not when we do right that we can be bold, for how right can we be? However, we can be bold when God shows mercy (when I can see God being merciful to me) i.e., it is when I do not rely on changing circumstances, or people’s changing requirements (religion), that we can be bold, again, what I mean is that when I rely on Christ (gospel), we can then be bold.
2) Be Holy, for the Lord is Holy = Totally Demolish, Totally Newly Build
We must not remain in thinking, in fighting, in trying to overcome BUT we rely on God’s grace, power and love from on high. We are still under Satan’s clutches if we keep on remaining in the fighting state, but go on, do not be afraid to wash all your sins away, aim the highest, where the grace of God is, and then rely on God to love people (Totally Demolish, Totally Newly Build). This is being holy, looking down from the highest and tallest place, and this is already in the spiritual dimension if we can do this, to look outside our problems, look outside all problems in the people around us, and understand God’s timetable and work right then and right there. "Be Holy, for the Lord is Holy" also means "Be perfect, because God is perfect".
3) Be spiritually greedy (Love God, love men) -> do sacred offerings
The Lord gave us 70-80 years on earth, so what can we gain on earth, and what else can we advice people whom God loves? There is only vision, inheritance and the spirit in us that is not perishable. What is this very Spirit in our realms of our spirit? This is "the power to rely on God". When we able to rely on God, all we are made of (i.e. materials, conditions, gifts, our age and our times) will become not only important, but become our all in all. The materials, conditions, gifts, age and times will all become what can be used to love God and love men. The materials, conditions, gifts, age and times can become a temptation to us on earth to gain more, but if we have passed through Ecclesiastes, we will know that they are just for gaining eternal friends. If that is the case, the [materials, conditions, gifts, age and times] becomes sacred offerings.
Last week, we spoke about how the saints of God are holy. In today’s message, we will move on and talk about two other things that are holy: 1) the high priest, 2) the sacred offerings. In other words, in today’s message,
1) The High Priest must be holy, because the Lord is Holy
2) The High Priest uses the sacred offerings to atone and offer to God, and this is to cleanse himself and offer everything to God.
3) The High Priest must teach the saints (people of God) how to do sacred offerings, because they are a holy nation. However, because sacred offerings are the things of "life", the High Priest cannot only give commands, but he gives his life in 2) as a Model, as a ransom, gulping down the people’s weaknesses, in order to show the people how to give sacred offerings, i.e. teach that what they give to God must not have a defect
Therefore, today’s message is a bit difficult, because we have to understand that we are already High Priests in this world, i.e. we are ambassadors of the gospel; we are fathers/mothers of our children, disciples; we are the high priest in our office and jobs; we are the counselor amidst our friends who come and consult with us; we are the main characters of the era because we are high priests that God has assigned the precious information of the full gospel (do not add or subtract to the gospel), fully-equipped gospel (answers all found in the gospel) and the holistic gospel (healing all found in the gospel.
2. How to walk with God? [Living] Chapters 18-27
1) The Holiness of the People <18-20>
2) The Holiness of the High Priest <21-22>
3) Keeping Festivals <23-25> – Sabbath Day, Passover, Pentecost/Feast of Weeks, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles/Feast of Gatherings
4) Blessings and Discipline <26>
5) Fulfilling Vows <27>
2) The Holiness of the High Priest <21-22>
(1) High Priest = Leaders, differentiate from worldliness and all people
（1）祭司 = 领袖、分别于世俗和众民
We have 2 kinds of food – 1) Manna (word of God), 2) Gentiles (our rewards in the world). But what is the Lord’s food? Does the Lord need to eat? He chooses to eat what we have to offer to Him, and these are "our offerings made by fire" as His food. The offerings that we can offer to God are the life of born again, the life of healing and sanctification, and the life of inheritance and crown.
(a) 祭司长的角色 = 为自己和众民献祭，圣物就成为了神的食物 = 必要蒙恩，才能讨神的喜悦
(a) The role of high priest = offer sacrifices for self and the saints, and the sacred offerings
21:6 要 归 神 为 圣 ， 不 可 亵 渎 神 的 名 ； 因 为 耶 和 华 的 火 祭 ， 就 是 神 的 食 物 ， 是 他 们 献 的 ， 所 以 他 们 要 成 为 圣 。
21:6 They must be holy to their God and must not profane the name of their God. Because they present the offerings made to the LORD by fire, the food of their God, they are to be holy.
=> The main role of the high priest is to present sacred offerings to God for themselves, and for the saints of God, as food to God.
(b) 祭司长必要在弟兄中分别为圣 = 祭司长必要肯定自己，才能爱人（在人面前给爱神的楷模）
(b) The High Priest must be set apart as holy in the midst of brethrens = the high priest must affirm his own identity, then he can love people (give the Model of loving God before men)
21:10-12 在 弟 兄 中 作 大 祭 司 、 头 上 倒 了 膏 油 、 又 承 接 圣 职 ， 穿 了 圣 衣 的 ， 不 可 蓬 头 散 发 ， 也 不 可 撕 裂 衣 服 。不 可 挨 近 死 尸 ， 也 不 可 为 父 母 沾 染 自 己 。不 可 出 圣 所 ， 也 不 可 亵 渎 神 的 圣 所 ， 因 为 神 膏 油 的 冠 冕 在 他 头 上 。 我 是 耶 和 华 。
21:10-12 " ‘The high priest, the one among his brothers who has had the anointing oil poured on his head and who has been ordained to wear the priestly garments, must not let his hair become unkempt or tear his clothes. He must not enter a place where there is a dead body. He must not make himself unclean, even for his father or mother, nor leave the sanctuary of his God or desecrate it, because he has been dedicated by the anointing oil of his God. I am the LORD.
=> If we are anointed, appointed or chosen to share to people, we must never look down on the message where God can give to us. The Lord will work not even by our faith, but just because of His Word and Spirit contained in us. Therefore, do not despise God in front of men. You are God’s messenger, and you must dress well, and not come to any dead things in the world. When you dedicate yourself to ministering the word of God, God will surely bless the people you gave the blessings to.
(c) 祭司长本是（火祭）上帝和神民的食物 -> 祭司长不可有残疾的
(c) High Priest are themselves (offerings made by fire) the food of God and the food of men -> High Priest Himself cannot have any defect
21:21 祭 司 亚 伦 的 後 裔 ， 凡 有 残 疾 的 ， 都 不 可 近 前 来 ， 将 火 祭 献 给 耶 和 华 。 他 有 残 疾 ， 不 可 近 前 来 献 神 的 食 物 。
21:21 No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect is to come near to present the offerings made to the LORD by fire. He has a defect; he must not come near to offer the food of his God.
=> Why must the high priest be holy? The high priest is holy because they are the food of the saints. The high priest, being the mediator of God and men, represent God Himself to the saints of God. Therefore, the High Priest is to remain humble even when he is anointed and set apart as holy. He is chosen and set apart as holy because he can become the food of the people, i.e the people of God can misunderstand and do wrong things, but the high priest must gulp all the wrongs down, and teach and heal them gradually in the gospel. When we talk about all these, we remember that the perfect Model of the High Priest is no one than Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus Christ has no bones that were broken, and He is the Lamb of God, presented to forgive the sins of men who do not know what they are doing, to nail Jesus Christ to the cross. He is the perfect sacrifice, in which there is no defect. Therefore, when the High Priest makes sacred offerings, there is a meaning not to make an offering that does not hurt, but an offering that is your whole life. When I talk about making offerings, it does not mean that we do something above the faith that God has given us, because we will not be able to do any good thing above that faith and timetable that He has given us. It is only when we come to terms with God what is our tithe, and what is a little more than our tithe (thanksgiving offering, etc), i.e. what is His perfect will in the spirit of offerings, so that we will be assured what is giving all our life to God. When we give all of our life to God at our current timetable to love people, God will then accept the offering, and the people will then be blessed through you.
We shall ask for gift of prophecy, and use the bible to tell people to become alive. Ask! But who can ask for these? Those who are the high priest or the leader for His people can ask. For the sake of building up life, God tells His people to be separated from the world. They just need to continue to teach what God wants them to teach. However, it is not that easy as just holding a bible and singing hymns. The leader must gulp down the weaknesses of men many times. If the high priest looks at people to offer sacrifices, he is not only pitiful, but he will become hated by all. This is not according to God’s intention. To preach, the high priest must hear the voice of God.
(2) Sacred Offerings = the response of the sheep to God
（2）分别为圣的祭物 = 圣民对神的回应
(a) 祭司的食物就是圣民所献的圣物 -> 圣物是圣洁的（100%要给神的） = 祭司长为圣民的代祷
(a) The food of the High Priests are actually the sacred offerings made by saints -> Sacred Offerings are Holy (100% to God) = Intercessions made by the high priest for the saints
22:4 亚 伦 的 後 裔 ， 凡 长 大 麻 疯 的 ， 或 是 有 漏 症 的 ， 不 可 吃 圣 物 ， 直 等 他 洁 净 了 。 无 论 谁 摸 那 因 死 尸 不 洁 净 的 物 ， 或 是 遗 精 的 人 ，
22:4 " ‘If a descendant of Aaron has an infectious skin disease or a bodily discharge, he may not eat the sacred offerings until he is cleansed. He will also be unclean if he touches something defiled by a corpse or by anyone who has an emission of semen,
=> The essence of the sacred offerings is about giving 100% of our lives to God. Unless we do so, God will tell us that He will leave us on our own ends to live ourselves. This era is weak because the priests are weak. During Eli’s time, the ark was lost, and his sons were wicked in the sight of all. Saul did wrongly by offering sacrifices on his own. Samuel replied Saul, “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” From then on, Saul was no more regarded as a king. Israel was divided into Judah and Israel (Northern Israel). Why did Israel perish? This was because it was not God that established the high priest of Israel. In our church, when we hear the Lord’s word, we continue to cleanse ourselves.
=> When the offerings are made by the saints, the high priest who receives this food (news) must treat this as a holy offering. They are the prayer topics given by God about the saints’ life. By the news that the High Priest receives, they should not treat it with contempt, but only treat them as holy, that there is a perfect will to find out and give to them as they made the sacred offerings. We must know that the high priest must eat the sacred offerings himself. The leader must watch himself even more through the words God speaks through him.
(b) The family of the High Priest is a family of intercessory watchmen
22:10 凡 外 人 不 可 吃 圣 物 ……
22:10 " ‘No one outside a priest’s family may eat the sacred offering…
22:12 祭 司 的 女 儿 若 嫁 外 人 ， 就 不 可 吃 举 祭 的 圣 物 。
22:12 If a priest’s daughter marries anyone other than a priest, she may not eat any of the sacred contributions.
Only the high priest and his family can eat the sacred offerings. (Even his daughter who is married off cannot eat the offerings.) This has a meaning that being in the high priest family is itself really blessed! They get to eat and hear the news of the life of the saints the high priest and the family has been praying for. But this also means to see the fitting, knitting and weaving gospel works in the joining and holding love between the high priest and the saints (pastor and the church members). A sister once told me that the daughter of the pastor is really different, as she knows the heart of the pastor. Therefore, we must all the more pray for the pastor’s family, for their members must receive inheritance because their role has been planned by God to pray for the saints. However, once a high priest’s daughter is married off, she must really pray for her husband to be like her father, like Jacob or Joseph, like Joshua or Caleb, OR like Jeremiah/Ezekiel or Daniel.
(c) The High Priest must pastor/shepherd the saints (teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness)
22:17-20 你 晓 谕 亚 伦 和 他 子 孙 ， 并 以 色 列 众 人 说 ： 以 色 列 家 中 的 人 ， 或 在 以 色 列 中 寄 居 的 ， 凡 献 供 物 ， 无 论 是 所 许 的 愿 ， 是 甘 心 献 的 ， 就 是 献 给 耶 和 华 作 燔 祭 的 ，要 将 没 有 残 疾 的 公 牛 ， 或 是 绵 羊 ， 或 是 山 羊 献 上 ， 如 此 方 蒙 悦 纳 。凡 有 残 疾 的 ， 你 们 不 可 献 上 ， 因 为 这 不 蒙 悦 纳 。
22:17-20 The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites and say to them: ‘If any of you—either an Israelite or an alien living in Israel—presents a gift for a burnt offering to the LORD, either to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering, you must present a male without defect from the cattle, sheep or goats in order that it may be accepted on your behalf. Do not bring anything with a defect, because it will not be accepted on your behalf.
=> In (1)(c), it was mentioned that saints are the food of the high priests, yet the high priests listen to God to shepherd the sheep, neither the other way round, nor trying to keep a balance. In this era, many pastors already become slaves of the church members. <22:17-33> is not a one day one night event that we can teach the sheep; in fact, it may take 3 months, or 3 years, 7 years, 10 years or 12 years, to fully see this being accomplished in the saint. The commandments of the Lord are actually the promises of God, where it requires teaching and shepherding, for them to be convinced and be doable, for they are not just a word of commandment to cast away to saints for them to swim on their own.
Many times, I am affected negatively by the sheep I need to shepherd, and this is not God’s perfect will. God’s perfect will is that we take the difficulties and problems of the sheep and bring them before God, and the first thing we must find is how they are loved by God. This is the first and foremost evidence that the high priest must find before God. This is the actual example of Moses, who prayed to God to ever be forgiving to the Israelites, even when God burned His anger against them. This is also the example of Jesus Christ, Who though called out, "Eloi Eloi Lama Sabachthani (My God, My God, Why have Thou forsaken Me)?", interceded for the saints amidst those who wanted to nail Him to the cross, "Lord, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Of course, towards the saints, we must teach and admonish them, and 9 times out of 10 times, we should encourage and give words of grace to them. This is because of the reason of Satan, deception and the murdering of life in saints, through accusations towards the saints. The sheep of God easily receives accusations, and they really need to understand that God is ever for them, so that they can approach the throne of God confidently without fear to ask for forgiveness and cleansing, so that they can receive grace to meet God.
For the 10% of the time that they really need correction, it must never come from an annoyance about their slowness or weakness in responding to God, but it must be done through the love of God, from the love of a shepherding father or mother, a pain in the heart that rejects their offerings because there is defect in their offerings to God. Through much shepherding pain and intercessions, when they pass the kingdom test of time through faithfulness to centering on the pulpit, brethrens and serving in church and all their fields, they may understand and become really looking like main characters of the era like little Today’s Jesus Christs, so that they can present to God immediately their whole life of praise.
** 结束的话 **
May God forgive me for any contempt I showed to any of His sheep, for God loves all His sheep with His life, and May God give me grace that I shall follow my Lord Jesus Christ to do the same.
15:10 然 而 ， 我 今 日 成 了 何 等 人 ， 是 蒙 神 的 恩 才 成 的 ， 并 且 他 所 赐 我 的 恩 不 是 徒 然 的 。 我 比 众 使 徒 格 外 劳 苦 ； 这 原 不 是 我 ， 乃 是 神 的 恩 与 我 同 在 。
15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
We can take reference from the 1 Corinthians series #31 "How to Make God-Pleasing Offering" and #32 "Main characters of the era, Lifetime travelmates". #31 = sacred offerings, #32 = the High Priests of an era.